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Treasures hidden in old cookbooks   Go to last post Go to last unread
#1 Posted : Saturday, July 2, 2022 12:27:34 AM(UTC)

Yes, I mean literally hidden. I've been adding some of my old paperback cookbooks from my highschool to graduate school days. The difference of emphasis in cookbooks is amusing and I certainly emphasized eating on the cheap.  But there are some wonderful surprises hidden away ... not in the text of the cookbook but in clippings stashed in the cookbooks. In Dharamjit Singh's Indian Cookery, I found a Dec 12, 1979 James Beard recipe for corned beef. I remember making my own corn beef from this recipe for St. Patrick's Day 1980 ... my first ever corning of meat.


Are you finding anything fun as you enter old books?

#2 Posted : Saturday, July 2, 2022 6:43:27 PM(UTC)

Funny you brought this up because I was organizing my clipped and saved recipes and those recipe cards from 1972 McCalls.  I could not help  going through each of them.  Although I was certainly much less experienced in cooking but I sure cooked some elaborate meals in my late teens and early to mid 20's.  But there were some simple and what people now might raise eye brows for using canned soups too and today I happen to choose a recipe for Swiss steak using  cubed steaks from them. Very retro. Instead of canned tomato, used fresh from the garden tomatoes.   I did it in pressure cooker and they came out great.  Just keeping them warm until dinner.   


The first time my aunt brought out clam dip (using cream of mushroom soup, mayo, cream cheese), I could not stop eating.  It has been a long time and it made me nostalgic for that dip.   

#3 Posted : Saturday, July 2, 2022 10:12:26 PM(UTC)

I recently start using the new EYB feature to enter my own books. I started with community books from the many places I was stationed my USAF career.  Not a lot of recipes I'd make now but it's fun going back in time.  I also inherited cookbooks from my mother, grandmother and mother in law. I find hidden gems in the notes they all wrote in their books. 

#4 Posted : Sunday, July 3, 2022 9:34:10 AM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: Wheels5683 Go to Quoted Post
I recently start using the new EYB feature to enter my own books. I started with community books from the many places I was stationed my USAF career.  Not a lot of recipes I'd make now but it's fun going back in time.  I also inherited cookbooks from my mother, grandmother and mother in law. I find hidden gems in the notes they all wrote in their books.


I too really enjoy community books and have collected a fair amount.  My favorite gazpacho is based on what I found in Military Officer's Wives Cookbook from 1970's. 

#5 Posted : Sunday, July 3, 2022 3:01:43 PM(UTC)

A plea to anyone adding community cookbooks using the new EYB feature to add as much data as possible, please. It can be very hard for us to track down data on community cookbooks such as publisher, date of publication and a cover image.

#6 Posted : Sunday, July 3, 2022 4:22:31 PM(UTC)

Jane, I have been surprised at the number of older books that have already been added as eBooks. I'm not adding the print versions in my library rather I'm just marking the eBook version as owned which technically is not true. Is there an advantage to you to have the actual print version (or edition) catalogued?


An aside, a 1922 cookbook included a clipping from a previous owner for peach desserts -- they didn't leave the date on it but from the pan I'd guess early 1950's. What is fascinating is that "Deep Dish Peach Pie" is what I would call a cobbler - no crust but a biscuit topping. Anyone know where the Courier Express was published as a clue to this terminology?

#7 Posted : Sunday, July 3, 2022 10:48:17 PM(UTC)

MJES I just did a quick Google search and found two Courier Express newspapers - one in DuBois, PA and and another in Buffalo, NY.  I hope this helps you with the old peach dessert recipe you found.

#8 Posted : Tuesday, July 5, 2022 12:27:54 PM(UTC)

Thanks, that is helpful.

#9 Posted : Wednesday, July 6, 2022 1:51:37 PM(UTC)

In my grandma's Betty Crocker cookbook, I found "Important For Safety" instructions that begin with:


"You have purchased one of the most popular new appliances in America. Although this fine product is designed and built to provide many years of satisfactory performance, the concept of hot air popcorn poppers is new and not familiar to most people."

