Mary Lyles Wilson's New Cook Book - 1952 Edition
Cookery is the most delicate art. Mary Lyles Wilson
Both Mary Lyles Wilson (1899-1996) and her mother, Betty Lyles Wilson (1859-1924) were both a bit of a legend in the cake-making world of the 19th and 20th centuries. Betty started it out by learning how to cook as a young wife, ushering in a new style of Southern cooking for women of the household that wanted to fall in love with the culinary arts not just accept the day-to-day drudgery of putting food on the table year-round. Betty, through her cookbooks and her one-week cooking schools which were offered during the first quarter of the 20th century, made kitchen work, a joyful, creative, and artistic experience. This doesn't seem like an extraordinary concept now but in the early 1900s, following the sanitary movement of domestic home life, Betty chimed in with the art and idea of making cooking a pleasurable, sensory experience.
Mary followed in her mom's footsteps. When she first learned how to decorate a cake at the age of three, her mom took her under her knowledgeable wing, and taught Mary how to fall in love with food making. What resulted over the course of the 20th century was a long-lasting affair with cooking that Mary enjoyed throughout her life.
Both women wrote cookbooks for all meals of the day, but they had one specialty they shared in common... cake making. As the official presidential cake-maker, a tradition first started by Betty, the Lyles Wilson's and their sought-after confections became a White House holiday tradition for US presidents beginning with McKinley.
Mary published her first cookbook Mary Lyle Wilson's New Cook Book in 1930. Like her mom's published books before, Mary's cookbook was a hit with home cooks from the beginning. Twenty years later, by the time this 1952 edition came out, it was the 21st printing of Mary's debut.
What is particularly lovely about this book is the tender way in which Mary talks about mom in her cookbook and all that she has learned from her, not only on the dedication page but also in the introductory storytelling. Incidentally, Betty did the same about Mary in her 1910s era cookbook (there was even a photo of Mary included as a young girl).
This 1950s version of Mary's cookbook features a lenticular cover with a shiny, satiny sheen, speckled edges, and a host of interesting Southern-inspired cuisine making it a true delight both inside and out. Interesting recipes abound including Quick Graham Bread, Vegetable Croquettes, Corn Meal Drop Cakes, Scalloped Mushrooms, Sweet Potato Pone, Creole Omeletes, Asparagus Soup, Stewed Figs, Raspberry Mint Cocktail and even exotic fare involving sweetbreads, head cheese, and the organ meats of cows.
The baking chapters are especially fascinating as that the specialty of the Lyles Wilson women. Recipes there include Ribbon Cake, Lady McMillen Cake, Roosevelt's Cake, Snowball, Ginger Balls, Marguerites, Continental Pudding, Sweet Potato Pudding, GingersnapCookies, Cup Cakes, Brownies, and their famous Presidential Fruit Cake recipe.
- 1952 Edition, 21st printing
- Published by The Southwestern Company, Nashville TN
- Unique lenticular style cover
- Contains 373 pages
- As big proponents of the freshest food you can find, all recipes include whole ingredients with very few mentions of canned convenience foods
- Includes black and white photographs, color photographs and illustrations throughout
In gorgeous vintage condition. There are no spots, stains, or marked pages. The cover is shiny and bright. The spine is tight and all pages are intact.
Measures 9.25" inches (length) x 6" inches (width) x 1.75" inches (thickness) and weighs just under 2lbs.
Learn more about Mary's mom Betty and the cookbook she wrote here.