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I Refuse To Part With My Settlement Cookbook

Reviewing: Simon And Schuster Settlement Cook Book  |  Rating:
PJ Richards By PJ Richards on
Badge: Author | Level: 2 | Food & Drink Expertise:
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Judging by the attached photo, you would never know that I am a book collector and jealously guard certain editions. My first (and only) copy of The Settlement Cookbook was given to me as a gift. My copy is the third edition version from Simon and Schuster.

While I have many cook books, this obviously is the one most used and most loved. I have been guilty of taking for granted this terrific cook book. My daughter called one day asking the name of the cook book without the covers. I immediately knew which one she was speaking of. I couldn't recall the name of it and had to fetch it.

While we spoke, my daughter was online searching for a copy of the cook book to purchase. Imagine my surprise when she suddenly exclaimed she'd found one - for the grand total of a hundred bucks. (Hey, it's worth more than that to me but I ain't selling it. ) I sent her to a booksearch site where she eventually found a copy for less than $50.00.

This cook book covers everything - substitutions and equivalents, food preservation, preparation and serving, nutritional charts, menus and of course, recipes and more recipes. The cookie recipes are out of this world. This book automatically opens to the criss-cross peanut butter cookie recipe and bears loving evidence of how many times over the years that page has been used. (I'm pretty sure that's a sugar glaze making the page shine.) My granddaughter will be the third generation of our family to use that page.

I tried to find an original photo of this cookbook and still can't believe I struck out. I found reference to a couple of them, used, for sale but none had photos. I found new editions with covers that would deter me from purchasing them. I found a free ebook download of the cookbook at Barnes Noble. I'm guessing that download covers the original 1903 or so version, and not the 500+ pages of a version like mine.

The Settlement Cook Book came about in Milwaukee at the turn of the century. Mrs. Simon Kander was in charge of teaching immigrants how to cook. Students spent so much time copying the recipes that she decided it woud be a good idea to print the lessons and recipes. When the male segment of the settlement refused to fund the $18 necessary, the good ladies did what women have been doing for centuries. They not only got the job done, they improved it greatly. Measurements were obtained to replace pinches and dashes of ingredients, and volunteers submitted recipes from all around the world. In April of 1901, one thousand fresh new copies of The Way To A Man's Heart - The Settlement Cook Book came off the press.

I, for one, am very glad these ladies succeeded. I treasure my copy of the Settlement Cook Book. I've decided that it's past time to put my book preservation tools and skills to work and re-attach the cover. It's just that book and covers have been three separate pieces for so long that we're accustomed to grabbing the appropriate cover when we need a quick measurement or substitution. Both make great cheat sheets.

I highly recommend the Settlement Cook Book. It truly is a treasure.