Mrs. Hale’s Receipts for the Million

I’ve decided to add something to this blog.  Every year for the past thirteen years, I have gone to English Camp on San Juan Island and have demonstrated mid- 19th century folkways.  There’s a lot of butter making and biscuit cutting going on — as well as spinning and candle dipping.

Mrs Hale's receipts cover

Leading my understanding of what a housewife put up with is my great-grandmother’s receipt book, MRS.HALE’s RECEIPT’S FOR THE MILLION.  This delightful book is both charming and informative, filled with 4545 “receipts” that range from cleaning leather and churns, caring for the invalid and making coffee. Published in Philadelphia in 1857, my great grandmother surely found use for it as she made her way from Western Pennsylvania to Kansas to craft a life with her surgeon/lawyer husband.

I think we should all get a daily dose or least every time I post. So here’s what’s in MRS. HALE’s RECEIPTS for today:

COFFEE: The infusion of or decoction of the roasted seeds of the coffee-berry, when not too strong, is a wholesome, exhilarating, and strengthening beverage; and when mixed with a large proportion of milk, is a proper article of diet for literary and sedentary people. It is especially suited to persons advanced in age.

I think I’ll go get some.

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3 thoughts on “Mrs. Hale’s Receipts for the Million

  1. I love the concept of your post — interesting facts, anecdotes, and stories from your research for a historical fiction. Fascinating.

    That ad blurb for coffee from 1857 was hilarious.

    • Thank you. I think I finally figure out what I’m doing here. I use Mrs. Hale’s book quite a lot. The housewife’s knowledge of chemistry is pretty impressive. I’d be blowing things up in my kitchen! Keep coming. There 4545 “receipts”. I’m beginning to see that I’ll have to transcribe the whole darn thing.

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