Bake as usual: the Edmonds "Sure to rise" cookery book
2020 has had a baking theme. When Aotearoa New Zealand began the nation-wide lockdown at COVID-19 Alert Level 4 in March there was a shortage of flour as panic buyers raided the supermarkets and home baking became a focus of comfort and calm.
The Edmonds cookbook might have been dusted off the top shelf for some of the kiwi classics, essential eating at a time of personal and global stress. Sometimes only bacon and egg pie will do.
|Image: The "Sure to rise" cookery book, front cover. 1910. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, b3099445_01.
Take a look at your family copy – you might have an Antiques Road Show moment. There are only two known surviving copies of the first edition, the ‘Sure to Rise Cookery Book’ (1909) - which Thomas Edmonds produced to promote the use of his baking powder with his promise of success, “sure to rise”. He should be recognised as one of Aotearoa’s pioneering marketers in the development of the cook book with his product.
It is unlikely you will have a rare edition as the Edmonds book is recognised as Aotearoa’s fastest selling book – with over 200,000 copies sold in one year in both 1976 (15th edition) and 1977 (16th edition). This book is still in print and over three million copies have been published already so the odds of having a first edition are slim. You can identify your edition on the Edmonds website.
It is also unlikely that your copy will be in pristine condition. The Edmonds book is essentially a manual, and your favourite recipes will be covered with signs of use, “badges of honour”. Note the page with a Birthday Cake in this early edition:
|Image from private collection.
In this heavily used condition this copy won’t make the grade for a rare book sale where condition counts.
|Image: The "Sure to rise" cookery book, page 6. 1910. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, b3099445_08.
|Image: The "Sure to rise" cookery book, page 45. 1910. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, b3099445.
|Image: The "Sure to rise" cookery book, page 36. 1910. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, b3099445_38.