Bible Gateway

Friday, November 04, 2011

The Whitehouse Cookbook (1887) Cooking, Toilet and Household Recipes, Menus, Dinner-Giving, Table Etiquette, Care of the Sick, Health Suggestions, Facts...Cyclopedia of Information for the Home

I have heard several people comment about having free Kindle books for free downloads, but haven't even bothered to check it out because (((gasp))) I don't own a Kindle or any other digital reading device. At present, I'm one of those readers who enjoy holding the book in my hands. However, since I write historical fiction, I'm always on the look out for research material. My fellow blogger, Sue sent me a link for a free Kindle download from for the book, The Whitehouse Cookbook (1887) Cooking, Toilet and Household Recipes, Menus, Dinner-Giving, Table Etiquette, Care for the Sick, Health Suggestion, Facts...Cyclopedia of Information for the Home by Fanny Lemira Gillette.

I followed the link to find that has a download for people like me who aren't ready to commit to purchasing a Kindle. It is called Kindle for PC. Readers can use this download to install a Kindle program on their computer and voila!!! Readers can enjoy any Kindle book on

After having downloaded Kindle for PC, I then noticed that the cookbook link my friend sent me wasn't the only free book on Most all the popular classics, such as Pride and Prejudice, Aesop's Fables, Treasure Island, and so many more books are free.

The Whitehouse Cookbook was an interesting read and one I can use for development of my stories and maybe even useless information that I find amusing. Did you know since I have downloaded this treasure trove of information that I now possess the recipe for Squirrel Soup? Green Turtle Soup? What I'd really like to know is what in the world are the finer parts of the turtle and where exactly is the green fat found? There is even a recipe for Frogs Fried and Frogs Stewed. Only the hind-legs and quarters are used.

I have even discovered a recipe that has been used my mother's family for generations which we seemed to have shortened over the years. We have enjoyed Salmon Croquettes (I'm supposing southern-style) and have passed the recipe on to our children. The recipe I received from my mother was 1-canned salmon, bread crumbs, and egg. Mix together. Form patties. Fry them in hot grease. Serve with milk gravy. However, here is the 1887 version of the same recipe but I think probably more richer with more calories.

Salmon Croquettes

One pound of cooked salmon (about one and a half pints when chopped), one cup of cream, two tablespoonfuls of butter, one tablespoonful of flour, three eggs, one pint of crumbs, pepper and salt; chop the salmon fine, mix the flour and butter together, let the cream come to a boil, and stir in the flour and butter, salmon and seasoning; boil one minute; stir in one well-beaten egg, and remove from the fire; when cold make into croquettes; dip in beaten egg, roll in crumbs and fry. Canned salmon can be used.

I had no idea salmon came canned in 1887. Who knew? The same recipe is used for every meat listed in the cookbook: salmon, lobster, crab, oysters, chicken, and beef. The beef croquettes adds hot mashed potatoes.

The book also teaches the housewife to cook all manner of organs. Beef hearts, beef liver, boiled beef and tongue. I'm not quite certain about all the recipes of which meat is used to make pudding. In my mind, I'm seeing vanilla and chocolate pudding, perhaps even fruit flavored puddings, but meat? Veal pudding sounded almost promising with its addition of bacon, but I'm not sure what a suet crust is or what a pudding cloth is either? Maybe I need a dictionary to go along with my reading? But by far, the worst pudding I read was Black Pudding. The main ingredient is coagulated blood of a pig. Yep, those plucky pioneers didn't let anything go to waste.

Here's a recipe that will really wake up your appetite. Calf's Head boiled. I won't give you the details of the recipe because after that Black Pudding recipe I'm a feeling a little nauseous. But think Calf's Head equals Spam.

Ooh, did you know that ketchup or as pioneers called it, Catsup was around back in 1887? The recipes say that if you bottle your catsup immediately while hot, and tightly sealed it will keep good for years. But red catsup wasn't the only one they had. There's a recipe for green tomato catsup too. That reminds me of the green or purple ketchup Heinz came out with years ago. The cookbook also lists walnut catsup, oyster catsup, mushroom catsup, and other flavors like gooseberry, cucumber, currant, apple, celery, and spiced vinegar catsup.

