24 February 2009

The Atlanta Exposition Cookbook

In 1895 Mrs. Henry Lumpkin Wilson compiled recipes and household tips into a souvenir for the women who visited the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta. Commemorative cookbooks are commonplace now, with many church and school groups compiling member’s favorite recipes into fundraising opportunities. It’s hard to realize that cookbooks at the turn of the century were rare. Most Southern women were acquainted with Catharine Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book, however, the Atlanta Exposition cookbook was published before the Boston Cooking-School Cookbook of Fannie Farmer.

This reprint offers a glimpse into kitchens past, featuring pigeon, terrapin, and tongue. The directions offer such favorite Southern cooking instructions as, “Cook till done.” Most recipes offer little or no instruction as to how to actually assemble the food, which is not such a problem for soup, but can be frustrating for cakes!

One recipe that needs no measurements belongs to Mrs. S. C. Ferrell:

Recipe For Making A Happy Home

One ounce each system, frugality and industry, one ounce each gentleness, patience and forbearance, six ounces Paul’s Christian charity, that covers a multitude of failures. These ingredients thoroughly kneaded with the salt of good common sense, flavored with the “grace of nature and art,” music and flowers will make a paradise of a desert, a palace of a hovel.
It's not terrapin, but it may be easier to find. And then again, maybe not!

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