Compiled and published by the American Brewing Company of Rochester, N.Y., Recipes of Quality covers courses, foods and preparations representative of early 20th century American tastes. (No surprise, then, that all the recipes are deemed best “when you augment these preparations with the zest contained in every bottle of Liberty Beer or Seneca Ale”!) The book begins with sections on cooking tips, cooking terms and “Household Rules,” which covers cooking times, wines & cordials pairing, and measurement. A lot of space is given to this last, because (according to the book) “The fountain of good cookery is accuracy.” Fun measurement fact: “A speck of anything is what will lie within a space ¼ inch square.”
The recipes range from the elegant (Mushrooms Under Glass Cover, Waldorf Salad, Wine Syllabub), to the “exotic” (Frizzled Beef Tetrazzini, Fish Pudding, Liver Balls (or, for the more daring, Surprise Balls), Prussian Cutlets, Salad of Calves Brains, Bummer’s Custard), to the more familiar and timeless (Cream of Tomato Soup, Irish Stew, Chocolate Pudding).
Recipes of Quality is both a useful cookbook and a glimpse back in America’s history, culinary and otherwise. It is rather heavy on the German dishes (Murberkuchen, Spanferkel, Sauerbraten, something called Konigsberger Klops) and other European favorites. The recipes are well written, with precise measurements and surprisingly simple directions. The cooking temperatures and times, however, are somewhat vaguer than modern cooks are accustomed to, but this merely lends to the book’s charm – as does the section on suggested menus for luncheon, dinner and supper. The book recalls an era of multi-course Sunday afternoon dinners, pre-WWI table d’hôte, and what the folks in any given Edith Wharton novel are likely to be eating.
This work, originally published in 1912, is reprinted by Milne Library at the State University of New York College at Geneseo as part of the Genesee Valley Historical Reprints series. The Genesee Valley Historical Collection is Milne Library’s largest and most accessible collection of local history materials. Its geographical scope covers the eight counties surrounding the Genesee River in New York State: Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben and Wyoming. For more information, see: http://go.geneseo.edu/gvhr.