What a treasure. Antique cookbooks offer up their gems in unexpected ways.
This is the last paragraph of a forward written by Jennie June Croly in 1866. In it, we find all of the optimism and emotions of her audience – a new bride – and the voice of tempered experience forewarning of hardships to come. This was the era of A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, and a Christmas Carol – romanticism tempered by realism. The American Civil War had just ended – a dark period, indeed, for the young men and women in the country.
Dear friends, – for it is you, for whom this book is written, and to whom it is dedicated, – I believe in you, I sympathize with you, for I am one of you. I see you in your lovely young wife-hood, so happy in your treasures of pantry and closet, so proud of your first culinary success, of your lord and master’s high appreciation of it; and I would, if it were possible, extend the loving halo which glorifies every act of affection during these first happy months, to all your futures; so that no weariness, no pain, no distrust, no loss of anything that now makes life beautiful, might ever come to you. But this is out of my power. I can only wish for every one no more clouds than is necessary, to vary and make beautiful the matrimonial sky, and so dear friends,
I would like to think that Jennie June had no more clouds than necessary shadow her path…
Source: Jennie June’s American cookery book, 1866.