The Twentieth Century Cook Book. By California Caterers and Teachers of Cookery in Connection with the Ladies of the First Presbyterian Church.

Salinas, California: [The Church; Printed by] E. H. Green, Printer, 1902.

Octavo (23 x 15 cm.), 382, [x] pages. “Index” is actually a table of contents. Advertisements. Cover title: 20th Century Cook Book. Evident first edition. A church cookbook with approximately four hundred recipes, from a region famous for its root and vine vegetables, its farm produce, as well as its long-established Mexican and Asian communities. Among items of note: a pureed Artichoke Soup; a flaming Rum Omelet; and Carne Abodaba with chilis and pork ribs hung “outdoors to dry four or five hours if weather is warm.” On a separate note, when serving Chinese appetizers, the watermelon seeds “should be rubbed in a silk cloth.” ~ The Monterey area saw some of the earliest Presbyterian ministries in California. A congregation is thought to have formed in the watery region called Salinas (“salt marsh”) as early as 1873 – a year even before a town taking the name was incorporated – though whether it endured continuously is unclear. The era was one of vertiginous change, the marshlands being drained with the aid of Japanese and Mexican immigrant labor, and a town rising around a vast sugar processing plant supporting its own factory community. A church building, however, is documented on Main Street not very much before The Twentieth Century Cook Book saw light of day. ~ A satisfactory account of community life in Salinas, Presbyterian or otherwise, has yet to appear; nor is much known of individual food suppliers and itinerant teachers of cookery who collaborated with the Ladies of the congregation in so substantial an effort here. 1902 is, coincidentally, the year Salinas’s most celebrated (if controversial) son, John Steinbeck was born – in the so-called Connor House, four doors down from the Main Street Church. Today the historic name First Presbyterian is suppressed, in deference to an entity called Compass Church, a commercial, evangelical offshoot that has broken with ecumenical Presbyterianism. ~ Some staining throughout; isolated corrections in ink. In limp, pebbled maroon cloth, with gilt lettering. Near very good. [OCLC locates eight copies; not in Brown, Cagle or Cook].

Price: $300.00