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Monday, March 23, 2009

Vintage Alphabet

This Month's Vintage Alphabet is "C" for Cookbooks
Spring is finally beginning to bloom all over. We're all thinking of flowers and vegetable gardens, re-doing our 'Outdoor Rooms' and making plans for entertaining around the grill. Food is a major part of the Spring and Summer picnics, potlucks, and social gatherings. I use cookbooks and recipes to help create themes for my get together's. I might create a cowboy theme using my Lodge skillets, enamelled dishes, and the Cowboy Cookbook. An Amish quilt party would be planned using my Dutch oven for chicken and dumplings and the Amish Cookbook. A retro patio party would be cool using my 1950's serving trays and recipes from one of my Better Homes and Garden Cookbooks.

I began collecting recipes..hand-writing the age of 10. I purchased this wooden box in 1970 and filled it by the time I was 12.
Even back then I found these bits of paper as treasures to be saved. I wondered who had used them, what occasions were celebrated with them, and wondered how old the recipe was. As I find myself perusing antique malls and flea market those questions still intrigue me today, but now the vintage cookbooks seem more like snippets of time. They give us an insight into the kitchens of the past and to the homemakers who used them. Below you will find some of my favorite vintage (and not so vintage) cookbooks. Maybe they can give you some ideas for your own gatherings and, hopefully, while your out antique/flea/thrift/estate sale/yard sale cruising you'll find your own copies or equally wonderful vintage cookbooks.

These were the first two cookbooks I purchased to begin my collection. The Pioneer Cookbook is from 1970 and Colonial Kitchen Herbs from 1972.

The page on the left, from the Pioneer Cookbook, shows recipes that were the first things I'd ever baked all by myself. The other two pages are from the Colonial Cookbook and they still help me create more flavorful dishes. I use these books to create old timey birthday and Christmas gifts.
You can enlarge these three pages to copy.
These two books are just plain fun. Aunt Bea's Mayberry Cookbook and Aunt Bea's Delightful Desserts are a collection of recipes that Aunt Bea would have made with love for Andy and Opie. Some are recipes from certain episodes, and others are given by people who worked on the show. Throughout you'll find food related snippets from episodes, show memories, and even recipes from the diner in Andy Griffith's real hometown in North Carolina. I love to plan a menu Mayberry style and watch old episodes while eating.

During the 1930, 40, and 50's, small pamphlets were distributed by food companies like the ones shown here. These small jewels were big on impact when advertising. The graphics and colors are wonderful and the recipes, tips, and serving suggestions were and are still very useful. They are readily available and quite inexpensive. When I create a vintage inspired apron I always like to include a vintage food pamphlet. It adds a warmth to the fabric, it even lends a theme to the apron for a gift set.

This over-sized pamphlet was distributed by the General Foods Co. in 1940. I was so excited when I found it last summer. As you can see by the cover, it has been very used and there are checks by recipes that the homemaker found
especially good. Each chapter begins with a calender and each day has a corresponding recipe suggested for the day. If you click on the pic it should enlarge for a better view. I love to open the calender and see what surprise I can make for Jim on that day.

I found this Better Homes and Gardens All-time favorites Cookbook in the late 90's through Publisher's Clearinghouse, of all places. It has great recipes spanning the 1930's-1990's. A little over a year ago I found the Better Homes and Gardens Best Buffet cookbook from 1960. Over a little time I found the trio of books dating from the late 1950's.

The pages above gives a little insight as to how food was presented and served. Even the picnic seems fancy.

Last month I found these Better Homes and Garden Cookbooks.
Pies and Cakes, Dessert, and Holiday.They are later dates of the 60's, but just as colorful and full of inspiration.

These books, The Ball Book published by the Ball Canning Jar Co from 1939 and the McCall's Cook Book from 1940, were both my Grandma's. I love her hand-written notes and the accumulated recipes she clipped from the newspaper, magazines, food packaging, and appliance manufacturers. I would love to have a canning party utilizing some of the wonderful recipes in the Ball Book, but alas my kitchen is too small. I do use the McCall book quite a lot for everyday cooking ideas. When I use the books....Grandma just seems closer. Maybe that's why I like vintage cookbooks, all the accumulated memories fill the pages too.
I hope you have been inspired to get your old cookbooks out and decorate with them. They add quick splashes of color. Have a get together and surprize the invited to a vintage spread or give your family some old fashioned goodness you don't find at the drive-thru . Vintage cookbooks are chocked full of suggetions and memories.


Niesz Vintage Home said...

Wow! That's quite a cookbook collection!
Love the ideas for the themed cookouts.
Yea Spring! :)


black eyed susans kitchen said...

Wow, just one more thing that we have in common. Have a wonderful weekend.
♥, Susan

KitschKrafts said...

You have the best collection of cookbooks. I actually had to pull back years ago when my book and pamphlet collection got to be a bit out of control. I literally did not have any place to store them any more! I love my vintage 1960's Better Homes "New" cookbook and I use it all the time. I would have to say that one of the most helpful, old-time cookbooks I have ever used is The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. It tells you how to cook just about everything, although it does not have the wonderful pictures included in the BH books.

Melody said...

Thanks for stopping by! I have fun with the themed parties. I go to town for Halloween. I really wish we all lived closer. It'd be fun going antiquing with you all. When I look for cookbooks or pamphlets, I'm really picky, so the graphics and content really have to be different. I have the Fannie Farmer Cookbook too. It is wonderful. I'm lucky Jim's family is sooo large, when a wedding shower comes up I try to include a vintage book from my collection. Over the years when they come over they see all my cookbooks, so they are well aware of Aunt Melody's collecting. If they like a certain book it's thier's, but usually I find another copy if it's one of my fav's.

Elizabeth Holcombe said...

I have Aunt Bea's cookbook! I have made "Hash Browns Helen" a hundred times!~~~XXOO, Beth

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