Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Cookbooks - Because We All Eat

 Post by Doris McCraw

writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the Author

We all eat, and before the wild growth of take-out/fast food, we've all spent time at the stove. There have been many replica cookbooks from the early days, but what if you could access those books that are in the public domain? To answer that question I went on a hunt. Below are links to information about accessing the cookbooks and other information on cooking during the early years. 

First is a link from the website 'Early American Cookbooks', a wonderful searchable site: and the link to the cookbooks: HathiTrust

The next link is to an article about America's First Cookbook, published in 1796. The book, by Amelia Simmons, was the first cookbook by an American and published here in the United States. I found it fascinating. Smithsonian Article

The next link is to a collection of cookbooks from the late 1700s to the early 1920s. Since many of the settlers in the West came from other countries, this is a fun resource. Hope you think so too. 19th-20th Century Cookbooks

The final piece is from a site that speaks about influential and important Early American Cookbooks. The site gives you some background for how people felt about cooking and cookbooks. Culinary Lore 

In my short story, "Never Had a Chance", my heroine cooks a special dish for the hero as he is recovering from being shot.

Thomas Heath felt abandoned when his sister left him to the mercy of the people who were raising them. When he finally found her, she was on her way to getting married. Feeling left out again, Tom left to find something he didn't know he was looking for.

Maria Ber├▒al lost her mother while still a young child. Pampered and coddled by her wealthy father, Maria is on the verge of becoming a woman. As her eighteenth birthday celebration approaches she feels the loss of her mother as she navigates her new insight of what it takes to catch and keep a man.

The deadly joke that brings these two young people together ignites both growth and love that neither Maria nor Tom expected.

Below is a short excerpt:

 Tom watched the crowd sway to the music floating across the open space behind the house. He'd never seen such an event as this party and celebration. But how did he know that? There was no indication his memory had returned, just those glimmers at unexpected moments. He studied his reaction to the scene he was seeing. In his heart, he truly felt this was a new experience.

Standing back, almost at the edge of the light, he hoped no one would engage him in conversation. There were only so many times you could say 'I don't know'. He was enjoying watching Maria swaying to the music, dancing with the young men. Turning his head away, he noticed two shadows moving furtively around the edge of the party, away from someone who reminded him of Merrick. Before he had the chance to investigate further, Maria walked over, a devilish smile dancing in her eyes.


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