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“Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard,” or Canadian Cook Book.
“Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard,” or Canadian Cook Book.

“Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard,” or Canadian Cook Book.

“Over Five Hundred Practical Receipts”

Canadian cooking and home receipt book published by G.C. Briggs & Sons of Hamilton, Ontario, makers of “Briggs’ Original Electric Oil” patent medicine. The front cover has a 45-star American flag blotter affixed at a jaunty angle.

The cookbook contains over 500 “practical receipts” comprising cooking recipes (cake, candies, ham cooked in cider, pies, pickled items; much more) as well as medical cures, “hints for laundry,” a cure for various cancers, toilet receipts, and remedies for “the sick room.”

There are numerous advertisements for “Briggs’ Original Electric Oil,” “Dr. Wistar’s Pulmonic Syrup,” Baby Cordial for teething babies (the latter two distributed by Briggs), and other patent medicines such as “Burdock’s Blood Bitters,” “Webber’s Rheumatic Liniment,” “Dalley’s Pain Extracting Fluid,” and “Pomeroy’s Petroline Porous Plasters”—“P.P.P.P. Use only the Best.”

An ad for “Edison’s Electric Absorbent Belt” encourages the reader to imagine the year 1981 when “[e]lectricity in the hands of science is destined to be the ruling element or power of locomotion.” Interestingly, an ad from G.C. Briggs & Sons, commenting on their electric oil patent medicine, says: “Do not be deceived by the eletric [sic]. It is not electric.” Perhaps a little truth in advertising.

Description: “Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard,” or Canadian Cook Book.

Hamilton [Ontario, Canada]: Spectator Printing Company, 1881. [2–9], 10–112, [113–125]pp. Cookbook. 7 x 4½ inches. Publisher’s glazed brown cloth, titled in black on upper cover; all edges tinted. Advertisements. Curiously, the first and last leaves of text block serve as the endsheets, i.e. page [1] and page [126] are pasted down. Hinges tight, but starting; some toning on “endpapers;” 45-star paper U.S. flag and other papers affixed to covers; else very good.


Driver, Culinary Landmarks, A Bibliography of Canadian Cookbooks 1825–1949, O31.2 : “This edition has the title-page phrase ‘Over five hundred practical receipts.’” Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard was first published in Rochester, New York in 1880. See Bitting, p580.

Price: $75.00

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