Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Deaconess Cook Book

Every once in a long while I find a gem of Deaconess History on eBay. A few weeks ago it was a lovely little 1924 hardback "Deaconess Cook Book" compiled by the Deaconess Society of the First Lutheran Church, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Deaconess societies accomplished a great deal of work on behalf of the deaconess movement in North America, first through their members promoting and carrying out diaconal acts of mercy in areas local to the society; and second, by raising money to support deaconess training and deaconess service throughout the church.

I feel quite certain that my newly acquired "Deaconess Cook Book" is one of the projects that the ladies would have designed specifically to raise money for the deaconess cause! The fact that there are four "Patron and Patronesses" listed on the page opposite the front "Index" (Contents page) also testifies in favor of this possibility.

Within the 104 pages of great looking recipes, the Hor's D'oeuvre page includes a very interesting entry describing a good SMORGASBORD - what we might call a fancy buffet:

Butter pats; rye, wheat, and other breads cut in thin, small slices; strip of toasted bread, about width of two fingers; two or three kinds of cheese; caviar; sardines; anchovies, shrimps; lobster; medvurst; sausage; cold sliced chicken; cold sliced ham; sliced smoked salmon; sliced corned beef; sliced tongue; cold boiled salmon; small meat-balls; pickled herring; cucumbers; plain and stuffed olives; celery and other relishes. Besides the above a few salads may appear, as well as hot dishes consisting possibly of small meat pies, and various small omelets made by adding to omelet batter, sardines, minced ham, or fried mushrooms, also dainty meat or fish croquettes. The above dishes are placed upon buffet and serving table and are eaten before sitting down to dinner table; each guest may be asked to help himself; or, they may be placed upon dinner table and served before regular dinner is served, in that case the table must necessarily by cleared before the first course, leaving olives, celery, radishes, butter and bread.

I was surprised by the amount of seafood included in this smorgasbord - but then the book was published on the eastern seaboard. But what a massive amount of food to eat before dinner!

For the fun of it - Next time you go to eBay, type "deaconess" into the search bar and have fun looking at all of the different things that pop up about deaconesses.

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