Athena Scalzi

A Very Special Cookbook Post

Normally, I wouldn’t post two cookbook posts so close together, seeing as my last one was just posted a month ago, but this cookbook I’m showing y’all today is very special. Partly because of how old it is, but even more so because a reader was nice enough to send it to me! (And if they like they can out themselves in the comments, but just in case they don’t want the spotlight, I will refrain from naming them.)

This kind person sent me The Home Cook Book, a Canadian cook book from 1877.

As you can see, it is compiled by the ladies of Toronto and chief cities and towns in Ontario. And it’s tried, tested, and proven! So that’s a relief.

Before you delve into the wonders that are 1800s recipes, you are greeted with this introduction, that states if a woman is not a good housekeeper, “it is fatal to her influence, a foil to her brilliancy, and a blemish in her garments.” I mean, I thought everyone knew that! It’s obvious, really. It also says a man should be able to defend himself if attacked, so, jot that down.

This book is positively filled with funky recipes, like tongue toast and fricandeau, while also being full of completely normal ones, like chocolate cake and Shrewsbury cake! Okay, maybe the normal ones aren’t that normal after all…

Nothing like codfish puffs to really kick off your Superbowl party.

This book is wonderfully weathered. The pages are yellowed, stained, and there’s spots where the ink is darker or more faded than normal. I absolutely adore the wear and tear, especially the notes on the inside from previous owners. I even found this corn muffin recipe in between the pages!

Honestly, pretty nice handwriting. It’s a good thing I don’t write in books because the next owner of them would never know what I was trying to say.

As you can see, one of the interesting things about this cook book is that it doesn’t have just your everyday dinner recipes, it has recipes for medicines and food specifically for the ill. Got an invalid family member? Just give them some beef jelly! Or some homemade cough remedy that definitely does not have illegal drugs in it!

Besides medicinal recipes, it also contains tips and tricks for washing woolens, polishing silver and tin, preventing fire ants, and making soap.

Got some sugar of lead on hand? Some extra hartshorn? Why not make your own hair tonic!

This book is truly fascinating. This unique glimpse into the past is a treasure. It is now the oldest cookbook in my collection, and I’m so happy to have it.

This is the second gift I have a received from a generous reader. The first was also cooking related; cookie cutters! With which I made cookies recently:

I am so grateful to have readers as kind as y’all. Your comments, letters, and gifts, mean the world to me. Thank you all for being here. I hope you all have a great day.




And Now, One Minute of Snow Falling in Slow Motion

Because it’s pretty, that’s why.

— JS


The Crimson Smudge

It’s America’s most adorable crime fighter! If by “fighting crime” one means “trying to sneak bacon from the humans.” Any other sort of crime fighting, he’s pretty much a loss at. Fortunately, he’s cute. Which is enough.

— JS

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