Friday’s Holyoke Resource

by Laurel | March 7th, 2014

07 March 2014

vintage cake

Today I’m pointing you to the 1886 publication 625 Choice Recipes from the Ladies of the Second Congregational Church of Holyoke. I’ve actually had this book online for 16 years, not necessarily representing a genealogical gem of data, but rather for fun with a dash of poignancy.

There is a lot to like about this cookbook: the differences between cooking standards 0f 1886 and 2014 — 128 years. Some of these recipes are easily adaptable to your kitchen today with similar measurements and familiar instructions, after all culinary chemistry offers the same basic principles most of us are familiar with. There is an index of recipes by name.

What I really love about this book is what has been a tradition for decades in local cookbook publishing: each recipe has the name of the person who donated the recipe — something presumably used in his or her life. I have a few genealogical connections in this book and I enjoy seeing the various recipes they must have been proud enough to submit for publication. There is a name index so you can easily find submitters. Maybe you will find an ancestor who liked to cook.

Finally, a chapter offers a section called “Food for the Sick” and most of the recipes are attributed to local physicians of that time. The recipes are worth looking at, though not necessarily appealing. But hey, a cure is a cure I guess — so please pass Dr. Grout’s Koumyss (Sparkling Milk Champagne).

Have a great weekend everyone!


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Suggested Holyoke Books

Mountain Park -- The Holyoke destination we all loved.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College, Postcard History by Donna Albino. Many Holyoke women have attended Mount Holyoke. Author also maintains an amazing MHC website based upon her personal collection.

Holyoke - Chicopee, A Perspective

Holyoke-Chicopee: A Perspective, by Ella Merkel DiCarlo. DiCarlo, a former Transcript columnist offers a fascinating compilation of her essays. Published in 1982, this out-of-print book is worth looking for in the aftermarket.


Holyoke, by Craig Della Penna. The first Holyoke book in the Arcadia series, published in 1997.

Belle Skinner Collection

Belle Skinner Collection, by Ruth Isabel Skinner. Published in 1933, this book is long out of print but copies are still available in the aftermarket.

Mitch Epstein: Family Business

Mitch Epstein: Family Business Published in 2003, available in the aftermarket. Epstein's furniture.