athlete's cookbook cover

Dull Food for the Athlete

The Athlete’s Cookbook
Easy Recipes and Nutritional Guidelines for Active People
Peterson and Martinsen
1980

This is one of the most boring cookbooks out there. The recipes include such delights as: garden salad (it has an avocado!), two different recipes for tuna casserole (one recipe uses curry powder and the other has black olives), meat loaf, peanut butter sandwich, and wheat germ pancakes. I actually want to meet the person that needs a recipe for a peanut butter sandwich.

Wilton's Children's Birthday Party Book

Cake Mistake

Children’s Birthday Party Book
Wilton Enterprises
1986

Wilton is the king of all things cake decorating. I will admit I never would think of decorating a cake for my kid. I would order one from my local bakery instead. I can appreciate the techniques used to make these cakes, but honestly, that bear looks possessed. The bear is staring into the eyes of the kid, transmitting the message “Happy birthday! Now I will eat your soul.”

after work cook book

Break out the can opener

After Work Cook Book
Better Homes and Gardens
1975

All your 1970s favorites are here for your after work cooking needs. Your Sweet and Sour Chicken Mold will obviously be a family favorite. The yellow/greenish color should brighten up any table. As I look at the recipe I am curious about the sour cream sauce mix. I don’t remember any kind of item like that. Any of my fellow old folks have any idea what this is? The only thing I can think of is a sour cream/onion dip mix. Since it is the first ingredient listed, I would hate to mess up this recipe.

teen cookbook

Retro Teen Foodies

The Teen-ager’s menu cookbook
Adams
1969

Hey you groovy teens! Let’s get cooking! You will find all your favorite recipes. I selected a few favorites so I know you will want to jot down some ideas for your next party. My favorite: the cottage cheese stuffed hotdog. Really. I am sure all the teens will want to try your menus that include fish pudding or turkey macaroni. The kids will love it!

Casserole Cook Book cover

Pass me that casserole!

Casserole Cook Book
Better Homes and Gardens
1972

You all know I can’t resist a good casserole cookbook. We have another nice cookbook with pictures that do nothing to entice the reader to eat said casseroles. If you are a casserole/hot dish fan then you know that certain ingredients appear all the time:

A can of cream-of-something soup
Some kind of meat or tuna fish
Potato chips (for crunch!)
A can of vegetables (maybe frozen if you want an “upgrade”)
Cheese
Noodles or rice

Actually, if you take the above and mix them together you probably have 90% of casserole recipes covered. This book doesn’t use the cream of something soup as often, but they have some wonderful substitutes such as mayonnaise, evaporated milk, and sour cream.

cookie craft book cover

Decorative Eats

Cookie Craft
No-Bake Designs for Edible Party Decorations and Favors
Williams and Williams
1977

I am not a big fan of when food looks like something that isn’t food. I can appreciate some of the artistry, but no for a snack. This book is more about using common store bought cookies or crackers to be some of the foundations. Not a bad idea. In fact, I had a pastry chef do a cupcake decorating programs for some teens and the ideas were similar. The kids started with a plain cupcake and used candy, fruit roll-ups, and other products to make some really cute cupcakes. The teens loved the class.

This book probably does a pretty decent job for what was available in the 1970s. The black and white pictures and cookie/cracker choice don’t sound that appetizing. The chef I had do the class was miles ahead of this book, because the creations were actually delicious. Yes, the “art” is edible, but I don’t think that was the point. This was more about food as decoration rather than for eating.

stews and casseroles cover

Casseroles and Stew with 70s Style

Wonderful way to prepare
Stews and Casseroles
Shirley
1978

I know it is summer so a hearty stew is probably not your first choice for cooking. As a Midwesterner you know that casseroles (or hotdish to my Minnesota friends) are year round fare. Generally speaking, casseroles include some kind of cheap meat or tuna, some kind of noodle/macaroni or tater tots, and some kind of cream of something soup. You will be happy to know that this book does fulfill some of the the basic Midwestern casserole requirements. The shocker for me was the lamb curry  and the tuna curry recipe. Pretty darn wild for a my central Illinois roots. I am not sure that curry can save some of these recipes.

working couple cookbook

Smash the Patriarchy in the Kitchen

Working Couple’s Cookbook
Treadwell
1971

This little cookbook is a groovy salute to shared cooking responsibilities. From the back cover you can see that the authors consider this a big step in the women’s lib movement. I don’t think this book will make a serious dent in gendered chores around the house. This book has nothing special as far as recipes go, it’s more about the division of duties in making a meal. Sharing cooking duties is good for your relationship. It’s almost quaint.