A community cookbook issued in 1883 by The Ladies’ Aid Society of the First Congregational Church in Oakland,California. “We claim,” write the compilers of this collection, “no place among the grand compendiums of housewifery; we have been humble gleaners in the field of culinary art, and we now lay our gathered sheaf at your feet, hoping you will deem it worthy of a place among your household treasures.”
The favorite gleanings in this community—or at least what they wished to share—were primarily in the area of baking and desserts. In the present edition there are just 29 recipes under the headings Salads, Soups, Fish, Meats, and Vegetables; 42 recipes for breakfast and lunch dishes, such as stuffed green peppers, clam pie, curried veal, and scrapple. Nearly the entire balance of the book—about 200 recipes—is devoted to breads, cakes, pastry and puddings, confectionery, and preserved fruits. At the end are, as common in this period, “A Chapter for Dyspeptics,” a few beverage recipes, and a miscellany of household advice.
The sturdy softcover book with a striking red fabric cover is 110 pages, with an additional ten pages of interesting local advertisements, as well as ads also on the insides of the front and back covers.
This copy, in superb condition, is the third edition, revised and enlarged, published in 1888. It is clean and strong and, we believe, a nice addition to an early California collection. Listed in Bitting, Culinary Americana, and America’s Charitable Cookbooks, but no copies currently on offer.