Friday, May 4, 2018

"The Tea Room Business" by Mrs. Ida Lee Cary

Can you read the title of this booklet?

It's "The Tea Room Business" by Mrs. Ida Lee Cary, and I found it on the Library of Congress website through the link here. So 98 years ago, women were being enticed into the business world this way: "Tea Room Business is the most attractive and profitable way for a woman to earn money in her own home. Though married you will find you can buy many things for yourself and family that you could not buy if you did not have a business of your own."

Mrs. Cary goes on to give some suggested menu items for your tea room, and it's clear that in 1920, this was more of the "country cooking" style of tea room than the tea-and-crumpets tea rooms we enjoy today. I was happy to see a chicken salad sandwich on the menu, though, although the "lettuce sandwich" didn't sound very appetizing. I wished the booklet included the recipe for the chocolate cake that Mrs. Cary says is "a great favorite with everyone," but a few more seconds of prowling the internet led me to this. More fun reading courtesy of Mrs. Cary and her tea room!


  1. Oh, that cookbook is fun! I was flipping through the pages and got stuck on page 19. "Pigs in Blankets" being oysters wrapped in bacon - "Cheese Fonda" - etc. You find the most interesting things in the Library of Congress!

  2. Loved the recipe book! Cooking "just like grandma used to make".. Think I might try a couple of them just for fun.

  3. Thank you for brining that fun cookbook to our attention! I loved looking at the unusual dishes--I've never seen a recipe for cooking guinea fowl before, nor have I seen a recipe for hickory nut ice cream (although I always loved the hickory nut cake that my mother would make when I was a child in Kentucky).
    --from Vernona in DC

  4. Loved the cookbook. You find the neatest things. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Love these books! Thanks for sharing them!

  6. What a fascinating find. What I have read is tea rooms popped up for people as a place to stopping when traveling along the highway for a bite to eat. Sort of like stopping at a fast food place now when on a road trip.


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