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University at Buffalo Libraries

Pan-American Exposition of 1901

Cookbooks

The same three words that described the trends in kitchens of the new century -- sanitary, convenient, and economical -- were also applied to the practical aspects of the "science of housewifery." Young brides and housewives previously unacquainted with carrying out the multitude of laborious tasks in the kitchen could turn to household manuals, magazines and recipe books for guidance. They were instructed that cooking, the emphasis on careful thought and variety in meal planning would help prepare wholesome, body-building foods that fight off everything from disease to nervousness. The conscientious housekeeper had one or more trusted cookbooks toward this end.1 -- Ellen Plante

One such cookbook was the 200 recipe The Enterprising Housekeeper, 3rd edition (Philadelphia, PA: The Enterprise Manufacturing Company of Pa., 1900) by Helen Louise Johnson. It was designed to encourage the use of the company's meat grinders, general-purpose shredders, and coffee mills. It offered housewives helpful advice and argued that consistently good cooking was a systematic, not a hit-and-miss adventure. The ice-box encouraged the saving of left-overs and this cookbook was dedicated to using them. The third edition was specifically "packaged' for the Pan-American Exposition

The Enterprising Houskeeper - 200 Tested Recipes

Among it's insights:

"There may be -- in fact, evidence proves that there are -- good cooks who seemingly never measure anything, but by 'about so much of this,'and 'a pinch of that,' bring about results so delicious that the would-be follower at once determines to throw rules to the winds and try the same way. Good cooks always measure -- one by the cup and spoon, because she must; another by the judgement and experience long years of doing the same thing over and over again have given her; and the chances are that, unless you have the rare gift of cooking straight from the gods, you had better cling to the exact measures and weights if you want the best results every time, instead of once in a while."2


The Pan-American Cook Book, 1901

In 1899, the Ladies' Aid Society of Buffalo's Riverside Methodist Church published a cookbook to commemorate the Pan-American Exposition. Recipes were often compiled by philanthropic women's organizations and published in cookbooks that would contain preparation instructions for all of the meals necessary in the well-managed home. The publication and sale of these cookbooks enabled organizations to not only raise money, but also to fulfill a "duty" to promote the "desireable qualities" of a good housewife. Below is the "introduction":

Pan-American Cook Book
INTRODUCTION. [p.3]
It is universally admitted that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, or, as the poet has it—
We may live without poetry, music, and art;
We may live without conscience, and live without heart;
We may live without friends.; we may live without books;
But the civilized man cannot live without cooks. He may live without books-What is knowledge but grieving?
He may live without hope-What is hope but deceiving?
He may live without love-What is passion but pining?
But where is the man that can live without dining?"
Hence the desirability of properly cooked and invitingly prepared food for the family. In order to accomplish this result, several things are necessary:
1st—The selection of the best and most nutritious food. —2nd—Choice, true and tried recipes for cooking it. and—3rd—and equally important—The best utensils for preparing and cooking the food in an appetising form.
No good housekeeper needs any suggestions regarding the necessity of selecting only good, fresh food, as well as food suited to the taste of her household, and length of her purse.
So with Recipes for baking, boiling stewing and toasting, frying, broiling, smoking and roasting we present the PAN-AMERICAN RECIPE BOOK.

The Pan-American Cookbook3 included printed recipes for meals and instructions for the preparation of various medicinal tonics. Most cookbooks of the day included "home remedies"--salves, tonics, cleaning solvents, etc. Included in each book were an ample number of blank pages for recording personal recipes and notes. In one instance, a recipe was recorded, only to be crossed out and marked "no good."

White Linement recipe from the Pan-American Cook Book

Pan-American Recipe Book, [p.80]. Source: Pan-American Recipe Book, (Pan-American Cook Book) compiled by the Ladies Aid Society of the Riverside Methodist Episcopal Church. Buffalo, N.Y. : Charles A. Folger, 1899. Courtesy of Ken Kerber.

Pan-American Recipe Book, [p.84]. Source: Pan-American Recipe Book, (Pan-American Cook Book) compiled by the Ladies Aid Society of the Riverside Methodist Episcopal Church. Buffalo, N.Y. : Charles A. Folger, 1899. Courtesy of Ken Kerber.



References:

1. Ellen M. Plante. The American Kitchen, 1700 to the Present: From Hearth to Highrise (New York: Facts on File, 1995), p. 175.

2. Helen LouiseJohnson. The Enterprising Housekeeper: Suggestions for Breakfast, Luncheon and Supper. 3rd edition. Philadelphia, Pa.: Enterprise Manufacturing Co. of Pennsylvania, 1900. p. 39.

3. Pan-American Recipe Book, (Pan-American Cook Book) compiled by the Ladies Aid Society of the Riverside Methodist Episcopal Church. Buffalo, N.Y. : Charles A. Folger, 1899. Courtesy of Ken Kerber. Special thanks to Mr. Kerber for allowing us to reproduce the Pan-American Cookbook for use in this online exhibit.