Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Stay for Tea" Vintage Cook Book

I was so excited to find this vintage recipe book, "Stay for Tea" in the bottom of a drawer in my Aunt Ida's kitchen! I had never seen or heard of the book before, but it had the word "tea" in the title so that alone made it a keeper for me!
I read through the book looking for a date of when it was printed by The Thoroughbred Press, Lexington, KY and there is none. That company ceased to exist long ago. The book is compiled of "favorite recipes of The Woman's Club of the University of Kentucky for the benefit of the Frances Jewell McVey Memorial Scholarship Fund."
The book has advertisements in the back from several Lexington businesses including some I remember. The phone numbers listed in the ads are for numbers like 3540 or 2127, but no dates. I recall our phone number was 268J around 1958. So that was a clue.
Another clue was listing of sandwich recipes in the front of the book. According to the listing, they are from an article by Mrs. McVey printed in the Lexington Herald on November 30, 1927.
That narrowed my dates down to around 1930 to 1958.
I also knew my aunt moved into her house in 1946 and she didn't have a lot of luxury items to move with her at the time. Internet searches at the time I found the book did not bring up anything.
An interesting article in the The Lexington Herarld-Leader newspaper on Thursday of last week about the value of old cookbooks intrigued me as I have quite a collection from my mother and aunts. So I decided to spend some time searching the net for more information on "Stay for Tea."
BINGO!! This time I learned "Stay for Tea" was printed in 1948. There was only one printing of the book. Mrs. McVey was the second wife of Frank L. McVey, who was president of the University of Kentucky 1917 - 1940. His first wife died during the move to Kentucky. He later married Frances Jewell, Dean of Women at UK. Frances Jewell McVey was extremely well-known for her gracious hospitality as a hostess at Maxwell Place (the president's home). She wrote many published articles on cooking, southern cooking and Kentucky cooking. Several of her recipes are included in this book.
I thought my tea-lover friends might find this one by Mrs. Mc Vey using loose leaf tea interesting:

Maxwell Place Spiced Tea
1/4 lb. Lipton's Orange Pekoe tea
6 cups granulated sugar
6 lemons
6 large oranges
3 sticks cinnamon
2 Tablespoons whole cloves
20 Cups water
Boil water, sugar, lemon, and orange rinds with cloves and cinnamon for 15 minutes. Remove from the stove. Add the tea and let stand three minutes. Strain and dilute two to one. Add lemon and orange juice just before serving. This may be served either hot or cold.

In my opinion, the book is not worth the current Ebay asking price of $42 for the purposes of a recipe book to use for afternoon tea in 2008. If you are into vintage recipe preparation or collecting and you believe it is a fair price, go for it!
In the meantime, I'm very happy with my tea collectible "find."

Note: The article in the Lexington herald-Leader mentioned two websites for searching prices on old cookbooks. Click here for Old Cookbooks and Vintage Cookbook.
 

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