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To Keep a Husband, Try Pudding
|The first cookbook
written in California was the "Peerless Receipt Book," a volume aimed at
promoting use of the Peerless brand of baking powder. But historians arent certain
that it was actually printed in California.
So credit for being the first cookbooks written and published in the
state usually goes to three volumes that appeared in 1872, says Dan Strehl, curator of the
culinary collection at the Los Angeles Public Library, which has rare copies of all three.
Each was compiled by a charitable group, two of them in San Francisco, one in Sacramento.
The book that was probably first to hit the streets carried the quaint title "How to
Keep a Husband or Culinary Tactics."
Dedicated to "the fair ones of the Pacific Coast," it was
published by an Anglican church group in San Francisco. It draws more culinary inspiration
from England than from California.
Yet amidst the myriad of recipes for roasted meat and
other Old Country favorites sure to keep a husband from straying, such as calfs head
soup and mushroom catsup, are a few recipes that make use of local produce.
There are recipes for pickled plums, pickled grapes and a Spanish
flummery (custard) with white wine, for example, as well as recipes for lemon and orange
pudding. But these recipes don't appear to acknowledge that citrus fruit is available
practically year-round in California. The pudding recipes call for preserves. Here is the
recipe for orange pudding.
Pour a pint of milk on a half a pound of bread crumbs. Let
it boil up. Stir in two ounces of butter, one of suet, keeping the pan over the fire until
all is mixed. Let it stand still till cold then add two eggs, two ounces of sugar, the
same of orange marmalade, one spoonful of orange flower water. Choose a basin that will
exactly hold it. Tie over a flannel cloth loosely, closely. Boil it one and a quarter
hours. Sauce of melted butter, sugar, a little lemon and brandy.