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I was gifted a very old book!


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I got a wonderful book from a friend.  It is called Household Discoveries and Mrs. Curtis’s Cookbook.  My friend is in her 80s and it belonged to her grandmother.  It is in bad shape, but still such a treasure and a thoughtful gift.  It seems to be half “helpful hints” about running a house in the early 1900s and half cookbook.   In good shape, copies of this are selling for $70 to over $100 online.  I love that this one is like this:




It means it has been perused and consulted extensively over the past 100+ years. 


Ann (my friend) has decided that, since I love it, I am the proper recipient of “old stuff” that isn’t appreciated by her daughter.  She’s given me lovely old china plates that were beautifully painted by her grandmother for my plate wall and an 1891 copy of “The Everyday Cookbook”, similarly worn. 


Reading the two introductions it becomes obvious that this publication (from a company called “The Success Company” – still a going concern, with offices in NYC) was similar to what I remember about “Hints from Heloise”.  My grandmother had a few of the Heloise books (bought with the futile hope that they would help her become an organized housekeeper – I take after that grandmother😁) and I remember reading them.   





Some chapters and illustrations in the “hints” section of the book:









And then, the recipes:






Honestly, I found more recipes I’d eat in this book than many of the ones in my 1960s books 😁!   And did you notice that a couple of them call for McIlhenny's tabasco? A couple of lovely color illustrations:





Almost as fascinating to me were all the little bits of paper that were scattered throughout the pages – handwritten recipes, newspaper clippings, etc.  This one is dated December 14, 1920:



This one was on the back of a blank telegraph form:



Sammy making Victory Bread 😁:



Recipes and an ad on the back:




Reminded me of the Rough Linen Apron folks have talked about on the Apron thread.


A handwritten recipe for Oatmeal Bread:



This one is from The Delineator, January 1916:


I especially love the ad on the side recommending Grape Nuts for “elderly people”.  Lots of bad teeth in the elderly in those days.  How in the world are they eating Grape Nuts? 


Even a Temperance leaflet:


😂 People never seem to stop messing in other peoples' business, do they? 🙄


This book is going to be living on the table next to my computer for the next little while.  One hour perusal isn’t near enough.  I’ll be dipping into this often! 



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That is amazing!  Sometimes we have to be "older" to appreciate "old" anything.  I was given such a book once, but I was too young to appreciate it.  I remember there were some loose pages in it, and had lots of helpful household hints that were no longer relevant.  I don't remember what happened to it but my older self would give her eye teeth (tooth) to have it back.   How nice that you were gifted this wonderful book.

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Yes you are the proper custodian! Reminds me of Housekeeping In Old Virginia. I got re-print in a cookbook club when I was 13 and my son loved reading it as a kid. 

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I love everything about this! I got a chuckle out of the Sammy making bread article written by Biddy Bye. 😊


I have so many types of books in my cookbook collection and my favorites are the ones with clippings and hand-written recipes tucked into them, adjustments made to the recipes in the book, comments, etc. I can spend days looking through them. 


What a wonderful gift your friend has given you!

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Liberty, MO

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  • 4 months later...

What a beautiful and amazing treasure, book plus extras carefully saved between the pages no doubt.  My “Mrs Beeton” was in a similar condition when I acquired it, eventually the back cover came away completely.  I decided to find out how much renovation would cost, just to keep the pages together and reattach the cover.  For the princely sum of £100 I now have a fully restored text that should be good, with careful use, for another 150 years or so.  

I would love to have the skirt pattern featured in one of your loose pages, better still a skirt made up to that pattern!


I really hope that you continue to enjoy the book and that you find recipes that suit your lifestyle today.  

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I have a rather large collection of antique cookbooks and it is a fascinating dive into all manner of rabbit holes. I was quite struck, years ago, by the peculiar phrasing in this formula. 




Research ensued….





One can learn all manner of things from a cookbook!

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"There are no mistakes in bread baking, only more bread crumbs"

*Bernard Clayton, Jr.

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