Showcasing My Collection: Old Cookbooks, Volume One
For the past three or four years, every time I go to Goodwill, I look at the books. In the Goodwill book section, you are bound to see a lot of weird and interesting things. From a 2004 Zumba dance guide booklet, to a 1993 dentistry textbook, to a tattered copy of Nora Roberts’ romance novels, amongst all that you’re bound to find at least one cool cookbook.
Over the years I have found some real gems. As much as my mom protests me buying more, I keep bringing home new cool ones that I simply can’t pass up. My oldest one is from 1927, and besides some amazing recipes, it also includes a guide about how best to utilize your new state of the art refrigerator. It doesn’t even have real pictures, just drawings of a nuclear family sitting around a table in their cute little 1920’s style kitchen. My next oldest is from 1954, so there’s definitely a gap in the forties and thirties where I don’t have anything from that era.
Anyways, today I’m going to show you some of my personal favorites that I just picked up on my latest visit!
First up is Fondue On The Menu from 1971:
This very 1970s cookbook boasts the amazingness that is fondue, and says, “it’s easy, convivial, and it allows the hostess to be a partygoer, too.” (catch that 1970s sexism of the book ONLY saying hostess throughout). This book has a whopping 93 pages, starting with cheese fondues, moving into meat and seafood fondues, goes into “special fondues”, and ends with dessert fondues, which they call “a novel idea!”. It even has 8 full-page color photos!
Next up is this lovely 1978 Whirlpool Brand Microwave Cooking Around The Country:
You see that? Over 200 delicious microwave recipes from around the world. How wild is that?! It is important to note that while I do not think any of the food in this book sounds or looks good, I do find it fascinating. I have never seen a worse-looking steak than the one in here they microwaved for 57 minutes. WHO DOES THAT TO A STEAK. The answer? The 1970s.
Will I ever actually utilize these recipes and make a stuffed venison steak with spiced prune sauce in the microwave? No. Is it cool to look at? Yes.
Third on the list is something a little sweeter. This 1966 Pies and Cakes cookbook from Better Homes and Gardens:
The first sentence in the introduction? “A man’s first choice for dessert? Pie! That’s why one of the first baking ventures of a bride is likely to be pie.” Thank you, Better Homes and Gardens, gotta love ya. Actually, I find more Better Homes and Gardens books than I do any other kind. Probably a solid 7 out of 10 of the cookbooks I see are Better Homes and Gardens brand. This one is chock full of pictures, half color and half black and white. This one in particular has that strong “came from an old lady’s house” smell. That’s how you know it’s quality.
And to top it all off, we’re ending with this 1967 Better Homes and Gardens So Good With Fruit book:
I’m not gonna lie, this is one of the only ones I’ve seen where I think the recipes actually sound kind of good. I mean, it’s fruit, how bad can you mess it up? There’s appetizers, desserts, beverages, dressings, and it even tells you how to freeze or can the fruits! It also tells you which fruits go best with certain meats in entrees. I feel like fruit was a bigger deal back in the day than it is now, is that true? I can imagine people in 1967 being, like, oh my god what is that thing?! And it’s literally just a pineapple. Am I totally wrong about that?
So, yeah, I have dozens of old cookbooks like this that are true relics. Maybe I should try making some of these recipes sometime, would that be something y’all are interested in seeing? I’d be sure to pick the weirdest, most unappetizing ones, like microwaved oysters or cantaloupe and lime pie. Or maybe I’d actually try to make something good out of these ancient things. Who knows?
I hope you enjoyed looking at some of my most recent additions to my collections! I’m always happy to find anything before the 80s, so these were real gems. Let me know what you think of them in the comments! And have a great day.