A community cookbook compiled by the Ladies’ Aid Society of the Church of Christ. Ionia, Michigan, 1905. This is a little-known turn-of-the-century cookbook from a small town in south-central Michigan with a population, in 1900, of 5,200 people. Very much a collection intended for people who are already comfortable cooks, it favors a from-scratch approach, rarely making reference to prepared ingredients.
Particularly refreshing is the number of offbeat local recipes, in contrast with those in so many of the community books drawn from newspaper clippings and other generally available sources. One can find here hickorynut sandwiches, apple suet pudding, quince honey, pork cake, and other less-common dishes.
The many advertisements are largely local, ranging from Haight & Jepson Grocers to Jack’s Skating Academy to one William Wing, who dealt in “Light and Heavy Harness, Robes, Blankets, Fly Nets, Dusters, Whips, Trunks, Valises, Gloves, Mittens and Fur Coats.”
The copy is well worn, with some splattered pages and occasional marking, but it is still quite respectable-looking over all. The flexible covers, paper over fabric, each have a vertical crease, which now lies flat, and the missing spine has been neatly replaced. We are comfortable designating this as a Good copy, and its scarcity makes it worth attention, with very few copies ever finding their way into the market. Not listed in Cook or other reference, nor do copies appear in World Cat.