First Edition of the First Cookbook Published in Texas
518. [TEXAS COOKBOOK]. The Texas Cook Book. A Thorough Treatise on the Art of Cookery. Edited by the Ladies’ Association of the First Presbyterian Church. Houston, 1883. [4, ads], [1-7] 8-186, [10, ads] pp. [first and last leaves used as pastedowns]; interleaved with blank ruled leaves, as issued (some with recipes penciled in). 8vo (20 x 14 cm), original dark green blind-embossed cloth, lettered in gilt on upper cover: Texas Cook Book. Binding slightly flecked, lower corner lightly bumped, text somewhat shaken, front hinge open but holding, occasional light staining, but generally a very good copy of a legendary Texas book, exceedingly rare in commerce, and when found, usually in poor condition and/or incomplete.
First edition of the first cookbook published in Texas and only the third cook book published in the U.S. west of the Mississippi, preceded only by Kansas and California. Eberstadt, Texas 162:196. Not in Culinary Americana. The book is sometimes attributed to Emma E. Guenzel.
A wonderful example of nineteenth-century domestic economy in the West, with recipes for standard and regional cuisine, such as gumbo, crab omelet, broiled venison steak, and yacht pie (“the more ladies you have on board, the more onions should be used”). Almost half of the cookbook is devoted to desserts, including Spanish float, whip syllabub, tipsy squire, and ammonia jumbles. Regional wine recipes include mustang grape wine, ginger beer, and scuppernong wine. Eighty household hints include “A Sure Bed Bug Exterminator,” how to clean a carpet using potatoes, three methods of cleaning kid gloves, “How to Crystalize Grass,” etc. Homemade remedies are given for diphtheria and cholera. Some of the interleaving includes contemporary recipes in manuscript, e.g. the requisite fruit cake, molasses pie, devil food and angel food cake (on same page), date loaf, etc.
The ads are generally for local Houston businesses, including many food purveyors. Also found, however, are pharmacies, milliners, candy manufacturers, furniture stores, etc. This book is advertised in an ad at the end for $1.50 (post paid). Some of the contributors are men, and many of the recipes are attributed. The contributors’ names are listed at the front.
Copyright Dorothy Sloan 2009