I read about someone making a recipe from the Woodward & Lothrop Cook Book. I went and pulled out my Woodies cookbook and started reading up on it. Then I decided to write about it, but I wanted to give a shout out to the person who sent me looking more deeply at the cookbook. So, I searched and luckily, the post I read was recent, and it didn't take long before it popped up. It was in the pie blog Nothing in the House. One of the founders is Emily Hilliard a folklorist and writer who lives just down the road(about 2 hours) from me in Charleston, WV. So here is your SHOUT OUT.
Woodward & Lothrop was THE place to shop in D.C. It was like a shopping mall in the middle of a city. There were clothes, shoes, and bridal wear. There was china, glassware, cooking equipment, and dining sets. There were toys, food, cameras, art, and candy. If you needed it, Woodies had it.
Woodward & Lothrop Cook Book was written by Mabel Claire. The subtitle of the cookbook reads: For the Busy Woman including a Complete Guide to Kitchen Management. The cookbook was published in 1932. What is wonderful about this book is its marketing. As I said before, if you needed it -- it was at Woodies. That is, if you needed it in Washington, D.C.
But what if you lived in Chicago? Well, do not fear. If Carson's was the place that had everything you needed there was the Carson, Pirie Scott & Co's Cook Book For the Busy Woman including a Complete Guide to Kitchen Management. In New York City there was the Macy's Cook Book For the Busy Woman including a Complete Guide to Kitchen Management as well as the Gimbels Cook Book For the Busy Woman including a Complete Guide to Kitchen Management. There was a copy for the May Company, The Emporium, Meier & Frank, Bamberger's and more. I am not sure how many different copies of Mabel Claire's cookbook is out there under a different store title. If you think of it, though, it was a great idea. There are still tons of people out there who were born BEFORE Amazon. Writing a single cookbook and selling it to a dozen department stores across the country was brilliant.
One recipe that many Woodies customers remember is a cookie called the Woodies cookie or the English Drop cookie. People remember it having raisins, butter, and brown sugar. Knowing the history of this cookbook, I am not sure this is actually the recipe, but here is the closest thing in the Woodward & Lothrop Cook Book.
Drop Spice Cookies
1/2 Cup Softened Butter
1 1/4 Cups Flour
1/2 Brown Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Cloves
1/2 Cup Stoned Dates Cut in Pieces
Mix the softened butter with the brown sugar. Beat in the egg yolks. Add the dry ingredients sifted together. Beat them in, a little at a time. Add the dates and a few nut meats. Drop in tablespoonfuls on a buttered cookie sheet. Bake in a moderate oven for 10 minutes (375 F.). Makes eighteen cookies.
Finally, Mable Claire will tell you that one of the most important kitchen tools is a mirror:
Above my stove I have hung a mirror in a green and gold frame. It reflects all the jolly kitchen as well as the cook. A cook should consult a mirror often. For what use is a decorative kitchen without a decorative woman in it! At least a woman as decorative as is humanly possible!