Historic Ginger Snaps

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Rachel standing next to the poster advertising Recipes and Remedies. Pre-order your copy today for just $15! Orders should arrive in time for the holidays. Place your order on-line here.

Meet Rachel, our Illinois College intern, who is pre-selling copies of her summer project: a cookbook shared across three generations of women between 1810 and 1890 – Hannah Odgen, her daughter Elizabeth Duncan, and her granddaughter Julia Kirby. Order yours today by clicking here!

Pre-sales began last week, on August 6, 2015, when the Governor Joseph Duncan Mansion and the Daughters of the American Revolution hosted their annual Ice Cream Social.

Rachel scanned the original hand-written cookbook and spent countless hours transcribing the recipes. We’re currently in the design phase and hope to send it off to the printers in late September so that it will be ready in time for the holidays.

The cookbook is definitely one that belonged to wealthy women as it mostly features desserts, breads, and soups, but it also includes remedies for various illnesses. Not sure 19th century cooking is for you? Susan Hardin, curator of the Duncan Mansion, provided samples of ginger snaps from a recipe in the cookbook. The recipe comes from Mrs. E. Wolcott, a.k.a. Sarah Chote Crocker Wolcott, the first precepretress of the Jacksonville Female Academy (recommended by educational pioneer Mary Lyon) and wife to president of the Illinois State Anti-Slavery Society, Elihu Wolcott.

Duncan clip - Ginger Snaps1 teacup molasses

½ tea cup  Butter, a little salt

1 large spoon ginger

½ teaspoon of soda, Stir very hard when you add the flour, roll thin, and bake quickly.

And here is the finished product:

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They turned out to be pleasantly soft cookies. Delicious!

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Rachel and Susan Hardin, curator of the Duncan Mansion, did brisk business with pre-orders. You still have time to place your own order!

We are just beginning to understand the significance of the cookbook, but it is interesting to think that the wife of an Illinois governor was swapping recipes with the wife of the president of the Illinois State Anti-Slave Society (and the founder of the Morgan County Republican party). Both Elizabeth Duncan and Sarah Wolcott were pioneers in women’s education and one wonders what they discussed before and after jotting down a recipe for ginger snaps. There are many more recipes from local women in the book, so the process of understanding their social networks is on-going.

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