Vintage Cookbooks: The ALB Home Edition

Cookin with Crisco coverJackie Olden’s Cookin’ With Crisco Oil
Olden
1986

Submitter: Mom and I both collect and use vintage cook books. Great for home libraries, not for public ones. I often snatch up old ones that have been discarded from libraries at book sales. […] And we do use them, though sometimes we alter the recipes because some of the stuff mentioned doesn’t exist anymore. Or to personalize them. Just recently I used her really old Pillsbury cookbook to make some bread, then added in my own twist – shredded cheese, olive oil, garlic salt, dried parsley, dried basil, and diced oil packed sundried tomatoes. So old recipe books, great for personal libraries, terrible for public ones! (But if any library wants to send me their old recipe books…. LOL)

Holly: I like vintage cookbooks too! I love those old church fundraisers with the spiral bindings (a.k.a. the library kiss of death, and you know there will be about a hundred of them waiting in your donation piles, which are accumulating on your libraries’ front porches while you’re away). They always use ingredients like “oleo” and suggest “a small pinch” as a measurement.

Cooking with Crisco excerpt

Cooking with Crisco excerpt

Cooking with Crisco excerpt

Cooking with Crisco excerpt

Cooking with Crisco excerpt

Cooking with Crisco excerpt

Vintage cookbooks

Vintage cookbooks

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8 comments

  1. Marinating hamburger in Crisco oil. Bleargh. I, too, have a collection of vintage cookbooks, though, and they are really a fascinating snapshot of the culture.

  2. I don’t collect vintage cookbooks per se but I’m not about to give up my crumbling 1964 (14th printing?) edition of The Joy of Cooking, which I acquired in the 1980s. Yes, it has plenty of recipes that call for a can of soup, and I still make some of those, but I also treasure the chapter introductions that talk about knowing the source of your municipality’s water, and, re: leftovers, the anecdote about the pastor who looks at the family table and says, “I have blessed some of this meal before.”

    I wish I had kept my mother’s Betty Crocker cookbook, which must have been a wedding shower gift, since it was printed ca. 1957. That was the first cookbook I worked from, and I remember the classic illustrations.

    1. I have that one from 1970! I made bread from its recipe for years — those pages are warped and stained LOL; the rest of the book, not so much.

  3. Although we didn’t intend to make a collection, we’ve acquired quite a variety of vintage cookbooks. There was a lady in our office who sold ‘Current’ products. Among these were a few cookbooks. The ‘Flavors of America’ provided several recipes we still use after 40 years. We also have a 1970s Betty Crocker cookbook that my husband received when he got his own apartment.

    I had a replica cookbook from the late 1850s. A group I belonged to used it to make a dinner for a Civil War reenactment day. We gave them the cookbook because it was hard for them to find a recipe for ‘Chess Pie’.

    Old church or local cookbooks are fun and quirky. We especially like the ‘Madison (WI) Curling Club Cookbook. Peanut butter fish, anyone?

  4. I acquired locally created vintage cookbooks (churches, Junior League, etc.) for the local history collection I once supervised. None of my staff could see the value in these older books as cultural anthropology.

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