Family Recipe Friday: Croquettes, anyone?

Croquettes as Catch of the Day, back in the day

I’ll be honest–I wasn’t exactly sure what croquett (modern spelling: croquette) even meant. Was it a fancy word for a meat patty? Salmon patties, sausage balls, crab cakes, and the like?

Not precisely. defines croquette as: “a small cake or ball of minced meat, poultry, or fish, or of rice, potato, or other food, often coated with beaten egg and bread crumbs, and fried in deep fat.” The word origin traces to 1700-1710 French, from the verb to crunch. Not fish sticks, mind you. The real, homemade deal– hearty, savory meat inside a hot, golden breaded pocket of satisfying crunchy goodness!

This cookbook was published in 1909 and we’re exploring the recipes and the lives of the women who submitted them. (Want to know more? Read the intro here or the previous entry here.)

Please remember to use 2014 food handling safety practices when attempting to make 1909 recipes!

Jump to . . .

Oyster Croquetts | Lobster Croquetts | Filled or Stuffed Fish | Fish
Mary P. Barlow | Frances Hart-Ritzinger | Mrs. S. M. Abel | Mary Cooper

Pages 18-19

Oyster Croquetts, Lobster Croquetts

an index card...

I promise to explain this.


Filled or Stuffed Fish, Fish


Twenty-five large oysters, as much veal or sweetbreads as oysters, ¼ pint of oyster liquor, ¼ pint of sweet cream, 1 large tablespoonful of butter, 2 tablespoonsful of flour, yolks of 2 eggs, 1 tablespoonful of chopped parsley, ¼ of a nutmeg. Wash oysters and careful remove all piece of shell; throw in boiling water or milk to set them. When they ruffle remove and drain and cut into small pieces. If using veal, boil until tender, and dice, using salt and pepper to taste. When using sweetbreads soak in cold water for two hours and boil in salted water one-half hour; skin and cut into bits. When all is ready put butter into frying pan where it will melt but not scorch; blend with flour, adding the oyster liquor and cream. If more liquor is required to make it the consistency of thick molasses, add more cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the fire and add beaten yellow of eggs, nutmeg and parsley. Mix this into the oysters, veal or sweetbreads. When cool, form into croquetts and dip into bread crumbs, thin the egg, allowing a tablespoonful of water to each egg; again dip into bread crumbs. Use frying basket and fry in deep fat.
–Mary P. Barlow.

Take a lobster weighing from 2½ to 3 pounds, 3 tablespoonsful of butter, ½ cupful of stock cream, 1 heaping tablespoonful of flour, a speck of cayenne, 2 eggs, salt 1 pint of bread crumbs, a little parsley. Cut lobster into fine dice and season with salt and pepper. Put butter on to heat; add flour, and when smooth add stock of cream and one well-beaten egg. Boil up once, add lobster and take off fire; now add one tablespoonful of lemon juice. Butter platter and pour mixure on it to the thickness of one inch; make perfectly smooth with a knife and set away to cool. When cool cut into chops, dip in beaten egg, and then bread crumbs. Place in frying basket and plunge in boiling lard. It will take about two minutes to brown. Canned lobsters may be used in same proportion.
–Frances Hart-Ritzinger.

Take any large fish, such as shad or fresh salmon. After it is dressed, cut in about six or eight pieces, take the meat out without breaking the skin or removing the bones; then chop the meat with two large onions, one egg, two tablespoons of flour or meal; season with salt and pepper very highly, then stuff back into the skin; have a large vessel with about one quart of boiling water, with an onion cut in, and a little salt and pepper; let boil very slowly for about three hours.
–Mrs. S. M. Abel.

To be served in individual dishes.
One pint of pieces of cold cooked fish, yolks of 2 eggs, 1 pint of milk, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of parsley, 1 small onion, 1 tablespoonful of butter, 2 tablespoonsful of flour. Put the milk on to a boil in a farina boiler; add to the onion, parsley and bay leaf; rub the butter and flour together and stir into the milk when boiling; cook two minutes; add the well-beaten yolks of the eggs; take from the fire and strain; add salt and pepper to taste. Put a layer of this sauce in the bottom of a dish, then a layer of the fish, and so on, having the last layer sauce. Sprinkle the top lightly with bread crumbs and place in the oven until a nice brown.
–Mary Cooper.

