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Recipe Pamphlets
 Promotional cookbooklets are well-known today. They are a special category of cookbook publishing in which a company distributes recipes that uses its own products. With a product code snipped from the package and nominal handling fee, Knox Gelatine will send a pamphlet of recipes using its product, Durkee-Mower will send a pamphlet with recipes using Marshmallow Fluff, and Cuisinart will send recipes using its food processor. Although in the 21st century this phenomenon may be waning as companies set up websites that distribute the recipes more efficiently, the publishing of promotional cookbooklets has been popular for nearly 200 years. In the early to mid 19th century, almanacs carried recipes -- especially almanacs published by the patent medicine companies. In the second half of the century, the practice was in full-swing.

This period also saw the proliferation of cookbook publishing and the beginning of the cookbook author as
minor celebrity. Cookbook authors opened schools of cookery and began to lecture for fundraising and for the promotion of efficiency and scientific methods. Fannie Farmer, for example, is cited for introducing the practice of level measurements in cooking. Many authors endorsed the products of local companies and created recipes for them. Mary Lincoln, a principal teacher of the Boston Cooking School, wrote the recipes for a pamphlet published by the White Mountain Freezer company, a New Hampshire manufacturer of ice cream freezers. Fannie Farmer, another head of the Boston Cooking School, wrote the recipes for the Rumford Cook Book, a publication of the Rumford Chemical Works, a manufacturer of baking powder in Rhode Island. Janet McKenzie Hill, yet another principal of the Boston Cooking School, wrote Worcester Recipes for the Worcester Salt Company.

The first known recipe pamphlet issued by Walter Baker & Co. was entitled An Account of the Manufacture and Use of Cocoa and Chocolate and was published in 1876. The next was Chocolate Receipts, which was published about 1880. In addition to publishing recipes, Baker extols the nutritional value of chocolate and cites many experts. Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, a German physician, is quoted: "I recommend good chocolate to nervous, excitable persons; also to the weak, debilitated and infirm; to children and women. I have obtained excellent results from it in many cases of chronic deseases of the digestive organs." The first teacher of the Boston Cooking School, Maria Parloa, wrote many of the recipes for Walter Baker & Co.'s 1899 pamphlet, Choice Recipes. She was a well-known cookbook author and teacher. The Appledore Cook Book, her first, was published in 1872. Though little is known of her early life, she attended the Maine Central Institute when she was 28 years old. The Appledore Cook Book, published the next year, tells us that she had worked as a cook in private families and had worked as a pastry chef in several New Hampshire hotels. She went into teaching in Mandarin, Florida, where she gave her first lecture on cooking to raise money for the purchase of an organ for the local Sunday School. Encouraged by her success, she opened a cooking school in 1877 on Tremont Street in Boston. In 1879 she agreed to teach at the Boston Cooking School, a project of the Women's Education Association. Over the years she published Miss Parloa's New Cook Book and Marketing Guide (1881) and Practical Cookery (1884) as well as writing many articles for the Ladies' Home Journal, of which she was a part owner.

Like her other cookbooks, Choice Recipes went through many editions. The 1899 and 1901 editions were written by Miss Parloa and Elizabeth K. Burr of the Domestic Science Department of the YWCA of Boston. The 1902 edition was written by Miss Parloa and other teachers, lecturers and writers. In 1912 the publication was called Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes by Miss Parloa with a second section "Home Made Candy Recipes" by Mrs. Janet McKenzie Hill. Miss Parloa had died in 1909 and by 1925 the pamphlet was entitled Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes by Celebrated Cooks?i>, still with Mrs. Hill's section on "Home Made Candy Recipes." Although the title page went through these changes, the cover-title continued as iChoice Recipes throughout the many years of publication. Another Baker pamphlet was Delicious Cold Drinks and Desserts for Hot Weather, published in 1917.

In 1927 the Postum Cereal Co. acquired Walter Baker & Co., and in 1928 Walter Baker & Co. issued two cookbooklets with no authors listed: Famous Recipes for Baker's Chocolate and Breakfast Cocoa; and Perfect Chocolates of Your Own Making. The Secrets of Dipping with Baker's DOT Chocolate. [Could DOT mean Dorchester?] General Foods was formed in 1929 through a merger of Postum and Clarence Birdseye's firm, and in 1929 General Foods issued Chocolate Cookery. In 1931 they issued Best Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes and in 1932 Baker's Best Chocolate Recipes. Other pamphlets were issued such as Famous Chocolate Recipes (1936); Chocolate Candies You Can Make (1936); Baker's Sampler Book of Famous Chocolate Recipes (1936); My Party Book of Tested Chocolate Recipes (1938); and Baker's Favorite Chocolate Recipes (1945).

Another series of cookbooks seems to have been the Ladies' Delight cook books. The only one related to Dorchester is Number Two: A collection of valuable and reliable recipes which have been thoroughly tested by the most skilful [sic] housekeepers of Dorchester and vicinity. Compiled by the Ladies connected with the Grand Army Fair, Post 68. Boston: A.P. Ordway, 1889.

Church cookbooks are common in every town. St. Paul's Presbyterian Church put out the St. Paul's Cook Book in 1914, and the Second Church put out a cookbook about 1970. Also the Dorchester Woman's Club put out a cookbook for its bazaar in November, 1897.

Secondary Sources:

Notable American Women

Trager,James. The Food Chronology.

1880 Recipe Booklet
Walter Baker Chocolate Receipts ca. 1880
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Choice Recipes 1899
Choice Recipes Baker Chocolate 1899
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Desserts from Choice Recipes 1899
Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes 1918  Baker Chocolate
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Created: August 17, 2003   Modified: July 11, 2004