“Cookery From Experience” by Mrs. Sarah T. Paul, published 1875.

Hi, Readers! Tis the season to be cooking, so I think this non-sewing post is appropriately shared today.  I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but I’m always on the lookout for the oldest sewing books I can find.  Occasionally, I run across gems that are not sewing related. This is such a book, and technically, it is an antique — 145 years old.

The title alone is endearing – “Cookery From Experience” by Mrs. Sarah T. Paul, circa 1875 (as if an inexperienced cook could write such a book); the mint condition and the price of $1 and the book was in my hands.   It’s also amazing where I found this book.  At a pre-pandemic family reunion in Northern Virginia with my siblings, we all accompanied a family member to a follow-up appointment at a local clinic where the lobby had not only the best coffee shop but a used book sale going on.  All medical clinics should have a coffee shop and a book sale!  That is where I browsed and found this cookbook – and it is a revelation of what a home cook made for everyday family meals in 1875.   A great picture of everyday life in the kitchen of Mrs. Sarah T. Paul ten years after the Civil War ended.

Some foods were totally unfamiliar to me, which required quick google searches! Others used everyday items which we can easily procure today.   Take a look….

That’s a whole lotta cooking utensils! Mrs, Paul may have had a large family.
I had to google “unbolted” flour (see the Wisconsin Cake recipe). Here’s some information about it. Also, I wonder why the next recipe is called “flannel” cakes? The recipe looks like pancakes to me
Now, don’t gag on this recipe — people eat brain and calf’s head worldwide today!! I had to google “terrapin” and the recipe looks like a stew. Google showed up with this — turtles!
A Kroger receipt was in the book!!
These look like everyday food made by Mrs Sarah T. Paul which we can try….

Hope you enjoyed this small picture of Mrs. Sarah T. Paul’s home life in 1875, where she was obviously queen of the kitchen; did she have a “cook” person to help — or not? Now I want to know more about her.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I am so dang thankful for all my readers. Thank you for reading my words and be healthy and safe. Love to all.


6 thoughts on ““Cookery From Experience” by Mrs. Sarah T. Paul, published 1875.

  1. Thank you so very much for sharing a bit if your treasure. I, enjoy old cookbooks, mostly girls browsing but I do occassionally find a gem if a recipe. One of my favorites is Pillsbury best 1000 Recipes: Best of the Bake-Off Collection, published 1959. The 1000 recipes are the “best” from the first 10 years of the bake-off competition. Another of my treasures is the Mennonite Community Cookbook, published 1950. While not as old as your find, these two do offer glimpses into the time period and culture. It’s great to know another sewist also has another shared passion.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lenora, thank you for your lovely comment — I see we’re of like mind. I used to watch the Pillsbury bake-off competition on TV. Now I don’t see it anywhere. Those are a couple of great books you have; I love American family stories from the past as reflected in everyday things like cookbooks.


    1. Now I’ll have to research that receipt to see how old it might be. There’s no date on it, and I’m assuming those numbers are pennies rather than dollars. Lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing that wonderful old cookbook, Samina. Clearly measures were not yet standardized. I have found that Italian cookbooks do not have standard measures, but use everyday kitchen items, like “a glass of” or a “soup spoon of”.

    I enjoy buying old cookbooks, too, always curious about how recipes were different at an earlier time. I also love looking for menus at historic homes/museums, to see what fancy meals were like in another time!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always enjoy your comments, Joan. Your mention of historic menus reminded me that I have a banquet invitation and menu that my father-in-law received in 1935 from the Nizam (ruler) of Hyderabad (a princely state at the time, now it’s part of India). He was a major in the minuscule military of that state,. I should share it sometime….


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