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Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas University
Rare Books - Exhibits
Cookery Exhibit: Amelia Simmons

Amelia Simmons, American Cookery
(Walpole, NH: Printed for Elijah Brooks), 1812.

Simmons' book is the first American cookbook, written by an American woman and printed in the United States using native terms and recipes. The first edition was printed in Hartford in 1796. Only seven copies of this printing are known to exist.

Selected Excerpts from the Text


Title page As this treatise is calculated for the improvement of the rising generation of FEMALES in America, the Lady of fashion and fortune will not be displeased, if many hints are suggested for the more general and universal knowledge of those females in this country, who by the loss of their parents, or other unfortunate circumstances, are reduced to the necessity of going into families in the line of domesticks, or taking refuge with their friends or relations, and doing those things which are really essential to the perfecting them as good wives, and useful members of society. The orphan, though left ot the care of virtuous guardians, will find it essentially necessary to have an opinion and determination of her own. The world, and the fashion thereof, is so variable, that old people cannot accommodate themselves to the various changes and fashions which daily occur; they will adhere to the fashion of their day, and will not surender their attachments to the good old way--while the young and the gay, bend and conform readily to the taste of the times, and fancy of the hour. By having opinion and determination, I would not be understood to mean an obstinate perseverance in trifles, which borders on obstinancy--by no means, but only an adherance to those rules and maxims which have stood the test of ages, and will forever establish the FEMALE CHARACTER, a virtuous character--although they conform to the ruling taste of the age in cookery, dress, language, manner, &c.

It must ever remain a check upon the poor solitary orphan, that while those females that have parents or brothers, or riches to defend their indiscretions, that the orphan must depend solely upon character. How immensely important, therefore, that every action, every word, every thought, be regulated by the strictest purity, and that every movement meet the approbation of the good and wise.

The candor of the American Ladies is solicitously intreated by the Authoress, as she is circumscribed in her knowledge, this being an original work in this country. Should any future editions appear, she hopes to render it more valuable.

Apple Pie - page 23

Stew and strain the apples, to every three pints, grate the peal of a fresh lemon, add rose-water and sugar to your taste, and bake in paste No. 3.

Apple Pudding. - page 32

One pound apple sifted, half pound sugar, nine eggs, one quarter of a pound butter, one quart sweet milk - one gill rose water some cinnamon, add two rusks soaked soft in wine, a green lemon peal grated (if sweet apples) add the juice of half a lemon, put on to paste No. 7. Currants, raisons and citron some add, but good without them, bake one hour.

Front cover Pastes. - page 36

Puff paste for tarts.

No. 1. Rub one pound of butter into thwo pound of flour, whit two whites and add with cold water, make into paste roll in six or seven times one pound of butter, flouring it each roll. This is good for any small thing.

No. 2. Rub six pounds of better into fourteen pounds of flour, eight whites of eggs, add cold water, make a stiff paste.

No. 3. To any quantity of flour, rub in three fourths of its weight of butter, (whites of egg to a peck) rub in one third or half, and roll in the rest.

No. 4. Into two quarts flour (salted) and wet stiff with cold water roll in, in nine or ten times one and half pound of butter.

No. 5. One pound flour, three fourths of a pound of butter, beat well.

No. 6. To one pound of flour rub in one fourth of a pound of butter, wet with three eggs and rolled in half pound butter.

A paste for sweet meats.

No. 7. Rub one third of one pound of butter, and one pound of lard into two pound of flour, wet with four whites, well beaten ; water as much as necessary to make a paste, roll in the residue of shortening in ten or twelve rollings--bake quick.

No. 8. Rub in one and half pound of suet to six pounds of flour, and a spoon full of salt, wet with cream, roll in, in six or eight times, two and half pounds butter--good for chicken or meat pie.

Election Cake. - page 43

Thirty quarts flour, ten pounds butter, fourteen pounds sugar, twelve pounds raisins, three dozen eggs, one pint wine, one quart brandy, four ounces cinnamon, four ounces fine colander seed, three ounces ground allspice ; wet the flour with the milk to the consistency of bread over night, adding one quart yeast, the next morning work the butter and sugar together for half an hour, which will render the cake much lighter and whiter ; when it has risen light, work in every other ingredient except the plumbs, which work in when going into the oven.

Independence Cake. - page 44

Twenty pounds flour, fifteen pounds sugar, ten pounds butter, four dozen eggs, one quart wine, one quart brandy, one ounce nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, mace, of each three ounces, two pounds citron, currants, and raisins, five pounds each, one quart yeast ; when baked, frost with loaf sugar ; dress with box and gold leaf.

The American Citron. - page 55

Take the whole of a large watermellon (seeds excepted) not too ripe, cut it into small pieces take two pounds of loaf sugar, one pint of water put it all into a kettle, let it boil gently for two hours, then put into pots for use.

For brewing Spruce Beer. - page 67

Take four ounces hops, boil half an hour, into one gallon water, strain it, then add sixteen gallons warm water, two gallons molasses, eight ounces essence spruce dissolved in one quart water, put it in a clean cask, shake it well together, add half pint emptins, let it stand and work one week, if very warm weather less time will do, when drawn off add one spoonful molasses to each bottle.