Changing Lives in Early America
Old-Fashioned Recipe Series
Each of the books is a collection of old recipes, most from the 18th and 19th centuries, with a few from the early years of the 20th century. Some of the recipes are even older! Some adaptations have been made to allow modern cooks to prepare recipes with flavors enjoyed by their ancestors.
For example, many early recipes were lists of ingredients with no instructions, or the instructions were vague. “Cook until done” will present more questions than answers for most modern cooks. What is a lump of butter the size of an egg? Were eggs bigger or smaller than the ones in my kitchen? Salt was used as a preservative, and some old recipes are inedible because of the salt content.
Needless to say, testing of recipes is required before they go into Bear Wallow Books, and not all old recipes pass the test. The ones that do pass are the ones that taste good. Most are easily prepared and use readily available ingredients.
Each book contains historical notes that describe how are ancestors obtained and used foods like apples and tomatoes, how they made cakes and pies and bread puddings, how they cooked on a hearth or woodstove. They describe life on the farm, the foods packed into a covered wagon heading west, and the differences and similarities in foods prepared by Native Americans spread across a continent. Hearthside cooking, the customs and foods served for traditional celebrations, and the proper way to serve tea are described in books written in cooperation with Conner Prairie Living History Museum.
All of the books contain black and white art, much of it from 19th century sources. Colorful covers were designed by modern artists, or adapted from old prints.
The books are small and easy to carry, with 50-80 recipes in each one. They make great gifts or souvenirs. The low price is ideal for anyone who wants a quick, inexpensive source for good recipes, after a trip to the apple orchard or harvesting an abundance of zucchini from the garden.
Bear Wallow Books are meant to be shared with friends and family. We hope you will enjoy the recipes, the stories, and the opportunity to experience meals like grandma used to make.
Travel by Rail, published in 2015, is the first book in a new series, all of which are sub-titled Changing Lives in Early America. This is a user-friendly approach to history, appropriate for readers from middle-school to adult. The comments we hear most often about the first book are “I was surprised to learn…” and “It was so interesting.”
Travel by Rail is a brief history of the building of the railroads, with stories and art from 19th century sources. Some of the stories are surprising or amusing, but all of them are real. Many Americans whose families came to the United States before World War II, have ancestors who worked on the railroad. Whether great grandpa was a track-layer, brakeman, carpenter or postal clerk, he contributed to the transportation system that would change life for everyone.
Imagine spending weeks or months crossing the continent in a covered wagon or stage coach, knowing you are unlikely to see family or friends in the east ever again. If you were lucky, you received a letter long after it was written, or met someone from back home who could satisfy your craving for news. The railroad changed everything. People, information and goods could be moved over long distances at a much greater speed.
All of the books are 8 ½ x 11”, 44-48 pages, with art on almost every page. Each includes a time-line and a bibliography. Travel by Water is scheduled for publication in 2016, and Travel by Trail and Road is in the planning stages for a 2017 publication date.