New York: George W. Harlan, 19 Park Place; J. Campbell, Printer, Vandewater Street, 1880.
Square-back stapled book, (17 x 12.5 cm.), 128 pages. Index. FIRST EDITION. Author's first book, preceding the series of single-subject books published by Frederick Stokes for which he is more recognized. Murrey was the caterer of New York's Astor House and Philadelphia's Continental Hotel. The book is an amalgam of recipes for familiar New York and Philadelphia Hotel fare, intermixed with articles pulled from various sources on the subjects including baking powder, the glory of salads, why European versions of pies are inferior to the American, and the fabulous story of a meal of smoked shad, roast rump of salt beef, boiled potatoes, parsnip salad, home-made cheese, cold johnny-cake and acorn coffee, had while hunting in northwestern Minnesota, in the home of an old down-East Yankee. Seeing that the meal lacked a salad, Murrey repaired to the woods, where he assembled a salad of dandelions, dock-leaves, milk-weed tips, and wild chives. Henceforth the displaced Yankee called Murrey "Weedeater". Later in the book, he lists these and other weeds, including fat hen, ox-tongue, jack-by -the-hedge, sea-holly, sea beet, shepherd's purse, sow thistle, hawk-weed, stinging nettle, willow herb, pile-wort, Solomon's seal, lamb's quarter, and others, stating these weeds, "once known... would be much sought after" (page 97). Also included are sections on table etiquette, banquets, and a collection of historical menus, "to show progress in the art of constructing menus in the last thirty years". A bit of edge wear to a few leaves of text block. Original publisher's decorated wrapper, depicting the lady of the house reading instructions from a cookbook to an African-American cook. Erasure mark to front panel of wrapper; front spine panel separated at hinge; some chips and abrasions. We have handled copies of this book both with, and without a title to spine (this copy is the later). Still, better than good, especially for a wrappered cookbook of this era. Scarce. [OCLC locates four copies; Bitting, page 337; Brown, page 161 (later printing); not in Cagle].