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  • Help preserve Texas history by supporting Friends of the Texas Historical CommissionHelp preserve Texas history by supporting Friends of the Texas Historical Commission

    Virtual Event Series

    The Friends of the Texas Historical Commission holds free, virtual events each month. Many are offered in partnership with the Texas Historical Commission's State Historic Sites, while others are presented by experts in a variety of topics ranging from football to pralines. We look forward to seeing you! 



    Thursday, February 17, 6:00 p.m. CST
    Vegetarian Viands of the Early Victorian Era: A Lacto-Ovo Meal
    Platform: Zoom (Registrants will receive the link to the event via email closer to the event date)
    Cost: Free 

    While most published cookbooks of the 19th century featured recipes reflecting the period’s diet heavy in pork, chicken, and beef there were many popular dishes that did not include meat. In 1835, the first American vegetarian cookbook, Nature's Own Book, was published by Mrs. Asenath Nicholson. It was followed in 1849 by her book, Kitchen Philosophy for Vegetarians, which additionally excluded eggs and dairy products, making it the first American Vegan cookbook. The American Vegetarian Society was founded in New York, in 1850, and the International Vegetarian Union was later founded in 1908.

    While Vegetarianism was not widely accepted in Western society during most of the 19th century many notable poets, philosophers, and artists adopted the diet, including Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife Mary Wollstonecraft, George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Edison, Sylvester Graham (the inventor of the Graham cracker), and John Harvey Kellogg (best known for creating Corn Flakes as a breakfast food). Some proposed it based of the nutritional superiority of a vegetable diet while some also held a moral opposition the eating meat.

    In this program Hal Simon-Hassell, the Texas Historical Commission’s Chief Interpretive Specialist, will make two vegetarian dishes from 19th century American cookbooks, an 1839 Onion Soup, and an 1824 Spanish Gaspacho, which is actually similar to a bread salad. This event will be livestreamed from the French Legation State Historic Site in Austin and will discuss the history of the historic home and property as well. Recipes will be provided to all registrants following the event!