While most published cookbooks of the 19th century featured recipes reflecting the period’s diet heavy in pork, chicken, and beef, there were many popular dishes that did not include meat. In 1835, the first American vegetarian cookbook, Nature's Own Book, was published by Mrs. Asenath Nicholson. It was followed in 1849 by her book Kitchen Philosophy for Vegetarians, which additionally excluded eggs and dairy products, making it the first American vegan cookbook.
While vegetarianism was not widely accepted in Western society during most of the 19th century, many notable poets, philosophers, and artists adopted the diet, including Henry David Thoreau, Thomas Edison, Sylvester Graham (the inventor of the graham cracker), and John Harvey Kellogg (best known for creating corn flakes as a breakfast food).
In this virtual program, Hal Simon-Hassell, the Texas Historical Commission’s Chief Interpretive Specialist, will make two vegetarian dishes from 19th-century American cookbooks: an 1839 onion soup, and an 1824 Spanish gaspacho, which is actually similar to a bread salad. This event will be livestreamed from the French Legation State Historic Site in Austin and will discuss the history of the historic home and property as well. Recipes will be provided to all registrants following the event!