Friday, October 23, 2009

"House Keeping in Old Virginia" - Recipe Book

A while back, I ran across a book that I decided Molly just had to have in her collection of recipe books. But then Molly believes every recipe book should be in her collection. I was in a quaint little second hand shop when I spied a book on the shelf with a date of 1879. It was a cookbook or I should say a general book on housekeeping. It was entitled, "Housekeeping in Old Virginia" by M.C. Tyree. It really looked old.

Upon inspection, I found that the book was a reprint of the original published in 1879. Favorite Recipes Press Inc. in Louisville, Kentucky made the reprint in 1965. It still was kinda an antique and definitely one I needed to buy for my lady.

It is a neat book and one that should be in your collection if you like `the old ways'. There are more recipes than you can shake a stick at but beware you had best understand a lot of the old terms. For example, for the Green Pea Soup you "boil half a peck of peas", for Souse Cheese you "lay the meat in cold as cut from the hog", for Apple Charlotte you "bake quite a long time" and for Loaf Bread you "add lard the size of a hen's egg".

Some of the recipes are very much in the `old tongue'. Some are even copied exactly from the way they were written in 1879. For example, there is a recipe that was put down by a slave cook and part of the recipe is as follows; "Resipee For Cukin Kon-Feel Pees - Gether your pees 'bout sun-down. The folrin day, 'bout leven o'clock, gowge out your pees with you thum nale, like gowgin out a man's eye-ball at a kote house. Rense your pees, parbile the, then fry 'em with som several slices uv streekt middlin, incouragin uv the gravy to seep out ....." and the recipe continues in this same colorful and entertaining written language. Not all of the recipes are as difficult to follow and in fact most are very simple and useful. I'll share a couple of recipes that Molly has already experimented with and met with great success.

Pare and slice some tart apples; stew until tender in very little water, then reduce to a smooth pulp. Stir in sugar and butter to the taste, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a little nutmeg.

Rice Bread
1 pint sweet milk 1 teacup boiled rice
2 teacups sifted corn meal 1/2 teacup melted butter
3 eggs, beaten separately 1/2 t. salt
Bake in a very hot oven, using buttered iron muffin

There are so many fun recipes that it'll keep ya running barefoot in the kitchen. Well, it did for me anyhow. You see, I love to cook. I think Molly will even agree that I have used `HER' recipe book more than she has..... and she doesn't mind at all.

I whole-heartily recommend "Housekeeping in Old Virginia" and the neat part is you probably have it in your local library. Check it out.


  1. That cookbook sounds really intriguing. Thanks for sharing. Karen

  2. Very cool Jay. I have my husband's grandmother's Red Roses cookbook from the early 1900's but it's no where near as interesting as that Virginia one. I love that old stuff. Thanks for sharing.