200 Years of Charleston Cooking without Dust Jacket: Two Hundred Years of Charleston Cooking by Blanche Rhett, Lettie Gay, and Helen Woodward. Originally published by Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith in 1930. This copy is from the revised edition, first printing, published in 1934 by Random House, New York, in 1934. Hard cover with NO dust jacket, 305 pages. Every page is clean and clear. The binding is completely sound. The cover is worn at the edges and corners, only. Excellent vintage condition. Definitely gift quality.
The cookbook was created with an interesting collaboration among three women. Blanche Rhett gathered the recipes from her friends and family in Charleston and from two even older cookbooks, The Carolina Housewife and The Southern Cook Book. Lettie Gay, director of the New York Herald-Tribune Institute, edited and standardized the recipes. Helen Woodward wrote the Introduction and additional –and excellent–historical perspectives throughout the book. Unfortunately, there’s no attribution for the photographs. The great thing about this revised edition? An additional chapter on “Plantation Drinks,” including drinks like Otranto Club Punch, the Charleston Light Dragoon’s Punch, Dixie Tea and Charleston Eggnog.
Of all the old cookbooks I’ve dealt with in 20 years, this is the best. Every page has little stories about the recipes, concrete historical facts about the people for whom the recipes were created, delightful tales about the people who cooked the recipes and about those who set the tables. Not to mention history of the local plantations. And, it has charming black and white photographs of everyday people selling food. I love this cookbook.
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