The Unxld Cook Book. Published by The R. S. T. U. V. W. Committee.

[Waterbury, Conn.]: Mattatuck Press [of the] Waterbury Blank Book Mfg. Co., 1901.

Octavo (23.5 x 15 cm.), 88 pages. Advertisements. Photograph of a kitchen with credit to Curtis Publishing Co. on title page. Image captioned Derby Methodist Episcopal Church on title-page verso. FIRST EDITION. Roughly three hundred fifty brief recipes, arranged so as to be, in the aggregate, unexcelled. In view of the contraction wordplay in the title, the abbreviated name of the Committee in charge may well have communicated humorous intent, though for now its meaning can only be guessed. Categories are well bulked out – not a universal trait of church cookbooks at the turn of the century – with ample representation of meats and seafood alongside the myriad baked goods, confections, and conserves. Puddings take the preponderance prize: there are at least sixty. The center of Derby, in New Haven County, was originally called Birmingham, a name that survives in that of Birmingham Green where the Methodist Episcopal Society first erected a church in the town, in 1837. The Society had organized in 1793, dependent for guidance on the extensive circuit system and the ability to hold revivals in the homes of members. The fact of the new church's geographical centrality has some significance in light of the intense persecution of Methodists but a few decades earlier, according to accounts in which hostile neighbors attempted to seal their chimneys or drop "squibs of powder" (i.e., explosives) onto their fireplaces (as per Orcutt & Beardsley, page 462). The grand redbrick neo-romanesque building that serves a United Methodist congregation at the site today dates from 1894. As an aside: Curtis Publishing, which furnished the photograph of a kitchen with a cast-iron range, was the Philadelphia-Indianapolis publisher of Ladies' Home Journal and The Saturday Evening Post. In stapled, silver-decorated black wrappers with silver lettering, heavily chipped and frayed, with the front panel separated. Pages foxed and stained throughout, though text legible. Good or a bit better. Scarce. [OCLC locates one copy held within a Connecticut consortium, joined in a binder's volume with another cookbook; not in Brown, Cagle, or Cook].

Price: $150.00