Why the index card?

Simple. Because that’s where I found it.


It’s a bookmark, which means one of these recipes was either worth bookmarking, or was on Cousin Alice‘s list to try out.

Who were they?

Mary P. Barlow: Mary Poundstone Barlow was a prolific contributor to this cookbook–in fact, my suspicion is that she could have been the organizer of the whole effort. Read all contributions and notes on her so far here.

Frances Hart-Ritzinger: Born either October 1879 (1) or December 1, 1879 (2) and christened Fannie Hart (1, 2), Frances first left me with the impression that the Hart family must not have been much for recordkeeping. Her parents were C. W. Hart and Victory V. Mooney (2, 3). In 1880, her family lived on Kanawha Street in Buckhannon, a few doors down from a twenty-two year old Mary Poundstone (1), who would later become the Mary P. Barlow listed in these pages!

In 1902, “Frances Mabel Hart” was the organizing regent of the Elizabeth Zane Chapter of the Daughters of the America Revolution in Buckhannon WV (4). Furthermore, a write-up from The History of Upshur County West Virginia From its Earliest Exploration and Settlement to the Present Time, by W. B. Cutright, gives a detailed history of the Hart family, and settles her birthdate as October 25, 1879. She also studied music in Florence, Italy and Dresden, Germany, completing her education in 1904 (5). Looks like I was wrong about the family being poor recordkeepers. (I looked for a passport application on Ancestry, but sadly, I didn’t find one.)

On November 29, 1906, Frances married John Ramsay Ritzinger at Buckhannon WV (6). In 1910, she (and her mother Victoria) lived with her husband’s family in St Paul MN (7), but by 1920, Frances and John struck off to El Centro CA to make their home with their two children, Augustus and Virginia (8).

In 1927, her son Augustus W. Ritzinger attended West Virginia Wesleyan College and was the president of a newly organized Sigma Eta Delta Fraternity, which had its fraternity house at 20 College Avenue (9, 10). Small wonder then, as a widow in 1930, Frances would be found a sorority chaperone–but in Madison WI this time (11).

Meanwhile (in 1930), Augustus worked as an accountant in Cleveland OH (12), but twelve-year-old Virginia is nowhere to be found. By 1940, she’s living with her brother and sister-in-law in Shorewood WI (13).

Frances Ritzinger passed in 1936 and is buried with her husband at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, IN (14).

Mrs. S. M. Abel: The Samuel M. Abel living Buckhannon WV in 1910 (1) is the top candidate to be the “Mister” attached to Mrs. S. M. Abel. If she’s our contributor, then her name was Lydia Schiff (2). She was born about July 1879 in Ohio, a daughter of Theodore Schiff of Russia (3). In 1900, the Schiff household included Theodore as its head, sisters Celia and Lydia, and a two-year-old grandson named Charles E Schiff (3). In 1910, Celia still lived with her father, but this time, the twelve-year-old grandson was called Ural Blustein (4). Both records for a grandson indicate a father from Russia and a mother from Ohio (3, 4), but there the trail goes cold. I suspect, since he stayed in the household with Celia, that he belonged to her.

I could not identify Lydia and Celia’s mother. I found a record for a “Theodora Schiff” born July 2, 1879 to Theodore Schiff and Rosa Wolf in Dayton OH, but since I already made one assumption with Samuel, I’ll leave this record to other researchers to evaluate.

In any case, Lydia Schiff married Samuel Morris Abel, also of Russia, on September 3, 1902 at Charleston WV (2). They lived in Buckhannon WV in 1910 (1), and all four of their children (Albert N., Julia R., Charles E., and Dorothy C.) were born in West Virginia between 1904 and 1916, but by 1920 they had relocated to Baltimore MD (5). I don’t find them in 1930, but Samuel, Lydia, and Julia Abel were still in Baltimore in 1940 (6).

