One of the things about old cook books I find most interesting is the writing. As cooks we are used to reading recipes with ingredients and measures listed, methods with bullet points to make trying recipes quick and simple. Old recipe books are written in prose, so until you have read the whole way through you really have no idea of what it is you are making let alone how it is done. While reading Miss Leslie’s book I started reading a recipe for Maryland biscuits. Reading through it sounded all fairly standard, flour, salt, lard and warm milk. I then read how it needed to be kneaded and pounded with a rolling pin for 2-3 hours. This is then followed by possibly the best paragraph I have ever read in a cookery book:
This is the most laborious of cakes, and also the most unwholesome, even when made in the best manner. We do not recommend it; but there is no accounting for tastes. Children should not eat these biscuits- nor grown persons either, if they can get any other sort of bread.
When living in town where there are bakers there is no excuse for making Maryland biscuits. Believe nobody that says they are not unwholesome. ( Miss Leslie’s new cookery book).
I love this lady and I shall take her advice, once I have given them a try….