Edibilia: A Cook Book of Valuable Receipts. Published by the Ladies of Christ Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Indianapolis, Indiana: Indianapolis Journal Company, Printers, 1873.

Octavo (22 x 14 cm.), 64 pages. Advertisements. Evident FIRST EDITION. One of the earliest recipe collections associated with the Hoosier State, and the first church cookbook known to have been published in Indianapolis. With one hundred sixty recipes, most of them attributed (at least with initials), including: Gumbo Soup (made with young “ocher”), Cream Toast, Sugar Biscuit, Oyster Salad, Chicken Croquettes, Spiced Beef, Potato Rissoles, Salsify, Cucumber Sauce, Martemans, Hodge Podge, Pear Pickle, Tomato Preserves, Crab Apple Jelly, Indiana Pudding, Apple Custard Pie, Gooseberry Tart, Hickory-Nut Macaroons, Almond Cake, Ma's Blackberry Wine. ~ A society and vestry having been formed in 1837, the cornerstone of the original Episcopal Church of Indianapolis was laid in May 1838, very near the center of Indianapolis. The graceful Gothic Revival edifice that stands on the site today was initiated in similar fashion twenty years later – though some names have changed since then: Christ Church, located at the intersection of Corner Circle and Meridian Street, is now Christ Church Cathedral, and the intersection is now at Monument Circle – renamed in honor of a Civil War memorial that was but an aspiration at the time Edibilia was published. Designed by a recent immigrant from Ireland, William Tinsley (1804-1885), the new stone building was praised upon its dedication in 1859 as “the handsomest church in Indiana” even before the chime of bells had been hung (1861) and the spire atop the belfry erected (1869), according to an early witness (William Robeson Holloway, Indianapolis: A Historical Sketch of the Railroad City [Indianapolis: Journal Print, 1870], pages 203-204). ~ In 1872, a former rector of Christ Church, Joseph Cruikshank Talbot (1816-1883), succeeded to the post of Bishop of Indiana, whereupon he established a mission to serve the immigrant communities of the city’s Old Southside. St. George’s mission church, established in 1873, would operate as an extension of Christ Church, and offers a likely motivation for the very considerable fundraising effort represented by Edibilia (if the ample presence of full-page advertisements for local businesses can serve as gauge). St. George’s was organized as a church in 1880, and would later become a parish on its own, until the succession of St. Timothy’s suburban mission to Southside, in 1959. ~ It should be noted, to forestall confusion, that Christ Church was consecrated as pro-Cathedral (a denotation for an episcopal seat that also serves as a parish church) only in 1954. Until that date, the designation belonged to the neighboring Church of All Saints on the north side, whose descendant congregation maintains, uniquely within the diocese, an Anglo-Catholic orientation. ~ Age-toned and spot-stained, with many pages pulling. In publisher’s green cloth, decoratively titled in gilt. Handwritten recipes in pencil distributed throughout, and several newspaper clippings pasted down. Inscription in ink on flyleaf (“Christmas 1873, C. J. Shellman from her niece Annie M. Boggs”). This exemplar without the photographic illustration of the church that, in some extant copies, was pasted to the verso of the title page, over an epigraph entitled “Matrimonial” by Jacqueline Holliday. Scarce. [OCLC locates six copies; Cook, page 71; Brown (987) acknowledges only an alternate title: Edibilia: ABC of Valuable Private Receipts; not in Bitting or Cagle].

Price: $400.00