Lydia and her family posed quite a challenge; many expected records did not appear in the databases where I thought I would find them. I hope to see her name turn up in the cookbook again, to allot space and time for a deeper look.

Mary Cooper: Mary Josephine Cooper’s name will appear quite a few more times as well. Read her contributions and biographical notes here.

(Numbered sources are cited and linked in the index.)


Banish fishsticks! Oyster & Lobster Croquettes, 1909. #realfood

Croquettes & more from this historic cookbook. #genealogy #foodie

 More fresh fish from 1909 (ew?) coming up next week!

Forgive me for getting this one out a little late. I hope you’re all enjoying this as much as I am.

If you love antique cookbooks and old-fashioned recipes, subscribe via email or RSS reader for Family Recipe Friday updates every week!

If you are researching one of the ladies credited here, email me! I’d love to hear your story!

Family Recipe Friday: Pry open those oysters, because Mary left us a clue

Genealogical Mysteries in the Pages of an Old Cookbook

This cookbook was published in 1909 and we’re exploring the recipes and the lives of the women who submitted them. (Want to know more? Read the intro here or the previous entry here.)

Please remember to use 2014 food handling safety practices when attempting to make 1909 recipes (particularly with shellfish)!

Jump to . . .

Salmon Loaf | Scallop of Oyster and Macaroni | Oysters in Batter
Pan Baked Oysters | Oysters Bouchees | Pigs in the Blankets
Mrs. Wm. Post | Mrs. S. T. Rorer

Pages 15-17

Oysters & Fish

WV WC cookbook (011) a

WV WC cookbook (011) b


Oysters and Fish

“Small fish should swim twice,
Once in water, and once in oil.”

One large sized can salmon, minced, with skin and bone removed; one teacup cracker crumbs, one egg, well beaten; the juice of half a lemon, one-half teacup water. Season with white pepper and salt, stir well together and put in greased quart can with tight lid. Put on in covered vessel of boiling water and boil for one hour. When cold slice and garnish with parsley and lemons cut in quarters.
–Mrs. Wm. Post.

Break four ounces of macaroni into pieces two inches long; throw into boiling water; boil rapidly thirty minutes; drain; throw into cold water for fifteen minutes; drain again; drain fifty oysters. Put a layer of these oysters into the bottom of a baking dish, then a layer of the boiled macaroni, another layer of oysters and macaroni, dusting a little salt and pepper over each layer; continue until the dish is filled, having the last layer macaroni. Cut a tablespoonful of butter into bits; put the bits over the top and dust thickly with bread crumbs. Pour over this four tablespoonsful of cream, and bake in quick oven about twenty minutes.
–Mrs. S. T. Rorer.

Beat one egg, without separating, until light; add six tablespoonsful of milk, one tablespoonful of olive oil, two spoonsful of water, a saltspoonful of salt, a dash of cayenne, add sufficient flour, about six rounding tablespoonsful, to make a batter. Drain and wash the oysters and throw them into a saucepan; bring to a boiling point, drain, and when cold dip each in the batter and fry in deep hot fat. Drain the oysters, pile on a napkin, garnish with parsley and lemon, or serve with cream sauce.
–Mrs. S. T. Rorer.

Drain twenty-five oysters free from all liquor. The oysters should be good-sized and fat. In the bottom of an individual baking dish put one square of nicely toasted bread. On top of this arrange about six oysters; sprinkle over them a quarter  teaspoonful of salt and a dash of pepper, and then pour over four tablespoonsful of cream. Stand these dishes in a baking pan, then run in a hot oven and bake for ten minutes. Serve at once in the dishes in which they were cooked.
–Mrs. S. T. Rorer.

Wash and drain twenty-five oysters; thrown them into a saucepan with ten chopped mushrooms; bring to boiling point. Rub together one tablespoonful of butter and one of flour; add a half cup of milk and the oysters; stir until boiling; add a half teaspoonful of salt, a saltspoonful of pepper. Serve in bouchee case or pate shells.
–Mrs. S. T. Rorer.

Slice breakfast bacon very thin; place a pint of large oysters to drain; take one at a time and wrap in strips of breakfast bacon, pinning together with wooden toothpick. Fry on both sides until bacon is brown and oysters ruffled. Serve on thin hot buttered toast.
–Mrs. Wm. Post.

