Ladies Aid Society of the Wayne Methodist Church cookbook of 1892

This week the mail has once again brought interesting information about Wayne in a bygone era. This time it was a letter from Miss Lillian Walter who, with her sisters, Miss Helen and the late Miss Nellie Walter, lived for many years at 105 Runnymede avenue with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Walter. They moved to Perkasie about 12 years ago.

Miss Lillian Walter writes: “The other day in cleaning out a kitchen drawer in which there were several old cook books of my mother’s, Helen and I came across this old cook book compiled and published by the “Ladies Aid Society of the Wayne Methodist Church” in 1892, 65 years ago. It was done as a means of raising money for the society… the church had been fairly recently built.”

The letter then tells of a recent visit to their home, made by Mrs. Gertrude Ware Case and her brother, Albert Ware, both Wayne residents of many years, who had been much amused by the contents of the old book.

Miss Walter regretted that the book had not reached this writer in time for exhibition at the recent historical meeting of the Saturday Club, when many other mementos of the late 1800’s had been on display.

Miss Walter’s letter continues: “I was a little girl at the time the cook book was published, but remember perfectly my mother buying a copy, and I am quite sure that the book found its way into the kitchens of most of the Wayne households of 1892… the timing of the cooking of certain vegetables is priceless – one hour for spinach, for instance!”

The booklet of “Practical Receipts” was compiled by the Ladies’ Aid Society less than a year after the completion of the building of the church. There were well over 100 recipes in the 78 pages, and even more advertisements than recipes.

As the reader glances over the various items, she is struck by the fact that many edibles that were then made in the kitchens of Wayne are now purchased from the shelves of the grocer. Homemade bread seldom makes its appearances on any table now, particularly “bread of entire wheat flour.” Tomato catsup, pickled onions, picklelilli, chili sauce and chow chow come in bottles these days, and, more often than not, soups come in cans. Welsh rarebits, warm slaw, potato pancakes, kidney stews, breakfast croquettes are but a few of the now almost forgotten dishes. And who makes raspberry vinegar now?

Under the listing of “Things learned by experience” are the following:
“If your coal fire is low, throw a tablespoon of salt on it, and that will help greatly.
“To remove grease from a carpet or any woolen goods, beat up the yolk of an egg until it is light, rub on the spot with a brush, let it remain half an hour; then wash with hot water and Babbitt soap.
“To prevent codfish from smelling through the house when cooking, put it in a covered boiler and place in the oven – it will cook just as well.
“For a burn, apply pure castile soap; moisten the soap, shave off and spread over the burn; it prevents blistering.
“To keep your milk pure, put it into glass fruit jars and close tightly.”

(Next week’s column will contain same of the many advertisements that appeared in this 65-year-old cook book.)