Weekend Inspiration: Early American Cookery

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

If you’ve been thumbing through your cookbooks with a sigh of boredom, help is on the way! The folks over at Feeding America and the Internet Archive have been hard at work scanning hundreds of early American cookbooks into permanent internet archives.

We’ve already spent several happy hours perusing their virtual bookshelves and discovering such gems as A Bachelors Cupboard: Containing Crumbs Culled from the Cupboards of the Great Unwedded published in 1906, and The Frugal Housewife: Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy published in 1830.

Feeding America, a project through the Michigan State University Libraries, contains scans of 76 cookbooks from the library’s collection as well as images of antique cooking utensils and a glossary of early American cooking terms (handy when trying to decipher some of these recipes!).

The Internet Archive has been gradually expanding its collection for over 10 years through collaboration with institutions like the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress. The site now contains roughly 415 cookbooks for us to explore. Both sites are open to the general public and access is free of charge. Cookbook pages can be viewed through your internet browser and entire books can be downloaded as a .pdf file.

We have been fascinated to find early versions of some of our favorites and are excited to try some of these “new” recipes. Take a look and let us know what has you inspired!

(Photo: Chocolate And Cocoa Recipes by Miss Parloa, And Home Made Candy Recipes By Mrs. Janet McKenzie Hill. Dorchester, Mass., W. Baker & Co., Ltd., c1909, courtesy of Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project)