Oxfam Bookshop Kingsbridge
This original handwritten collection of household and medical recipes or "domestic receipts" is believed to date from the mid-nineteenth century. At this time, many households kept such domestic receipt books, often passed down from generation to generation and added to over the years. From the handwriting, it would appear that this example has been kept by one person only, a Mrs Derbyshire of The Brook, as inscribed on the front paste-down.
The book contains, at the front, sixty-four kitchen recipes over thirty-seven pages, with an index to thirty-six of the pages. All sorts of recipes are included, including gingerbread, Adam and Eve's pudding, brandy cream, macaroons, coltsfoot jelly, currant cake, white catchup, ginger beer, damson cheese, and so on. The following pages are blank, until the back of the book.
On the flipside of the book are pinned and sewn - with the original pin and thread still in place - two newspaper cuttings. The first is from "The Family Herald: A Domestic Magazine of Useful Information and Amusement", including part of an article on oyster cookery, a cure for chapped hands, and "Fashions for November". The second is from "The Guide to Literature, Science, Art, and General Information", and contains remedies for diphtheria and consumption. These newspapers help to date the book, approximately, as The Family Herald began in 1843, and The Guide - a one-penny periodical - ran for one year only, from 1858-1859.
Following these newspaper cuttings at the rear is a remedy for Whooping Cough; this seems to be a version copied from a contemporary edition of The New Family Herbal, and reads as follows: "A Cure for the Whooping Cough. Dissolve a scruple of Salt of Tartar in a quarter of a pint of water, add to it ten grains of Cochineal, nicely powdered; sweeten this with fine sugar & give to the infant the fourth part of a table spoonful four times a day, to a child two or three years old give half a spoonful as often, and from four years old and upwards, a full spoonful or more may be given every three or four hours. The relief is immediate, and the cure generally in five or six days."
Following this are recipes for two kinds of strengthening jelly, cold cream, bug poison, furniture paste, cures for bowel complaint and neuralgia, scented hair oil, and rather incongruously, a pattern for crocheted baby socks. The crochet instructions are dated 1857 and attributed to a Miss E. Wilson.
The binding is holding firm with only a slight crack to one hinge. The half-leather covers are very worn and rubbed, particularly at the corners and spine, with around 2cm of covering missing from the head of the spine. The pages are slightly waved. The paper is lined, thick, good-quality, and some of the pages are gently tanned in the centre but apart from minor foxing and blemishes the written pages are all in good condition.
Dimensions: 20.5 x 17 x 1.5cm.
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