Mary Docwra’s Non-alcoholic Cookbook

Although we haven’t been able to find a copy of Mary Docwra’s original book in our archives, her book has been reprinted and we have purchased a copy through Amazon. The recipes have not been altered in any way, which gives a fascinating insight into the type of food that was being prepared in the late 19th century.


I have put together this dinner menu for 12 people from the recipes in the book:


Ox-tail Soup


Boiled Cod and Oyster Sauce


Boiled Leg of Mutton and Caper Sauce : Roast Beef

Roast Turkey, garnished with Sausages : Potatoes

Tomato sauce for the table : Jerusalem Artichokes


Plum Pudding : Osmond Pudding

Mince Pies : Apple Tarts

Sweet Macaroni : Ivory-dust Jelly

Almond Gouffres : Fruit Blancmange Dessert

Mary Docwra's non-alcoholic cookbook

Some of items on the menu have ingredients which we now find bizarre, such as Ivory-dust Jelly. This recipe is unusual for a couple of reasons: firstly, to see ivory dust used (and so casually!) in a recipe and secondly, one of the ingredients is essence of ratafia, which is generally a type of fruit-sweetened or fortified wine!


In fact, in later years the BWTA/NBWTA/WTAU wanted to see essences such as these removed from sale on counters at stores such as Woolworth’s – even though the alcohol content would have been very low, they thought it would attract children and give them the taste for alcohol.


Ivory-dust Jelly Recipe


To 1 lb. of ivory dust* put 4 pints of cold water and ½ teaspoonful or salt, in an earthen jar in the oven.


Let it simmer for 12 hours, then carefully pour off as much as is clear (it should be stirred whilst simmering).


Flavour it with 2 drops of essence of lemon, 2 drops of essence of vanilla, 2 drops essence of ratafia, and oz. of citric acid; sweeten to taste.


The juice of 2 lemons and then rind of 1 may be used instead as a flavouring; and should in that case be boiled up separately before adding to the jelly.


After this first quantity has been poured off, 4 pints more cold water may be added.


Again simmer for about 12 hours, and equally good jelly can be poured off again.


In winter, rather more water may be added as it stiffens more easily; but in summer 4 pints is sufficient at a time for 1 lb. of ivory dust.


*The dust can be obtained from any ivory turner, either in London or Sheffield.