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EJ Phillips' account books from the late 1860s and 1870s give some idea of what
groceries she bought when not traveling. Jan 6 1866 in Cincinnati lists $7.08
spent on sugar, tea crackers, bread, butter, meat, pepper, salt, cheese and
candles, kindling and coal oil. The following entries in a second book
include mustard, steak, sausage, cake, chicken, pork, onions tongues, apples,
syrup, fish and starch. mackerel, bacon and soap, flour.
Lists from others years include oysters, lemons, jelly, turnips, molasses,
pickles, cabbage, honey, mutton, goose, oatmeal, ham, chops, spinage [sic],
sardines, lobster, dried beef, buns and cream puffs, Worcestershire, matches,
buckwheat, oranges, carrots, parsley, turkey, lard, tomatoes, celery, cream,
fruitcake, cranberries, washing soda, sour kraut, kidney, peaches, roast,
muffins, tripe, rice, biscuit, grapes, beans, olives, melon, corned beef, baking
powder, mush, veal, pie, cauliflower, lamb, headcheese, [baking?] soda, cream
cakes and wood.
New York April 1886 Hattie went to luncheon with Mr. Simmons and Lizzie today at Delmonico's. How is that for style?
Delmonico's menus 1862- 1894 http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/coldfusion/display.cfm?ID=epib&PageNum=491
New York Dec 26 1890 The regulation Xmas dinner of the hotel Nagle -- not as good though as it used to be on 12th Street. I did not partake of the wine, and cannot tell how good it was. At 5 PM went to 244 West 23rd to dine with Mrs. Harrison and Maud. There I did eat! First oysters on half shell -- soup -- Roast Turkey with sausage trimmings -- Plum pudding &c &c.
New York, Mar 19, 1893 36 East 21st Street My room is very nice but the board is scarce. And coffee is not good, but I shall try to endure it for another three weeks. When you come I shall take you all to a restaurant at least once a day and fill you up. And I will keep some fruit, crackers & anything else that Sunshine [grandson Ted Nickinson] may need in the room. We are close to Park & Tilfords Grocery Store.
Philadelphia Aug 1893 Blackberry jelly recipe enclosed. Hattie's was very successful. John has bought her a new machine for squeezing fruit and she will try it on crab apples & grapes when they arrive in the market. The juice is extracted, the seeds & skin separated from it so the juice is ready to use without any further straining. I did not get from you the recipe for currant jelly as I intended. I could remember the quart of water but could not be sure of the quantity of currants & sugar.
New York 11-29=1895 Mrs. Ahearn gave me my dinner at 12:25. She set the usual old time dinner -- Roast Turkey, Goose, Ducks and boiled tongue, Celery, Cranberries, Grapes &c -- and ice cream.
Fannie Farmer's Cooking-School Cookbook recipes include many American classics: Mint Julep, Graham Muffins, Boston Brown Bread, Parker House Rolls, Squash Biscuits, Corn Meal Gems, Virginia Waffles, Raised Doughnuts, Strawberry Short Cake, Fried Corn Meal Mush, Fried Hominy, Lobster Bisque, Oyster Gumbo, Tomato Soup, Fish Chowder, Soft Shell Crabs, Fried Scallops, Porterhouse Steak, Corned Beef Hash, Pork Chops with Fried Apples, Boston Baked Beans, Roast Turkey, Maryland Chicken, Succotash, Stuffed Peppers, Saratoga Chips, Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Thanksgiving Pudding, Moulded Snow, Brown Bread Ice Cream, Sultana Roll with Claret Sauce, Baked Alaska, Apple Pie, Brownies, Chocolate Cake, eight different recipes for Gingerbread http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/html/books/book_48.cfm
New York, Dec. 6, 1886 Frank is a sight! He is so fat. Looks as I told him, 40 years old. He must weigh 300. He did not have anything to say except to answer questions. I asked him what he lived on to make him so fat -- said he thought "Sauerkraut".
This is almost the only mention of "fat" -- except in connection with babies being "plump as partridges". Fat babies were obviously considered a good thing.
