Cookbooks on '88 books that shaped America' list from Library of Congress
Yay: We were heartened to find "Joy of Cooking" by Irma Rombauer on the list from the Library of Congress that salutes 88 books that shaped America. The precise, voluminous book has guided many generations through the joys and trials of cooking. (Bob Fila/Chiacgo Tribune)
There's "American Cookery," by Amelia Simmons (1796). It should be noted, that according to the Project Gutenberg, the complete title 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 Plumb to Plain Cake, Adapted to this Country, and All Grades of Life, " By Amelia Simmons, an American Orphan.
Before launching into tips on choosing fish, butter, etc. and how to "Dress a Turtle," Simmons notes in the preface: "As this treatise is calculated for the improvement of the rising generation of Females in America, the Lady of fashion and fortune will not be displeased, if many hints are suggested for the more general and universal knowledge of those females in this country. ...The world, and the fashion thereof, is so variable, that old people cannot accommodate themselves to the various changes and fashions which daily occur..."
Also on the list: "The American Woman's Home," by Catharine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe. If Harriet’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” changed the tone of the slavery debate before the Civil War, the Beecher sisters’ “American Woman’s Home” did much the same afterwards on the home front after being published in 1869. Not a traditional cookbook, it is more a sweeping compendium of domestic science squarely aimed at reshaping life at home. The subtitle says it all: “Being a guide to the formation and maintenance of economical, healthful, beautiful and Christian homes.”
Beecher and Stowe were active in advancing the cause of women’s rights and they dedicated the book ‘to the women of America, in whose hands rest the real destinies of the the Republic, as moulded by the early training and preserved amid the maturer influences of home.” Formidably smart ( “do gooders,” some sniffed) the sisters had an impact on 19th century American life that would probably only be equaled were Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey rolled into one.
Culinary topics include: How to set up a proper kitchen, healthful foods and drinks, a quasi-scientific tract on nutrition and digestion and a piece on cooking that, among various do’s and don’ts, warns of the evils of hot bread.
And yes, we were heartened to find "Joy of Cooking" by Irma Rombauer (1931) there. The precise and voluminous book has guided many generations through the joys and trials of cooking.