Angelina Maria Lorraine Collins
(1805-1885) is the author of the first published cookbook in Indiana. Born in Petersburg, Va. she moved north with her brother, sisters and widowed mother. The family was devoutly Methodist and strong abolitionists. Angelina married James Collins in 1830 and moved with him to Paoli, Ind. were she taught school. The couple then moved to New Albany, their home for the next thirty years. During that time James served in the Indiana General Assembly, had a thriving law practice, and was publisher of the family owned newspaper. Angelina served as a society hostess and according to the memories of a neighbor, a skilled cook.
In 1851 she published, Mrs. Collins’ Table Receipts; Adapted to Western Housewifery. The volume was printed by her neighbor, John R. Nunemacher of New Albany. The book must have sold well as the publication rights were sold and in 1857 it was republished in New York City under the title The Great Western Cookbook, Or Table Receipts Adapted to Western Housewifery.
Mrs. Collins was a well educated woman with strong personal beliefs. She was strongly anti-slavery. She also was a temperance advocate and penned a novel, Mrs. Ben Darby: Or The Weal and Woe of a Social Life, a melodramatic tale of the sins of alcohol. She wrote poetry, equally melodramatic and thus highly regarded by her New Albany peers. Angelina died in her son’s home in Salem, Ind. in 1885.
Sample Receipts from Mrs, Collins’ Table Receipts (1851)
Sausage – Hoosier Fashion
Peel six potatoes, lay them in a stewpan with salt and pepper sprinkled over them, then cut in small pieces three small sausages, a small slice of lean ham, minced neatly, the crumbs of two crackers, or a slice of toasted bread, crumbled over the surface, another layer of potatoes, pour in a cup of water with melted butter; stew it slowly.
Mrs. Collins’ Batter Cakes
Take four eggs, beat them separately, and to the yolks add of pint of rich milk, beat in enough flour to make it into a thick batter. Put in a tea-cupful of sour cream, a tea-spoonful of saleratus; add this to the batter, mix in lightly the white of the eggs, beaten to a froth, and bake on a hot griddle like buckwheat cakes.