N.Y. Decr 5th 1890 My dear Son I think you have done well to get the condensed milk for Edward. I do not think he yet requires Mellins food, still it will perhaps be a help to digestion. I suppose his Mother gives it to him through a bottle. It will be better for her & for the boy. He will grow fat now.
Boston, May 19, 1889 I think I should prefer stopping at Mrs. C[heseborough]'s. She can give me a cup of tea and a piece of bread & butter, and that is about all I use now except milk. I drink a great deal of milk.
Chicago, Sept. 18, 1890 I have been taking a good rest this week and I needed it for I was not feeling very well, and on Tuesday went to Dr. Ogden to get some medicine. He said the trouble came from so many changes of food and water.
Boston, Apr. 29, 1893 So [grandson] Ted is like me. He cannot eat strawberries without suffering.
New York, Sept. 29, 1893 I have not been well and on Tuesday Evening went to Dr. G. Buckingham Smith, and he told me I have catarrhal gastritis and stopped any coffee and all fried food. Must eat plenty of beefsteak chops, baked potatoes and no pies or cakes. Drink cocoa or tea. [Dr. G Buckingham Smith Seems to have been a homeopathic physician.]
Hattie to Neppie, Philadelphia, Oct. 10, 1893 About Friday or Saturday of week before last Mama wrote me that she had been feeling so miserable that she had visited a Doctor who pronounced her trouble "Catarrhal gastritis" & put her on a particular diet &c. She wrote that she thought he was doing her good.
Detroit, Nov. 15, 1893 You say Albert does not come home to dinner until six. How is that? And where does he get his lunch? Rather too long a time to wait from seven until six. Is he "banting"? Better not. Annie Pixley is said to have tried it and she is no more! Very sad to think of her going so soon.
Banting was a London cabinetmaker, whose method of reducing corpulence by avoiding fat, starch and sugar was published and much discussed in 1864, hence used humourously as a verb Oxford English Dictionary.
Annie Pixley (1858-1893) "Stories of forgeries and foul play surrounded her sudden death at the age of thirty-five." Gilded Stage
Cleveland, Nov. 17, 1893 I feel pretty well but not as strong as I used to be. And have to be careful what I eat. Indigestion has got hold of me & I have to eat plain food or I have to pay up for it in pain and nervousness.
Toronto, Xmas Eve 1894 I am feeling pretty well, only had a little attack of indigestion last night -- produced by eating a banana in the morning -- nothing else I had eaten could have done it so I have "sworn off" bananas.
New York, Nov. 26, 1895, I still take my meals at Nagles -- with a little difference. I did not like the way my meals, or rather breakfast, was brought in, and I had that stopped. Now I have a quart bottle of Borden's milk left for me everyday -- drink what I want of it at night and keep the rest for a drink in the morning, and go into breakfast at 12. Dinner at six, and they bring a lunch for me to eat after I get home from performance.
New York, 11-29-1895 Mrs. Ahearn gave me my dinner at 12:25 She set the usual old time [Thanksgiving] dinner -- Roast Turkey, Goose, Ducks and boiled tongue, Celery, Cranberries, Grapes &c -- and ice cream.
"Crossing the desert" Aug. 16, 1896 The newly made hot biscuits were too great a temptation to me and consequently the next day I was sick
Sept 15th 1896, Portland, Oregon I am pleased to hear that you thought John [Dolman] had improved in health and appearance. I think you are quite right in saying John eats too many sweet things, That is, and has been the trouble with the whole family. John scarcely ever finished a meal at his own table, that he does not get up, go the cupboard and bring some preserves, no matter what he has eaten, to finish up with.
