EBay is a great source of hundred-year-old cookbooks. One “cookbook” that I purchased is a four-page newspaper supplement called Mrs. Scott’s Seasonal Cookbooks, Autumn 1920. When the supplement is folded, a quarter of the front page becomes the cookbook cover. It was originally published in a Philadelphia newspaper, The North American.
The cookbook contains 80 or so recipes that use seasonal ingredients. Recipes include Creamed Turnips (which I made earlier this week), Sweet Potato Puffs, and Christmas Sugar Cookies – as well a few recipes, such as Economy Fruit Cake, Smothered Guinea Fowl and Smothered Rabbit, that definitely seem like they are from another era.
The brittle yellowed newsprint pages somehow survived a hundred years. How could something so pedestrian have lasted so long? Somehow I just need to create a story for this little newspaper cookbook. . .
In my imagination, the original owner saved the newspaper supplement and tucked it away in a kitchen cabinet with the intension of making some of the recipes – but it was quickly forgotten. Years later her daugther was cleaning out the house, and came across the newspaper cookbook, and threw it into a box with many other things that needed sorting. She took the box to her own home, and set it in a corner of the living room for awhile. But somehow she never got around to sorting the items in the box, and as holidays approached, she decided to move the box to the attic, where it lay forgotten for another fifty years.
Then, another generation passed, and the son of the daughter of the original owner was cleaning out the attic and came across the box. When he opened it, he saw Mrs. Scott’s Seasonal Cookbooks, Autumn 1920, and thought, “Whew, this is old. I’d better keep it.” He took it to his home and put it in a file cabinet where it again was forgotten for years. Then, when dowsizing, he once again found the old newspaper cookbook, and decided to sell it at a garage sale where it was purchased by a man who enjoys selling things on EBay. I then saw the cookbook on EBay, and bought it . . . and now it’s anyone’s guess what the next chapter might be for this cookbook, but I’m rooting that it will somehow, however improbably, survive another hundred years.
46 thoughts on “Mrs. Scott’s Seasonal Cook Books”
Clever story. Always good to cook with the seasons.
Yes, it’s always good to cook with the seasons. My sense is that people were even more likely to cook with the seasons a hundred years ago – probably out of necessity.
I love your story. I often wonder about the life of old things and how they made it to the future.
Sometimes I feel like the most random things end up being saved.
I inherited all my family “boxes”. It is really interesting what people saved.
Your story’s probably closer to the truth than not. The tendency to say, “Oh, I’ll deal with that later” may have saved a lot of photos, recipes, and newspaper clippings.
How true – “Dealing with things later” probably saves many items.
What a wonderful story you weave! It makes the old cookbook come to life with it’s own stories of favorite recipes in times gone by.
It’s nice to hear that you enjoyed the story. I had fun writing it.
I love your story Sheryl, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that wasn’t exactly how it happened! Enjoy your treasure, I’m sure YOU will make at least one recipe from the little book, thus adding to the story.
I’m anticipating that I’ll make several from it, though it’s now dawning on me that I will be making only a few more 1920 recipes – and that before long, I’ll being moving on to 1921 recipes. (Note to self: I need to start looking for 1921 cooksbooks.)
Right! Forgot about that! 😋
Your story is quite likely true! I vote you try Christmas Sugar Cookies (soon–it is almost December!). While you do not actually have to make smothered guinea or smothered rabbit, it would make an interesting read to find out how to do them. 🙂
The Christmas Sugar Cookies recipe sounds good to me, too. I may have to give it a try. 🙂
I love your story. Please print it and keep it with the old cookbook. The next owner will be delighted with your tale.
That’s a really good suggestion – and might make it more likely that this newspaper cookbook will last another hundred years.
Sweet story of this newspaper supplement’s journey, Sheryl. “Smothered rabbit” just doesn’t appeal to me, however:)
Who would have guessed that Smothered Rabbit doesn’t appeal to you? 🙂
Great story. Amazing how things can be forgotten and then found and mean so much later.
The older I get the more I realize that some items become more meaningful over time (and others less meaningful).
Love that you shared your imagination of how it was saved! Hope it does continue to survive. I didn’t try the creamed turnips recipe using turnips instead I tried it with radishes which I had a lot of right now.. wasn’t bad at all to my surprise.
It’s nice to hear that the Creamed Turnips recipe inspired you to try it with radishes – and that they turned out okay.
As usual your posts are super,fantastic, mind blowing no words to say akka super
It’s wonderful to hear that you enjoyed this post.
What a charming stream-of-conscious imagining of how a 100-year-old newspaper made it to the absolute perfect recipient—you!
Thanks for the kind words. It’s fun to create stories about some of the old things I own.
That was fun!
I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I had fun writing it.
“Smothered rabbit” did me in. Otherwise I like the idea of cooking seasonally.
No Smothered Rabbit for you? 🙂
Your story sounds perfect. I felt like I was there.
It’s nice to hear that you enjoyed it.
That could well be what happened to that cookbook! I love finding old recipes too. And I share your hope that these survive another hundred years….
I can take or leave many new cookbooks, but old cookbooks are another story. 🙂
I also wonder about old things and what their story might be. I enjoyed reading your cookbook’s imaginary life story!
It’s nice to hear that you liked this story.
Seems a very plausible explanation for how the newspaper insert survived…
It’s fascinating how little decisons (or in some cases non-decisions) affect which items survive.
Oh how I love this story! and you, for always looking to the past and sharing it with the present ❤
It’s wonderful to hear that you enjoyed this story. Thanks for the kind words.
A wonderful story, I did enjoy it.
I had fun writing this post. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Wow! This article just blew my mind. Such an amazing read. Thank you for the value offered here.
It’s nice to hear that you enjoyed this post.