You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe


Vintage cookbooks reveal secrets of America’s past

At Thanksgiving and all year, historians and cooks are finding new inspiration in records of yesterday’s kitchens.

In 1796, a self-described orphan named Amelia Simmons published a slim cookbook “calculated for the improvement of the rising generation of Females in America.” Now considered the first American cookbook, “American Cookery” took British cooking methods and applied them to the ingredients of the New World, including cornmeal and squash.

But the book is striking for another reason, too: Simmons’s pumpkin pudding baked in a crust is the ancestor of the classic Thanksgiving pie. And her recipe for roast turkey—a North American bird—suggested stuffing the bird with bread and herbs, and then serving it with cranberry sauce. It was the first time the combination, now so central to this holiday, had been suggested in print.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week