Bicentennial Beef cover

Bicentennial Beef

The Bicentennial Beef Cookbook
The 100 Greatest Beef Dishes of America’s First 200 Years
Beef Industry Council
1975

I was in high school at the time of the never to be forgotten US Bicentennial. Just about every product made seemed to issue a special bicentennial version of whatever was produced. I imagine this cookbook was probably one of a thousand “special” cookbooks published in honor of the bicentennial. (I posted last year about a Bicentennial leftover from my own weeding project.)

As you can see from the totally appetizing pictures, you are really missing some serious culinary highlights in meat. Remember the subtitle is The 100 Greatest Beef Dishes of America’s first 200 years. I can imagine that great historical moment when George Washington begs Martha to make Blanketed Meat Loaf after that tough winter at Valley Forge.

Microwave Miracles cover

Microwave Miracles

Microwave Miracles from Sears
Sears, Roebuck and Company
1974

Submitter: The smell of this book makes me think someone tried some of those fish soup recipes back in 1974. Unless that is what the 70’s smelled like?

Holly: Oh good, fish in the microwave. Your coworkers will love you when you heat up your leftovers for lunch.

Microwave Cooking cover

Saucy Wieners

Microwave Cooking from Sears
Sears, Roebuck and Company
1971

Submitter: Come see the scary side of Sears… Not sure if that’s regular wear and tear on the cover, or food stains. Either Way – this one has now been liquidated from our collection.

Holly: I can tell you what I’m NOT having for dinner tonight: “Saucy Wieners.” Recipe is below if you’re into that sort of thing.

jello cover

Jell-o Rides Again

Joys of Jell-o Gelatin
General Foods Corporation
1981

We haven’t posted a Jell-o book in ages. As a Midwesterner, I can appreciate the sophistication of Jell-o cuisine. My mom would put marshmallows and fruit cocktail in ours. (Our family lived on the edge.) This book kicks Jell-o to the next level with the multi-colored layers on the front cover. Pretty darn sexy, right?

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.

Cookin with Crisco cover

Vintage Cookbooks: The ALB Home Edition

Jackie 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.

microwave cookbook

Futuristic Cooking with a Microwave

The New Revised
General Electric
Microwave Guide & Cookbook
1977

My family jumped into the crazy cutting edge world of microwaves around the time this book was published. The pitch was always about how you could defrost or prepare food in just seconds, sometimes minutes. I personally remember microwaving hot dogs to watch them completely curl up.

Nothing my mother or myself were able to make anything that resembled the pictures in microwave cookbooks. I am convinced these were all faked. The meat in particular always had a lovely grey color. The texture was also just awful. It should have been nicknamed Soylent Green.

Mary

Low-Calorie Desserts cover

Low-Calorie Desserts

Low-Calorie Desserts
Better Homes and Gardens
1972

Submitter: There are some reasonable recipes here, but the whole thing looks really dated.

Holly: I’m all for dessert less than 150 calories, and submitter is right – there are some tasty-sounding treats here. The photography is very 1970s, though. Food blogs today have such gorgeous images; this can’t hold a candle to what you see online today.