The Church Cook Book: Published for the Benefit of Church Work and Charity.

Baltimore, U.S.A. Williams & Wilkins Company, 1908.

Octavo (19.75 x 14 cm.), 180 pages. Index. Illustrated. FIRST EDITION. A broad reference with generalized instructions ("Directions for making mush and gruels") but also with quick entries, in some cases a single sentence ("Hominy. To 1 quart of large hominy add 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of beans, a little salt, and boil it all day, slowly"). ~ Four hundred recipes, including: Broiled Oysters with Brown Sauce, Frizzled Beef with Scrambled Eggs, Yorkshire Pudding, Lazania (a corruption of lasagna), Succotash, Salad à la Heney, Rice Waffles, Coddled Apples, Crab Apple Jelly, Almond Soufflé, and Flaxseed Lemonade. Every bit a charitable cookbook, though a deviation from standard practice: a publishing house initiative, designed to allow churches to acquire, in quantity, a ready-made product at cost, and then to resell it, "the publisher's profit being given to the particular charity of the benefit of which the book is sold" (from the preface, printed in selected print-runs, page [3]). The unattributed recipes, then, would not originate locally; that they would "have never hitherto appeared in print" – apart from a number that "appealed to the compiler" as worthy of attention – must be considered a matter for qualification as plausible but misleading. The existence of a compiler is thus conceded by the signers of the preface (the publishers). But it is only by happenstance that a case for her identity may be proposed here. This copy of The Church Cook Book contains two handwritten annotations. The first, dated 1969, identifies the book, on the front flyleaf, as "Mrs. Farr's copy of her cousin Eleanor Pisano's collection of receipts for raising funds. Mrs. Farr sold 200 copies." The second, on the title page, traces to the publisher's name the note: "Mr. Pissano's firm, now Waverly Press." In the event, one Eleanor Phillips Isaac Passano (1870-1949) was the spouse of Williams & Wilkins' new owner, Edward Boteler Passano (1872-1946), who indeed would later (ca. 1908) change the house's name to Waverly Press. Without reference to a church or a cause, there seems no reason for Cook's claim that the recipes were submitted by "unidentified Marylanders." Shelfworn, but textblock solid; page edges spot-stained, but interior mostly clean; one leaf (pages 77-78) lacking. Bound in buff publisher's oilcloth with black lettering and an image of a chef in whites; binding soiled and rubbed at the spine and corners. Good. [OCLC locates eleven copies; Cook, page 103; Brown 1238; not in Cagle].

Price: $150.00