As far as helpful information, the cookbook has planned menus for the holidays and a sample menu for a White House State Dinner...think French food. A menu for Mrs. Cleveland's wedding lunch June 4, 1888 is also listed...again think French food or French words I cannot pronounce or even try to spell. Etiquette for the White House is listed as well with the disclaimer: Etiquette as observed in European courts is not known at the White House.  Funny? I didn't know Rednecks were around then. Information is then listed on how to check your coat in at the cloakroom as well as where to sit. Then the menu is given. The first course is French style (no surprise there), second service is sweet dishes, third service includes desserts, fruits, ice, cakes, and all principal dishes are presented to the President before serving the guests. I was disappointed to learn that the fancy folding of napkins in 1887 was considered out of fashion. A plain square folded napkin with the monogram in the middle was preferred.

For treating the sick, the cookbook cautions housewives to consider the needs of the sick first. Don't serve an invalid milk for this may constipate the patient. As a rule, invalids should be served their food in small, delicate pieces in dainty dishes. Some recipes for ailments include serving an alcoholic beverage of Blackberry Cordial to infants to relieve pain from teething and summer diseases. Yeah, I bet they didn't feel any pain. Colds are due to men sealing the house up tight during winter. The family can stave off suffering from a cold if they drink a whiskey or a glass or two of beer before supper. After a few glasses, I'm sure they didn't suffer from anything.

A toothache can be cured by saturating a piece of gauze and lying it on the tooth. Follow that with a mixture of Alum powder and salt. To cure an earache: puff tobacco smoke into the sufferer's ear. For a burn, use butter and if that doesn't help add baking soda, the yellow of an egg, and apply with a feather. Of course, with a little flour and sugar and vanilla they could also make cookies to keep the burn victim's mind off the pain. For a sore throat, gargle with hot, salt water with a little alum and honey. Follow this with bacon soaked in hot vinegar applied to the throat as hot as possible. The sick can even gargle with equal parts of borax and alum. They can gargle and do their laundry at the same time.

One last recipe for the sick. A cure for felons: take a common rock, heat it in the oven, pound it fine, and mix with the spirits of turpentine. Put it in a rag and wrap the felon. In twenty-four hours you are cured and the felon is dead. My question is how can you convince the felon to allow you to wrap him in turpentine? That or maybe nineteenth century folks defined felon different than we define it.

Toward the end of the book, there are helpful laundry hints like how to wash black lace and how to wash feathers. Who said 19th century brides were prudish? Did you know that washing feathers required ironing too? Adding alum to the rinse water will keep dresses uninflammable.

I leave you today with a few facts worth knowing:

To Prevent Oil from Becoming Rancid - Drop a few drops of ether into the bottle containing it.

Slicing Pineapples: - The knife used for peeling a pineapple should not be used for slicing it, as the rind contains an acid that is apt to cause a swollen mouth and sore lips. The Cubans use salt as an antidote for the ill effects of the peel.

Choking: - a piece of food lodged in the throat may sometimes be pushed down with the finger, or removed with a hair-pin quickly straightened and hooked at the end, or by two or three vigorous blows on the back between the shoulders.

Table Etiquette: - Be careful to keep the mouth shut closely while masticating the food. It is the opening of the lips which causes the smacking which seems very disgusting.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Chuck Wagon Cook Book Recipes from the Ranch and Range for Today's Kitchen by Byron Price Publisher University of Oklahoma Press

Ah, Dutch ovens! A cast iron wonder and so popular on cattle trails. I own one and cook in it occassionally indoors. I have used it on a gas stove, electric stove, and in an electric oven. After reading this book, I am even more curious about cooking outdoors.

The first part of this book relates history of outdoor, cattle drive cooking. I learned that Dutch ovens come in sizes 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16-inch diameters. The camp fire should be built on a large piece of tin foil to increase the heat and fight the effects of damp earth. The amount of charcoal briquets depend on the size of the Dutch oven. For example, a 14-inch Dutch oven needs 28 briquets. The charcoals need to burn until they are coated with white ash and then the coals are placed in a circle without any coals in the center. The Dutch oven is then placed over the ring of coals. Garden tools like a spade is used to place the remaining coals on the dutch oven lid.

