Useful Receipts: Simple directions for practical housekeepers, including contributions of special dishes from many sources and a few choice receipts now little known.
Hartford, Conn. Fowler & Miller, Printers, 1892.
Octavo (19 x 13 cm.), 141, [ii] pages. Index. Evident FIRST EDITION. A hybrid collection of more than three hundred recipes, presented by a single author who, nonetheless, has gathered favorite recipes from “ladies who have for years made a practice of collecting the rules for dishes that they have found especially attractive.” Exceptional among the attributions are those to a manuscript cookbook of 1820 compiled by the author’s grandmother, identified by the word “Dutch” in curves next to the entry titles. Several recipes are marked “First Principles” – nods to Maria Parloa’s groundbreaking work (both the editions of 1879 and 1882 are acknowledged, with “thanks for her courtesy in this matter”). Another title (“Live and Learn”) recurs often enough in what appears to be another attempt to recognize priority, if a failed one, as no further clue is provided. A representative sampling of the contents: Purée of Celery, Oysters with Sherry, Deviled Clams, Stewed Eels, Broiled Squabs, Stuffed Onions, Baked Hominy, Fricasee of French Beans, Parsnip Fritters, Rice Muffins, Huckleberry Cake, Almond Custards, Baked Quinces, Strawberry Dumplings; and – not necessarily for the sickroom – two versions of Caudle with mace and lemon. ~ At the time of her cookbook’s publication, Elizabeth Lee Sluyter Ayres (d. 1932) had recently become the second wife of William Augustus Ayres (1841-1923), a reporter and managing editor for several newspapers in Hartford County. Charitable rosters from the 1890s identify her as a “Teacher in a Cooking School.” Given her assertion of acquaintanceship with Miss Parloa, as well as the timeframe (Parloa returned to Boston in 1887), it is tempting to speculate that her credentials may have been earned under Parloa’s tutelage. ~ Fine in publisher’s gilt-stamped green cloth. [OCLC locates six copies; not in Brown, Cagle, or Cook].