Over 150 years ago "charity," "church" or "community" cookbooks first appeared to raise
money for worthy causes. Tens of thousands of charity cookbooks have been published since
the first in 1864.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, times when nearly all women were financially and
politically dependent on men, women found the means to support causes ranging from
homes for friendless women, old age homes, orphan asylums, garden clubs, women's
colleges, and reading groups.
The enjoyment of these books was immediate and went far beyond the kitchen: the buyer had
the satisfaction of helping fund an important cause, read what her neighbors were cooking,
compare her skills to others, and learn which advertisers supported the community.
The cookbooks can be described in one word bountiful. Women used these books to
share their talent and to support some part of their world at a time when charity cookbooks
were one of the few ways in which nonprofessional women could gain financial
support for a cause.
In addition to recipes and advertisements, these cookbooks contain artwork, essays of local
interest, quotations, prayers and household hints all prepared by the members of these
Charity cookbooks also reveal much more than what Americans were eating during a particular
time. They reveal what women thought, current events and community prejudices and
opinions just to name a few of the other items that might be included.
Maria J. Moss, A Poetical Cook-Book
(Philadelphia: C. Sherman Son & Co.), 1864.
Spec / TX715 / .M913 / 1864b
This cookbook offers rhymed recipes and was dedicated to the Sanitary Fair of
1864. It is believed to be the first charity cookbook ever published in the United
To Dress Salad, pg.73
Two large potatoes, pressed through kitchen sieve,
Smoothness and softness to the salad give;
Of mordant mustard add a single spoon;
Distrust the condiment that bites too soon;
But deem it not, thou man of herbs, a fault,
To add a double quantity of salt.
Four times the spoon with oil of Lucca crown,
And twice with vinegar procured from town;
True flavor needs it, and your poet begs
The pounded yellow of two boiled eggs;
Let onion's atoms lurk within the bowl,
And, scarce suspected, animate the whole;
And, lastly, in the flavored compund toss
A magic spoonful of anchovy sauce.
O great and glorious! O herbaceous treat!
'Twould tempt the dying anchorite to eat,
Back to the world he'd turn his weary soul,
And plunge his fingers in the salad bowl.
--Rev. Sidney Smith
If the herbs be young, fresh-gathered, trimmed neatly, and drained dry and
the sauce-maker ponders patiently over the above directions, he cannot fail
of obtaining the fame of being a very accomplished salad-dresser.
Ladies of Christ Church, Edibilia: A Cook Book of Valuable Private Receipts
(Indianapolis: Indianapolis Journal Co.), 1873.
Spec / TX715 / .I494
Unlike later cookbooks, recipes here contain no standard measurements for
Cold Tomato Catsup, pg.41
Take one-half peck of tomatoes, rub through a seive, half gallon best cider vinegar,
one tea cup salt, one tea cup table mustard, half dozen pods red pepper, three table
spoons black ground pepper, one hand full celery seed, two pieces horse radish grated,
one tea cup nasturtions. Bottle and seal.
Tomato Catsup, pg.45
One-half bushel tomatoes sliced and salted, let stand over night, cook
thoroughly, strain, put on to boil; race ginger, allspice, cinnamon and
cloves, one pint vinegar, one pint brandy, and one of sugar, a little red
pepper; boil half down.
Kansas Home for the Friendless, The Kansas Home Cook-Book: Consisting
of Recipes Contributed by Ladies of Leavenworth and Other Cities and Towns
(Leavenworth, KS: J. C. Ketcheson), 1874.
Spec / TX715 / .K16
One of the few hardbound charity cookbooks of the times, The Kansas
Home Cook-Book is believed to be the first cookbook published in Kansas.
Apple Charlotte, pg.184
Butter the bottom of a tin pan; cover with a layer of small pieces of bread,
buttered and cut in the shape of triangles. Line the sides of the pan with
slices of buttered bread, paring off the crust and placing the buttered side
next to the tin. Fill up with apple-sauce, flavoring with cinnamon and lemon;
sugar to your taste; cover the pan and set it for a few minutes on live coals,
piling them up around the sides. Before the bread has time to burn replace the
cover by a plate and turn your pan bottom side up; you will have a beautifully
browned tower. Serve with cold sauce, made by rubbing together half cup of butter
and one of sugar.
Trinity Lutheran Church, Trinity Treats
(New York Mills, MN: Priscilla Society, Trinity Lutheran Church), ca. 1910.
Spec / TX715 / .N491
Makes use of professional color advertisements.
