As I’ve noted before, we volunteer at our local library sorting books for the semi-annual Friends of the Library book sale. These are books that have been withdrawn from the library collection for various reasons or donated books that citizens have given to our Friends group for our book sale. As we sort the books into one of 46 different categories we occasionally come across something of note; something amusing, maybe shocking or possibly just puzzling.
This is the third in a series of occasional posts about those finds.
On its face, this is a composition book popularly used in schools around the country during the first half of the twentieth century. We found this one interesting because it’s not a school child’s work book but a housewife’s recipe book that also served as a scrapbook and address book.
It first caught my eye because one of the addresses inside bears a surname that we know from my wife’s side of the the family (but no apparent connection to her actual family). It also held things that spoke to the times. Meat and potatoes must have ruled the dinner table but sweets ruled the recipe book. Of 87 hand-written recipes, 67 are for some sort of sweet thing. Times must have been tough – one recipe is for milk-less, egg-less, butter-less cake.
Other recipes of note are one for a poultice made of onions and rye flour to be used for a chest cold, and one for Bug killer which starts with carbolic acid (crude) (black).
Occasionally there are recipes or newspaper clippings pinned onto the pages with straight pins.