The Presidential Cook Book: Adapted from the White House Cook Book, First Edition, 1895

Presidential Cook Book: Adapted from the White House Cook Book. New York and Chicago: The Werner Company, 1895. First Edition. Rebound with matching slipcase.

Presented is a first edition of the Presidential Cook Book: Adapted from the White House Cook Book. This first edition was published by the Werner Company in 1895 out of New York and Chicago simultaneously. Beautifully rebound, the book now features dark blue morocco leather boards with gilt tooling and a matching custom archival slipcase. This book is adapted from the original White House Cook Book, fully entitled: White House Cook Book: A Selection of Choice Recipes Original and Selected During a Period of Forty Years’ Practical Housekeeping. By F.L. Gillette. As stated in the publisher’s preface, this newly revised version was produced as a condensed and more affordable option for the public.

This fascinating cookbook, originally written by F. L. Gillette after her many years spent cooking in the White House is not only a wonderful insight into 19th century cuisine but is still useful today. The instructional cookbook is divided into numerous sections including Poultry and Game, Soups, Breads, Cakes, and much more. Written during a time of relative peace in the country and a thriving railroad industry, the quality and variety of cuisine improved greatly from the 18th century. Gillette wrote her cookbook during the Cleveland administration and a depiction of Frances Cleveland is still displayed opposite the title page. Despite the origin of the publication, many of the recipes are traced back to several former First Ladies. Each recipe has a bolded title just above a brief paragraph instructing the reader on how to prepare the dish. Familiar recipes such as “Maccaroni and Cheese,” “Puff-Ball Doughnuts,” and “Cold Slaw” can be found throughout the book while other recipes may not seem so common today. For example, Gillette includes recipes for “Green Turtle Soup,” “Scrapple,” and “Raisin Wine.”

Towards the end of the Presidential Cook Book, one will find various housekeeping tips and “For the Sick.” Such facts include helpful information on serving dinners, proper table etiquette, and treatments for coughs, fevers, and teething infants. This book was meant to be not just an instructional cookbook, but also an insight into how the 19th century Americans ate, hosted, maintained a household, and cured common illnesses.


Overall very good condition. Internally, the pages are toned and slightly abraded on the bottom corner, as expected with age. Otherwise, no notable damage to the pages. Rebound in full blue morocco leather boards decorated with gilt tooling and gilt embossed spine. The book is housed in a matching archival slipcase featuring an image of the original cover.

Dimensions (with slipcase): 8 ¾” H x 6 ⅝” W x 1 ⅞” D

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