The Story of the 1881 Cumberland Valley Cook and General Recipe Book

Price: $12.99


By Tom Kelchner

In 1875, J.B. Morrow, editor of the Newville Pennsylvania Star and Enterprise, got the idea for a cookbook. He would solicit readers of his newspaper for their recipes and give a free copy of the proposed Newville Cook and General Recipe Book to the contributors. He got swamped. Readers sent him over 700 recipes!

Half a year into the effort Morrow realized it wasn’t going to be a quick project. It took until nearly the end of 1876 to finish printing the Cumberland Valley Cook Book. It was renamed somewhere along the line, probably indicating the expanded scope. The volume was a hit and three years later, Morrow published a second edition with 200 additional recipes.

The recipes mostly were familiar American dishes of the day, largely desserts. However, among them were two recipes for something brand new in that day: shoo-fly pie (one was really a cake). They are the oldest documented recipes for the dish, preceding by at least 10 years the previous record.

After the second edition came out, things got strange.

The only existing copy of Morrow’s cookbook is a THIRD edition. The Cumberland Valley Cookbook and General Recipe Book by the Ladies of the Cumberland Valley, Pennsylvania was PUBLISHED IN TOPEKA, KANSAS IN 1881. And Morrow’s name is not on it.

SKU: 3 Category: