Thursday, August 2, 2012

A 1924 cookbook: "Tea-Kettle Talk"

Old cookbooks are so fun to read, and recently I came across this one, "Tea-Kettle Talk," which the inside pages tell me was privately printed for the Alumnae Association of the North Carolina College for Women in Greensboro, N.C. I knew the college's name had probably changed over the years, and sure enough, today it's the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

It was amusing to read this note from the inside cover. Obviously, the owner (or her descendants?) did not follow the advice to "keep"!

I always look for references to tea, of course, but I have to tell you this tea recipe left me wanting. That 1 teaspoon of tea and 2 cups of boiling water would be too weak even for someone like me who likes her teas on the weak side!

And these descriptions of Five O'clock Tea and Afternoon Tea were interesting. I don't know about you, but if I were ever invited to "Afternoon Tea" and showed up to merely a cup of tea and a wafer, I would be mighty disappointed!

There are, however, some things I'd genuinely like to try in this book, such as the Whipped Cream Roll with Chocolate Sauce, or perhaps the Soft Ginger Bread, or the Nut Salad (for 20!) by the delightfully named Brightsey Savage. Do any of you like to read old cookbooks, even if you don't cook with them? I think they are such interesting artifacts from days gone by!


  1. What a fun cookbook! I love to read cookbooks, old and new.

  2. Thanks for sharing your new-old cookbook, Angela.
    Love the title and yes that is a recipe for some weak tea for sure!

    I have several vintage cookbooks and enjoy looking at them to get ideas for afternoon tea foods. It's fun to read the "measurements" for the ingredients that are given.
    A teacupfull is my favorite. This description of making an Irish Stew from my A & P Everyday Cookbook made me giggle. "Let the mess stew slowly for about three hours, taking care to keep the lid so tight that none of the virtue escapes."
    Have a happy day,
    Mary Jane

  3. I could be mistaken, but the first recipe looks like it is for lemon tea with ice and sugar. There is no mention of milk.

    I don't know where they got the idea of just having a wafer and tea, but they still have tea rooms in England, and they are very popular.

    Traditionally, tea consisted of a varitey of sandwiches, cream cakes and lots of tea.

    Normally, it would be about two sandwiches per person. Then the cakes and tea would follow.

    This was during the summer when it was too hot to cook.

    High tea consisted of having a cooked meal.

  4. I have a few old cookbooks that were my grandmother's, they are treasures. This one is fun to see. That nut salad does sound good.

  5. This looks like such a fun book! Hope you 'keep' it!

  6. "Cover the table with dainty madeira" caught my eye, because I didn't know what madeira linens were. Now I do, since I've just looked it up -- from Madeira, Portugal. I've seen that type of linens but didn't know their name.

  7. I have a collection of vintage cookbooks that I love to just read - with a cup of tea nearby of course! I do cook from my 1950s Betty Crocker regularly and have also cooked from my 1943 Good Housekeeping.

    Love your blog!

  8. I love old cookbooks! I do occasionally try recipes from them too.

  9. What a neat book for the college next door to mine.

  10. I love reading through old cookbooks, too - sometimes the recipes call for two or three cups of lard...I remember seeing recipe cards on a tour at George Washington's Mount Vernon home:
    'add in 24 eggs...' (some massive cake they were baking!) I'm glad to see you'll be keeping this cookbook,

  11. Love old recipe books like this one. What a great find.


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