Who were they?

Mrs. Wm. Post: Anna Lee Hurst was born August 21, 1869 (1, 2) to cattle merchant John L Hurst (1, 3) and Mary C/Marion Reger (1, 3) in Upshur county, West Virginia (4). She was raised in Buckhannon WV (5, 6).

She married William Post of Upshur county, probably shortly after their marriage license dated September 2, 1890, if not the same day (4). Their sons were William Louis Post, born September 5, 1891 and died July 22, 1892 (7); Isaac Hurst Post, born July 17, 1893 (8, 9) and died January 4, 1936 (9); and John Hawthorne Post, born October 15, 1894 (10, 11) and died April 20, 1974 (12).

Mrs. Wm. Post’s ties to West Virginia Wesleyan College actually helped me ascertain that this was the correct family of several “William Posts” in the Upshur county area. She served on the board of trustees from 1917-1926 (13, pages 156, 159), and both of her surviving sons were alumnae (14, 15, 16). In fact, I was able to find a good bit more about Annie Hurst Post and her family, which I’ll share along with her Fish Chowder and Baked Fish recipes in a few weeks.

Mrs. S. T. Rorer: Each search for the contributors to this cookbook begins in the same place. Name as given, residence in Buckhannon WV, timeframe 1900-1910. In the case of Mrs. S. T. Rorer, that didn’t help. Initials can be tough on search results, and “Rorer” proved vulnerable to misreadings in the indexes. I found more than a few “Rover” listings who turned out to be Rorers on closer inspection.

S. T. Rorer may be Samuel Theodore Rorer, born October 16 of 1875 (1) or 1876 (2) in Philadelphia PA. He lived in Fairfield NJ with his father and sister by 1900 (3), and he married Mary between 1900 and 1905 (3, 4, 5). And I couldn’t find much of anything about Mary. She was born in New Jersey in about 1876 (4, 6, 7).

Initially, I doubted whether I had the right family. Fairfield NJ isn’t exactly within spitting distance of Buckhannon WV, and I couldn’t find a connection.

Then again, Buckhannon WV isn’t exactly oyster country, and if we know one thing for certain about Mrs. S. T. Rorer, it’s that the woman loved oysters.

Like a good amateur genealogist, I consulted a map, and I learned that Fairfield NJ is right on top of the Delaware Bay, which neighbors the more famous Chesapeake Bay. That, friends is definitely oyster country.

I confess to an assist from an online family tree here, which suggested that Mary’s maiden name was Miller (8). I try not to use this tactic on my personal searches because it biases what I expect to find, but I knew I had a deadline to get this post up! So I tried to back into the same findings. Was there a Mary Miller of the right age and in the right place?

In a word, yes. The daughter of John S. and Martha Miller lived in Fairfield in 1900 (9), in the very same district as her husband-to-be, Samuel Rorer (3). He’s enumerated on page 1, and she on page 14–so they lived in the same community. Mary’s siblings Mabel and George (9) strengthen the case with onomastic evidence when compared with her children of the same names (5, 6, 7). I also checked for John and Martha Miller’s household in the 1905 New Jersey State Census to be sure that Mary wasn’t still listed at home (10). She wasn’t; the theory about her identity holds up to that test. Still, I don’t have a primary source naming “Mary Miller” as Samuel Rorer’s wife or as the mother of any of the Rorer children.

Mary lived to be about 90 and is buried at the Zion Cemetery at Bargaintown, Atlantic county, New Jersey with her husband and her son George (11).

Circumstantial, uncertain? Absolutely–but cracking the oysters was still crucial to cracking her case.

(Numbered sources are cited and linked in the index.)


“Small fish should swim twice, once in water, and once in oil.”

Family Recipe Friday fun: cracking oysters for clues!

What to eat when you’re in oyster country

Question for You!

Let’s have some fun and get a little conversation going this week. I want to know…

If all you left behind were your cookbooks or recipes, what would future generations guess about you?

See you next week with more seafood specials

Love antique cookbooks and old-fashioned recipes? Subscribe via email or RSS reader for Family Recipe Friday updates every week!