Best Yet Stew, pg.53
2 lbs stew meat (cut small), 1 green pepper (diced), 1 bunch carrots (cut small),
1 small rutabaga (cut small), 2 cups green beans or peas, 2 medium onions (diced),
about 2 cups celery (diced), 2 cups canned tomatoes, parsley to flavor, any other
Fry meat until browned, add onion, salt and pepper. Pour water over and cook meat
until almost tender. In another pan cook all vegetables until almost done. Mix all
together and add all the pre-cooked or canned vegetables and let boil for awhile.
Use kitchen bouquet for flavor and color. Thicken with flour as you do for gravy.
To add whole black peppers, bay leaf, or any other spices tie in a clean cloth bag
and remove when ready to serve. Meanwhile boil and mash the potatoes and serve stew
over the mashed potatoes.
Woman's Club, Woman's Cook Book: A Collection of True and Tried Receipts
(New Market, NH: Newmarket Advertiser Press), 1910.
Spec / TX715 / .N50
This well-used cookbook contains a collection of recipes from housewives.
Rinktum Diddy, pg.46
Melt butter size of an egg, add one cup tomato, pulp and juice, and 1/4 teaspoon soda;
when this simmers add 1 cup milk and cream mixed, and 1 pound cheese cut in crumbs;
when cheese is melted add 10 drops tabasco sauce, cayenne and salt to taste; add 3 eggs
slightly beaten with a fork; cook until thick. Serve on Uneeda biscuits.
Rubicon Cook Book
(White Hall, IL: Pearce Printing Co.), 1913.
Spec / TX715 / .R92155 / 1913
Cook book, prepared by the ladies of the Rubicon Church near Greenfield, Illinois.
Gift of Mrs. H. L. Murphey, Class of 1927
Rover Cakes, pg.60
1/2 gallon, molasses, 1 pint lard, 1 pound currants, 1 pound raisins, 1 pound citron,
1 pint chopped nuts, 1/2 teacup cinnamon, 1/4 teacup allspice and ginger, 2 nutmegs,
1/2 cup soda, 1/2 pint sour milk. Add flour to make stiff enough to roll, and cut
Icing: Whites 2 eggs, 2 teacups sugar, 1/2 teacup boiling water. If made
in the fall, will keep all winter. Ice them as you want to use them.
Mt. Vernon Cook Book
(Mt. Vernon, KS: Ladies Aid Society of the Mt. Vernon M. E. Church), 1914.
Spec / TX715 / .M924 / 1914
A careful compilation of tried and approved recipes, by the Ladies Aid
Society and their friends of the Mt. Vernon M. E. Church, Mt. Vernon, Kansas.
Gift of Mrs. H. L. Murphey, Class of 1927
French Pickles, pg.93
One quart green tomatoes, 1 quart cabbage, 1 quart cucumber, 1 quart onions, 6 red
or green peppers, measured after being chopped. Chop all real coarse. Simply slice
cucumbers in about 1/4 inch slices if small or medium cucumbers are used. Put in a
weak brine over night and scald in same brine next morning, then drain well. Two
quarts vinegar, or 1 quart vinegar and 1 quart water if very strong vinegar is used.
Two cups sugar, 6 tablespoons mustard, 2 teaspoons tumeric powder, 1 cup flour,
mix all of these dry ingredients and stir into vinegar. Put in the chopped vegetables,
let boil well and seal. It also keeps well in cool weather without sealing.
First Universalist Church, Cook Book
(Rockport, MA: s.n.), ca. 1920.
Spec / TX715 / .R679
No frills, simple design on high quality, glossy paper accented by a tassel tie.
McKinley Cake, pg.37
For the Gold Cake--Three-fourths cup sugar, one cup flour, a tablespoonful of butter,
one-half cup of milk, yolks of four eggs, one-fourth teaspoonful Foss's vanilla. Cream
butter, sugar and eggs, add milk and flavoring; then sifted flour and one teaspoonful
of baking powder. Stir well.
For the White Cake--One and half cups of flour, one spoonful of baking powder, one cup
sugar, one-fourth cup of butter, one-half cup of milk, one-fourth teaspoonful of Foss's
vanilla, whites of four eggs. Cream the butter and sugar, add the milk and vanilla; sift
flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt together twice, and add the mixture; beat the
whites of the eggs well and add last.
