The Ladies' Superior Cook Book. Compliments of S. Silliman, Successor to J. F. Waterhouse, Dealer in Staple and Fancy Groceries and Delicacies.

Oakland, Cal. Enquirer Publishing Co., 1899.

Octavo (23.5 x 15 cm.), 32 pages. Advertisments. Commissioning parties from cover, the words "S. Silliman, Successor to" applied by ink stamp. First edition. Previously unrecorded advertising pamphlet containing "recipes devised by skilled cooks for practical use" (title page). Seventy unattributed entries, some of which merit notice for the detail of their directions, which–despite the context–in the aggregate give an impression of polish, if not elegance. Green Cabbage, for instance, should be cooked in water to which soda has been added, in an uncovered sauce pan. Broiled Quail should be served with currant jelly. Pineapple Trifle should be poured "into cups which have been wet with cold water." Some discreet cheating is also permitted: if gravy for your Cannelon of Beef "is not a rich color, add a few drops of caramel." The address supplied on the title page (the corner of Tenth and Washington Streets) places the Waterman-Silliman store within the complex that would become known as the Oakland Free Market, the predecessor of today's Swan's Market Merchant Alliance. Washington Street was the premier retail center of Old Oakland. John F. Waterhouse and Samuel Silliman were prominent business investors and sometime associates whose names appeared together in various mercantile and legal annals. The phrase "Staple and Fancy Groceries" was almost routinely applied in California to indoor food markets. Silliman's venture–"one of the finest appointed stores on the Coast" according to the cover of The Ladies' Superior Cook Book"–appears to have been short-lived, but for sixty years, Swan's Market carried the torch as a prestigious purveyor of fine foods at the same address. In stapled, red and black-lettered rose wrappers; torn, brittle, and separated at the back but for remnants of a transparent tape. One page missing a portion (presumably a clipped advertisement; otherwise internal surfaces clean and text unobscured. Poor. Worthwhile for the density of its information and for its documentation of the business strategy of a leading food market. Unrecorded. [OCLC locates no copies; not in Brown or Cagle].

Price: $200.00

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