This section is from the book "Centennial Cookery Book", by Woman's Centennial Association. Also available from Amazon: Centennial Cookery Book.
An effort has been made to preserve some of the methods of our grandmothers which have fallen into disuse, under change of circumstances, but which are remembered to have produced most excellent results for the palate.
Few persons now care to prepare the Pickled Beef, Ham and Pork, the Rye and Indian Bread, the pounded Biscuit and Crackers, the Home brewed Beer of the early part of the century, but to those who remember these things they have never been surpassed for goodness, and there is a suspicion that like the great Artist's colors the old recipes were " mixed with brains".
In this day of tracing pedigrees, it may be interesting to enquire whence came the traditions of Cookery in this vicinity? There can be little doubt they were English, and were brought over by our Puritan mothers, in the May Flower; they were transmitted from mother to daughter almost unchanged for the hundred and fifty years of New England housewifery before the Ohio Company brought our patient, enduring grandmothers to another wilderness of new difficulties.
As to the cook's materials in the first years. The woods supplied game in abundance, but the fruits, vegetables, and grains of their old homes were lacking, and ingenuity must have been sorely taxed to produce a variety. It was at this time that one of the first settlers said of his wife : " Mrs.- can make the best victuals out of nothing of any one I ever saw." The French chef can claim no higher praise. While in the main our cookery was English, yet some good dishes were local and peculiar.
Succotash, Pumpkin Bread and Baked Squash were no doubt inventions of the First Settlers, and long may their memory live!
A gentleman who had traveled far and wide, used to say that in Marietta were blended most happily the best of Northern and Southern ideas of cookery. There were here in early times some Southern families and some famous cooks. "Old Gin" and "Daphne" are names which recall the good things that make the mouth water.
Some excellent German dishes have been introduced. Especially have they taught us the use of salads, which are now indispensable.
Some change in culinary matters took place, under the influence of several Eastern housekeepers who were accustomed to the more finished habits of Boston and New York, and who introduced among us many new dishes of the lighter kinds and also some more modern ideas in arranging tables and serving food.
Our housewives have not departed from the teaching of their mothers. Order, system and cleanliness are still practiced, together with a high regard for the pleasures of the palate.
They have vied with each other in making the table attractive, and it is to-day no small epicurean treat to be invited to a Ladies' Luncheon, where the hostess, the china, linen, flowers and viands all combine to charm the senses.
M. N. B.