The Romance of the Kitchen - Ida Bailey Allen

Kim Biegacki Recipe

By Kim Biegacki pistachyoo


Most recently my mother gave me what she found of my grandma Roberta Campbell's cookbooks and I finally sat down to browse through some of them. I found this poem that was from another cookbook lodged inside the one I was reading. I thought it was so beautiful I would do a little search to see who this lady was and this is the result. Wow, I had never heard of her and as far as I know Grammie did not have the cookbook it came from. However, I really enjoyed learning about this amazing woman Ida Bailey Allen who paved the way for many other wonderful women. Hope you enjoy too.

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person interested in women's history

Directions Step-By-Step

The Romance of the Kitchen
by Ida Bailey Allen

Winds howling over earth-
A blackened sky-
The crash of thunder-
Clouds cleft by forks of light-
A storm.
Out of the storm there came a fire.
From theat fire they took a brand,
They piled on branches
Till it flamed and blazed.
There in the glow they crouched,
Warning their hands and food.

For centuries,
The fire was tended by the hands of man.
Around this fired they lived.
The food they ate
Was held on sticks before the flames-
Baked in the ashes--roasted on stones
In Primitive Kitchens.

The Incas' water jars and bowls,
Brick ovens of Pompeii,
Boat kitchens of the Pharaohs' on the Nile,
The roasts and spits of early England,
The Oriental braziers glowing hot,
The franklin stoves of the Colonies,
Singing kettles of the world,
In the Kitchens of History.

Rare roots and herbs from royal gardens
Borne by couriers from land to land.
Caravans, laden with dates and sweets
Plodding across the desert.
Strange foods from alien countries,
The spoils of war.
Japan's fine teas,
China's rice and ginger,
Smyrna's figs,
Olives from Spain and oil from France,
Fruits from the tropics.
Continents fround and nations lost,
For the Kitchens of a World.

The modern kitchen-
For whose needs
Farms, dairies, factories and banks exist.
The vision of countless minds-
Lifetimes of scientific research
Given to solve its problems.
Its destiny controlled by home-makers.
The stove, the pots and pans, the bowls and spoons-
Tools to transform food-stuffs into life-
True Romance of the Kitchen.
The original domestic goddess, America’s Mrs. Allen, nee Ida Cogswell, was born in 1885 and lived in Danielson, Connecticut and New York. She has been credited with bringing nutrition, world cuisine and formal cooking to thousands of average housewives (it is also said that she invented the marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole). An avid cook, “domestic science” professional and a practicing dietitian, she was the first woman in history to bring food to the masses using all available media outlets: in print, as the author of more than 50 cookbooks, including The Best Loved Recipes of the American People, and as a contributor to more than a half dozen major magazines (Good Housekeeping, Parade); on the radio, as the host of a popular radio show; and on TV, acting as television’s first female food host on Mrs. Allen and the Chef.

Confessing that the radio was “a fearsome thing,” she nevertheless went on to pioneer a popular radio show for homemakers and founded the “National Radio Homemaker’s Club,” which surprised her with its overwhelming success and delighted her with the way it united women while they “kept house.” Her power to influence was demonstrated one Christmas when she suggested that women could wear red Christmas dresses to please their children, and stores reported a surge in requests for red holiday garb.

Mrs. Allen was also the queen of the sensible kitchen, penning some of the first books dedicated solely to budget cuisine, cooking for two and efficient timesaving meals.


Born in 1885, she was widowed twice and died in 1973 at age 88.
---She was considered the Martha Stewart of her time.
Mrs. Allen in Her Own Kitchen.