Temperatures have a formula. Medium heat is the diameter of the oven times two to equal the number of charcoal briquets to be used. High heat is the diameter of the oven times three to equal the number of charcoal briquetss needed.

There are so many yummy ranch recipes in this book. Drinks, breads, appetizers, main dishes, and desserts which can all be cooked in a Dutch oven grace the pages of this book. One recipe which I enjoyed over the campfire as a child, is listed below with the name of the person who submitted the recipe to the author.

Cowboy's Dutch Oven Delight
by Cliff Tienert of Long X Ranch, Kent, Texas

Makes 1 large loaf, about 12 servings


Sourdough bread (doubled) (Debra here: as a child we used a couple of cans of biscuits. Probably not as delicious as sourdough bread makings but still enjoyable. To obtain the recipe for the sourdough starter mix you will need to acquire the book.)

1 cup sugar

1-tablespoon of ground cinnamon

3/4-cup of melted butter

Make the sourdough bread dough through step 4. (Debra here: open a can of biscuits) Tear off pieces about the size of golf balls and roll them between your floured hands to form smooth balls. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Dip the balls in the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon sugar. Place each ball in a well-buttered 14-inch Dutch oven. Drizzle any remaining butter on top, and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon/sugar. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and let the balls rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2-1/2 hours. (Debra here: if using canned biscuits the need for rising is not needed.)

Build a charcoal fire with 28-briquets and let them burn until they are coated with white ash. Using a garden spade or kitchen tongs (protect your hands with oven mitts), spread about 10 of the coals in a 14-inch circle, pushing the other coals to one side. Do not place any coals in the center of the circle.

Place the Dutch oven over the ring of coals. Use the spade to place the remaining 18 coals on the lid. Cook until the bread is golden brown, about 45-minutes. Let stand 10-minutes, then remove from the Dutch oven. Serve warm, pulling off portions of the bread to eat.


Sometimes the cowboys on the trail couldn't be burdened down with heavy Dutch ovens or cast iron skillets. Instead of using these cooking instruments they would use what they could find. The recipe above was used with the bread dough wrapped around a stick with the cinnamon/sugar/butter added on. Then the stick was held near the campfire. This is how I had enjoyed the above recipe. Outdoors, eating the tasty treat off a stick. Try it sometime with your children or grandchildren.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Cast Iron Stoves

In the nineteenth century, women's chores were difficult. Laundry was washed near a creek or over a cast iron cauldron with a stick. Women needed strong, muscular arms to wring heavy wet clothes, carry buckets of water, and iron clothes with a hot, cast, iron.

Strong arms were also needed in the kitchen. Women had to cook food, which she had to cut through thick muscles of beef and bones. An industrious women used her strong arms to bring cut wood into her kitchen and shove into her cast iron stove to cook a large meal for her husband and children.

Working the stove was difficult by our standards as well. Between the firebox and the chimney, a series of manual dampers and levers controlled the air and smoke flow, the rate of burning, and consequently the cooking temperatures. The fire was lit with all dampers open, after which adjustments redirected the heat and smoke to a passageway surrounding the oven to heat it. As the ovens were without self-regulating thermostats, overheating was prevented by opening oven doors temporarily, cutting down on the fire's air flow. To maintain temperature, women checked the relatively small fire-box, testing for heat by hand, and stoked it frequently.

Not only was the stove heavy, but so was the cookware. The tea kettle was extremely heavy and that was without it filled with water. Cast iron cookware, such as dutch ovens, muffin pans, and skillets were also heavy.

With knowledge of women's chores and the heavy appliance and cookware, it is no wonder why potential husbands and their mothers wished for women who were strong and could handle her own in the kitchen to be good, productive wives.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Love Untamed by JoAnn Chartier and Chris Enss

I've been reading several books on what life was like in the 19th Century. I wish I could read them faster and retain everything I've read. I have so many ideas for book reviews, but just can't seem to keep up to date on my reading.

