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Novelty Cookbooks Anyone?   Go to last post Go to last unread
#1 Posted : Thursday, July 24, 2014 3:19:57 PM(UTC)

What do you have that is in the category of "novelty" ?? or just plain fun? I have: The "Dead Celebrity Cookbook," Mary and Vincent Price:"Come Into The Kitchen," The Complete Marlboro Cigarettes: "Cook Like A Man" series, Sophia Loren's book, Dom Deluise "Eat This It'll Make You Feel Better" what do you have in that category? 

#2 Posted : Thursday, July 24, 2014 5:29:14 PM(UTC)
I have the Cheeseball cookbook, the MadMen cookbook (can't locate it right now to verify the title), Entertaining Edibles (creating objects out of fruit and vegetables), and the most embarrassing: The Axis of Evil cookbook with George Bush, Sadaam Hussein, Fidel Castro and Kim Jong-Il on the cover. Most of the recipes are actually legitimate.
#3 Posted : Wednesday, July 30, 2014 10:59:53 PM(UTC)

Hahaha Axis of Evil!  I'd buy that cookbook :)


Not sure if this fits the question but I have not one but two eggplant cookbooks.  Every recipe focuses on eggplants.  What can I say? I love eggplants.

#4 Posted : Sunday, August 3, 2014 9:02:45 PM(UTC)

My novelty cookbooks include the Northern Exposure Cookbook and recently found a copy of The Peanuts cookbook - its largely in cartoon format and has recipes for things like PBJ sandwiches. 

#5 Posted : Sunday, August 10, 2014 2:59:38 PM(UTC)

Hi, I have The Original Picayune Creole Cookbook originally published in 1901. I find it to be a terrific springboard for creating my own recipes. Just sayin.....

#6 Posted : Thursday, October 30, 2014 11:17:59 PM(UTC)

I used to have a Tofu Goes West cookbook, I loaned it to somebody and never got it back.  I see I can get me a like new copy on Amazon for $3.99, should I replace it??  

#7 Posted : Friday, October 31, 2014 8:17:35 AM(UTC)

I've got Caramel Knowledge by Al Sicherman, former food writer for a Twin Cities newspaper. It's an irreverent cookbook but has some decent recipes. I used to have a few novelty cookbooks that were given to me as gifts, but they have been "regifted" to charity because I didn't find them useful or interesting.


One little tome that isn't quite "novelty" but is fun is called Cream, Butter and Wine. I can't remember where I picked it up, but it's an interesting little book from 1959 that was published to promote the judicious use of these ingredients after years of rationing.

#8 Posted : Monday, December 31, 2018 1:15:21 PM(UTC)
You'd think that 14 years after V-J Day people would have gotten used to a peacetime economy, or at least have dropped war rationing from their rationales.
#9 Posted : Wednesday, January 2, 2019 4:13:14 AM(UTC)

My niece gave me one of my favorites: Gallery of Regrettable Food: Highlights From Classic American Recipe Books by James Lileks

#10 Posted : Wednesday, January 2, 2019 7:21:01 PM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: mjes Go to Quoted Post
My niece gave me one of my favorites: Gallery of Regrettable Food: Highlights From Classic American Recipe Books by James Lileks


I had that one for a while, but I finally donated it last year - it made me kinda queasy every time I looked at the photos. LOL :)

#11 Posted : Wednesday, January 2, 2019 8:46:43 PM(UTC)

I think the editor chose the ugliest pictures of food he could find.


Were there any recipes for the regrettable food?

#12 Posted : Wednesday, January 2, 2019 9:00:35 PM(UTC)
I just killed around 45 minutes on the regrettable food website - my mother had the meat cookbook featured in the MEAT MEAT MEAT section . I recognized several pictures!
#13 Posted : Thursday, January 3, 2019 1:30:43 AM(UTC)
IIRC The Gallery of Regrettable Food is not a cookbook - or is it? Does it have any instructions on how to make the regrettable food? Any recipes? Any cooking advice?

