Customer Review

78 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tasty way to digest history, March 25, 1998
This review is from: 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cookbook (Hardcover)
This treasure trove of butter drenched, fried, preserved and heavily sweetened recipes is loaded with practical homemaking advice from the days when "fresh" was only seasonally available per market, and cholesterol was not a vocabulary word. It makes you think about how people "lived to eat" in the Northeastern US at the turn of the century before foreign travel, immigration, mass media, refrigeration, food processors, mixers, nutrition research, etc. made exotic cuisines and "fresh and light" everyday fare.
The recipes are classic, yet loaded with good and creative cooking ideas that might have been overlooked in the 20th century...nutmeg in poultry dressing, etc. They are invitations to create meals that make you think about how economic and scientific considerations influenced how people ate. For example, you'll find more varieties of angel cakes; when you consider that sugar was more expensive than butter and therefore more of a treat, it's not surprising. Canning and preserving, and making out of season foods taste good, were necessary skills of any good housekeeper. Physical labor was a daily necessity, meaning bigger, heartier meals.
This cookbook is as interesting to read as it is a source of good old fashioned American recipes. Adjust them to 1990's dietary considerations, and you've got an enduring classic you can use every day.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 25, 2010 6:59:51 PM PST
Karen L. Och says:
Just watched a show on our local PBS show where recipes were made for a 12 course dinner and it was great to watch.

Posted on Sep 26, 2011 5:48:38 PM PDT
T. A. Stern says:
Thank you for a "real" review. You allowed me some insight into the contents of the book that mean something to someone who knows cookbooks and loves them. Most reviews are inane and are of little or no value. From your detail I know that this is the book I used to have that was passed on to me from my grandmother, to my mother, and then to me. Unfortunately my precious possession was lost in my move to California. Thank you so much for taking time to give a well-done review.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2013 6:29:20 AM PST
C.L. Trudie says:
Interested in your review of 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cookbook. My grandmother (whom died 4 yrs. prior to my birth) took classes back in 1898 with Fannie Farmer at the Boston School of Cooking and mother (whom died last yr. at age 100) passed along her recipes to family members. I have since taken an interest in her culinary skills (haven't quite mastered her art yet) and have some of her old notes and journal written in that period. There is a cooking show on PBS with Master Chief Christopher Kimball who has since written a book about Fannie Farmer's 1890's style dinner style as he bought an old vintage Victorian home in Boston and reproduced a mock-style dinner as if Fannie Farmer were there to supervise the dinner. I sent copies of my grandmother's precious notations to him - but received no reply. He has since written a new book regarding the Boston style scientific way of cooking which I browsed through - very interesting. It is also interesting to find such cooks as Julia Child and Martha Stewart have also mastered the art of this early-day New England philosophy of cooking and have adapted their own added culinary skills to this new era. Hope you find your cooking book explorations resolved. Added note: Ann Romney's "Romney Cookbook" - although very colorful and picturesque is very heart-warming and worth looking into - although there are still avenues to explore in learning techniques which are conveyed in the Scientific-Style which should compliment to one's added reading and exploration. Good luck in your recipe hunts.
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