Still most of the recipes require a great deal of "know how" before attempting them. Take this simple pie recipe for instance:
Peel and slice the bananas very thin; add sugar, a little fresh butter, the juice of some oranges or lemons, and a pinch of allspice; or flavor with some good rum. Bake with a full crust, or with a meringue cover.
How easy is that?
Since this book was meant for the trade, there are very revealing statistics for pricing out your pastry.
A bride's cake should sell for somewhere between $3 to $20.
A groom's cake from $5 to $25.
Ice cream will run you 60 cents a quart.
A quart of lobster salad should be priced at $2.50.
Soft shelled crabs at $3.00 per dozen.
We haven't quite figured out why there is a discussion of the prices for crabs and lobster salad in a pastry book. Among the recipes for Charlottes, Bismarks, and Creme de Noyeau, there is a fine ant repellent.
Clearly, being in the hotel business was a bit more than making cupcakes.
While these old cookbooks probably don't have a lot to offer the modern cook, they are great historical references and a lot of fun. Just imagine cracking open Eric Ripert's next book and finding a recipe for ant repellent!