Saturday, October 22, 2011

History and Extraordinary Coincidence

October 22, 1950 was the date a prior owner of this copy of Mrs. Rorer's Cook book found it suitable to save recipes from a newspaper print. I found this, and many other treasures tucked between the pages of this 1914 copyright book.
The fact this book is 2nd edition is a none issue for me. I hope you have time to settle in and read for a minute or two. Because, this book has a history I want to tell you. The mere fact that it is among my possessions is a story of extraordinary coincidence.
When I made my purchase of this book, I had no information regarding ownership or history. I just thought it was another cool old cook book. The condition has deteriorated very little during the past few years in my ownership. I would describe the book as in poor/restorable condition. My description comes from a complete lack of book restoring knowledge and I would love to learn more about the subject.
One of the first things which stirred my intrique was a manual typewritten recipe. Typed by a Letitia Glenn Biddle. Grandmothers Plum Pudding as was copied by her mother, Mrs. John Glenn; Baltimore, January 1st 1891.
Instantly, the obvious name recognition for me, was the name Glenn. The intrigue lead me to do a quick genealogy search of Senator Astronaut John Glenn. No information surfaced to link this book to that famous Glenn family.
Coincidentally, a program came on the television discussing the "kitchen cabinet" of Andrew Jackson. Nicholas Biddle served as a confidant and adviser to President Andrew Jackson via the kitchen door. This earned the group of men the title of "kitchen cabinet". As far as my research has shown the owner of my cook book was a member of the Nicholas Biddle family. On this particular occassion I was actually glad my television was switched on. This information renewed my interest of the legacy my book could hold.

Mrs. Charles J Biddle 2110 Delancey Place. For certain this woman was interesting, I felt sure.
I have no way of knowing if another owner possessed my book and added the various handwritten and newspaper recipe clippings found inside this treasure. The handwritten recipes are consistent with so many old timey recipes. Instructions are non -existent or vague to say the least.
1 currents
1 raisins
1 lb. bread crumbs
1lb. beef suet
1/2 pint cream
8 brandy
8 eggs
1 nutmeg
What might the ingredient list and unfinished instructions be leading the baker to?
It's likely the insertion of the various clippings contributed to the poor condition of the spine of this book. I have enjoyed finding the little tid-bit charms this book held.
One must wonder what was going on this January 1938 and why was this calendar saved in the pages of my copy of Mrs. Rorer's Cook Book.

I thought it was interesting coincidence to find a January 1938 calendar and a recipe transcribed during January 1891. Letitia Glenn Biddle becomes an increasingly interesting character.
It is well established on the posts of Columbia Creations I have a love for historical places. Philadelphia Pennsylvania is a road trip for me. I have dreamed of making this trip for quite some time. I want to go to Andalusia. Please notice the link inserted and do kindly take a minute to read about this place. I am convinced this place must be a little piece of heaven for my soul. It's time to make that pilgrimage. For those who will not follow the link, it's fair that I should tell you the short story history of this place. The family home of the Biddle's for years is now a museum and desired place to tour. A mansion by no other description. Letitia Glenn Biddle lived here.
If this is your first visit to Columbia Creations you may not be aware of my love to garden. I'm a novice home gardener. Letitia, however was the founder of the 1st Garden Club of Philadelphia. She wrote the by-laws for the Garden Clubs of America in the kitchen of Andalusia. 

I wonder if the newly formed garden club held meetings at Brunch and enjoyed a few recipes from Mrs. Rorer's Cook book. This Ann Pilsbury Breakfast and Brunches pamphlet was found in the collection saved for a some day use.
I would love to have this book restored. My some day travel to Philadelphia may lead me to donate this book back to the Biddle family archives. I'm still feeling a little possesive of a book which would appear tunneled down through time to rest in my hands.
Why have I waited so long to bake or cook any recipe from this group of writings? Good question. I think the story has become more important to me than the recipes. Honestly, I dare not turn the pages too many times searching for the dish I want to make. This book sits flat on a shelf in an armoir waiting to be given the care it rightly deserves.
Letitia Glenn Biddle is interesting to me. I will wander among the grounds of her former home and photograph the sights she surely must have cherished.
If you have any information to share with me about the history of this book, I would love to hear from you.
On a typical bizarre note, it appears etiquette was being over thrown even during the 1950's. The article Rough on Royalty (shown in one of the photos above) tells the story of how Miss Rosina Jones of Romford England had entered a beauty contest and was assaulted by Queenie Swain. Queenie pulled out a lock of her hair and bit her on the ear. Rebellious subjects to say the least.

A peaceful Friday night by the fire reading a few vintage/antique cook books will have to temporarily satisfy my spirit for adventure. I really want to visit Andalusia in the spring. Until then, here I sit writing on October 22, 2011. Will this book inspire someone again, 61 years from now?

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