There's no telling what you'll find, in all languages, from all eras, from magazines to music to movies to games to books, maps, ephemera, junk mail.
Ted Nelson kept all his junk mail, for some reason, and now it's fascinating. Old computer product ads from the 60s and 70s, well before personal computing was really a thing. Everything changed, from the nature of the products to the nature of the ads.
The way I've heard it, he was in Egypt studying the writing on papyrus fragments which had been excavated from a seam of ancient landfill, and he reflected on how much he'd learned about the real day-to-day lives of ancient Egypt from what had been thrown away as scrap paper millennia before, and wondered what people were doing in our age to preserve the modern-day equivalents.
(Or modern-day-ish - this was the 1920s)
I love archive.org and have "lost" many an evening flicking through some early-80s computer magazines or consumer electronics catalogues.
> Reading the recipe, this doesn't seem to be in that vein, the recipe calls for "fat salt pork" I wonder if that's just pork fat, and its more for the fat content than anything else.
Pretty much. This is closer to frontier cooking; the only source of shortening and seasoning is from salt pork rendered (briefly) in boiling water. All the ingredients have long shelf lives without refrigeration, except the eggs, which would be available fresh.
Salt pork is generally belly fat - what's left when you take the bacon - low proportion of lean meat. This cake is going to be pretty porky, so it's cut with healthy doses of game-type spices... mace & cloves... all that cinammon sounds gross though. I'd probably swap it out for fennel or star anise, or just ditch the whole spice bill & go for Chinese five-spice powder instead. Looks like it would probably benefit from an extra egg yolk or two, as well.
> Why egg shells in coffee though??
That's an old cowboy trick. Boiled or percolated coffee is pretty nasty, and extracts a lot of extra acid from the grounds compared to drip. Egg shells (CaCO3) are alkaline, and help neutralize the gut churn.
You should try following the recipe and report back on how delicious the result was. I read it and it sounds like you'd get a lumpy mess if you tried to make it -- not something similar to a maple bacon donut.
The linked cookbook doesn’t have any oven temperatures, which surprised me. It is hard to get consistent baked goods when you are guessing at the temperature. When did oven thermometers become widely available?
> By the 1920s, new models of gas and electric ovens gave cooks slightly more control over their hot boxes, but the dials still typically only offered low, medium, and high settings [...] Around the end of World War II, manufacturers started including temperatures on their dials, featuring hash marks indicating 10- or 25-degree increments.
This cookbook is from the 20s; we're talking about gas ranges, and the temp control was done by metered flow to the pilot. Low/medium/high settings from the manufacturer did offer consistency, and the gas mark settings on English ovens better specificity... but the state of the art in retail hasn't really advanced hugely over the past century. The thermostats in home ovens are terrible; variance of 50degF or more across time and volume is common. Hence the continued prevalence of mitigating techniques like water baths, covering in foil or parchment, rotating/shuffling baking sheets, etc.