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Bizarre Cookbooks: Weman's Cook Book

Weman's Cook Book
An ad for Weman's Cook Book

I really wish I could share a recipe from this cookbook. After all, Mr. Weman claims to produce "noteworthy features entirely distinct from any heretofore published." Tantalizing!

Unfortunately, what I have in my hands here is not a cookbook. Rather, it's a crumbling ad scanned from the back of a decaying book of Irish song lyrics found in my grandmother's estate (seems as though they weren't big on acid-free pages back in the day...). A Google search turns up nothing on the book or on Mr. Weman himself.

I find I'm fascinated by antique advertisements (and recipes) because they hold so much information about the psychology of the era to which they belonged. I feel as though I'm able to capture through them some inkling of the desires and values of certain groups... in this case, early American homemakers.

I love the way the woman in the image hangs in the background, watching the man. Meanwhile, he seems to have a confident mastery of his tasks. Though she was probably trained through a lifetime of household toil, she's merely an apprentice to the genius of this clever gentleman (whom my mind imagines as the talented Mr. Weman).

I've transcribed the text below. I love the random capitalization and the fact that you can purchase the book with stamps "same as cash." See if you, too, don't get a sense of the vastly different world our forefathers (or, more probably foremothers) inhabited as you read along:
This work on Cookery has several noteworthy features entirely distinct from any heretofore published. It is arranged so that the Housewife can tell at a glance the time necessary to Cook any Dish or Article of Diet. It also gives some practical hints and suggestions for selecting the various meats, vegetables, fish, etc., as well as directions for Preserving, Storing, and Keeping them. Special attention is paid to economy, and an effort is made to remove the reproach which justly clings to American Cookery, of being extravagant and wasteful without being palatable and healthful. Full instructions are given to prepare all kinds of Pies Puddings, Cakes, Jellies, etc., as well as preparing and cooking all kinds of Meats, Soups, Gravies, Fish, Vegetables, etc. in an economical and appetizing manner. It also contains considerable miscellaneous information pertaining to the household, such as Removing Kitchen Odors, Grease Spots, Iron Stains, Ink Spots in Books, Cleaning, Scouring, Receipts for Washing, etc. and a variety of others equally useful and necessary to the Housekeeper or Cook. These features make this work the best, most practical and Popular Cook Book ever issued. This book will be sent to any address, postpaid, on receipt of 25 cents. Special.—Five Books for One Dollar. U.S. Postage Stamps taken in payment same as cash.
More cookbook oddities found here in the archives...

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8.20.2006

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