|Recipes from Yesterday's Kitchen
Shows like the Food Network and television cooks like Rachel Ray, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck and others make it easy for us to prepare and serve delicious meals right from our own kitchens. Yet, with all the cookbooks and recipes available today, did you ever wonder what was being served in kitchens 100 years ago?
At the turn of the century, a typical woman spent 44 hours a week preparing meals and another 7 cleaning up after them. Even though women's roles had started to expanding beyond the kitchen, the lady of the house was still responsible for planning and serving meals. While local establishments like the American House, Clarendon, and Warren House offered dining, there were no fast food restaurants or prepared, ready-to-heat foods available.
By the turn of the 20th century, canned (retail) foods were becoming more readily available, but most food was still prepared from scratch using ingredients fresh from the garden, grocer or butcher. The ladies of Hackettstown shared their recipes for meats, vegetables, cakes, candy, preserves and more with each other. On occasion, these recipes were collected abd in published town cookbooks, much like cookbooks printed as fundraisers today. The local women contributed their recipes and local merchants, like J.D. Flock, Thomas Howell, A.B. Buell, Vescelius, Plate and others advertised their goods and services.
One such cookbook included recipes for bread, oyster omlets, several types of brown bread, quince honey, lemon custard pie,pressed chicken, creamed cabbage and more. Interestingly, the cookbook provides, for the most part, ingredients only. There are very few recipes which provide cooking times, and cooking temperatures range from moderate to hot or scalding.
Click here to read some of these recipes and try them out in your kitchen!