For the Dark Cake--Two large teaspoonfuls grated chocolate. Put into a cup and mix with
one tablespoonful of sugar; add to this enough of each part of the cake mixture to fill
the cup two-thirds full. Stir well and add one-half teaspoonful of vanilla. Bake in an
eight or nine inch square pan. Put a thin layer of the gold mixture in first, then a
layer of the white, then of the gold, and drop the chocolate mixture about with a teaspoon.
Bake three-fourths of an hour.
First Baptist Church, Ida M. Whittemore Philathea Class Cookbook: Favorite
Recipes from Members of Ida M. Whittermore Philathea Class
(Waterville, ME: s.n.), 1943.
Spec / TX715 / .W37
All recipes pages are mimeograph copies of handwritten originals.
Pineapple Pie unpaged
2 cups crushed pineapple, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 heaping Tbsp flour, 1 teas. salt,
2 egg yolks, juice of 1/2 lemon.
Scald the pineapple. Mix flour, salt, sugar and stir into pineapple. Stir and
cook 10 min. Add beaten egg yolks and lemon juice. Cover and let cook 5 min.
Cover with meringue. 325° for 25 min.
Like Mama Used to Make: A Collection of Favourite and Traditional Jewish Dishes
(London: Children and Youth Aliyah, Committee for Great Britain), ca. 1950.
Spec / TX724 / .K3
Uses member talent for the artwork illustrating the section dividers.
1 lb ground beef, 1/4 cup uncooked rice, 1 egg, 1 grated onion, 1 grated carrot, 1/4 tsp salt,
10-12 cabbage leaves, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 cup tomato sauce,
water to cover
Combine meat, rice and egg. Add onion and carrot and salt. Blanch cabbage leaves by covering them
with boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain leaves. Place a ball of the meat mixture in the center
of each leaf and roll up, tucking in the ends securely. Place close together in heavy frying pan,
add the other ingredients and enough water to cover. Cover tightly and cook over moderate heat
for 30 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes more. Place in 350° oven uncovered for 20
minutes to brown on top. Turn rolls to brown on both sides. Hot water may be added while baking
Ministering Circle, Favorite Recipes of the Lower Cape Fear
(Wilmington, NC: The Circle), 1955.
Spec / TX715 / .M565
Includes pen and ink drawings of historic Wilmington sites.
Cheese Biscuits, pg.99
1 pound aged cheese (grated), 1 pound butter, 3 cups flour, pinch salt,
dash red pepper, dash paprika
Cream butter and grated cheese together and add flour and condiments. Mix well,
and, if dough seems too soft, add about half a cup of sifted flour. Put through
pastry tube or cookie press onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for
8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
Cook Book of the Junior Auxiliary of Louisville, Mississippi
(Memphis: S.C. Toof), 1956.
Spec / TX715 / .L8854
The stated purpose of this civic-minded cookbook was "foster interest among
member in social, economic and civic and cultural condition about them; to
encourage member to render humanitarian service to the underprivileged."
1 cup rice, 3 cups boiling water, 1 Tbsp chopped green pepper, 1 Tbsp chopped onion,
1 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 1/2 cups cooked diced ham, 2 cups chopped cooked shrimp (or
2 cups diced cooked chicken), 3 Tbsp bacon grease or other fat, salt to taste
Soak rice in cold water 1 hour. Heat fat in fryer, add onion; stir until yellow (not
brown), add other ingredients (except rice and water); let cook about 5 minutes until
well blended with fat, then stir in boiling water. Add drained rice, cover vessel
closely, cook slowly (stirring often) about 40 or 45 minutes, until rice is tender and
well done. Add salt to taste. Serve on hot platter. Garnish with triangles of toast.
Family Favorites from the Kitchens of the Reformed Church of Oradell, N.J.
(S.l.: s.n.), 1957.
Spec / TX715 / .F36
Three-ring binder style includes member recipes, prayers, and household hints.
Baked Stuffed Eggplant, unpaged
1 med eggplant, 2 Tbsp fat, 1/4 cup chopped pepper, 1/4 cup chopped onion,
1 lb can tomatoes, 3/4 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 cup coarsely grated sharp cheese,
1/2 tsp salt, pepper to taste
Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Scoop out inside 1/2" from shell. Cook in
boiling salted water until tender. Drain and mash. Lightly brown onion and
green pepper in fat. Mix all the ingredients together and put back in shells.
Top with additional bread crumbs and dot with butter. Bake in 350° oven
Phebe Clark Miller, Squirrel Savors: The Recipes Collected by Members of
the 1959 Board of the Ladies Improvement Association of Squirrel Island, Maine
(Squirrel Island, ME: s.n.), 1959.
