La Cocinera poblana

With Rules of Etiquette & Health Advice

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440. [MEXICAN COOKBOOK]. La Cocinera Poblana y el Libro de las familias. Novísimo manual práctico de cocina española, francesa, inglesa y mexicana higiene y economía doméstica Contiene mas de dos mil formulas de ejecución sencilla y facil Tratados especiales de Pastelería, Confitería y Repostería diversas recetas de tocador y medicina doméstica para conservar la salud y prolongar la vida. Tercera edición, corregida y aumentada. Mexico: Tip. de J. F. Jens. San José de Real, núm. 22, 1887-1888. 2 vols. in 1. Vol. I: [1-5] 484 [i.e., 436] pp; Vol. II: [1-5] 6-331 [1 blank] pp. 8vo (16 x 11.2 cm), contemporary quarter red sheep over blue and black mottled boards, spine gilt lettered and decorated. Mild scuffing to boards, shelfwear, corners bumped, front hinge open but holding; interior fine, 1:433-434 bound out of order. Rare. OCLC lists only three copies. The only copy at auction in the past thirty years was sold by us in 2007.

     Third edition of a cookbook that apparently went through many editions (see Palau 55878). Not in standard sources. This work concentrates heavily on recipes, formulas, and methods that would be available and easy to use for a domestic Mexican household of ordinary means, despite the international pretensions embodied in its title. Reflecting the nineteenth-century linking of medicine and gastronomy, numerous items concern alimentation as it affects health, disease prevention, and treatment. One chapter, for example, is devoted entirely to preserving fresh foods for later use (Vol. I, pp. 360-373). Another chapter, “Higiene Domestica: Enfermedades mas comunes,” covers illnesses and their treatments (Vol. II, pp. 252-296).

     More than a mere cookbook, this manual also ventures into the area of manners and domestic economy. For example, a section entitled “Urbanidad de la mesa,” counsels “Cuando se anuncia la comida está servida, no debe uno precipitarse hácia el comedor,” stating rather that a gentleman should slowly escort a lady toward the dining room Vol. I, p. 374). Among other timely suggestions are never to bring a dog; do not bring a child under eight unless the child has specifically been invited; do not put elbows on the table; do not speak loudly “como si hablase á los sordos”; do not call a server “muchacho”; do not gobble the food; nothing is worse that drinking with greasy lips; do not get drunk; and, finally, “El que se ponga á roer un hueso parecerá un animal.” And so it goes for the 91 rules of proper etiquette at the table.

     With its emphasis on native ingredients and techniques, this work is a classic Mexican recipe book intended for the average Mexican cook.


Sold. Hammer: $425.00; Price Realized: $520.63.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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