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OP: Catering for Two

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by Alice L. James

A fascinating resource for illuminating what it meant to be of “small means” at the end of the nineteenth century, Catering for Two (1898) was geared toward the inexperienced cook of a small household. 

One dinner menu includes pureed green peas with toast, veal pot pie, cauliflower fritters, baked tomatoes, and green corn on the cob, followed by a dessert of lemon pudding—this variation resembling a hybrid of bread pudding and meringue pie.

The dozens of other bills of fare are similarly elaborate and hearty.

Alice L. James, our experienced author of “sixteen years’ labor and study,” also offers helpful advice to the novice like, “A little curry powder added to soups or stews gives a new dish” and “If only a very simple meal is desired (of two courses) add an extra vegetable…and select a somewhat rich dessert.”

The latter two chapters cover the latest in kitchen technology, the modern gas oven—unfamiliar enough to warrant a warning against leaning too far over the stove, as “gas is very hot a long way above the flame”—and electric appliances. 

Our copy is an 1898 apparent first printing in Very Good condition. The interior is clean and unmarked and printed on sturdy stock. The blue clothbound case is printed with a handsome hearth illustration and shows very minimal shelfwear.

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