If you are researching one of the ladies credited here, email me! I’d love to hear your story!

Genealogy, Passion & Wasted Paper: “How I Write” Blog Hop

Let's go to the hop!

“I don’t always hop blogs, but when I do,
I hop these author blogs.”
(Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn /

Here’s a fun way to get introduced to me and a few other writers. My friend and fellow author C. Joy Allen tagged me to participate in this blog hop

What are you working on? At the moment, I’m gathering ideas for a new book and I don’t want to reveal too much of underdeveloped baby idealets . . . but I will say that the Pennsylvania Death Certificates database on have me thinking about a medical history mystery. What if a character with no interest in genealogy or family history got roped in by a discrepancy with what she thinks she knows . . ? (That happens quite a bit anyway, doesn’t it?)

How does your writing process work? Generally, I brainstorm or outline on paper . . . then type the scenes . . . then print to rewrite/revise/edit . . . then rinse and repeat until it’s done. I believe it was a piece by Anne Lamott run by Writer’s Digest some time in 1996 or 1997 that first gave me permission to waste a lot of paper, and no one can take that from me now. Anyway, I really believe a pen engages different nodes of my brain than a keyboard, and I try to make the most of my brain. I’m a 21st century reader, writer, and genealogist. As a consequence of my generation, I tread the margins of both paper and digital texts.

How does your work differ from others in its genre? I write contemporary women’s fiction from a Christian worldview. However, my work differs from most other contemporary women’s fiction authors because it includes an ancestral twist–a historical subplot. In my debut novel, there’s a homefront 1942 story undergirding what’s happening in the present day. That being said, the timeslip category of women’s fiction is pretty popular. If you like Karen White or Sarah Jio (general market) or Nicole Seitz, Susan Meissner or Lisa Wingate (inspirational market), then you might know just what I mean.

Why do you write what you write? Oh, two main reasons, I suppose. First, it’s what God called me to. I used to read horror (Stephen King), speculative/teen horror (Christopher Pike), thrillers/murder mysteries (Dean Koontz, Iris Johansen) and dystopian (mainly classics in this category). I don’t necessarily turn my nose up at those now, but at this point in my life, the workings (and failures) of relationships, particularly in families, frightens and fasincates me much more than ghosts or governments. And this leads to the second reason: I an only write compelling stories where I am frightened and fascinated. When people tell me book ideas to write, I say, “Great! I think you should write it.” Passion (and the lack of it) shows in writing whether you mean for it to or not. I incorporate my faith in Jesus and my personal interests into my books because I know my future readers (it’s getting so close! Arg! :) ) will sense my passion, and hopefully share in it.

And now, check out these authors as they pull back the curtain on their writing lives!

C. D. Gill – C.D. Gill writes contemporary fiction focusing on international cultures and issues like human trafficking and other injustices that we face today. As a member of ACFW, she enjoys connecting with other Christian authors and learning the craft. She is represented by Dan Balow of the Steve Laube Agency and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two dachshunds, Blade and Callie. Motorcycling, gardening, and reading take up a lot of her time when she is not enraptured in the writing world. Follow her on Twitter (@cgill6410) to stay connected to what’s going on around the world and to read different travel advice. She’s always looking for interesting travel and culture stories from others who want to share on her blog,

Heather Weidner – Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather Weidner has been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and the Saturday morning cartoons. She and her friends raced through all of the Nancy Drews, Hardy Boys, and Agatha Christies at the Kempsville Library. And that just started a life-long love of everything mystery. Heather currently lives in Central Virginia with her husband Stan and a pair of Jack Russell terriers. When she’s not reading and writing, Heather enjoys kayaking, photography, and visiting the beach as much as possible. She is a member of Sisters in Crime International, SinC-Central Virginia, SinC-CV Critique Group, and Guppies. Visit Heather’s blog, Crazy for Words or her Facebook site: Heather Baker Weidner Author. She also tweets @CrazyforWords13. (Her answers for the blog hop are here!)

Family Recipe Friday: Turtle Soup–but there seems to be one missing ingredient…

Turtle Soup, anyone?