My current favorite book is, Love Untamed, Romances of the Old West, by JoAnn Chartier and Chris Enss.

Some of the real life love stories in this book are tragic with no happily-ever-after-ending, however there are several that end on a happy note and these stories are my favorite.

Backcover Blurb:
In these pages you'll meet a soiled dove who longed for a fairy-tale romance but instead fell for an ailing miner; a quiet schoolmarm who risked life and limb for her adventuresome husband; a spinster who refused to reveal the secrets of her heart despite a proposal from a dashing, prominent rancher; an actress who found her true love when she needed him most; and a rich couple who lost everything except their intense dedication to each other.

The romances of thirteen couples are explored in this book and represent the variety of relationships and love affairs that added color, controversy, and commitment to the unmatched days of the Old West.

Since HEA are my favorite endings, I want to tell you about two of the romances which I adore. The first one is about a couple madly in love with one another and leave their families and friends after their wedding with all their wedding gifts and all their clothes and set off on a ship to Honeymoon on the east coast.

However, as they near the southeastern coast of the U.S.A, a hurricane pops up. The storm takes their ship. Row boats are lowered into the water and women and children are the first to board. As the new wife boards another boat, she watches as the lights from the boat her husband is on sinks deep into the blackness of the ocean during the darkness of the night. Heartbroken, she sails to their destination point a new wife turned grieved wife.

When her ships docks, she disembarks. News at the harbor suggests that another rescue boat boarded all the men from the sinking ship she and her husband had sailed on. Trying not to get her hopes too high, she begins looking for her husband. In the distance, she discovers her husband is looking for her. Together at last, they embrace grateful God had spared their lives. Together, they owned not a stitch of clothing nor any of their gifts had survived. But together they cherished the greatest gift of The couple went on to live their life to the fullest, which included a home of their and children they adored.

My next favorite story is about teenage love. A young man took a fancy to a young woman. He escorted her to a town social. At the party, he became jealous of his best friend's attentions toward this young woman. The young men challenged each other to a pistol duel. Our young man shoots and kills his best friend. He runs away leaving the young woman heartbroken, yearning for his love.

As the years pass, the young woman had many men interested in her, but refused their attentions. She determined if she couldn't have her young man than she wouldn't marry at all.

The young man left the east coast and headed for the mountains in the mid-west. He learned how to survive on nature alone...becoming a sort of mountain man.

The woman heard stories of a wild man whose personality resembled her one true love, but as she made inquiries she soon discovered that this man had died.

Fifteen years had passed and the young woman's father loads up the family and travels west. As they near Colorado they are watched by angry Indians.

Miles away the young man turned wild man hears of some travelers who are being stalked by Indians. When one of the witnesses remarks about the traveler's last name the man assumes his one true love is one of them. He and his friends rides to save the family.

As they arrive, the Indians attack, killing the father. The wild man chases off the Indians and returns to the wagon. There he finds the girl of his dreams, the love of his youth, the reason he never could allow himself to marry. The woman who held his heart.

Together, they took the family to their destination and then they married, living happily-ever-after.

I think what really amazes me about that story is how ironic it is for a man who loses himself in the woods in middle America to pop up in the nick of time to save the woman he left behind on the east coast.

Sometimes real life is better than fiction.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Slow Burn

Recently, Zondervans mailed me a copy of Mary DeMuth's latest release, A Slow Burn. This week is the book's debut and I'm participating in the book's blog tour. I'm posting an interview with Mary DeMuth. At the end of the interview, I'll add links to other sites which are also participating in the blog tour.

I pray A Slow Burn has a successful debut week and the book's message will reach and touch the heart's of many.

If you are interested in reading A Slow Burn, follow this link to to purchase your copy. A Slow Burn on Amazon:

Backcover Blurb:

A Slow Burn by Mary DeMuth.

She touched Daisy’s shoulder.

So cold.

So hard.

So unlike Daisy.

Yet so much like herself it made Emory shudder.