Illustrated From Photographs By T L. Allen And A. E. Sproul

Read more:
Partial Bailey Bibliography

Note: Mrs. Allen’s cookbooks often ran to second, third editions and so on. We’ve listed them under the first year publication date. For company recipe books, the name of the cThe Modern Method of Preparing Delightful Foods 21 copies, 1 review
The Service Cook Book Number One 20 copies, 1 review
Pressure cooking 16 copies, 1 review
Best loved recipes of the American people 12 copies
Ida Bailey Allen's Cook Book for Two 10 copies, 1 review
The Round-the-World Cook Book 10 copies
Gastronomique: A cookbook for gourmets 9 copies
Ida Bailey Allen's modern cook book; 2500 delicious recipes, formerly… 8 copies, 1 review
Ida Bailey Allen's Money-saving Cook Book 8 copies
When You Entertain: What to Do, and How 7 copies
Ida Bailey Allen's Cookbook - Delicious Meals at Low Cost 6 copies
The budget cook book 6 copies
Ida Bailey Allen's Time-Saving Cook Book 5 copies
the service cook book, number two 5 copies
Cooking Menus Service 5 copies
One hundred four prize radio recipes with twenty-four radio home-maker's… 4 copies, 1 review
Luscious Luncheons and Tasty Teas 3 copies, 1 review
Ida Bailey Allen’s Kitchenette for Two Cook Book: Buying for TWO, Menus… 3 copies, 1 review
Mrs. Allen's Cookbook 3 copies
Step-by-Step Picture Cookbook 3 copies
New Modern Cookbook: 2819 Delicious Recipes 3 copies
Solving the High Cost of Eating: a cookbook to live by 3 copies
Double-Quick Cooking for Part-Time Homemakers 2 copies
Vital vegetables,: With analyses, menus, and recipes, 2 copies
A New Snowdrift Cook Book 2 copies
Woman’s World Calendar Cook Book 2 copies
Golden Rule Cook Book, 141-pp ed. 2 copies
Ida Bailey Allen's Step By Step Picture Cook Book 2 copies
Common sense cook book: 200 recipes and 100 puzzling food questions and… 2 copies
Golden Rule Foods ... The Golden Rule Way (122-page ed.) 2 copies
Ida Bailey Allen's Sandwich Book 2 copies
Canning and Preserving September Products 1 copy
Mrs. Allen's book of sugar substi
----Just one of her interesting cookbooks.
Dainty Desserts by Ida Bailey Allen, premier international food authority of her day, was first published in the 1920s. This extremely rare collection of recipes is presented as a dessert calendar divided by months. Containing over 365 recipes -- one for every day of the year -- there is something for every taste and occasion.
This is an ad for her radio program.

About this Recipe

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Kim Biegacki pistachyoo
Feb 16, 2012
I tried this recipe and say it's Family Tested & Approved!
FREDA GABLE cookin4me
Feb 16, 2012
WOW . . Kim, this is Awesome!!!!
The History and story, that is a find to be treasured, Very Very INteresting.
Kim Biegacki pistachyoo
Feb 16, 2012
Thank you so much Freda, I thought it was valuable too. Especially since I couldn't find a whole lot on the internet about her; which is rare these days. You can usually get on here and find all kinds of info. I searched for awhile but will probably head over to the library so I can try and find the date of her poem. What a woman, hugh? She was ahead of her time!
Angela Gray angiemath
Feb 16, 2012
Any lady who thought to put marshmallows on top of sweet potato's is okay with me ! What a great post, you know I love my history and I printed this to put in my fav. cookbook. Who knows maybe one of my future great granchildren will find it and think it is neat and post it somewhere in a future blog ! ....
Straws Kitchen CinCooks
Feb 16, 2012
Kim, I loved every word and wanted more!!! History is a thing with Hubby and I both love History.
Sharron Boerum slboerum
Feb 16, 2012
Thanks for sharing this with us Kim...i love hearing the words all strung together to create pictures in our i'll be sharing with my friends and family on facebook... =^.~=
Kim Biegacki pistachyoo
Feb 16, 2012
Thank you ladies and glad you enjoyed reading about her.
Feb 17, 2012 - Kim Biegacki shared this recipe with discussion groups: College Bound Daughters of the KING everything but the kitchen sink
Sheryl Faulkner athestove
Feb 17, 2012
Fascinating! Thx for sharing this Kim. Loved the picture of her kitchen.Aside from the modern updates, it doesn't look much different from our own, does it? Well,- glad I don't cook in a dress and heels, however! :D ...great article.
Shelia Senghas earthbaker
Feb 17, 2012
A wonderful read, thank you Kim for sharing this. What an interesting kitchen. I am printing this so I can share it with my mother. She talks a lot about her early memories of her mother's kitchen and cooking. I love my mother's stories.
Deneece Gursky Smokeygirlxo
Feb 21, 2012
Loved this Kim! What a wonderful piece of history! Thanks for sharing it!
Kim Biegacki pistachyoo
Feb 22, 2012
Thank you ladies, I am so glad you enjoyed this poem and learning more about Ida Bailey Allen. It is so important to share about women in history cause if we don't do it then it can get lost. I find it very important to know about women of history who contributed to making histortical changes and paving the way for others. I am amazed at how I didn't learn these things in high school but became aware of this critical need to document history in a liberal college earning my bachelor's. I didn't even know that we have several women museums in Ohio.