Friday, March 10, 2017

Book Review: The White House Cookbook by Mrs. F.L. Gillette

Title:  The White House Cookbook
Author:  Mrs. F.L. Gillette and Hugo Ziemann
Genre:  Cookbook, Historical
Release Date:  1887

About the Book:

In presenting to the public the "WHITE HOUSE COOK BOOK," the publishers believe they can justly claim that it more fully represents the progress and present perfection of the culinary art than any previous work. In point of authorship, it stands preëminent. Hugo Ziemann was at one time caterer for that Prince Napoleon who was killed while fighting the Zulus in Africa. He was afterwards steward of the famous Hotel Splendide in Paris. Later he conducted the celebrated Brunswick Café in New York, and still later he gave to the Hotel Richelieu, in Chicago, a cuisine which won the applause of even the gourmets of foreign lands. It was here that he laid the famous "spread" to which the chiefs of the warring factions of the Republican Convention sat down in June, 1888, and from which they arose with asperities softened, differences harmonized and victory organized.

Mrs. F.L. Gillette is no less proficient and capable, having made a life-long and thorough study of cookery and housekeeping, especially as adapted to the practical wants of average American homes.

The book has been prepared with great care. Every recipe has been tried and tested, and can be relied upon as one of the best of its kind. It is comprehensive, filling completely, it is believed, the requirements of housekeepers of all classes. It embodies several original and commendable features, among which may be mentioned the menus for the holidays and for one week in each month in the year, thus covering all varieties of seasonable foods; the convenient classification and arrangement of topics; the simplified method of explanation in preparing an article, in the order of manipulation, thereby enabling the most inexperienced to clearly comprehend it.

The subject of carving has been given a prominent place, not only because of its special importance in a work of this kind, but particularly because it contains entirely new and original designs, and is so far a departure from the usual mode of treating the subject.

Interesting information is given concerning the White House; how its hospitality is conducted, the menus served on special occasions, views of the interior, portraits of all the ladies of the White House, etc.

Convenience has been studied in the make-up of the book. The type is large and plain; it is sewed by patent flexible process, so that when opened it will not close of itself, and it is bound in enameled cloth, adapted for use in the kitchen.

Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:

Before I start with my review, let me assure you... THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL REVIEW!  This is not even a political cookbook.  It is a historic cookbook.  

I know!  I know!  This is not the type of book you usually see being reviewed on my blog, but there is a reason I had an interest in this.

My mother had one of the original hard cover copies of this book, which is currently worth a good penny.  That book, originally owned by my grandmother and handed down to my mother, is now in the hands of my sister.  And although I am sure she would have loaned the book to me for my research on a book I am currently writing, I didn't want to take a chance on damaging it.  So, when I saw that an e-book version has been created for only a few bucks, I grabbed it!

Please do not buy this book for the recipes... unless there is something seriously wrong with you or you are anxious to learn how to tell the difference between a young pigeon and an old pigeon that you plan to purchase for tonight's dinner.  WHO COOKS PIGEONS?  Want to know how to cook a calf's head?  It's all right there on page 133.

But if you want to read this cookbook for its historical significance, then dig right in!  I loved this!  And I am so much more knowledgeable now that I have read it.  I now know that tobacco smoke, puffed into the ear, has often been effectual in curing an earache.  Huh?

And did you know "that the flavor of cod-liver may be changed to the delightful one of fresh oyster, if the patient will drink a large glass of water poured from a vessel in which nails have been allowed to rust."  ACCKKK!!  Did people actually do that in 1887?

My Rating:


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