Item of the Week: Cookery, with ferns

Published: April 9, 2010

Though the original purpose of this volume was recording cooking recipes for things like ginger bread and short bread (two of the recipes seen above), it also ended up being a place to press ferns and a place to copy out favorite passages of poetry and prose for a teenage girl named Helen Brackenridg.  The cookbook section of the manuscript appears to have been begun in 1726, a date recorded in the front of the volume, while Helen Brackenridg’s contributions date only a little bit later: 1732.

On this final page of the cookery manuscript, Brackenridg’s writing bleeds through from the opposite side.

([Cookery manuscript and literary miscellanies], 1726-1732.  MS.1950.011)

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