Saturday, April 09, 2016

Books to Help the Sandusky Homemaker in the 19th Century

In 1874, Mrs. Oran Follett, the former Eliza Gill, wrote a book entitled The Young Housekeeper’s Assistant, published by the press of the Register Steam Printing Company. Mrs. Follett wrote in the introduction to the book, that the book was written from the perspective of an experienced housekeeper, who had “endeavored with patience and economy to minister to the wants of a family.” All recipes were intended to be practical, and had been tested by Mrs. Follett or by other experienced housekeepers. A recipe for graham flour gems is found on page nine:

Instructions on how to pickle tongues is included in the meat section:

Tips on house cleaning, laundry, and mending were included The Young Housekeeper’s Assistant, as well as information on how to care for the sick. Several recipes for cough syrup are found on page 134.  

Another book for Sandusky homemakers was published in 1888 by I.F. Mack, the publisher and editor of the Sandusky Register. The book, The Sandusky House-Keeper, was created as a fund raising project of the Ladies’ Library Association of Sandusky. Housekeepers from Sandusky and beyond contributed to the cookbook, including Mrs. Follett, the author of the Young Housekeeper’s Assistant. Salad dressings and a recipe for “cold slaw” are found on pages 162-163.

At the top of page 159, in the section of the book which featured recipes for salads and pickles, is a funny quotation by Douglas Jerrold: “My dear Mr. Pepper, how glad you must be to see all your friends mustered.” Well known banker Jay Cooke contributed to the chapter that includes additional recipes. He gave instructions on how to fry trout, a skill he probably used quite often.

In the back of The Sandusky House-Keeper is a section of lined blank pages, where the owner of each book could jot down additional recipes. As in The Young Housekeeper’s Assistant, there were several pages devoted to housekeeping tips and caring for the sick. These two books show us the types of meals that may have been prepared by our ancestors, and provide an indication of the way housekeepers handled daily chores in a bygone era. Both The Sandusky House-keeper and The Young Housekeeper’s Assistant were included in a bibliography entitled Preserving the History of United States Agriculture and Rural Life: State and Local Literature, 1820-1945, compiled by The Ohio State University in 2004.

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