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Jennie C. Benedict’s The Blue Ribbon Cook Book represents the very best in the tradition of southern regional cooking. Recipes for such classic dishes as Parker House rolls, lamb chops, corn pudding, Waldorf salad, and cheese and nut sandwiches are nestled among longtime local favorites such as apple butter, rice pudding, griddle cakes, and Benedictine, the cucumber sandwich spread bore Benedict’s name.
Throughout the cookbook, Benedict’s delightful voice shines. Benedict, who was once the most famous caterer in Louisville and also operated a celebrated tea room and soda fountain, trained with Fannie Farmer at the Boston Cooking School. Five editions of Benedict’s famous cookbook were published, and her aim in sharing her recipes was simple; as she mentions in the preface, “I have tried to give the young housekeeper just what she needs, and for more experienced ones, the best that can be had in the culinary art.”
As a creative entrepreneur, Benedict had a significant influence on the local culture and foodways. Her sweet and savory dishes were the stars of many Derby parties, and yet she placed equal emphasis on simple luncheon and dinner recipes to satisfy the needs of home cooks. While her popular dishes graced genteel tables all over the Bluegrass, Benedict’s chicken salad sandwiches, sold from a pushcart, offered Louisville children the first school lunches in the city.
This new edition of The Blue Ribbon Cook Book will now welcome new generations of readers and cooks—those who remember wearing white gloves and eating delicate tea sandwiches at the downtown department store as well as those who want to make satisfying regional classics such as blackberry jam cake like their grandmother used to make. Food writer Susan Reigler introduces the story of Benedict’s life and cuisine, and this edition is the first to come complete with the now-famous spread that bears Benedict’s name.
Jennie C. Benedict (1860–1928) published numerous books in her lifetime and is most famous for the several editions of her Blue Ribbon Cook Book. Benedict was born in Harrods Creek, Kentucky, near Louisville. Susan Reigler is a former restaurant critic at the Louisville Courier-Journal and is the author of the Compass American Guide to Kentucky and Adventures in Dining: Kentucky Bourbon Country.
"The Blue Ribbon Cook Book is one of the iconic texts in Kentucky's illustrious cookbook history--and few states have produced as many fine collections of recipes. In this sparkling lineup of food stars, none outshone Miss Jennie. She had it all: the kitchen touch, the business sense, the communication skills, the personality. Kentucky is renowned as a fountainhead of superior cookery in no small part because of Jennie C. Benedict's impact in the food world generations ago. [ . . . ] A timely collection. . . . Comprehensive, concise and easy-to-use recipes [offer] more than just a bit of Kentucky flavor."—John Egerton, author of Generations
"The Blue Ribbon Cook Book is a Louisville treasure. Not only does it evoke great memories of downtown Saturday lunchces at Stewarts and The Colonnade, but also culinary traditions passed down to me by my grandmother who considered Jennie Benedict the last word on luncheons and entertaining. While friends were busy playing jacks and jumping rope, I was learning to make Charlotte Russe, Benedictine and dreaming up my own Garden Sandwiches for a real tea party. I am eternally grateful."—Linda Allison-Lewis Kentucky Living Food Columnist and author of Kentucky's Best: 50 Years of Great Recipes
"Three cheers to Susan Reigler and the University Press of Kentucky for publishing "Miss Jennie's" Blue Ribbon Cookbook! Susan gets to the heart of this celebrated character in her Introduction to the book; and in addition to the recipes Susan cites, I am fascinated by the chapters on "Menus" at the end of the book. Today's cooks still have much to learn from Jennie Benedict's honest, straightforward, confident writing!"—Kathy Cary, Chef/Owner, Lilly's Bistro, Louisville
"The University Press of Kentucky has brought back to life the person and recipes of Jennie Carter Benedict, a true Louisville, Kentucky, and American woman who shaped and influenced the way we ate in the first quarter of the 20th century."—Jan Longone, Curator of American Culinary History, Clements Library, University of Michigan
"The Blue Ribbon Cook Book is a timely collection that is certain to bring more than just a bit of Kentucky flavor to the family dinner table."—Larry Cox, Tucson Citizen
"All in all, it’s a marvelous read, and a delicious way to revisit the Commonwealth’s culinary tradition."—courier-journal.com
"Indeed, if you had only one cookbook in your home, this wouldn’t be a bad one to consider, with its comprehensive, concise and easy-to-use recipes."—Sun Herald
"The entire cookbook is charming."—Voice-Tribune
"Reigler gives an interesting picture of the woman who, in 1893, started a catering business from her home."—Louisville Courier-Journal
"The book is a perfect choice for people who are interested in the history of cooking, or for people who crave dishes like the Hickory Nut Cake they had as a child."—Armchair Interviews
"The joys of historical research include unexpected discoveries that pop up as you pursue a topic. . . . One such detour began when I was working on a story about the Kentucky Derby. I read about the famous Benedictine Sandwich, served on Derby Day in Kentucky, that was created by Jennie Benedict. Because of that I bough her wonderful [Blue Ribbon Cookbook]. Her book is rich with recipes . . . just clean concise recipes and advice on menus for small to large parties, luncheons, dainty menus, and simple dishes for the sick."—blogcritics.org
"Jennie Benedict’s work defined early 20th century middle class cooking in Kentucky and her legacy continues to be found on restaurant menus and served on home tables across the state. . . . Many of the recipes contained in this cookbook are considered classics."—hubpages.com
"This text will be useful for the novice and experienced cook to locate those long lost recipes which were often passed from cook to cook."—Southeast Librarian
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
American cooking, Menus
Food and Beverage Management
Benedict, Jennie C., "The Blue Ribbon Cook Book" (2008). Business. 5.
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