We often forget about the importance beer played in the foundation of the country we love so much. In the 1800′s, beer was a huge component to the daily diet for most families, including their children. As a matter of fact, families kept sacred cookbooks that contained family beer recipes alongside food recipes dating back hundreds of years. Until modern water treatment surfaced, it was generally safer to drink beer than water. American families were a different kind of poor back then. There were no support systems established in 1840, outside of the church. When a family needed nutrition, beer played a crucial role in survival. Even if they were lacking the money to eat well, people drank fairly well.
Beer usually consisted of locally acquired ingredients. Hop pellets, specialty grains, lab controlled yeasts, and artificial flavorings did not exist. An open fire with an iron pot is how it went down. If a cheap beer was desired, local adjunct items were collected and often mixed with molasses.
Anyways, I was recently given permission by the Cincinnati library to view a rare book dating back to 1840. I had to lock my belongings in a secured room and was not permitted to use any flash photography. This was only to protect the original copy of the book. Fortunately, I was allowed to snap some photos with my phone. White’s New Cook Book is a collection of family remedies, recipes, and blueprints distributed to the residents of the growing Cincinnati area. Check out these awesome old beer recipes. Try one! However, I promise they will not match our current selections.
Check these photos out: