Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Inscription on the pastedown endpaper indicates that this recipe book was written and compiled by Mrs. A.Y. Bird starting on October 18, 1818. Little else is known about Mrs. A.Y. Bird's identity, but she was likely from England based on locations referenced throughout the volume, including Kidderminster, Worcestershire (p. 153).
Based on the creator's literacy and the variety of ingredients present in this volume, it can be inferred that this recipe book represents a creator with relative financial stability and means.
The manuscript contains recipes attributed to individuals known to Mrs. A.Y. Bird and handwritten copies of notable English culinary recipes from the 17th through 19th centuries. Individuals referenced in the volume include Anne Bird (p. 151), Jane Bird (p. 146), Mrs. Amphlett of Kidderminster (p. 153), Dr. Kennison (p. 174), Mrs. Thomas Lord (p. 93), and Sir George Parker (p. 171), among numerous others. Notable recipes include Northumberland pudding (p. 23), mock turtle soup (p. 132), Poor Knights of Windsor (p. 67), Wiltshire cure (p. 93), and Shrewsbury biscuits (p. 136).
Mock turtle soup is a recipe developed to mimic the popular 18th century "turtle soup" recipe after its titular ingredient, the green turtle, was hunted to near extinction. Mock turtle soup recipes use a diverse range of animal-based ingredients in an attempt to replicate the texture created by the green turtle. Most recipes include a whole calf's head.
Wiltshire cure is a method of curing bacon developed in the 1770s by John Harris in Cain, Wiltshire, England for his industrial bacon manufacturing business. This business was the world's first industrial bacon processing plant and used a unique method of curing pork in brine, which became known as the Wiltshire cure.
Shrewsbury Biscuits originate from the town of Shrewsbury in Shropshire, England. They appear in the 1658 cookbook, The Compleat Cook of 1658, but have likely been around since the 16th century. These biscuits are often associated with a local businessman, Mr. Palin. While he did not create the biscuits, he notably sold them in his shop near the Shrewsbury Castle. They are similar in texture to a thin shortbread and often include zest, spices, and dried fruits to add additional flavor.
Bule, Guise. "The History of Bacon." The English Breakfast Society, https://englishbreakfastsociety.com/history-of-bacon.html
Buttery, Neil. "Mock Turtle Soup." British Food: A History, https://britishfoodhistory.com/2016/08/09/mock-turtle-soup/
Saunders, Jane. "Shrewsbury Biscuits (Shrewsbury Cakes)." Little Sugar Snaps, 29 March 2022, https://www.littlesugarsnaps.com/shrewsbury-biscuits/#:~:text=Where%20and%20when%20did%20they,been%20around%20since%20the%201500s
This volume contains 192 culinary, medicinal, and household recipes created or compiled by Mrs. A.Y. Bird between 1818 and 1860 in England. The majority of the recipes are culinary.
There is an index that details the recipes on pages 1 through 108 on the pastedown endpapers and first leaves in both the front and the back of the volume.
Inscription on the pastedown endpaper indicates that this recipe book was written and compiled by Mrs. A.Y. Bird starting on October 18, 1818. The first portion of the manuscript (p. 1-168) contains 162 mostly culinary recipes. Examples of these recipes include, Northumberland pudding (p.23), walnut catchup (p. 43), carrot soup (p. 131), mock turtle soup (p. 132), and cheese straws (p. 138).
The orientation of the handwriting is flipped in the second portion of the volume (p. 169-192) and the recipes included are mostly for medicinal remedies and household products, including furniture soap (p. 169), sore throat gargle (p. 175), convulsion drops (p. 177), and lip salve (p. 190).
Sold by Ken Spelman Books, 2021.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Kelin Baldridge Smallwood
- Finding Aid Date
- 2023 June 12
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.