Queen Esther Cook Book
From the Boyle Heights Methodist Episcopal Church Women's Circle, Boyle Heights, 1904
The Boyle Heights Methodist Church made its home at 200 North St. Louis Street, pictured here in 1898, though the larger area now known today as Boyle Heights did not garner the title until one year later, as part of the City Council’s 9th ward.
The Church’s Queen Esther Society, who compiled this cookbook, was a nationwide Women’s Circle, founded in 1898 with the intention to train future leaders.
Boyle Heights gets its name from Irish immigrant Andrew Boyle, who purchased the 22 acres overlooking the Los Angeles River in 1818. The land was later subdivided by Boyle’s son-in-law, William H Workman, who also served as Mayor of LA.
At the time of this cookbook’s publication in 1904, the neighborhood was a burgeoning working class community. In the following decades, Boyle Heights residents would be largely Jewish, Japanese, and Mexican immigrants, as well as African Americans - a multi-ethnic population catalyzed by LA’s zoning laws and discriminatory “redlining” of neighborhoods.
The fabric of the neighborhood was shaken during WWII by the horrific internment of Japanese citizens. As, Shmuel Gonzales, affectionately known as “The Barrio Boychik,” writes:
Al Waxman’s “East Side Journal” and the “L.A. Reporter” were the only newspapers in the nation to editorialize and decry the Japanese internment at the time. A brave and bold position in decrying injustice, a lone position Waxman would also hold in the wake of the violence directed against Mexican Americans in the midst of the so-called Zoot Suit Riots as well.
The rounding up of our Japanese American families in this mostly immigrant eastside community came with an overwhelming sense of horror, especially for the children. Seeing their neighbors, who were just as American as they were, instantly being treated as enemies of the nation. And traumatized by the implications this had for anyone else who might be labeled “un-American.”
Today, Boyle Heights continues to have a loud voice against structural injustice - this time on the issues of gentrification and white-washing. As an artist, it is important for me to note that artists and galleries are often agitators of gentrification, and that responsibility has been effectively brought to the forefront in Boyle Heights. You can read a bit more about the Defend Boyle Heights movement in this 2018 newspaper piece by Carolina Miranda, for the Los Angeles Times.
Recipes in this book include Kentucky Squirrel Soup.
Historic architectural photo from the Security Pacific National Bank Photo Collection (as the LAPL)
90th Anniversary Cook Book, 1888-1978
Art of Cooking In Huntington Park, The
Book of Favorite Recipes compiled by The Sanctuary Choir, A
Cabrini Family Cook Book, The
Century Favorites, Deliciously Yours
Cook's Book, 1971, The
Cooking With Faith - II (Favorite Recipes From Our Best Cooks)
Favorite Recipes Compiled by Christian Social Involvement Interest Group
Favorite Recipes Compiled By the J.W.C. Class of the First M.E. Church
Favorite Recipes From Capitol Kitchens
Feeding The Multitudes, Commemorative Cookbook
Festival Foods 2: A Greek Cookbook
Gathered Crumbs: A Collection of Choice Tested Recipes
Gospel According To The Cornerstone Cooks, The
Immanual Aid Society Cook Book
J.O.Y. Cook Book
Ladies' Aid Cook Book
Maggie's Cook Book
Make Your Holidays Merry Cooking and Crafts
Our Best By Test
Our Favorite Recipes
Our Favorite Recipes: Community Lutheran Church
Our Favorite Recipes: Nursery Guild Trinity Lutheran Church
Paramount's Favorite Recipes
Queen Esther Cook Book
Raved Over Recipes: Featuring the Mexican Cookery of Sister Amelia, o.c.d.t.
Soup, Salad & Scripture
Taste & See (that the Lord is good)
Tasty Delights and Remedies
Tried and True Cook Book
Trinity Church Cook Book
Westchester Directory and Culinary Art
Westwood Guild Cook Book
What's Cooking In Whittier
You will be able to download more of this book, soon! Due to their fragile nature, each book is being digitized by hand. If you have particular interest a particular cookbook, please reach out via the Contact Page, so it will be given priority.