Spec / TX715 / .M65
Squirrel Savors a catchy name for the Ladies Improvement Association.
Elkridge Tomatoes, pg.64
Wash and slice tomatoes in half. If they are large, cut them in thirds. Sprinkle
flour over them and fry them in hot bacon fat. Fry about 15 minutes on each side,
until they are very brown. They should be turned only once, if possible.
Rub a pyrex pie dish with butter and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar. Put
tomatoes in this dish and sprinkle with sugar, salt, pepper and paprika.
They can be heated in a 350 degree oven for as long as an hour and can be prepared
a day ahead of time. Allow approximately 2-3 tomatoes per person.
New York Botanical Garden, Volunteer Associates, Favorite Recipes
(New York: s.n.), ca. 1960.
Spec / TX715 / .N493
This volunteer-created cookbook was sold to help support a public entity.
Red Flannel Hash, pg.31
1 1/2 cups cold pot roast or roast beef (chopped), 1 1/2 cups cold boiled potatoes
(chopped), 1 1/2 cups boiled beets (chopped), 1 small onion (optional), 1/3 cup
of beef fat (optional), 3 tablespoons butter, gravy and beef juice, salt and pepper
Mix beef, potatoes, and beets. Season to taste, using onion if desired, and mix in
Melt butter in cast-iron skillet. Add hash. Turn flame low and allow to cook 1/2 hour
to 1 hour. Add rich beef gravy and beet juice in equal parts from time to time. It will
take up a considerable amount while cooking. Should be a moist but not too liquid
consistency. Just before serving, allow to brown thoroughly. Turn onto platter. Dot with
butter. Serve with cole slaw. Serves 4.
The Episcopal Women, St. Paul's Parish, Roundup of Recipes
(Meridian, MS: The Episcopal Women), 1961.
Spec / TX715 / .R68 / 1961
This book has a decidedly Sunday school look, typewritten recipes and hand-drawn artwork.
Chicken Captain, unpaged
4 onions, 1/2 bunch parsley, 1 cup currants, 1 tsp curry powder, 1/4 lb
blanched almonds, 4 green peppers, red pepper (if desired), 1 tsp salt,
2 #2 cans tomatoes, 1 tsp thyme, 1 garlic button, 1 tsp pepper, 1/2 stick butter
Cut onions, peppers, parsley and garlic up together and fry in butter, add tomatoes
and mix all other ingredients. Have dressed 2 hens. Skin and soak for a few minutes in
soda water before frying a light brown. After frying, put in roaster and cover with
prepared sauce and cook 2 1/2 hours in very moderate oven. Add currants 1/2 hour
before taking up. Have cooked about 3 cups rice, cooked dry of course. Pour sauce
over from the chicken and arrange chicken around for buffet serving, adding a few more
The Literary Allusions Cookbook
(Nashville, TN: Women's National Book Association, Nashville), 1982.
Spec / TX715 / .L7635 / 1982
The cookbook was created by a professional woman's group to benefit their scholarship fund.
Chicken Crunch, pg.163
1 1/2-2 cups cooked cut-up chicken, 8 oz can water chestnuts (drained and coarsely chopped),
3 oz can French fried onions (divided), 1 cup sliced celery, 2 cups chow mein noodles, 1-2 Tbsp
chopped pimento, 1 can cream of mushroom soup
Place chicken pieces in a greased, shallow baking dish. Combine all other ingredients, except
for half of the onions. Mix well and pour over the chicken. Sprinkle remining onions on top.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for a half hour.
Kansas Food: The Good Cooks of Kansas Avenue United Methodist
Church, Topeka, Kansas Present Their Best and Favorite Recipes
(Topeka, KS: Kansas Avenue United Methodist Church), 1991.
Spec / TX715 / .K1558 / 1991
This unusual cover is made of wood-grained press board and is hand painted.
Calico Salad, pg.56
1 can wax beans, 1 can cut green beans, 1 can kidney beans, 1 can green lima beans,
1 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup chopped green pepper, 1/2 cup chopped onion,
1 jar chopped pimento, 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup Italian dressing,
1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper
Mix beans, celery, green pepper, onion and pimento together in large bowl. Combine
sugar, vinegar, Italian dressing, salt and pepper. Stir into bean mixture, cover and
refrigerate at least overnight, stirring often. Grated carrots and a can of corn can
be added if desired.