The Historic Kentucky Kitchen: Traditional Recipes for Today's Cook
Kitchens serve as more than a place to prepare food; they are cornerstones of the home and family. Just as memories are passed down through stories shared around the stove, recipes preserve traditions and customs for future generations. The rich, diverse heritage of Kentucky’s culinary traditions offers a unique way to better understand and appreciate the history of the commonwealth.
The Historic Kentucky Kitchen assembles more than one hundred dishes from nineteenth and twentieth-century Kentucky cooks. Deirdre A. Scaggs and Andrew W. McGraw collected recipes from handwritten books, diaries, scrapbook clippings, and out-of-print cookbooks from the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections to bring together a variety of classic dishes, complete with descriptions of each recipe’s origin and helpful tips for the modern chef. The authors, who carefully tested each dish, provide recipe modifications and substitutions for rare and hard-to-find ingredients.
This entertaining cookbook also serves up famous Kentuckians’ favorite dishes, such as John Sherman Cooper’s preferred comfort food (eggs somerset) and Lucy Hayes Breckinridge’s “excellent” fried oysters. The recipes are flavored with humorous details such as “[for] those who thought they could not eat parsnips” and “Granny used to beat ’em [biscuits] with a musket.” Accented with historic photographs and featuring traditional meals ranging from skillet cakes to spaghetti with celery and ham, The Historic Kentucky Kitchen presents a novel and tasty way to experience the history of the Bluegrass State.
Deirdre A. Scaggs is associate dean of the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections Research Center and the author of Women in Lexington.
Andrew W. McGraw is the Administrative Specialist for CSI Group.
So many of the recipes date from a date when virtually all the food found on a table had been produced within a few miles of the cook’s kitchen, that anyone who haunts the aisles of seasonal farmers’ markets is going to want this book. -- Susan Reigler, author of The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book
Who knew what culinary treasures lay tucked within the pages of personal letters and papers in the archives of our major libraries? Cookbook writers and historians have more or less ignored these sources. It took a librarian and a chef, working together, to expose a rich seam of classic and time-honored recipes in the Special Collections division of the University of Kentucky Libraries, and adapt these great dishes to modern kitchens. Archivist Deirdre Scaggs and Chef Andrew McGraw selected over a hundred hand-written recipes from diaries, scrapbook clippings, notebooks and journals left to the library for safekeeping. They tested each one and made the necessary modifications to come up with historic menu items you can prepare in your own kitchen. Every major library and archive in the country will find these untapped sources of old and almost out-of-reach preparations— and the stories that go with them—simply irresistible. If you think I’m kidding, just get a glimpse of three 19th-century ways to serve summer tomatoes—stuffed, scalloped, fricasseed—and you’ll understand what a trove of pleasures this is. -- John Egerton, author of Southern Food: At Home, On the Road, in History
The authors have added significant quality and context to the recipes by actually preparing each of the recipes and offering suggestions for how modern day readers can best create these historic dishes. -- Aaron Purcell, director of special collections at Virginia Tech
A delicious medley of more than 100 classic dishes. . . . The Historic Kentucky Kitchen sets itself apart . . . serv[ing] up famous Kentuckians' favorite dishes . . . [alongside] interesting historical photographs. -- Chevy Chaser Magazine
More than 100 delectable delights . . . [have] all been tested and updated where necessary, but remain authentic enough that one can easily cook like grandma (or her ma). A must for every kitchen and a nostalgic delight for the food lover. -- Louisville Courier-Journal
A fascinating new book. . . . If you truly want a taste of culinary history, this excellent cookbook is one of the better sources available. -- Fort Myers Florida Weekly
The Historic Kentucky Kitchen . . . is a slender yet significant volume of culinary history, thoroughly tested recipes and vintage photographs. You don't have to be a Kentuckian to appreciate this engaging, lively celebrattion of home, hearth and modernized 'receipts.' -- Linda Hitchcock
If you truly want a taste of culinary history, this excellent cookbook is one of the better sources available. -- Larry Cox
The uniqueness of the book ensures its broad appeal, even to those who do not cook. -- Kentucky Kaleidoscope
The Historic Kentucky Kitchen assembles more than one hundred dishes from nineteenth and twentieth-century Kentucky cooks, offering an entertaining and informative glimpse of historic meals and the people who loved them. -- Consuming Louisville
Accented with historic photographs and featuring traditional meals ranging from skillet cakes to spaghetti with celery and ham, The Historic Kentucky Kitchen presents a novel and tasty way to experience the history of the Bluegrass State. -- Books News Desk
It is absolutely packed with interesting facts, tips and photographs that bring the recipes inside to life and connect the written instructions with the Kentuckians who prepared these meals between the1870s and 1960s. All in all, I would highly recommend this cookbook. I read this cookbook like it was a novel and learned a surprising amount about Kentucky's culinary history. -- Chef Madeline Dee -- ArtsLouisville.com
The Historic Kentucky Kitchen . . . presents a novel and tasty way to experience the history of the Bluegrass State. -- Danville Advocate-Messenger
Incorporating handwritten recipes and photos from the 1870s to the 1960s, Scaggs and McGraw weave a compelling tale of Kentucky’s past.
Blending antiquity with modernity, this book brings the state’s rich culinary history into the kitchen of contemporary chefs. -- The Local Palate
“The Historic Kentucky Kitchen” blends nostalgia with traditional recipes dating from the 1870s to 1960s that many Kentuckians will recognize today. From mouth-watering biscuits to hearty potato soup, most readers will find something they want to serve at their next family meal.
[. . .] Dotted throughout the book are fascinating photographs that allow the reader a glimpse into a time period very different from ours today.
[. . .] Scaggs and McGraw have written a delightful book that will appeal to all ages and cooking skills. -- Bowling Green Daily News
This book is a gift to the citizens of Kentucky, a way to celebrate family and heritage and have a wonderful time devouring the history of the Bluegrass State. -- Kentucky Monthly