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I'm just a girl with a labelmaker

A few days ago I was looking through cookbooks in the used bookstore portion of our downtown library when I spotted two tattered books in large ziploc bags. Of course being the lover of old stuff that I am, I immediately grab the books and start flipping through them. The first one I picked up, and went home with, was the “Woman’s Exchange Cook Book”, copyright 1901!
Throughout the book I found little recipe pamphlets and papers tucked away, as well a few blank pages filled with hand written recipes…

And a schnazzy ad for “The Modern Gas Range”…I have spent close to an hour just flipping through this book. It’s amazing. Just to think about how much work it was for the simplest tasks, just barely over 100 years ago. How spoiled we have all become by our modern conveniences. This book contains an entire section on in how to make laundry soap, how to wash each type of material, and what to do if your wash basin catches fire! An entire section titled “The Nursery” tells what to do for things like Croup, Whooping Cough or a wound from a rusty nail.

A list for “young housekeepers” that tells what “articles are necessary for the kitchen and laundry” includes things such as one meat saw, one ash bucket, eight dozen clothes pins (that’s a lot of clothes pins!), one coal shovel…and ends with “An ingenious housewife will manage to do with less, but these articles, if they can be purchased at the commencement of housekeeping, will save time and labor, making the preparation of food easier. There are actually “recipes” to remove freckles and what to do for wrinkles (that one involves white wax, honey, and lily bulb juice..?!). I could go on for hours about this book. I can’t help but read through the pages, just thinking about the young women who have read this book. Although I will not be washing my face in whiskey anytime soon, there is definitely some wisdom to be found in this book!

Oh and you better believe I do plan on trying some of these recipes…



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