A few weeks ago I came across a wonderful little treasure at a second hand store. Well, it was a wonderful little treasure to me anyway. I suppose to a lot of other folks it was just an odd and worn out item of questionable value.
I was at one of my favorite frugal shopping spots (The Nice Twice Resale Shoppe for my local readers). I almost always take a look in the book section hoping to find another cookbook to add to my collection. On this particular visit I was once again nosing around the book section when I spotted a few books set aside on a small table. One of the store volunteers had the foresight to pull these books aside because they were old. Really old. Like they should have been in a museum kind of old.
I’m kind of a sucker for old dusty historical things so I picked up the most intriguing book of the bunch titled “The Home Cyclopedia of Practical Information”. Published in 1902, it was a collection of five volumes in one book. It was intended to be an ultimate resource of knowledge for someone at the turn of the century giving them tips, advice, and instructions about business, history, cooking, housekeeping, health and medicine, as well as what they just referred to as “general knowledge”.
Of course, I immediately turned to the volume on cooking and housekeeping. After all, I did start out in search of a cookbook. I was having a good time reading recipes for things like Tongue Sandwich (blech) Foamy Omelet with Jelly (weird) and a schedule for a work week that started off with what the maid should do (I wish).
And then it hit me. I held in my hands a blog from 100 years ago! If great-grandma had the internet, this would have been the stuff she wrote about! All her best recipes, great tips, and advice that she felt worthy of sharing with others.
At that moment I had to have the book. I headed straight to the cash register, gladly paid the $10 asking price and headed home. I made supper, and then proceeded to plunk myself down and spent the rest of the evening looking through the book, which I had now nicknamed “The 100 Year Old Blog”.
It’s kind of a strange and unsettling experience reading through something from a century ago. You get a sense of connection with the whole human experience. Although the methods and resources change, the goal has always been to feed our families well , be good stewards of our money, and provide a safe, clean and happy home for those we love. In some ways so much has changed and in other ways, nothing has changed at all.
Oh and by the way, 100 years ago they were making their own stuff! I’m loving it! Must share with my blog readers!
So I’ve decided to run a new feature for a few weeks on the Make Your Own Zone with excerpts from my “Home Cyclopedia” because I think you’ll enjoy some of these old time recipes and tips as much as I did. I’ll be posting these on the weekends for a while and who knows, maybe we can still learn a thing or two about making our own stuff from this treasure trove of information that has been largely forgotten over the years.