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Twenty-four women organized the Woman’s Club of Palo Alto in 1894. Ten years later, the women were a strong enough organization that they planned to build their own clubhouse. In 1904, they bought the lot at the corner of Homer and Cowper for $1,125. It took the women of the club another 12 years to raise the $5,300 to build the building. ey gave concerts, held food markets, hosted costume parties, featured speakers such as Helen Keller. One of their early fundraisers was Cookery, a collection of club members’ recipes.

Two copies of the cookbook remain in the archives of the Palo Alto Historical Associa- tion at Cubberley.

However, in order to follow the recipes, one needs to translate directions to the 21st century:

  • A peck of strawberries = 4 dry quarts; half a peck = two dry quarts
  • A little thickening = a tablespoon or two of our or cornstarch mixed in a half cup water “Mash through a sieve” = Use a food mill
  • A quart can of tomatoes = Does not exist. Use a 28 oz. can plus one more half cup
  • A “well seasoned tomato sauce” = probably use marinara sauce
  • A quick oven = I am guessing an oven heated to 400 degrees

The recipe for Chicken Broth calls for, “An old hen makes the best broth. Cut up and put into pot with 2 quarts cold water. Simmer 6 or 7 hours in a ‘closely covered’ vessel. When the meat begins to leave the bones, take the chicken from the pot, strip o meat, crack the bones, and return all to the pot... Strain through cloth when hot, and skim o all fat when cold...”

Not attractive to today’s cooks would be “Sweet Bread Salad”. e directions say to boil “sweet breads” for 20 minutes, plunge them into cold water, then remove “the membranes and little pipes, cut into dice; lay by table- spoons on crisp lettuce leaves; cover with mayonnaise.” Mrs. Addie Wershing submitted this recipe, and at least 50 other women contributed recipes to the cookbook. – Vicki Sullivan

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