Practical Housekeeping, 1881: This cookbook is essentially a revision of the New Buckeye Cookery. First edition, first printing of this version. I think I’ve had about 12 copies of Buckeye Cookery in the 20 years I’ve been dealing with old cookbooks. Literally every one of them has been covered with heavy, glued-on paper or oilcloth. The book must have come with instructions for pasting on a “protective” cover. Of course, the protective cover usually has turned into a grimy mess over the 120+ years of the cookbook’s existence. (See image!)
This antique cookbook is a mess. It is a cook’s copy that was thoroughly used, probably by several generations. The hinges are gone, and the cover is completely separated from the text block. The binding of the text block itself is holding, and the pages are all uniformly tanned, but otherwise perfect. The cookbook is stuffed with newspaper clippings and many pages are covered with carefully hand written recipes for items like ginger cakes, Mrs. Haskin’s Cucumber Pickles, vinegar cookies, Flora’s Cake, and many more.
The cookbook was compiled by Estelle Woods Wilcox. The original 1877, 1880 full title, of course, was Buckeye Cookery, with Hints on Practical Housekeeping, Revised and Enlarged. Copyright 1881 by The Housekeeper Corporation, Minneapolis, Minn. 536 pages. A brief history of Buckeye Cookery is posted on the Michigan State University’s wonderful “Feeding America” website, here: http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/html/books/book_33.cfm. They also changed the publisher’s name from The Housekeeper Corporation to the Buckeye Publishing Company to Home Publishing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
This is a gossipy, preachy, and often charming cookbook. The original Buckeye dedication remains, “To Those PLUCKY HOUSEWIVES who master their work instead of allowing it to master them, this book is dedicated.”
And don’t forget to click on “Recipes” at the top of the VintageCookbook.com Homepage. You’ll find one great recipe from many of the great antique and vintage cookbooks, including several recipes from Buckeye Cookery and from Practical Housekeeping .