Vintage cookbooks are kitchen eye-candy. They set high upon the shelves, in their colorful jackets, challenging modern gals to attain the skills acquired by the cooks that came before them.
With all the recipes available online, why would anyone want a REAL cookbook? It is convenient to get recipes online, but all too frequently I forget to save them. Then I can’t find the exact recipe I used before. Also, you might think cookbooks contain old-fashioned recipes, but really, when it comes to cooking, there’s nothing new under the sun, only faster ways of doing things.
Around once a year, I buy a cookbook (or a recipe magazine) and make almost all the recipes inside. I make them one by one, and skip the ones that are unappealing to my family.
My favorite recipe magazines are Woman’s World and Taste of Home. Last September we worked our way through the Taste of Home fall dessert issue. My kids didn’t like all the pies, but they loved the sweet breads and cookies. I like Taste of Home because they have recipe contests, then publish the winning recipes with the winners’ pictures and a short bio. Fall is a great time for experimenting and breathing life into the kitchen with some new ideas!
Winter is also perfect for making comforting, hot meals. Several years ago I found the Gooseberry Patch Christmas Cookbook at a thrift store. I love their brand! The illustrations and font are so homey and gorgeous! The Spiced Pecans recipe is easy, and everyone loves it. The two women that created Gooseberry patch were next-door neighbors in 1984, looking for a way to stay home with their kids. You can read their story and sign up for their email with this link: https://www.gooseberrypatch.com/
The two “Oldie but Goodie” cookbooks in the collection are The Pillsbury Family Cook Book (1970), and Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (1978). They are stained and tattered, yet beloved. The pan pizza and quiche Lorraine recipes from these books have been among my go-to recipes over the years.
The most unique cookbooks in our little house are the kinds that churches and businesses sell. One is a Beaufort cookbook from 1980 containing my favorite shrimp dip recipe. Unfortunately, I used salad shrimp for this recipe the last time I made it, and the terrible smell of those shrimp are burned in my memory! Two of the local cookbooks are from grandparents’ churches, and one is from my hairdresser’s salon.
Most vintage cookbooks cost under $3 in any local thrift store. The older Gooseberry Patch cookbooks can be purchased on eBay for around $4. Joy of Cooking (1943), by Irma S. Rombauer, sells for under $10 online.
I would love to own Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child- especially after watching the movie Julie and Julia. A blogger named Julie (true story) attempts to make every recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook in a one-year period. I never knew how awesome and competitive Julia Child was until I saw that movie, or that she married late in life and adored her husband. You can read about her romance with her husband in her book titled, My Life in France. Her cookbook, Mastering the art of french Cooking, is a whopping 726 pages. Volume One was published in 1961, and Volume Two was published in 1970. The version I would like (pictured) costs at least $50 in today’s market.
Do you have a favorite cookbook? I’d love to hear from you!
This post is featured in: Something Old is Something New
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