Whether cooking over a camp fire or preparing treats for a banquet or ball, it can be handy to have authentic period recipes — or receipts, as they were called — that are presented in a more comprehensible modern format, with clearer instructions and measurements but without sacrificing authenticity.
Many period cookbooks can be found online, more and more as libraries and others digitize their collections. Here are a few useful links — and Google books has others.
- Feeding America Online (cookbooks from late 18th century onwards)
- Larsdatter’s Links to Cookbooks (more 18th century)
- A Book of Cookery, a modern publication, is a handy compendium of receipts from different period cookbooks, along with useful related information. The author Kimberly Walters is pictured upper left.
- 18th and early 19th century cookbooks online
- Recipes from Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Foodways program.
- Martha Washingtons Booke of Cookery, by Karen Hess (worth it for the wealth of information in her commentary!)
The Mount Vernon website also has recipes, like Martha Washington’s great cake shown below.
Here are a few other useful receipts that have been tested by us or knowledgeable friends.