From what I've seen of both the book and the website, it seems to be an aren't-we-hip exercise whose humor consists of holding the past up to ridicule.
#14 Posted : Thursday, January 3, 2019 3:03:06 AM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: bittrette Go to Quoted Post
IIRC The Gallery of Regrettable Food is not a cookbook - or is it? Does it have any instructions on how to make the regrettable food? Any recipes? Any cooking advice? From what I've seen of both the book and the website, it seems to be an aren't-we-hip exercise whose humor consists of holding the past up to ridicule.


Yes, there are some recipes - at least one or two that could actually be followed. And the author also offers: Gastroanomalies: Questionable Culinary Creations From The Golden Age of American Cookery by James Lileks


There are some somewhat serious cookbooks that straddle a similar line more to the cookbook side. I'm thinking of these series:



Having been in elementary school in the era recalled by The Gallery of Regrettable Food, I think of it more as a bemused memoire ... reminding us of the past and reminding us all eras have reasons to not be taken too seriously. Regardless of our social, economic or geographic status we all have our foibles.


When my mother was a young bride, educated but not a great cook, she was hired by the local County Extension Agent to teach housewives safe preserving ... which my mother found amusing as she had little experience but her education made her a trustoworthy spokesperson. She even learned to make cheese.  She enjoyed "The Gallery of Regrettable Food" laughing at how jello used to be a status symbol - you had an icebox AND still had ice (in the country there was no local iceman delivering as she had had in her urban youth). OR even more prestigeous you actually had electricity and a refridgerator. [Yes, the last farms got electricity when I was in the first grade.] Just a light-hearted ode to a different era.

#15 Posted : Thursday, January 3, 2019 2:55:23 PM(UTC)
How did she get ice?
#17 Posted : Tuesday, January 22, 2019 5:03:49 PM(UTC)

oiC. She didn't have ice and she didn't have jello.

#16 Posted : Tuesday, January 22, 2019 8:33:32 PM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: bittrette Go to Quoted Post
How did she get ice?


Ice was more broadly available than one would think https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_trade 

#18 Posted : Sunday, January 27, 2019 12:24:20 AM(UTC)

"Manifold Destiny: The One! The Only! Guide to Cooking on Your Car Engine!" Recipes ranging from Cutlass Cod Supreme to Safe-at-Any-Speed Stuffed Eggplant!  A gift from my Dad with a note that said "Something for a High-Powered Gourmet"!

#19 Posted : Sunday, January 27, 2019 10:54:15 AM(UTC)

I have Cooking With Columbo: Suppers With The Shambling Sleuth, which I actually got for my sweetie as a joke gift last year. We'd been binge-watching our way through Columbo DVDs and just had to get it when I saw it. Have yet to cook anything from it but one of these nights I want to match one of the vintage meals with a favorite episode.


When we moved in together and "merged" our cookbook collection, he already had The Sorpanos Family Cookbook which is a novelty one, too. (I have tried a few recipes from it and have been pretty underwhelmed.)

#20 Posted : Wednesday, May 8, 2019 11:52:12 AM(UTC)

I'm surprised they were underwhelming, because Michele Scicolone is an accomplished cookbook author, and this seemed to be her project in Italian-American cookery, dressed up in show-biz pizazz.


But there have been quite a few cookbooks which are pop-culture tie-ins, esp. TV tie-ins: All in the Family (putative cook: Edith Bunker), Gilligan's Island (putative cook: Mary Ann), The Andy Griffith Show (several cookbooks, putative cook, Aunt Bee). I can't judge how good any of them are as cookbooks; I think each book ought to be judged individually.


But the one I have on my shelves is The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook by Gertrude Berg and Myra Waldo, and IMO it's a legitimate Jewish cookbook. It and Jennie Grossinger's The Art of Jewish Cooking are my two go-to cookbooks for traditional Ashkenazi Jewish cooking.


More in the next post.

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