White House Cook Book

White House Cook Book

Interesting swash letters

I clipped the cover image of the White House Cook Book when I saw the book for sale because I was intrigued by the swashes and the attractive, haphazard layout. Published in 1913, it’s in the public domain, and can be viewed in full online.

The first chapter on carving has cute line drawings of meat cuts beyond the usual side of beef.

Cuts of veal

Cuts of venison

Sirloin of beef

More pretty cookbooks


TAKE a cold roast-beef bone, pieces of beefsteak, the rack of a cold turkey or chicken. Put them into a pot with three or four quarts of water, two carrots, three turnips, one onion, a few cloves, pepper and salt. Boil the whole gently four hours; then strain it through a colander, mashing the vegetables so that they will all pass through. Skim off the fat, and return the soup to the pot. Mix one tablespoonful of flour with two of water, stir it into the soup and boil the whole ten minutes. Serve this soup with sippits of toast.

Sippits are bits of dry toast cut into a triangular form.

A seasonable dish about the holidays.

For more weird antiquarian dining, read this—and find a recipe for mock turtle soup on page 39 of the White House Cook Book.

Tech blather

I downloaded the book in a format I didn’t know about before, DjVu—apparently it archives scanned documents more efficiently than PDFs. I’m not happy with lossy, bulk-archived stuff for graphics use, but I have defied the mantra “Garbage in, garbage out” before. I hope libraries don’t pulp too many of their old holdings (as we speak books are screaming in pain), because their digital doubles are sow’s ears, not silk purses. (I used this DjVu to PDF conversion to wrangle images into Photoshop. How well does GraphicConverter do?) Do you even bother with files like this, and if so, how?

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