Miss Shute, who we have as yet been unable to identify fully, was a nineteenth-century writer on domestic life, who, possibly on commission, prepared this collection of recipes and household advice for the firm of George T. Lewis and Menzies Company, a Philadelphia chemicals manufacturer, who put their name on the book as the publishers. Not a booklet but a full-length, 212-page hardcover volume, it carries Lewis and Menzies advertisements on the front and rear endpapers, and throughout the volume the running heads alternate between “Use Lewis’ Condensed Baking Powder/Absolutely Pure—therefore the Best” and “Use American Lye/The Standard Family Soap-Maker.” The contents include recipes ranging from ox-tail soup and oyster pie to green corn pudding and pan dowdy, as well as such remedies “as Food for the Nerves” and “Lemons—a Cure for Consumption.”
This stand-alone volume, bound in brown cloth, was published in 1877 and is the true first edition. (In 1880, additional material, a so-called volume 2, was published, appended to the 1877 contents to make a 356-page book, which was bound in green cloth. The combined work is sometimes also identified as the first edition.) The copy on offer here is occasionally referred to by dealers as volume 1, although no such designation appears anywhere in or on the book. It is in Very Good condition—rare for this title. Five or six pages, as well as the front free endpaper, have horizontal tears, which have been mended archivally. Some cooking stains on the earlier pages of the book; elsewhere clean. Penciled recipes on some blank pages titled “Memoranda.” The case shows some wear and some fraying at the corners and spine-ends, but the over-all appearance is quite good, with gold stamping and blind-stamped decorative features strong and clear. A quite uncommon book and a very nice addition to an American collection.