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Manuscript Mexican Cookbook - 1804

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407.     [MEXICAN COOKBOOK]. “Conserva de granaditas de China” [caption title]. Manuscript cookbook in Spanish, containing about fifty recipes, written in ink in two hands with one inserted leaf. 13 leaves on laid paper, two of which are watermarked. Dated “Fin año del 1804 mes 9” (p. 5). 4to (21.2 x 15 cm). Scattered light staining, some light waterstaining to a few leaves, two pages heavily soiled obscuring text, edge wear affecting some letters. Otherwise, very good in legible hands. Nineteenth-century Mexican manuscript cookbooks and earlier are exceedingly rare in commerce (none found in auction records).

     The earliest known Mexican published cookbook is thought to be from 1831 (El Cocinero Mexicano, Palau 55879); before that time, culinary arts were obviously passed down through a manuscript tradition, as embodied in the present manuscript. “In Mexico, recipe transmission historically has been from mother to daughter in the course of the child’s domestic training. The tradition of recording recipes in written form has its origin in the late eighteenth century. A number of these manuscripts have survived, and in the twentieth century several were published. The majority of the extant ones were written in convents, as opposed to those written for the home. Nuns were active in culinary practice and frequently recorded their recipes. The most famous of these, though not the most extensive, is the Libro de cocina del Convento de San Jerónimo, attributed to one of the greatest Mexican authors of the seventeen century, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz” (Pinedo, Encarnación’s Kitchen: Mexican Recipes from Nineteenth-Century California, p. 24). The present manuscript appears to have been created for home use.

     Among the recipes elaborated are “Chiles reyenos en conserva,” “Mansanas mechadas,” “Ante de mansanas,” “Ante de vevo,” “tonta de damas,” “Bocadillos de leche,” and “buñuelos de alas.” A large number of recipes are concerned with preparing “conservas,” an important type of recipe in an era when preservation means and methods were limited. All the recipes employ regional foods and methods, reflecting a general lack of outside influences, as would be expected at this early date.

With two others: [1] "Manuel de Cocinero," 8vo (17 x 11 cm), [22] pp. in ink on nineteenth-century paper stamped in blind: República Mexicana; [2] untitled, 12mo (14 x 9.5 cm), [22] pp. in ink on ruled paper (early twentieth century).


Sold. Hammer: $2,400.00; Price Realized: $2,880.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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