This cookbook was published in 1909 and we’re exploring the recipes and the lives of the women who submitted them. (Want to know more? Read the intro here or the previous entry here.)

Please remember to use 2014 food handling safety practices when attempting to make 1909 recipes!

Page 14

Old Fashioned Turtle Soup & Cream of Celery Soup, 1909.


To 1½ quarts soup add 1 ounce mace, 1 dessert spoonful allspice, 1 teaspoonful cloves, pepper, black and cayenne, and salt to taste. Tie up a bunch of parsley, thyme and onion in a cloth, and throw into soup when boiling. When nearly done thicken with two tablespoonsful flour. To give a good color take one tablespoonful brown sugar and burn it, add a wine glass of water and put two tablespoonsful in soup.

Four roots of celery, one quart of milk, one pint of water in which celery was boiled, three level teaspoonsful of butter, six level tablespoonsful of flour, about three level teaspoonsful of salt and white pepper to taste, one slice of onion. Wash the celery and cut into small pieces; cover it with boiling water and boil about one-half hour, or until tender, then press it through a colander. Put the milk on to a boil in a double boiler, with the onion. Rub the butter and flour together and stir into the boiling milk; stir a moment, then remove the onion and add the strained celery and water, also the salt and pepper. When thoroughly heated, serve. This soup is improved by using one-half milk and one-half veal or chicken stock.

I don’t think we’ll find him in the census, do you?

Since there are no credited contributors on this page, I thought we might investigate the missing guest of honor instead.

I read through the turtle soup recipe no less than three times before typing it up here. No mention of a turtle. Neither hide nor . . . shell.

Quite honestly, on the first reading when I saw allspice and the word “dessert,” my frame of mind shifted to something sweet. I thought it was going to be some kind of soupy, nutty, praline treat. Y’know. Turtles.

For a sec, I thought we were talking about these kinds of turtles. Wrong.

Photo credit: TheCulinaryGeek via Altered/modified (cropped). Creative Commons license.

Upon closer inspection, however, I think I found our meaty little friend. The recipe begins with a quart and half of soup–not water. It seems the cook expected you to know how to soupify your turtles, and chose to delicately avoid describing the process.

I can’t say I have a problem with that. And actually, that probably means the recipe above would be suitable to season other kinds of meaty stock–just in case your neighborhood butcher doesn’t trade in turtle meat.

(Excuse me if I am unbecomingly interested in the poor turtle. I don’t normally think about whether my food has a face, but this one is proving an exception.)

Back to the neighborhood butcher . . .

It’ll be a while before we reach the advertisements printed in the cookbook’s last pages, but I can tell you now that Cowles & Latham boasted themselves the leading grocers in Buckhannon, West Virginia–claiming to be the “headquarters for everything that’s GOOD TO EAT.” No word on whether that includes turtle meat. (Sorry, sorry!) They were, however, “Agents for the Famous Blue Label Canned Vegetables and Fruits put up by Curtice Brothers, Rochester N. Y.” They also sold fine china and took special orders for cut flowers.

William F. Cowles (1) and Charles O. Latham (1) seem to be the gentlemen behind Cowles & Latham, and while they weren’t contributors to the cookbook, they indeed contributed to the fulfillment of any number of the recipes inside.

(Numbered sources are cited and linked in the index.)


Old-fashioned Turtle Soup. Step one: catch a turtle & soupify him…

Family Recipe Friday: Peeking back in time at 1909 recipes & the grocers who supplied the original cooks.

Next week, we’ll dive into some Oysters and Fish recipes.

That’s it for the Soups section! See you seafood-lovers next week. And if you love antique cookbooks and old-fashioned recipes, go ahead and subscribe via email or RSS reader for weekly Family Recipe Friday updates!

If you are researching one of the individuals named here, email me! I’d love to hear your story!

Family Recipe Friday: Laura’s death in 1904 poses a question about her soup recipe…

Historical Recipes and the Women Who Shared Them

This cookbook was published in 1909 and we’re exploring the recipes and the lives of the women who submitted them. (Want to know more? Read the intro here or the previous entry here.)