The Columbian Exposition 1893
"The great restaurant concession of the fair is held by A.S. Gage in the name of the Wellington Catering company and covers 137,800 square feet of floor space. It also embraces privileges in all the buildings erected by the World's Columbian Exposition, sixteen in number, as well as a supply depot to be erected by the company. The concession provides for three classes of eating places. The first will include the finest restaurants, with service equal in excellence to that maintained in any hotel in this city. The second grade will be on an equality with the style of caravansary known as the popular restaurant, while the third takes in lunch-counters and the buffet system, where cold meats sandwiches, hot coffee, pies, and cakes will be served. This class will be operated in the building where the odors of a kitchen cannot be permitted to float around promiscuously among the exhibits and sightseers. These counters and buffets, whowever, says Mr. Gage, will be as fine and supplied with just as good food as can be found anywhere. The total space involved in this concession will be allotted to the different classes in these proportions: To the first 20 per cent, the second 40 per cent, and the third 40 per cent. These eating capacity at tables throughout the different buildings is estimated at 12,000 and the lunch counters aggregating 7,500 feet, or one and one-half miles in length, 4,000 person may dine at one time. On the supposition that this capacity can be changed five-times--and that is a low calculation--the Wellington will feed 80,000 people a day. This number may be increased to 100,000 a day. The company will not only adopt its own standard, such as prevails now in the Wellington Hotel cafes down-town, but proposes to serve the best of wholesome food at each and every one of its places...In the general supply estimate something like fifty head of good-sized bullocks that will dress out 30,000 pounds of beef a day, with two and a half tons of ham for sandwiches, will cover the meat demand. Sixty barrels of flour a day will be consumed in bread, pies, and cakes, with potatoes and other vegetables of all kinds in proportion. The quantity of milk that will be consumed is beyond the limit of advance figures. The very finest restaurant to be conducted by this company will be located in the Administration building, and it is understood it will be the best place on the grounds." ---"Catering Commpany's Plans: Extent of the Eating Houses and the Supplies Which Will be Needed," Chicago Daily Tribune, February 18, 1893 (p. 9)
If you want to recreate an authentic period dinner, we suggest you start by examining the recipes offered in Favorite Dishes: A Columbian Autograph Souvenir Cookery Book, compiled by Carrie V. Schuman. This book is a collection of recipes of Chicago's "leading ladies" in the early 1890s. The edition recently reprinted by the University Of Illinois Press (2001) contains scholarly essays on both the fair and the book. If you want to feature some popular foods introduced at the Exposition this book suggests: "Cracker Jack, Cream of Wheat, Shredded Wheat, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer and Wrigley's Juicy Fruit Gum. Prominent, too, were Aunt Jemima (with Nancy Green playing the eponymous cook) and the H.J. Heinz Company's Sour Spiced Gherkins. It is said that a million visitors flocked to Heinz's display, where they were given small "pickle pins." Conserves and pickles were serious components of the American diet. Foods like these were industrial products made for mass consumption. While some, such as Heinz pickles, were hand packed, foods were becoming entirely industrialized, raised with farming machinery and artificial fertilizers and cooked and packed in factories." (p. xl)"
DeFerrari, John , Historic Restaurants of Washington DC, Charleston SC, History Press, 2013 https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9781626191266
Fannie Farmer, Boston Cooking-School CookBook, Boston: Little Brown & Co 1896 http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/books/bostoncookingschool/bost.pdf
Favorite Dishes, A Columbian Autograph Souvenir Cookery Book. Over Three Hundred Autograph Recipes, and Twenty-three Portraits, Contributed By The Board Of Lady Managers Of The World's Columbian Exposition. Illustrated By May Root-
Grimes, William Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York, New York: North Point Press, Farrar, Strauss an d Giroux, 2009
Kern, Mellie Ingels Julian, Louis Braunhold, George Wharton Edwards. Comp. By Carrie V. Shuman... Chicago [R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co., Printers] 1893 http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/books/favorite dishes/favd.pdf
Mintz, Sidney, Anthropology of Food http://sidneymintz.net/food.php
Ranhofer, Charles, The Epicurean 1893 facsimile edition, New York, Dover 1971 Ranhofer was the former chef of Delmonico's. Includes a recipe for Esmerelda ice cream.
Women's Centennial Committees of the International Exhibition of 1876, National Cookery Book 1876, reprinted by Applewood Books, Bedford MA 2005
Food and Nutrition, Hearth, Cornell University http://hearth.library.cornell.edu/h/hearth/food.html
Last Updated April 24, 2018
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