Archived Story

A well-used cookbook with a story to tell

Published 5:05pm Saturday, November 23, 2013

By Holly Johnson

Hormel Historic Home

As it often happens while decorating for Christmas, things get shuffled around and items that have been neglected are rediscovered. While getting ready for our Holiday Open House and English Tea this week, we discovered a cookbook that was obviously well used at one time.

Inside the front cover I found the beautifully printed name of Mrs. W. H. Hormel with the date of April 23, 1896. I don’t know if the book was a gift to Mrs. William Henry Hormel but corners are turned down, markings are made by many recipes and there are a couple book marks in the pages, so she obviously treasured the book greatly.

As a reminder to you, William Henry Hormel was George’s younger brother by two years. He and his wife, Margaret Stewart Hormel, moved to Austin in 1894, and William served as Pastor at the Presbyterian Church until 1900. The book that we found on our shelves is called “The Every-Day Cook-Book, Illustrated and Enclyclopedia of Practical Recipes” and was authored by Miss E. Neil. The book was published by Regan Printing House of Chicago, Ill., in 1892. When I Googled the book I found many references by other people who had found the book in their mothers’ or grandmothers’ possessions. Apparently, it was a very popular read more than 100 years ago, and antique copies are available for sale on several Internet sites.

The book is filled with interesting tidbits and advice, such as how to choose and carve various meats. The “Rules for Eating” section had several curious suggestions, such as “Never sit down to a table with an anxious or disturbed mind and never sit down to a meal after intense mental effort.” I like the following suggestion: “Let every family make it a point to assemble around the table with kindly feelings-with a cheerful humor and a courteous spirit; and let that member of it be sent from it in disgrace who presumes to mar the reunion by sullen silence, or impatient look, or angry tone, or complaining tongue.”

Based on the markings in the book, a few of Margaret Hormel’s favorite recipes must have been veal cutlets, egged veal hash, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, and ham croquettes. On the sweeter, side lemon cheesecake and snow-whipped cream are highlighted.

There are many practical ideas in the book, so stop by and take a look if you ever wonder how to clean a house or wash woolen blankets.

What’s Happening at the HHH

Nov. 28-29

Office closed for holiday.

 Dec. 16: Social Concerns —Laughter, the Best Medicine

10-11 a.m.

Join us for this special Social Concerns program presented by Julie Champlin. She will tell us that laughter is undervalued and underestimated as a natural way of taking care of ourselves. discover the powerful medicine of laughter. Call 507-433-4243 to let us know you are attending.

Friday, Dec. 13: Michael Veldman and Friends VIP Dinner

Tickets are still available for the pre-show dinner to benefit the Historic Paramount Theatre and the Hormel Historic Home. If you already have tickets to the show, you can still add the dinner to your agenda. If you do not have tickets to the show, please call the Paramount for availability, 434-0934. Tickets for the dinner and show are $65 each.


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