An Army's Wife's Cookbook
An Army's Wife's Cookbook With Household Hints and Home Remedies was published by Alice Kirk Grierson wife of Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson of the 10th Calvary. Here are 100 of the recipes from Mrs. Grierson's own cookbook from the 1800s republished with the help of the National Park Service wives of the Southwest Region.
Format: Softcover spiral bound, 71 pages.
Publisher: Western Natl Parks Association
Author: Alice Kirk Grierson
Description: Alice Kirk Grierson was not the typical army wife of the late 19th century, for she rarely had to endure the extreme hardships associated with frontier army life. Coming from a wealthy family, and usually living beyond her husband's paycheck, she seldom did without necessities or luxuries. She infrequently moved with the army, but would visit family and friends back East until the packing, unpacking and setting up of new quarters had been completed by servants.
Mrs. Grierson usually employed two full-time servants and often hired three or four. One servant had the responsibility of cooking for the family. A new cook was either shown how to prepare desired dishes, or Alice would copy recipes from her personal cookbook for the servant to use. This may explain why today the pages of Mrs. Grierson's cookbook are in such good condition. From all appearances, her book only occasionally was used in the kitchen.
In 1968, Mrs. Grierson's cookbook was donated to the National Park Service at Fort Davis National Historic Site by Mrs. Edith Flynt Phillips of Dallas, Texas. Mrs. Phillips' uncle, the owner of a secondhand store in Marfa, Texas, obtained the book in 1935 when George Grierson, youngest of Ben and Alice's children, set about cleaning out the family properties at Fort Davis.
Alice Grierson kept her recipes in a bound book having lined blue pages. Most of the recipes are written in her hand. The book also contains household hints and recipes clipped from newspapers and magazines, and recipes from friends and relatives. All together there are approximately six hundred recipes, however many are duplicates. For instance, there are thirteen recipes for lemon pie, and nineteen for muffins. Over one-half of the recipes are for desserts. The book has very few recipes for main dishes or vegetables. Some recipes, like "Cake Without Eggs," and "Doughnuts Without Eggs," reflect the ingenuity of a frontier wife during times when certain ingredients were not readily obtainable.
As was the custom, Alice merely listed ingredients and brief preparation statements. Through the generous help of National Park Service wives of the Southwest Region and their friends, over one hundred of her recipes were tested and preparation procedures noted. In this edition, Mrs. Grierson's recipes are printed in brown ink. Underneath, in black ink, are their modern adaptations and methods of preparation. The original recipes are printed exactly as they were found with old spelling forms and punctuation marks being retained. In testing, the old recipes were followed as closely as possible. Changes were made only when absolutely necessary to improve either texture or taste. Some of Mrs. Grierson's recipes tested beautifully the first time around, while others needed revision and retesting.
Researching background materials for this book brought to light many interesting and delightful stories related by army women who recorded their adventures in journals and diaries. Although Mrs. Grierson wrote letters to relatives and friends, she did not keep a day by day account of the years she spent in the West. Thus, some of the culinary adventures described by other officers' wives are included in an attempt to give the reader a glimpse into the kitchen of a frontier army wife.
In addition to her recipes, a sampling of Mrs. Grierson's home remedies and housekeeping hints is included. They are entertaining to read as well as challenging to try.
Condition: Good condition.
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