Throwback Thursday: 19th Century Cooking

Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!

Ever had “frizzled ham and eggs?” “French pickles?” “Pieplant pie?”

Those are just some of the recipes I found while working through this cookbook, which was put together by the ladies of the Eden M. E. Church in Hawpatch, Indiana, likely in the 1800s or very early 1900s, judging by the advertisements in the beginning of the book.

Cookbook Cover

What’s particularly fun about this cookbook is the variation from recipe to recipe. Some of the contributors were fairly specific in their instructions, listing how many eggs you need, how much cream, etc. just like you’d expect in a modern recipe.

Others simply say things like “make a good biscuit crust,” making the assumption that the reader knows just how to do that. Several recipes use measurements like “one scant dessert spoon” or “one-half teacupful.”

Frizzled Eggs

And, as you can see below in these multiple entries for ginger cookies, once you get into the cookies, some contributors just start listing ingredients and practically nothing else.

Ginger Snaps

We were able to scan this cookbook and many other books in our collections thanks to a book scanner loaned to us by the Indiana State Library. This included a number of Indiana imprints in the John Martin Smith Collection, i.e. works that were published/printed in Indiana. For example, the Eden Cook Book in this post was printed at the Register Office in Topeka, Indiana.

Also? In case you were curious like I was, “pie plant” is actually another name for rhubarb.

Want to see more? Look through our “Indiana Imprints Collection” via our online photo database, or stop by the Genealogy Center’s official Facebook page.


About Chelsea

I've been working at Willennar Genealogy Center for over two years now, and I've loved every minute of getting to learn more about the stories of DeKalb County and the surrounding area. I'm interested in all kinds of history, but I'm especially fond of the early film industry, old letters and journals, the DeKalb County Fair, and the Interurban line.
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