Please remember to use 2014 food handling safety practices when attempting to make 1909 recipes!

Page 13

historical soup recipes

Most of the pages from here on out are in better shape than the first few.


One quart cooked tomatoes, 1 pint water, ½ onion, 2 bay leaves, 4 cloves, 2 teaspoonsful salt, ¼ teaspoonful pepper, 3 tablespoonsful cornstarch, 2 tablespoonsful butter. Add the water to the tomatoes, with the onion, bay leaves and cloves; boil about ten minutes, then put through a sieve. Return to the fire; add the butter, pepper and salt; moisten the cornstarch with a little cold water, put in the soup and cook till transparent. Then it is ready to serve.
–Mrs Laura D. Pickenpaugh.

Three eggs, beat light; 2 teaspoonsful baking powder, pinch salt, flour enough to make a stiff dough; roll thin. Then make in a small roll, cut very fine. Let stand several hours before cooking. Cook in any kind of broth about twenty minutes.

Cut up two chickens, two slices of ham and two onions into dice; flour them and fry the whole to a light brown; then fill the frying pan with boiling water, stir it a few minutes, and turn the whole into a saucepan, stir it a few minutes and turn the whole into a saucepan containing three quarts of boiling water; let it boil forty minutes, removing the skum. In the meantime soak three pods of okra in cold water twenty minutes. Cut them into thin slices and add to the other ingredients; let it boil one hour and a half. Add one quart of canned tomatoes and a cupful of boiled rice half an hour before serving.

Who was she?

Mrs Laura D Pickenpaugh: Laura Dering was born to William M. Dering (1, 2) and Sarah Glisson (1, 2, 3) on May 2, 1831 (4, 5) in Monongalia county, VA (1), now part of West Virginia. She married merchant Daniel C. Pickenpaugh on July 13, 1864 at Morgantown WV (1). Both she and Daniel lost their fathers while they were young adults, he at age 17 (6) and she at 25, well before they married (7). I do wonder if that was a point of connection for them.

Laura’s sister Harriet Dering lived with them in Morgantown WV when the 1870 Federal census was taken (8), but the Pickenpaughs remained childless until their daughter Sarah was born in July of 1871 (9). Sadly, Daniel died of consumption the following year on June 18, 1872 (10). Laura did not remarry. In 1880, Laura and 9-year-old Sarah remained in Morgantown WV (11). Incidentally, 1880 was the only available Federal census in which Laura is found living separately from her sister (2, 5, 8, 11, 12). It makes sense—in 1880, Harriet was a newlywed, having married Frank Woods on July 9, 1879 (13).

I might not have found Laura in 1900 without the help of the Library of Congress Chronicling America project—but on July 4, 1903, she’s warned in the Advertised Letters column of the Washington DC Evening Star that she has mail on its way to the Dead Letter Office (14). I then located Frank and Harriet Woods and Laura Pickenpaugh in Baltimore MD in 1900 (5). The census reports that Laura’s only child is no longer living; Sarah died in 1891 at about age 20 (9).

Laura passed away on March 18, 1904, and she is buried at the Oak Grove Cemetery at Morgantown WV (4).

(Numbered sources are cited and linked in the index.)

Now that’s interesting…

Laura’s death in 1904 poses a question: who submitted her recipe to be included in the West Virginia Wesleyan College Cook Book, which is presumed to have been published around 1909?

I’ll guess that she probably gave the recipe to a friend who later submitted it to the cookbook committee. Did the friend offer Laura’s recipe as a memorial, or as a delicious dish that ought to be shared? As we continue through the pages, I’ll be watching for other contributors with ties to Morgantown WV.


Sound off, #glutenfree experts! Can this 1909 homemade noodle recipe be adapted for GF life?

Laura contributed to this cookbook–5 years after her death. What does THAT mean? #genealogy

Bet I can make this gumbo without dirtying *4* pots & pans! #cooking

Thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you next week

Love antique cookbooks and old-fashioned recipes? Subscribe via email or RSS reader for Family Recipe Friday updates every week!

If you are researching one of the ladies credited in this cookbook, please email me. I’d love to hear your story!