Burying her grief, Emory Chance is determined to find her daughter Daisy’s murderer-a man she saw in a flicker of a vision. But when the investigation hits every dead end, her despair escalates. As questions surrounding Daisy’s death continue to mount, Emory’s safety is shattered by the pursuit of a stranger, and she can’t shake the sickening fear that her own choices contributed to Daisy’s disappearance. Will she ever experience the peace her heart longs for?

The second book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, this suspenseful novel is about courageous love, the burden of regret, and bonds that never break. It is about the beauty and the pain of telling the truth. Most of all, it is about the power of forgiveness and what remains when shame no longer holds us captive.

Mary DeMuth's Biography:

Mary DeMuth is an expert in the field of Pioneer Parenting. She helps Christian parents plow fresh spiritual ground, especially those seeking to break destructive family patterns. Her message guides parents who don’t want to duplicate the home where they were raised or didn’t have positive parenting role models growing up.

An accomplished writer, Mary’s parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, Building the Christian Family You Never Had, and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God. Her real-to-life novels inspire people to turn trials into triumphs: Watching the Tree Limbs (2007 Christy Award finalist, ACFW Book of the Year 2nd Place) and Wishing on Dandelions (2007 Retailer’s Choice Award finalist).

Mary is a frequent speaker at women’s retreats and parenting seminars, addressing audiences in both Europe and the United States. National media regularly seek Mary’s candid ability to connect with their listeners. Her radio appearances include FamilyLife Today, Moody Midday Connection, and U.S.A. Radio network. She also has articles published in Marriage Partnership, In Touch, and HomeLife.

As pioneer parents, Mary and her husband Patrick live in Texas with their three children. They recently returned from breaking new spiritual ground in Southern France where they planted a church.

Learn more about Mary at

Now for the interview:

How did you get involved in writing?

I’ve been writing since college when the bug hit me. I wrote my first short story about a missionary going to Russia (when it was firmly encased behind the iron curtain) and having to do all these clandestine things to share the gospel. I’m embarrassed to write this, but the piece started with these four words: Thump, thump, thump, thump (representing the protagonist’s heartbeat, of course).

I’ve been actively writing since 1992 when my daughter Sophie was born. I created a newsletter that helped moms manage their homes. I bought my first computer from the proceeds. I also designed and edited church newsletters, wrote homeschooling curriculum, and even wrote a script for an ultrasound training video. Soon after, short stories started flying out of me. When we moved from East Texas to Dallas for my husband to go to Dallas Seminary, I decided to get serious. I met my friend Sandra Glahn then, a professor at the seminary and a published writer. She shepherded me through the query-letter-writing process and has been an incredible cheerleader.

In 2002, I wrote my first novel. In 2003, I signed with an agent, then signed two nonfiction books. Since then, I’ve had five books published (those included), Daisy Chain being my sixth book. The first novel I wrote is yet to be published.

How do you find time to write?

I make time to write. I give myself word count goals every day. While my children are at school, I work full time. Lately I’ve been writing and promoting like a crazy woman, pulling 10-12 hour shifts. Even so, it’s a priority for me to have a sit-down dinner with my family every night. It helps that I love to cook.

What do you enjoy most about the writing process?

I love the initial flurry of words on the page where I’m uninhibited. I love fleshing out a story as it comes to me. I see my novels on the movie screen of my mind, which may account for the visual nature of my narratives.

What was the most difficult aspect of the writing process?

I am not in love with rejection.
I also don’t cherish rewriting. But it’s a necessary and important evil.
What would you say to someone who wants to become a published author?Here’s the analogy you need to memorize and internalize: Beginning the publishing journey is like wearing a sweatshirt and toting a sack lunch at the base of Mount Everest, thinking, Hmm, this should be a breeze!

In addition: know you are called. Know you have talent. Know you’re full of tenacity. All three things will help you succeed along the journey.

