My Great Grandmother, Edna Loveless, was born in 1894. In 1916, the date written on the inside cover of this cookbook, she was 23 years old. Just for some perspective, a 23 year old today would have been born in 1988…
Back in the early part of the 1900’s, life was a tad different than it is today. First, women in most states, still did not have the right to VOTE. Can you, as a woman, imagine being denied this fundamental right simply because you do not possess a Y chromosome? (Or , based on the color of your skin? But, we know that that sadly took much longer to be put to rights…)
During the beginning of the twentieth century, as women’s suffrage faced several important federal votes, a portion of the suffrage movement known as the National Women’s Party and led by suffragette Alice Paul became the first “cause” to picket outside the White House. Due to this manner of protest, suffragists were subject to arrests and many were jailed. In 1918, Congress passed what became, when it was ratified by sufficient states in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment, which prohibited state and federal agencies from gender-based restrictions on voting.
Cars were also in their early years… with Model T’s not coming out until the late 1920’s… This is the Benz Patent Motorwagen, built by the inventor of the modern automobile, Karl Benz, in 1885.
But, back to the cookbook.
Ready Reference Recipe Book. Written inside the cover is what appears to have been the price – 75 cents. The book was blank, with lined pages with tabs on them – apparently to list what recipes are written on what page. The rest of the pages are blank, with the page number in the top corner.
My mom and I were talking about this cookbook… and why Gram had it. There are several curious aspects to it – namely that the recipes all have names written below them and they’re all written by different people. Mom remembered that Gram was married in 1918… and we think that this is the “wedding shower” cookbook. So, Gram would have bought or been given the book (maybe by her mother?) and then given it to different married women that she knew so that they could give her a recipe to use in her new married life.
People still make wedding shower cookbooks – but most are written on recipe cards and then assembled – not written into a blank book just for that purpose. And, how often do we refer to those modern books? It looks like this book actually got a bit of use by Gram…
There are 15 pages with recipes written on them – so I will post one per week for over 4 months! Not a full cookbook, but enough to get a perspective on the foods made by the women of Kansas in the early 1900’s…
So, I will write out the recipe as written, and then, if it is reasonable according to my tastes now, tell you how I made it, with modern recipe written out, and what I thought of it.
Original Chicken Bisque – by Gertrude Hackler
Joint the fowl and cover with cold water, one quart for each pound. Put in a large minced onion and three stalks of clery, minced fine. Cover and cook slowly until you can slip the flesh from the bones. Let all get cold together; skin, take out the bones and meat, and chopp the latter fine. Return the soup to the fire and heat in another vessel a cupful of milk (dropping in a little soda). Thicken this with a tablespoonful of butter rubbed into a teaspoonful of flour, add a tablespoonful of minced parsley. When the soup has reached a fast boil, stir into it the chopped chicken with a cupful of cracker crumbs soaked in warm milk; boil one minute, beat in the milk and butter and pour out.
As this seemed like a “reasonable” recipe, I decided to give it a try. There is an updated version of the Chicken Bisque at CopyKat Recipes….
Crockpot Chicken Bisque-ish
1 whole chicken
1 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
red pepper, diced
1/4 c flour
2 T. butter
1 c. quinoa
Put celery, onion, pepper and Italian seasoning into the crockpot and add enough water to nearly cover the chicken. Cook on high until the chicken comes off of the bone easily. Separate the meat from the bone and skin, shred the meat into bite sized pieces.
On the stove, in a large soup pot, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter. Add in 1/4 cup of flour – cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in the boiling (or very hot) chicken broth from the crock a bit at a time, stirring the entire time… eventually add it all and cook until it starts to get thick. Add back in the chicken and veggies. Stir in any veggies you have hiding in the fridge – I had green peas and carrots.
But, my bisque never bisqued for some reason… so in a desperate act to thicken it up, I added in 1 cup of uncooked quinoa and cooked until the quinoa was done. That did the trick…
It tasted OK, not super spicey, but OK. My husband liked it, said that it was very filling. We love quinoa, so it was a nice addition. I’ll probably make the quinoa chicken soup recipe again, with more spices added to it.
I hope that you liked week one of Gram’s recipes… next week, it’s Breads!