York Town Square

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Re-printed cookbook filled with ‘tried and tested’ York County, Pa., recipes

This advertisement is among hundreds that appear in the ‘York Hospital “Benefit” Cookbook,’ circa 1916. The cookbook has been reprinted and available for sale at the York County Heritage Trust. The cookbook was subtitled “Home Formulary of ‘Tried and Tested’ York County Recipes with Hints and Helps to Good Housekeeping.” In the original cookbook, color swaths were glued onto the pages of this advertisement from the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Alabastine. Also of interest: All “YorkEats: Hogmaw and such” category posts from the start and Oysters: ‘Economical … not bones or waste …’ and Mix ‘You know you’re a Yorker, if’ with oysters. You get…
“For people who have an interest in cooking and historical data and a fascinating presentation of advice.”
Thus was the dedication for the reprint of the ‘York Hospital “Benefit” Cookbook, courtesy of the John Zimmerman family.
York County’s John Zimmerman found the 240-page paperback book among the cookbook collection of his late wife Kathryn and realized its value to the York community… .

Anstandt Printing undertook the press work, and the York community now has a snapshot of culinary life – and life in general – in pre-World War I York County.
We’ll devote several future posts to what the cookbook tells us about living before the Great War.
But the cookbook is first, well, a cookbook.
There’s a page – Page 3 – that breaks down its contents into food categories. For example, fish and oysters, puddings, candies and sweetmeats, jams and jellies. And it provides space to record the page number of the favorite recipes.
“You cannot know how valuable this book is until you read every page of it,” readers are told. “It contains directions for doing a thousand things about the home, in the best possible way. It teaches how to prepare food, in the most attractive and wholesome manner… .”
An early reviewer of this re-printed cookbook must have read every word of it.
And he remarked on one recipe he could not find, directions for preparation of one distinctive Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy.
“No,” he noted, “I could not find a single hogmaw recipe.”