#10 Posted : Tuesday, July 12, 2022 6:07:36 PM(UTC)

Decades ago, I borrowed a cookbook from the public library - there were no ebooks then. A previous borrower had used a clipped recipe for a bookmark. I copied the recipe onto an index card and when I returned the book I returned it with the bookmark still in it - didn't seem cricket to keep it.


I still feel bad for the borrower who lost a recipe by not removing the "bookmark."

#11 Posted : Tuesday, August 9, 2022 10:07:27 AM(UTC)

"what people now might raise eye brows for using canned soups"


The 10th edition of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook (1960, pre-Marion Cunningham) said that canned soup as an ingredient "should not be scorned by even the proudest cook."

#12 Posted : Tuesday, August 9, 2022 5:53:56 PM(UTC)

Packaged food manufacturers handling inflation by adjusting sizes instead of prices (not for the first time) has made me nervous. With bags of chips and things like that, it's annoying sure, and whatever, we can deal with it. But what about all the recipes that call for packaged food? We've suffered this in the past. Bags of chocolate chips are slightly smaller; that doesn't really matter as I always buy the large sizes and usually put more in than the recipe calls for anyway. And if a can of tomatoes is 1/2 ounce lighter, it's not going to make a difference. But what about if they messed with the can size of sweetened condensed milk? It could totally break a caramel recipe. Let's hope the manufacturers understand how their products are used and know when they need to leave something alone.


This came to mind because of all the old recipes that include canned goods by can size number. Thankfully now folks will include the weight in such recipes now.

#15 Posted : Tuesday, August 9, 2022 9:03:50 PM(UTC)

That's what "downsizing" meant before it meant laying off employees.


It's the incredible shrinking shampoo bottle. It's also the incredible shrinking coffee can (or bag). It's the incredible shrinking pumpkin can, which throws off Libby's famous pumpkin pie recipe - which is one reason I use the Eagle Brand recipe.


But even worse, it's the incredible shrinking tuna can. The standard size for a can of tuna is now 5oz. It used to be 6oz, and before that it was 7½oz. Old recipes were written for these sizes and that has to be kept in mind.


Fortunately, salads, sandwiches and casseroles are not an exact science, so you can take Rachael Ray's advice and "eyeball it."

#13 Posted : Wednesday, August 10, 2022 10:12:40 AM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: Fyretigger Go to Quoted Post
Packaged food manufacturers handling inflation by adjusting sizes instead of prices (not for the first time) has made me nervous. With bags of chips and things like that, it's annoying sure, and whatever, we can deal with it. But what about all the recipes that call for packaged food? We've suffered this in the past. Bags of chocolate chips are slightly smaller; that doesn't really matter as I always buy the large sizes and usually put more in than the recipe calls for anyway. And if a can of tomatoes is 1/2 ounce lighter, it's not going to make a difference. But what about if they messed with the can size of sweetened condensed milk? It could totally break a caramel recipe. Let's hope the manufacturers understand how their products are used and know when they need to leave something alone.


This came to mind because of all the old recipes that include canned goods by can size number. Thankfully now folks will include the weight in such recipes now.


I came across this the other day making gooey butter cake. Recipe used boxed cake mix of 18 1/4 oz. Cake mixes now are around 15 oz. Since you're adding an entire stick of butter, I didn't want to use 3 oz less cake mix, so ended up buying 2 and weighing it. 

#14 Posted : Wednesday, August 10, 2022 8:48:32 PM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: Fyretigger Go to Quoted Post
This came to mind because of all the old recipes that include canned goods by can size number. Thankfully now folks will include the weight in such recipes now.


I've been working through recipes from the 1950's ... and this creates a real problem because the recipes were deliberately encouraging the use of canned and frozen goods.

#16 Posted : Thursday, August 18, 2022 2:32:50 PM(UTC)

I can deal with the incredible shrinking can or box, even if I find it an annoyance and I have to search the Web for a solution.


But what's even more of an annoyance is when a processed food product is discontinued and I've come to love a recipe made from it. And then I can't see my way to a "scratch" version of the recipe.

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