Monday, March 31, 2014

White House Cookbook : 1887 Edition

I love old books.  I love the way they feel.  I love the way they look.  I love the way they smell.  They are even better if there is a personal inscription penned on the inside cover.  If you also happen to be a lover of all things old and antique, then you will most definitely enjoy reading this.

My Grandmother gave this to me a few months ago, just because, and it is by far one of the most favorite gifts that I have ever received.  This 1887 Edition of the White House Cook Book is 123 years old! She bought it with my late Grandfather in southern Indiana decades ago.  The binding is completely loose, the pages are worn and tear easily and I have to be incredibly gentle when handling it.

When she bought it, there were numerous newspaper clippings and handwritten recipes enclosed and she kept them all in tact.   

With all of the luxuries and conveniences at our fingertips these days, we tend to forget how different life was 50-100+ years ago.  When I read this book, I am instantly whisked away to a different world.  I really enjoy reading it.

Notice that the recipes are not written as they are today.  There are no lists of ingredients nor specific cooking temperatures and the measurements are sometimes estimates.

They used rustic birds like pigeons and squabs.

Scattered through the book are portraits of the women of the White House.

One of my favorite things about this book are the old newspaper articles that were clipped and tucked away.  Most of the clippings include recipes, but I like to read the articles and advertisements that are printed on the reverse side.

Take a look at this recipe for Crisp Potatoes... remind you of anything?

I am fascinated by all of the illustrations of scenes in and around the White House.  It is incredible to think that some of the items in these pictures are still in the White House today.  Don't you just love history??

Even though this book was written ages ago, a lot of the material is still relevant.

More of the ladies. 

There is a huge section of desserts that I hope to try and share them with you soon!

Another fun little clip tucked away...

This article was entertaining.  It discusses etiquette for ladies who use the dressing rooms on trains.

"There are dressing room hogs, just as there are selfish persons who keep the end seat in church or on the street car."

It goes on to tell women how to get ready in a few inches of space and how to be tidy with their toiletries and clothing.

This is one of my favorite sections as it lists seasonal foods for each month of the year.

This is fun as well!  Menu planning for each month of the year as well as for holidays and celebrations.

Fried chicken was on the menu for the 4th of July.

At the end, it goes into some home remedies and recipes for those who are under the weather.  

Look at that!  Men's vests for $2.59.

Helpful hints for all different ailments.

This book literally covered everything on how to run a tight ship at home.

Those prices!  I wish I could time travel back 100 years just to see what it was like!

I hope you enjoyed this deviation from my usual recipes.  Now I have an original copy but you can purchase a newer copy on Amazon.  Even if you don't end up making anything, this book is such a fun read and a wonderful part of our history. 

Go USA!  


  1. That's truly amazing! I would love to touch and smell that cookbook!

    1. Thank you Kristen! It really is so special and near and dear to my heart!


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