Historic Kansas cookbooks

Historic Kansas cookery book: Great Bend society compiled 1905 ‘Queen of the Pantry’

By Katelyn Travers

A cookbook by the Ladies Aid Society of the First Presbyterian Church in Great Bend, Kansas, from 1905 begins with a one-page passage entitled “Kansas.” The passage tells the things Kansas is lucky to have. One of them was  “the housewife who knows how to prepare the way to a man’s heart and affections.”

Next come pages full of ads for restaurants, shoes, department stores, coffee and a dentist. These advertisements are concluded at the end of the cookbook, following the last section containing 17 recipes for pickles.

There was a mixture of how recipes were titled and explained. Some titles were expressive, while a number of recipes were simply titled, “Soup.” Recipes in the cookie section often put an adjective like “good” or “soft” in front of “cookie” for their title.

The Ladies Aid Society assumed the person buying this cookbook knew the standard cooking knowledge common in the early 1900s. Many recipes were simply ingredient lists, or listed one step of the baking process.


1 ½ pints sour milk, 2 eggs, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup Imperial flour, 1 small teaspoon soda, 2 cups cornmeal. Mrs. W.M. BOLINGER

The last category in the cookbook included miscellaneous recipes, such as one for chapped hands and flaxseed lemonade to be used as a cold remedy.

Queen of the Pantry is a cookbook that shows simplicity and quality recipes without frills can still make for a great meal.

Miss Travers wrote this summary as an assignment in Food Writing class at KSU in 2010. The book is from the KSU Cookery Collection.

The Coffeyville Cook Book

By Lindsay Creviston

“The fate of nations depends on how they are fed,” Brillat Savarin said after the Battle of Waterloo.  This quote decorates the front of The Coffeyville Cook Book printed during World War I.

The Coffeyville Cook Book was published in 1915 by the women of the Ladies Guild Episcopal Church in Coffeyville, KS.  It is a compilation of recipes from women in the community and paid for by local merchant advertising.  There were advertisements dispersed from cover to cover.  Some of the advertisers were Slosson Drug Company, The Isham Hardware Co., and Square Deal Seed Co.

In the early 1900s printing was a manual process with each letter being laid out individually; which may explain the brevity of the recipes.  They were written in short paragraph form and lacked an ingredient list and measurements.  Recipes ranged from boiled tongue with tomato sauce and roast beef to pickled peaches and buttery taffy.

There are only a few known copies of this cookbook.  One copy can be found in the special collections at Hale Library on the Kansas State University campus.

White Cherry Salad

One can white cherries, remove the stone, fill cherry with hazelnut.  Serve on lettuce leaf with mayonnaise.-Mrs. Halden Weaver

Miss Creviston wrote this synopsis for an assignment in KSU’s Food Writing class in 2010. The book is in K-State’s cookery collection.