The First American Cookbook: A Colonial Classic from 1796

The First American Cookbook: A Colonial Classic from 1796

Paperback

By (author) Amelia Simmons

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  • Publisher: Createspace
  • Format: Paperback | 54 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 216mm x 3mm | 122g
  • Publication date: 7 February 2010
  • ISBN 10: 1450579019
  • ISBN 13: 9781450579018
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations

Product description

An early colonial classic, "The First American Cookbook" is a reflection of America itself, which was and continues to be a giant melting pot of cultures and cuisines. "The First American Cookbook" is a book of firsts. It was the first cookbook published in American, the first book of "receipts" written by an American, and the first cookbook containing uniquely American food options. First published as "American Cookery," "The First American Cookbook" also contains the first published recipe for cakey gingerbread, the first publication of the word "cookie," and the first documented use of pearlash as a leavening agent. Many recipes call for immense amounts of flour, shortening, and sugar, sometimes more than 5 lbs., with measures such as "a teacup full" and "a slow oven." Author Amelia Simmons helpfully provides instructions about how to decide whether to acquire beef from oxen or dairy cattle and how to "dress" a turtle. The amount of information contained in this brief little volume is amazing. "The First American Cookbook" is worth a careful perusal even if none of the recipes catches your fancy. This is a great, fun little look at the past of American cooking. Though it's clear from the recipes in "The First American Cookbook" that our pioneers didn't fret over calories or cholesterol, this fascinating little book does provide an interesting peek into the daily life of the early American housewife, plus a great guide for experiencing some of what our ancestors ate.

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Author information

American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons, was the first known American cookbook that was written by an American for the American market. Until this time, the cookbooks printed and used in what became the United States were British cookbooks, so the importance of this book is obvious to American culinary history, and more generally, to the history of America. The full title of this book was: American Cookery, or the art of dressing viands, fish, poultry, and vegetables, and the best modes of making pastes, puffs, pies, tarts, puddings, custards, and preserves, and all kinds of cakes, from the imperial plum to plain cake: Adapted to this country, and all grades of life. This book was quite popular and was printed, reprinted and pirated for 30 years after its first appearance. Only four copies of the first edition (Hartford, 1796) are known to exist.From the Historic American Cookbook Project of Michigan State University: "The importance of this work cannot be overestimated. Its initial publication (Hartford, 1796) was, in its own way, a second Declaration of American Independence..."