Guide to the Ashfield Family Cookbook [ca. 1720-1751] MG 63
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|Guide to the Ashfield Family Cookbook[ca. 1720-1751]MG 63Inventory prepared by Stephen Yautz as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The New Jersey Historical Society
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Newark, New Jersey 07102
Contact: NJHS Library
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The New Jersey Historical Society, Publisher
Inventory prepared by Stephen Yautz as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Finding aid encoded by Danielle Kovacs. September 2003. Production of the EAD 2002 version of this finding aid was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Finding aid written in English.
Isabella Morris Ashfield was born in 1705, the daughter of Isabella Graham and Lewis Morris (1671-1746), the first royal governor of New Jersey from 1738 to 1746. Apparently, she was born on the family estate in Shrewsbury Township, New Jersey. At the age of four, she and her family moved to a new estate called Morrisania, which is now part of the Bronx in New York City.
In 1723, when Isabella was eighteen, she married Richard Ashfield (ca. 1694-1742), a merchant based in New York City. They lived in lower Manhattan, possibly on the Bayard farm west of Broadway. Ashfield also owned large tracts of land in New Jersey; he inherited his great-uncle, Thomas Hart’s, share in the landholdings of the East Jersey Proprietorship. It is believed that the Ashfields had also kept a house in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, where Richard Ashfield conducted business at the port. It was during that time that Isabella started compiling her treasure of family recipes. The Ashfields had eight children together. Isabella Ashfield died at the age of 36 in 1741; her husband died the next year at the age of 47.
One of their sons, Lewis Morris Ashfield, had married Elisabeth Redford (1729-1762), the daughter of Colonel John Redford and his wife Lydia, in 1748. Elisabeth then became the heir to Isabella Ashfield’s cookbook. From about 1751 onwards, she entered her own recipes into the cookbook, until her death at the age of thirty-three in the year 1762. Elisabeth Redford Ashfield is buried in the graveyard at Christ Church in Shrewsbury, New Jersey.
This collection contains the cookbook of Isabella Ashfield, and her daughter-in-law, Elisabeth Ashfield, spanning the years circa 1720 to 1751.
This single-volume cookbook contains over 200 recipes compiled by Isabella Ashfield until about the year 1750. Thereafter, entries are made by her daughter-in-law, Elisabeth, until her death in 1762. Other recipes follow in different handwriting from Elisabeth’s, most likely that of an unnamed descendant. The recipes, as a whole, indicate that the Ashfield family held high importance to replicating the cuisine of the English aristocracy at that time in the American Colonies. There are also recipes considered traditional Colonial cooking, with the exception of certain ingredients, such as Seville oranges and sugar, which were known to be expensive. Most recipes were for roasts and stews for a variety of foods, such as rabbit, chicken, beef, lobster, herring, carp, and tongue, just to name a few. Other recipes in the volume include dessert puddings, cakes, jams, pies, and flavored wines using ingredients such as gooseberries, lemon, and apricots.
The instructions in this cookbook, although detailed in how to prepare and cook the dishes, are scant in the measurements of the ingredients, which was common at the time this book was compiled.
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.
Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.
The New Jersey Historical Society complies with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code), which governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials.
For modernized versions of the recipes from this collection in print, see:
Melloan, Joan. “Old Recipes into New,” Americana, September/October 1982.
The Miller-Cory Museum and The New Jersey Historical Society. Pleasures of Colonial Cooking. Orange, New Jersey: The Harvard Printing Company, 1982.
For collections containing cookbooks or recipes, see:
For materials in print related to Lewis Morris, see:
Sheridan, Eugene R., ed. The Papers of Lewis Morris. 3 vols. Newark, New Jersey: The New Jersey Historical Society, 1991.
For collections related to Lewis Morris and his family, see:
Researchers are encouraged to consult the modernized versions of the recipes in this collection printed in Pleasures of Colonial Cooking, since the original manuscript cookbook contains many loose pages and the volume’s binding is fragile.
This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 63, Ashfield Family Cookbook, The New Jersey Historical Society.
This collection was donated by Ruth E. Fairchild in 1919.