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Nineteenth-Century Holiday Treats

November 26, 2008

For many people, preparing for Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season means many hours in the kitchen cooking and baking (and cleaning up!). This year, you may want to add some nineteenth-century desserts to your repertoire, courtesy of Texan Anna Gibbs McKinney. Anna married Thomas McKinney in 1843; he was one of Stephen F. Austin’s “Old Three Hundred” and a prominent resident in the Republic of Texas.

Anna’s cookbook contains approximately seventy-five recipes that, according to the published edition of the book, she collected “from friends, relatives and newspapers and laboriously hand-copied” in ink. In addition to containing directions for cakes and other desserts, the cookbook also includes recipes for breads and biscuits, directions for making condiments and preserves, and a “recipe for curing meat by a New Orleans pork packer.” Mrs. McKinney also gathered other homemaking information in her book, specifically instructions for making soap and candles as well as remedies for conditions such as smallpox, mites and vermin, cancer, sore legs, bites from poisonous insects, and “nails in the foot of man or horse.”

Happy Thanksgiving, and happy baking!

Anna McKinney's recipe for .

Anna McKinney's recipe for soft gingerbread.

Recipes for

Recipes for pumpkin pie and beaten biscuits.

Instructions on making

Instructions on making fruit cake.

Click here for a full citation of the documents and images included in this entry.

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