There is no information available about Laura Trowbridge, but her goal in compiling Excelsior Cook Book is clear. Using her twenty-five years experience and selections from the “best and most approved authors,” she wished to encourage contemporary homemakers to achieve excellence in the “skillful discharge of domestic duties.” As cited on the title page of her encyclopedic reference, the book includes: cooking of all kinds of meats, fowl, fish; recipes for gravies, soups, sauces, bread, cakes, pastry, puddings, custards, preserves, and essences; canning fruit; methods for making butter, cheese, and soaps; antidotes for poison, cookery for the sick; a family physician’s manual; advice on gardening, care of house plants; and many “receipts” for items necessary to the “personal toilet.” As was the custom of the day, a number of the various sections of the book are word-for-word reprints from other books and compiled by many different authors. This edition of Excelsior Cook Book by Laura Trowbridge was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the Society is a research library documenting the life of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The Society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection includes approximately 1,100 volumes.
Compiled in honor of the American centennial in 1876 and consisting of recipes solicited from American women all over this country, this 1876 work is the best reflection we have today of how and what Americans ate in the mid 19th century. But this isn't just a vital work of culinary history-it's also bound to make you hungry for the hearty fare it promotes. Renowned for its extensive selection of recipes for cooking game-venison, rabbit, and game birds were staples of the American diet at the time, but instructions for preparing them became hard to find after game fell out of favor-this book also includes such delicious-sounding dishes as: [ New Orleans Gumbo Soup [ Barbecued Fish [ Oyster Omelet [ Beefsteak Pie [ Squabs in Olives [ General Washington's Breakfast Cake [ Sweet Potato Pudding With a section on how to organize a clambake and another on the many uses of hominy, made from Indian corn, this truly is an all-American cookbook.
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