Minnie Weygandt was Mary Baker Eddy’s cook, and served at her home, Pleasant View in Concord, NH, from 1899 to 1907. While she performed some domestic duties with the help of her sister Mary Weygandt, most of Weygandt’s time was devoted to tasks related to food preparation for both Eddy and her household.
Weygandt brought all of her cookbooks with her to Pleasant View. This included The Young Housekeeper’s Friend, a book first published in 1845. Eddy herself had used this cookbook when she kept house, possibly while she was living in Lynn, MA. One day at Pleasant View Eddy sent for the cookbook and a while later brought the book down to the kitchen herself. Eddy had marked pages and had written on the flyleaf “My cooking shall be done according to this cookbook. M.B.G. Eddy.”1
|Minnie Weygandt on the porch at Pleasant View, n.d. P01779||The Young Housekeeper’s Friend, with inscription by Mary Baker Eddy, B00152|
Beginning on Easter Sunday, April 15, 1900, Weygandt started keeping a record of the meals she served in the home. She kept the notebook for the rest of the year and into 1901. This was a way to keep track of the menus, so there were not too many repeat meals, and makes for fascinating reading.
November 29, 1900 Thanksgiving meal (Subject File, Eddy, Mary Baker, Meals of, The Mary Baker Eddy Collection)
One of the meals noted in the book was Thanksgiving, November 29, 1900 when the dinner included:
mock bisque soup, celery, pickles, roast Rhode Island turkey, cranberry sauce and jelly, white and sweet potatoes, steamed squash, boiled onions, mince and lemon pie, plum pudding, fruit and almond cake, assorted fruits and nuts and homemade candy.2
Sometimes Eddy would plan the meals if it were a holiday or a special occasion, such as visitors or students coming to Pleasant View. Eddy also had her own favorites, such as: boiled dinner (a traditional New England meal consisting of corned beef or ham with vegetables such as potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and onion), onion salad with vinegar and sugar, salt pork (salt-cured pork), lemonade (after her carriage rides), oyster soup, oranges and mush, creamed clams (finely chopped cooked clams with cream or milk, egg, and spices served over toast on a platter), candy, and ice cream to name a few.
|Minnie Weygandt and the new stove at Pleasant View,
c. 1906. P06301.1
|Minnie Weygandt in the kitchen at Pleasant View standing next to the sink, n.d. P01778|
There was always plenty to eat and a variety of dishes at every meal. “There was no excuse for anyone going hungry in that house, for there was always plenty of excellent food, generously served and in as practicable variety as then seemed possible. There was often a choice of meats, and invariably several vegetables, and two or three kinds of desserts, so that everyone was sure to find something he could enjoy.”3
(Originally posted November 1, 2010)