The Blue Grass Cook Book.Compiled by Minnie C. Fox. Illustrated with Photographs by A. L. Coburn.

New York: Fox, Duffield & Company; [Printed by] The Trow Press, 1904.

Octavo (19.25 x 13 cm.), xlii, 350 pages. Photographic frontispiece (“The Turbaned Mistress of a Kentucky Kitchen”) and twelve additional photographic plates (really eleven, as the list of illustrations counts one plate as two). Detailed table of contents. ~ Evident FIRST EDITION. A community cookbook of sorts, in light of its contributions from forty-six acquaintances of the compiler, though not a charitable fundraiser. With more than five hundred recipes, many of them attributed. Of note among them: Dixie Biscuits, Steam Pone, Buckwheat Cakes, Black Bean Soup, Chestnut Soup, Okra Soup, Roasted Shad, Chicken Aspic with Walnuts, Crême (recte Crème) de Volaille, Xalapa Boudins, Oyster Croquettes, Quail with Truffles, Kentucky Baked Ham, Fried Pig’s Feet, Blue Grass Corn Pudding, Eggplant Pudding, Hominy Puffs, Salsify Fritters, Cauliflower Salad, Mushroom Catsup, Burnt Almond Cream, Orange Soufflé, Pistachio Ice Cream, Tapioca and Apples, Blue Grass Plum Cake, Old Virginia Christmas Cake, Bourbon Whisky Punch. ~ Long before The Blue Grass Cook Book appeared, the Fox family had removed over the eastern border to Big Stone Gap, Virginia, but for many years Minerva Worth Carr Fox (1838-1925) had presided over a manor house at Stony Point, in the north-central Kentucky region encompassing Bourbon County that had been delineated as part of the Commonwealth of Virginia as far back as 1785. History remembers her chiefly as the mother of John William Fox, Jr. (1862-1919), a journalist and novelist who documented the social devastation wrought by the cleaving of communities and families in the wake of the Civil War. (Later, too, he served ably as a war correspondent for New York newspapers in Cuba, Japan, and Manchuria.) But food historians value Minnie Fox’s anthology for its acknowledgment of the African-American preeminence in the creation, organization, and preservation of what even then had come to be appreciated as “southern cuisine.” ~ The tribute is borne initially in John Fox’s literary (frankly, precious) introduction, but is then carried off with a minimum of contrivance in the eleven plates by a very young Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882-1966) – the photographer’s first series in book form (see Alvin Langdon Coburn, Photographer: An Autobiography, edited by Helmut and Alison Gernsheim [London: Faber & Faber, 1966], page 141), appearing before his sequence of frontispieces for the collected works of Henry James, and before his departure for London, where his portraits of George Bernard Shaw, among many others, would catapult him into the limelight. ~ Some light wear or toning to text block; in publisher’s blue cloth, with some light rubbing to edges and darkening to spine, lettered in black. Generally very good. [OCLC locates forty copies; Bitting, page 164; Brown 1124; Axford, page 36; Cagle 270; Van Willigen, page 224].

Price: $750.00