I found a little 64 page cookbook written in 1929 called "Our Favorite" and Tested Recipes compiled by some sort of committee of ladies from Atlanta. It must have belonged to my paternal grandmother. In the forward these ladies write:
Realizing the complexity of the present mode of life, and the high cost of living, this book has been collected and complied for the young housekeeper, who needs some tested and not too expensive but good recipes, from the homes of some of Atlanta’s good housekeepers, and their friends, noted for their good dishes. To them this Book is dedicated with the wish that there is never a failure.
And by “housekeepers” they do not mean hired help. They mean wives. How nice of them to think of young women and their need to never have “a failure.” I guess if housekeeping is all one puts her energy into, an unsatisfactory meal would have a certain emotional weight about it that it might not today.
What is also interesting is how very few of the recipes listed are what we think of as particularly “Southern” in nature. No fried chicken. They list chicken a la king, then croquettes, fricassee, panned and escalloped chicken. That is it. They list more puddings, not desserts, but puddings, than they do chicken recipes. There is an extensive list of different cakes and cookies. I have to say I don’t disagree with these ladies’ priorities. It’s hard to have a failure if you’ve got a good dessert.
I’ve included a recipe from the “Sandwiches” section that sounds delicious. And Southern. The name of the lady who submitted it is listed along with how to make it. Credit must go where it is due.