One of the major figures of cooking in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Sarah Tyson Rorer (1849-1937) was instrumental in the development of domestic science in America. While still in her thirties, she began to teach cooking and went on to establish the Philadelphia Cooking School in the early 1880s. Rorer travelled extensively around the country, drawing huge crowds for her Chautauqua lectures and her classes. In 1904 she held a number of immensely popular cooking demonstrations at the St. Louis World’s Fair. Also active in the magazine world, she wrote regular columns and served for many years as food editor at the Ladies’ Home Journal, later occupying a similar post at Good Housekeeping. Above all, however, she was a prolific producer of cookbooks, many of them dealing with single subjects such as oysters or chafing dish cookery.
Among Mrs. Rorer’s nearly two-dozen books, one that has attracted plaudits for more than a century is an unpresuming volume whose full title is New Salads for Dinners, Luncheons, Suppers and Receptions; With a group of Odd Salads and some Ceylon Salads. Published in 1897, it is admirable for its freshness and simplicity, a marked contrast with what is seen in so many late Victorian cookbooks. Following a chapter on salad dressings there are a few more than fifty recipes, from conventional side salads made with chicory or cress to heartier preparations meant as meals—a molded cream of chicken salad, shad roe salad, and a lavish salad with crab meat.
The “Odd Salads” include one of herring with roast beef and a so-called Japanese salad made with vinegared rice, fresh sardines, and hair-like slivers of beets. Ceylon salads, we are informed, are meant as accompaniments to cold roast beef or to mutton; the major flavoring components are lemon juice, paprika, ginger, onion juice, and a cream made from draining shredded coconuts. The book is small—only 63 pages (plus ten pages of ads for Mrs. Rorer’s other books). It is attractively bound in bright green cloth, stamped in red and blue. The interior, on handsome ivory paper, was letter-press printed “at the Sign of the Ivy Leaf in Philadelphia by George H. Buchanan and Company.”
We are offering here a first edition. The book is in Near Fine condition, having only a previous owner’s name written neatly on the front free endpaper. What makes this copy out of the ordinary is that it has a dust jacket, seen so seldom that most listings for the book claim that it was published without one. It is in quite good condition—some small chipping, light soiling and small tears at the top and bottom of the spine. A very good find for the collector.