The Romance of the Kitchen - Ida Bailey Allen

Kim Biegacki


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.

★★★★★ 4 votes


person interested in women's history


1The 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.
2The 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.
3Mrs. Allen in Her Own Kitchen.

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

Read more:
4Partial 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
5----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.
6This is an ad for her radio program.

About The Romance of the Kitchen - Ida Bailey Allen