"The Century Cook Book"
I have a copy of this that belonged to my late husband's grandmother or great-grandmother. Today I was going through it and became curious as to when it was published. My copy is in very bad condition, pages are literally crumbling around the edges and is missing the cover and up to page 3. I found out how old it really was and to my surprise is available for download through the University of California for free (they do ask for donations). This is the most amazing book that gives you a peak into the life of people in that era.
You can read it on-line or download it as a PDF
A VERY pleasant book called "$10.00 Enough" explains how a family of two lived well on that sum per week, including house rent and wages of one servant. Mrs. Rorer says $2.00 per head a week is a liberal allowance. Articles are published giving directions for living on ten cents a day; also of dinners for
six people costing twenty-five cents.
At large dinners a gentleman finds in the dressing room, or a servant passes to him before he enters the drawing-room, a tray holding small addressed envelops. He selects the one bearing his own name, and finds on an enclosed card the name of the lady he is to take to the table. The letter R or L in the corner of the card denotes whether he will find his place on the right or left of the table from the entrance.
Faults often pass unnoticed if attention is not called to them. Dr. Johnson, it is said, always complained of his dinners, but never omitted to say grace. Upon one such occasion his wife interrupted him, saying, " Nay, hold, Mr. Johnson ! Do not make a farce of thanking God for a dinner which in a few minutes you will pronounce uneatable.'