Another idea is hang out at The Writing Spa and its corresponding blog WannabePublished. I tackle nearly every question a new writer would have. I offer weekly free critiques and I have guest authors cameo there. I evaluate the saleabilty of a book idea. Hop on by at

Links of blogs participating in the blog tour:

Admissions of a Suburban Philosopher
All are welcome here
A Musing Mom Speaks
A Sandy Path Book Reviews
A Writer’s Journey
Adventures of the Duncan Six
AP Free Writing 101
Arkansas Dreams
Aspire2 Blog
Awesome God…Ordinary Girl
Be Your Best Mom
Beams of Light Ministries
Bell Whistle Moon
Blog Tour Spot
Bluebonnet in the Snow
Book Nook Club
Caregiving and Beyond
Carla’s Writing Cafe
Carly Bird’s Home
Carma’s Window
Cheaper by the Half Dozen
Cindy’s Stamping and Reviews
Critty Joy
Declaring His Marvelous Work
Drive Home Productions
Elizabeth Bussey
Fiction for the Restless Reader
Five Bazillion and One
Fresh Brewed Writer
Gatorskunz and Mudcats
Heading Home
His Reading List
i don’t believe in grammar
J’s Spot
Joy in the Journey
Karen R. Evans
Kristin Early
Latte with Me
Literary Fangirl Book Reviews
Merrie Destefano
Mocha with Linda
Moments with MarLo
Musings by Lynn
Musings of Edwina
My Alabaster Box
My Life Message
Net’s Book Notes
Niki Nowell
One Desert Rose
Paper Bridges
Passionate for the Glory of God
Pollywog Creek
Ranunculus Turtle
Real Hurts, Real Hope
Refresh My Soul
Scraps and Snippets
Sheila Deeth
Sherri Woodbridge
Snapshot’s Photoblog
Surviving the Chaos
The 160-acre Woods
The Gospel Writer
The Harrison Kaleidoscope
The Heart of Writing
The Stubborn Servant
The View from Here
This That and The Other
To Be Beautiful
Unreasonable Grace
Walking Daily
Where Romance Meets Therapy
Word Vessel
Write 2 Ignite
Write on the Knows
Writer’s Wanderings
Writing to the heart of the matter

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Remember Me

~Excerpt from the Tucson Daily News, Arizona, 1892 (How the West Was Worn by Chris Enss)

This wasn't the first time Maggie Kremer had turned her face away when Ransom Diggs bent to kiss her, but she caught the pained look on his face as he planted a light caress on her smooth cheek. All the other times she had withheld her lips for the same reason -- jealousy. Not of another woman, but of his job. Ransom Diggs was Sheriff of Cold Springs, a silver mining town in Southern Arizona. His work often times took precedence over his relationship. Keeping the territory safe from desperadoes required round-the-clock dedication. It was for this reason, coupled with the fact that he might be gunned down in the line of duty, that kept Maggie, the town's school teacher, from accepting his proposal of marriage.

She tucked away a stray tendril of dark brown hair, and blinked away a tear. Ransom saddled his bronco. Neither of them said a word for a long while, then Maggie broke the silence.

"I don't see why you don't just let Charles Storms and his gang ride on to the next country," she said. "They'd be out of your jurisdiction then and you could stay with me."

"I can't do that," he told her as he cinched up the leather straps under his ride.

Maggie knew that was what he'd say and she loved him for it as much as she despised the notion of him riding off again.

"Will you be here when I get back?" he asked hopefully.

Maggie forced a smile. "Aren't I always?" she replied.

Ransom smiled back at her and mounted his horse. Maggie always thrilled a little when she watched him on a horse. He might be a bit awkward on the ground at times, but mounted, he was the handsomest man she knew. He was tall, with broad shoulders and had the narrow hips of a cowman. Looking down at his betrothed he adjusted the black hat on his head. She could see the little ducktail of straw-colored hair at the back of his neck. She wondered how much longer it would grow before she next saw him.

"I'll be home as quick as I can," he promised. The two stared a moment at each other. Maggie's eyes were pleading, but he wouldn't waver from his duty. She produced a dainty, lace handkerchief from her drawstring bag and stemmed the flood of tears breaking free. Ransom's face was filled with compassion. She walked over to him and laid her head on his leg and he stroked her long curls. Just before he announced that it was "time to ride" Maggie handed him her handkerchief.

