The Museum will be open on Mondays, July 4 through September 5.

Early cookbook (brain cakes, anyone?) reveals interesting tastes

Today, ArtDaily ran an article about an eighteenth-century cookbook going to auction. Certainly part of what makes it fascinating is the difference between what people ate then and what we eat today (brain cakes with calves head hash, anyone?), but also the idea that people were recording things as seemingly insignificant as favorite recipes in the 1700s.

My mother is, and my grandmothers were, the type of cooks who, when asked for a recipe, would list a few ingredients and tell you to add them until it smelled/tasted/looked right. Even baking and canning, I don’t remember them using recipes. I didn’t venture into the world of cookbooks until I was in my 20s, and didn’t realize the concept of cookbooks predated my time in the kitchen by centuries.

I’m not certain Mr. Hyde’s collection of hundreds of first- and early-edition and rare books includes any of the cookbook variety, but some of them date back to even earlier than the cookbook mentioned in the article.

When visiting The Hyde Collection, you can see Mr. Hyde’s book collection in the Library on the first floor of Hyde House. Our security system won’t allow you to get close enough to read the spines of all the books, but there is a complete list of titles in the wooden lectern when you first enter the room. It’s fascinating to see the variety he collected. Be sure to check it out.