Manuscript Mexican Cookbook from 1807

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437. [MEXICAN COOKBOOK]. “Diario de Cuentas Para Guisar Año de 1807.” [Wrapper title] “Libro de Cocina de Da Gertrudis de Leon Coronado.” Manuscript in ink. 26 leaves written on both sides followed by 24 blank leaves, on laid paper watermarked with a horse. Small 8vo (16 x 11.4 cm), original wrappers with original rawhide stitching. Wrappers moderately chipped with some losses and stained. Except for scattered minor staining, the interior is very fine and written in a neat, legible hand.

     Highly unusual and rare early Mexican manuscript cookbook comprising dozens of recipes for various dishes described in varying degrees of detail. As might be expected for a cookbook composed at the time, all the recipes are indigenous, and many employ chiles, although there are limits. As Jeffrey M. Pilcher, ¡Que viven los tamales! (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998), points out, such foods as tamales, enchiladas, and quesadillas were considered lower class foods (p. 46), and no such recipes appear herein. Among the recipes are stew, various fish and fowl dishes, rice, cakes, etc.

     Judging from the careful style, tight organization, and occasional corrections, one assumes this was a text copied by a younger woman from another source or sources. As several scholars have pointed out, the art of cooking was transmitted from mother to daughter for hundreds of years, and the present manuscript may be an example of just such a situation. The manuscript predates the first published Mexican cookbook by nearly twenty-five years.


Sold. Hammer: $6,500.00; Price Realized: $7,962.50.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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