Susan C. Anthony

Dennis and SusanHow to Cook a Husband

The first time I saw this recipe from the Yankee Kitchen Cookbook (1800s) was in Mexico in 1996. It includes some time-tested wisdom. I took the advice and rejoice in a great relationship with my wonderful "well done" husband / best friend.

I've included this tongue-in-cheek recipe with bridal shower gifts.

A good many husbands are utterly spoiled by mismanagement. Some women keep them constantly in hot water; others let them freeze by their carelessness and indifference. Some keep them in a stew by irritating ways and words. Others roast them; some keep them in a pickle all their lives. It cannot be supposed that any husband will be tender and good, managed in this way, but they are really delicious when properly treated.

In selecting your husband you should not be guided by the silvery appearance, as in buying mackerel, nor by the golden tint, as if you wanted salmon. Be sure to select him yourself, as tastes differ. Don’t go to the market for him, as the best are always brought to your door. It is far better to have none unless you know how to cook him. A preserving kettle of finest porcelain is best, but if you have nothing but an earthenware pipkin, it will do, with care.

See that the linen in which you wrap him is nicely washed and mended, with the required number of buttons and strings nicely sewed on. Tie him in the kettle by a strong silk cord called comfort, as the one called duty is apt to be weak and they are apt to fly out of the kettle and be burned and crusty on the edges, since like crabs and lobsters, you have to cook them alive. Make a clear steady fire out of love, neatness, and cheerfulness. Set him as near this as seems to agree with him. If he sputters and fizzles, do not be anxious; some husbands do this till they are quite done.

Add a little sugar in the form of what confectioners call kisses, but no vinegar or pepper on any account; a little spice improves them, but it must be used with judgment. Do not stick any sharp instruments into him to see if he is becoming tender. Stir him gently; watch the while, lest he lie too flat and too close to the kettle, and so becomes useless. You cannot fail to know when he is done. If thus treated, you will find him very digestible, agreeing nicely with you and the children, and he will keep as long as you want, unless you become careless and set him in too cold a place. Thus prepared, he will serve for a lifetime of happiness.

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