ICA news: Bookseller donates collection of fine old cookery books

Patricia Vodden who recently donated her old cookery books to ICA.

An antiquarian bookseller based in Youghal has just donated a collection of old cookery books to ICA. The books will be held at An Grianán.

Patricia Vodden wanted the ICA to have the 400 cookbooks dating from the 1920s to the 1980s because her mother and grandmother were long-time members of the Country Women’s Association of Australia.

Rosalie Dunne accepted the books on behalf of the ICA, saying she was delighted to do so.

Patricia and her husband, Dave Moran, have been enthusiastic sellers of antiquarian cookbooks and illustrated sheet music dating from the 18th to the early 20th century. 

Their business was established in Australia in the mid 1990s and moved to Ireland in 2007. Customers included national libraries in Australia, UK and Ireland, Harvard and Oxford universities and individuals from around the world.

The couple have also donated a large part of their remaining music stock to the Fleischmann Library in Cork School of Music.

Patricia’s mother, Ena Vodden, was a member of the Country Women’s Association of Australia in Victoria. She was an avid cook and food preserver and Patricia has her collection of Country Women’s Association of Victoria cookbooks from the 1930s, 1960s and 1980s. She says all the books are well used.

Patricia confirms she has cooked many a strange-sounding recipe from these old books. “I’ve got one for pepper cakes by Hannah Glasse. It’s an 18th century recipe — the first edition of her book came out in 1750. The cakes are little macaroons made of egg white. The unusual ingredient is pepper, which at the time was very exotic and expensive. In spite of any misgivings, they turn out very nice.”

She has a first edition from 1845 of Eliza Acton’s Modern Cooking for Private Families.

“She was a poet but was told by her book editor to write a cookery book because a woman couldn’t be a poet. She was the first cookery writer to ever list ingredients of a recipe.

“Before that, people told you how to make the dish but didn’t tell you the ingredients,” says Patricia, who admires Agnes Marshall, a British cookbook writer.


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