By Tracey Beck
Morgenstern, Lina. Illustriertes Universal-Kochbuch für Gesunde und Kranke : enthält Nahrungsmittellehre, Theorie der Kochkunst, sowie nahe an 3000 erprobte und bewährte Rezepte für die bürgerliche, die feinste und die Krankenküche : ausführliches Lehrbuch für Kochschulen und zum Selbstunterricht. 12. sorgfältig durchgesehene und vermehrte Auflage. Berlin : W. Herlet, 1907.
Library call number r TX 709 M6 I44
Lina Morgenstern developed her “illustrated, universal cookbook for healthy and sick persons” using the latest nutritional theories of renowned doctors. Her intention was to create delicious recipes that were both tasty and health-conscious (at least for the early 1900s). Morgenstern came from a Jewish family and began her activity in social causes at a young age. During the Austro-Prussian War, she established soup kitchens which tested recipes later used in her cookbook. In 1872 she founded the Berliner Hausfrauenverein (Berlin Housewives Society) and later the Berliner Hausfrauenverein’s cooking school, which also tested the recipes in this book.
Having been raised in a Jewish household, Morgenstern encourages Kosher cooking in general. Her scientific outlook often trumps the basic principles of Jewish dietary law, however. For example, her introduction to meats includes a section on the general preparation of pork. She writes that pork was forbidden for 2,000 years according to Jewish customs because of its many disadvantages to health, particularly in hot climates; however, she argues that one should reconsider the advantages of pork in light of its many uses. The application of modern science to nutrition pervades the book in general; she even describes how fresh, disease-free food looks under a microscope.
Although today’s readers may find the book’s application of science to the link between nutrition and health very modern in principle, the proposed remedies can feel antiquated and unappetizing. Among the many delicious-sounding dishes like “Austrian-style steamed spring chicken with cream” and “thin peas with beef and bacon” are unusual curative recipes like “snail soup for people suffering from tuberculosis.”
One striking aspect of the book is the inclusion of color plates, some of which can be seen below.
(Additional source: Wrede, Richard. “Morgenstern, Lina.” Das geistige Berlin : eine Encyklopädie des geistigen Lebens Berlins. – Berlin : Storm [et al.], 1897-1898. Bd. 3 (1898))