The Somnambulist’s Cookbook

Shae Davidson
Surrealist Swap Meet
4 min readMar 9, 2021


Food cooked in a paper bag is superior in flavour and of higher nutritive value than that cooked in any other way.

Food cooked in a paper bag loses practically nothing in weight.

By cooking the entire dinner in paper bags in the oven an immense saving in fuel is effected.

Food cooked in a paper bag takes, as a rule, a much shorter time to cook than when cooked by any other method.

The entire meal may be prepared and placed in the bags overnight, thus saving considerable time during the busy morning hours.

Joints require no basting, and the food can be left to look after itself until the proper time for dishing up arrives.

No pots and pans to clean. No blackened saucepans to scour; no dishcloths to wash out, after washing the pots, thus saving soap and soda. The bags used in cooking are merely burned up.

No constant and expensive renewal of pots, baking dishes, fireproof ware — frequently far from fireproof — tin saucepans burned through in no time — enamelled dishes from which the enamel so soon wears off. An ample supply of paper bags for an average family will cost at the utmost no more than sixpence per week.

Comfort in kitchen and sitting-room. There is absolutely no smell of cooking during the preparation of meals, a very great advantage in houses where the kitchen is not completely shut off from the rest of the house.

It is possible to cook all sorts of viands at the same time in paper bags. Even such articles as fish, onions, etc., can be cooked at the same time as the most delicate foods without impairing their flavour or imparting their own.

Freedom from grease. Many dishes which are too rich for the digestion when cooked in the usual way may be put into a paper bag with no more butter than is necessary to grease the bag, and will be found to have gained in savour and delicacy of taste, while so completely free from grease that they will not disagree with the most delicate digestion.

Meat is made tender by being cooked in a paper bag. Even if inclined to be tough, the same joint that, put into an oven and cooked in the usual way, would be almost uneatable, will, cooked in a paper bag, turn out surprisingly tender and palatable. The envelope keeps all the juices in, and thus enables the meat to be cooked to perfection.

The juices which must in some degree run from meat, the syrup which may boil out from the fruit dumpling, the gravy which may exude from the meat pudding, are all preserved in the bag, instead of being lost in the baking dish or the boiling water, as would be the case if the bag were dispensed with.

No scrubbing out of a greasy oven with dripping clinging to the sides; no washing out of the dripping pan or baking dish. A spotlessly clean oven is left, and when the bags have been burned up and the dishes washed, the cook’s labours in connection with the finished meal are over.

Even such articles which for some reason or other must necessarily be put into dishes, are immensely improved in flavour by being afterwards placed in a paper bag, and are also more equally cooked well as saved from all risk of burning.