The Gilded Table: Recipes and Table History from the Campbell House, a magnificent new book has been published and is now available.
The 224-page hardcover book is written by food historian and St. Louis author Suzanne Corbett. It features 178 recipes from Virginia Campbell’s original 1840s cookbook, some dishes taken from Robert’s steamboat and hotel businesses, and even a few of CHM’s additions, like our much-beloved rendition of Roman Punch. The recipes are backed up by more than 130 images of food and CHM’s extensive culinary collection and archive. There is also a detailed history of dining during the Victorian era, exploring diverse topics like famous dinners at the Campbell House, an exploration of who actually does the cooking, and themes like etiquette and presentation.
The Gilded Table will be an excellent addition to both your kitchen and your history bookshelf. The book retails for $32.95, and can be purchased online or in person at the Campbell House. The proceeds of the book benefit the Campbell House Museum, so that we can continue to preserve the Campbell story and educate the St. Louis community.
In conjunction with the cookbook, we’ve finished up work on a new exhibit called Dinner Decorum at the Gilded Table. Designed by Jim Corbett III, who also did the photography in the book, the exhibit explores many of the aspects of dining at the Campbell House. Examine some of the unique pieces of the Campbell’s porcelain and silver collection, learn about Hugh Campbell’s extravagant dinners (and hear the story of the guest who had a bit too much to drink), and take in some of the rules of etiquette everyone had to follow. Explore the different dining styles, see some truly gargantuan napkins, and try your hand at folding them
into fancy shapes. We’re also excited to have Virginia Campbell’s original hand-written 1840s cookbook alongside some other famous cookbooks throughout history, including a first-edition of perhaps the most famous cookbook ever published, Joy of Cooking. And before you leave, challenge yourself or a friend to identify the specific name and use of 10 different spoons, six knives, five forks, and one very special set of silver tongs!
All told, Dinner Decorum at the Gilded Table offers some great new ways to explore the fine details of
extravagant dining at the Campbell House. Stop by and experience all of the fun! (Note: the Campbell House Museum is not responsible if you become really, really hungry as the result of all this talk about food. Luckily, there are some great restaurants nearby!)