Carolina Weltzin was a translator and cookery book author around the turn of the century 1800. She was the first to publish instructions about how to make use of potatoes in cookery.
Carolina Weltzin was born in Stockholm in 1754. Her parents were the contentious vicar Anders Carl Rutström and Birgitta, née Stiernman. Her family home was socially and economically stable with a religious and intellectual atmosphere. Her father was engaged in a strict branch of Protestantism and also participated in the stormy party politics of the enlightenment era. For one period he was therefore sent into exile. Her father’s conflicts with authorities did not stop Carolina Weltzin and her younger brother Carl Birger from getting a good education, her brother at the university and she herself at home.
Both Carolina Weltzin and her brother developed a great interest in languages and literature early on. The siblings wrote poetry and socialised frequently in contemporary literary circles. Even after her marriage to Christian Peter Weltzin, an assessor in a forerunner to the pawn bank, Carolina Weltzin’s home was always open to intellectual and artistic friends. Carl Michael Bellman dedicated a poem to her: “Afton-qväde. Dediceradt till fru assessorskan Weltzin”. Perhaps it was a response to the poem that Carolina Weltzin had earlier dedicated to Bellman: “Impromptu af ett Vittert Fruntimmer till en af Våra Svenska Skalder”, published in the Stockholm daily newspaper Dagligt Allehanda.
Carolina Weltzin was one of the most read cookery book authors of older times, but latterly less famous than Cajsa Warg, Anna Maria Rückerschöld and Margaretha Nylander. Like Rückerschöld, who wanted to use the cookery book format to give advice on how young newly married women should cope with household chores, Carolina Weltzin’s cookery books were also partly a project to train young wives but with the extra aim of presenting new, foreign tastes to Swedish palates. Unlike her forerunners, who put great emphasis on household skills in the broad sense, Carolina Weltzin focused on knowledge about foodstuffs, and the gastronomic perspective had a primary role.
Carolina Weltzin was interested in food culture and her recipes were inspired by foreign ideas. Among the cookery books written by Carolina Weltzin, Ny kokbok was the one to run to the most editions. She was also the first to write a cookery book in which the many uses of potatoes played a main part: Anwisning till potäters mångfaldiga begagnande. In the cookery book, she describes how potatoes can be used to make flour, grain, bread, schnapps and more. In a cookery book about ordinary daily cooking, Anwisning till tarfwelig matredning, she describes among other things how vegetables and root vegetables should be stored and also jam-making with berries and fruits.
Carolina Weltzin cultivated her interest in foreign food cultures in her translations too. She translated German, English and French books to Swedish, among them several cookery books. One of them contained instructions about how to brew weak beer, ale and porter as well as a book on schnapps and distilling.
Apart from writing and translating gastronomic literature for a Swedish reading circle, she translated books that mainly aimed to be entertainment literature. They were travel descriptions and historical depictions. However, Carolina Weltzin also translated books with a feministic theme. Both Caroline Auguste Fischer Venturini, who fought for women’s issues in Germany and Caroline Rudolphi in the same country, who asserted women’s right to an education equal to that of men’s, became known to Swedish middle-class readers through Carolina Weltzin’s translations.
Carolina Weltzin died in 1812.