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More Recipe vs. Receipt

We've discussed this before, but I stumbled across something interesting today to illustrate the occurence.  Starting very early on during my tenure as editor of the Amish Cook I would sometimes read letters from readers asking for a "receipt."   The letter would read something like "does Elizabeth have a receipt for strawberry pie?"   I'd think to myself, ", because Elizabeth didn't buy a strawberry pie!"  In reality, I thought the writer was just making a simple spelling error.  Usually the questions were scrawled in the hand of an obviously elderly person.  The use of "receipt" in various letters, though, was common enough that I realized there was more than just spelling errors occuring.  The fact is receipt used to be a perfectly acceptable word when describing cooking instructions.  See this article.  Gradually, over the past 10 years, I have seen this occurence far, far less, but it still happens occasionally.


Today a friend of mine was showing me some turn-of-the-century cookbooks that he bought at an auction.  Most of the cookbooks use the word recipe, but one cookbook is entitled "The Rumford Receipt Book."  Fascinating.  Back in those days many cookbooks were underwritten by corporations, such as the "Pillsbury Cookbook."  This is the Rumford Baking Powder Company's cookbook.  Rumford's Receipt book features recipes for such gems as "fried ham sandwiches", "boiled frosting", and "sugar cakes."   I love looking at old cookbooks, they really do provide a historically relevant glance at how society was during the period it was written.

 Here is the sugar cake recipe:


1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

2 -3 cups butter

Whites of  2 eggs

Rub the butter into the flour, add sugar, and mix to a dough with the whites of eggs. Roll out, cut into small cakes, sprinkle sugar over the tops and bake in a "quick oven."

Lovina's mother used to use the term "slow oven" to describe anything 325 or under.  What temperature would a quick oven be?

Re: More Recipe vs. Receipt

I love old cookbooks.  I have my grandmothers cookbooks and all of her clipped reicpes from years ago.  One I found that knocked my socks off was a clipping from the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch that gives a recipe for sloppy joes and has an article on how it was "making its way into Ohio and becoming the rage".

I also love old cookbooks when the person that had the book commented on the recipe, any changes she made or if they were going to fix it again.  I have started to do that when I really  like or dislike a recipe.  I have also started to add the date I tried it.

Re: More Recipe vs. Receipt

A quick oven would also be called a hot oven..425-450*. If anyone has read the "Little House" series, they would be familiar with the word receipt instead of recipe. Ma Ingalls always used the word "receipt". I have alot of old cookbooks that were my grandma's and many of them do the same. The print dates are the early 1900's. Some even into the 1930's use the same term.