One day I opened my mail and there it was: a pink and white striped cookbook entitled Delicious Tidbits: Recipes and Secrets of Sackets Harbor. Published by Sydney Press, this spiral bound book was written by (and/or compiled by) Dorothea "Dee" Buckingham. I admit, I had only vaguely heard of Sackets Harbor (hidden away in upstate NY -- overlooking Lake Ontario) when it arrived. In a recent blogpost at her site, she tells readers why she wrote the book:
Did you know that Buffalo Soldiers were stationed at Madison Barracks in Sackets Harbor? I want you to know that. I also want you to know that Dr. Guthrie, inventor of chloroform lived there. I want you to know that General Elizabeth Hoisington, one of the first women generals in the United States Army, is from Sackets.
I want you to know that Fiorello LaGuardia lived at the Barracks as a child, that President Grant spent a few years there, too. I want you to know that the Comedy Playhouse used to be the USO, that Martha Foote, one of the first women in the United States to get a PhD, is from Sackets, that Sgt. Eleanor Brown was raised there and played on the Sackets basketball team, that Julia Shay was the last lighthouse keeper of the Horse Island Lighthouse, that Ray Whalen, Henry Halliday and Ralph E. Savage were soldiers who died serving their country in France during World War I.
I want you to know all of this and more. That's why I wrote DELICIOUS TIDBITS. I wanted you to love Sackets Harbor and learn about its people.
Buckingham wrote this as her reply to a question she posed on her blog: why do you want to write a cookbook. (I do not, by the way.) Elsewhere on the site, she mentions as well that Sackets Harbor had the first woman mayor in the U.S. All of these historical tidbits (yep, her word) appear in her cookbook, alongside a variety of recipes. Her blog, originally created to address the topic of writing a community cookbook in 365 days now covers much more about the writer's life given Buckingham's success as an author for young adults. But, it also takes up this cookbook of hers -- and other cookbooks as well.
And what is "Delicious Tidbits"? Well, the table of contents includes "cooking for an army," "our own Sodom," "Can-Am Days."Fiorello LaGuardia" and the "USO." Scattered throughout are pictures reproduced as though in a scrapbook. The recipes are indexed in the back under the categories "Breads, Rolls, Pastries," "Cakes and Pies," "Drinks" (including dandelion wine), "Meat and Fish," "Side Dishes," "Soups and Chowders," "Sweets and Cookies" -- and, hidden in that alphabetical list, "Etc."
Its an odd genre, indeed. A community history in someways and a cookbook in others. (If this is your genre, click here just for fun.)
Have you ever been to Sackets Harbor?