"Don't forget me," she said jokingly. He raised the hanky to his nose, breathed in her scent, and fingered the fancy stitching around the him. "Never happen,' he assured her as he rode away.

The outlaw Charles Storms and his gang ambushed Sheriff Diggs and his posse in the mountains around Cochise Stronghold. Amount the personal effects returned to Ransom's intended nearly three mounts after he had left Cold Springs was Maggie's handkerchief. The men who found him claimed the delicate, blood-stained fabric was clutched in his hand.

If you would like to purchase one of Chris Enss books here's a link:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

19th Century Fashion Research book: How the West Was Worn by Chris Enss

Bustles and Buckskins on the Wild Frontier: Fashion that Shaped the Old West

Back cover blurb: Did you know that pioneer women sewed lead in their hems to keep their dresses from billowing on the trail? Or that hatless men had to wear bonnets to protect their eyes from the scorching sun?

From old familiar Levi's to the short-lived "instant dress elevator," HOW THE WEST WAS WORN examines the sometimes bizarre, often beautiful, and highly inventive clothing of the Old West. You'll learn how a cowboy's home state determined the way he wore his pants and hat, as well as how to distinguish one Indian tribe from another by their moccasins. Meet John B. Stetson, leading maker of cowboy hats; Adah Menken whose flesh-colored nylon costume left an audience gaping at her underwear; and Amelia Jenks Bloomer, the promoter of - you guessed it - the bloomer.

About the author: Chris Enss is an award - winning screenwriter who has written for television, short subject films, live performances, and for the movies, and is the co-author (with JoAnn Chartier) of Loved Untamed: True Romances Stories of the Old West, Gilded Girls: Women Entertainers of the Old West, and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon: Women Patriots and Soldiers of the Old West and The Cowboy and the Senorita and Happy Trails (with Howard Kazanjian). Her research and writing and reveals the funny, touching, exciting, and tragic stories of historical and contemporary times.

Enss has done everything from stand-up comedy to working as a stunt person at the Old Tucson Movie Studio. She learned the basics of writing for film and television at the University of Arizona, and she is currently working with Return of the Jedi producer Howard Kazanjian on the movie version of The Cowboy and the Senorita, their biography of western stars Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

The chapter headings are:


In this chapter, we learn about a San Francisco dry goods dealer named, Levi Strauss who developed a brand new material, called denim which he believed was superior to any other on the market.


I found this chapter most interesting. We meet Amelia Bloomer who female underwear was named after. While she did not design the female, "bloomers" she did wear daring outfits which were a short dress that reached below the knees with a Turkish-style trousers gathered in ruffles at the ankles. Bloomers became a symbol of the fledgling women's movement.


What I found so fascinating about this chapter was that the cowboys at a certain ranch resented their employers for enforcing them to wear uniforms. Sporting bib pull-over shirts of the same color does not sit well with the hires, even if it is marked with the (name) Ranch.


This chapter dealt with what children wore during the 19th Century. To my surprise, I discovered that daughters didn't wear ankle length dresses. Their hems came to below their knees. Girls longed to be grown up enough to let their hems down and their hair up.


In this chapter, an excerpt from The National Wagon Road Guide, 1858 gave a listing of what men should pack for their trek across the country on the wagon train.


Accessories made the woman. It could change her mundane, everyday, dress to a nice social, evening dress.


Evening wear accessories, such as jewelry and popular hairstyles and hair accessories that were popular in the day.


This was a fascinating chapter on male and female "unmentionables". I didn't know that the average person felt that underwear was such a taboo subject that they wouldn't even make their own, but preferred to order them through a catalog.


Military wardrobe


Indian clothing styles

I think what I loved most about this book are several things:

1. The author uses many pictures to show exactly what she is saying. (Photographs, catalog images, and patterns)

2. Lots of white space, the readability of each chapter is easy.

3. I loved the clothing biographies of many famous people, including pictures.

HOW THE WEST WAS WORN is a definite asset to any historian or historical writer.

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