Old Texas Cooking
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History You Can TasteOf all the literary forms, none is more filled with pride and love than the cookbook. Cookbooks exist because we love to share good things. Especially good tasting things. If a recipe appears in a cookbook, you can bet the contributor is proud of it, and they want you to love it as much as they do.
That same pride and love is the reason the very first Texas cookbook was compiled back in 1883.
Those years after the Civil War were something of a golden age for the American cookbook. Scores were published, mostly in the north.
But this was a problem for Texas cooks longing for fresh recipes to try. Before Mr. Carrier changed how we live, our heat and/or humidity had a huge effect on the finished product, and recipes devised up north didn't perform so well in Texas.
That's why the preface states:
"As far as we know, no complete treatise on the subject of cookery has been published in our latitude, it has seemed well to supply this deficiency. The receipts given have been obtained from our best housekeepers and cooks; are the results, not of theoretic cookery, but of practical testing and approval."
In other words, these "receipts" work in Texas and your family will love them.
A Side Note: Receipt or Recipe?Old Texas Cooking was a project of the Ladies' Association of the First Presbyterian Church in Houston. They called it: A Thorough Treatise on the Art of Cookery.
Receipt is the word most used in Old Texas Cooking. It's simply the older form, first used in English by Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales. Recipe wasn't used much in America until well into the 19th century.
Within are 801 recipes provided by 71 ladies and one gentleman. As you see, most of them contributed multiple recipes, so it gives you a good idea what families were actually eating.
Not all of the contributors were from Houston. Dishes were sent in from Austin, Bastrop, Chappell Hill, Corsicana, Eagle Lake, Galveston, Hempstead, Navasota, and Palestine.
The recipes are divided into twenty-five sections:
- Sauces for Meats
- Sour Pickles
- Sweet Pickles
- Omelets and Eggs
- Side Dishes
- Coffee, Tea and Chocolate
- Pies and Pastry
- Icing and Fillings for Cakes
- Brandied Fruits and Preserves
- Fancy Dishes
- Wines and Drinks
- Miscellaneous Receipts
That last section includes things like home remedies and concoctions for cleaning.
We've added a final section called Heirloom Recipes. This consists of blank pages where you can write in your treasured family recipes to be passed down.
I don't know how popular this book will be. I wanted to bring it back to life for the sheer joy of it. Over the years we have tried lots of old nineteenth century recipes. It's loads of fun and we always learn something tangible about our past.
And they are mostly good eating. Mostly. Tastes do change. That's also interesting to learn.
Cooking up and eating dishes from a distant century is a fun thing to do with your kids or grandkids. It's also a great way to teach them about our heritage in a way they can see, touch, smell, and, best of all, taste.
Use Old Texas Cooking to make some memories.
- Old Texas Cooking by The Ladies (and one Gentleman) of Texas
- 251 page hardcover
- Linen textured jacket
- Ships within 3 business days
- Shipping is 5 dollars, anywhere in the United States.
- Your book will be packed the old fashioned way, in an actual box. No cheap book mailers.
We will gladly buy it back if you decide you don't want it anymore. There's no time limit on that.