We're two sisters who are craft book publishers and found ourselves in the midst of an avocado grove. We bought this house where we planned to conduct our publishing business and in the deal got 4 acres of avocado trees thrown in. Now we're not only publishers but ranchers as well! This blog is all about avocados and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Retro Cookbooks

I really love old cookbooks. I don't know if it's the cover art, the unhealthy recipes, the musty smell, the kitchen stains, the horrible styling and photography. I'm just not sure why, but I have a bookshelf full and I'm always looking for more. I've selected some from Etsy that are pretty darned cute. See if you agree. Maybe one or two of them are familiar - from your very kitchen or your mothers.

Here's one from 1945 called Recipes for Good Eating.  Don't you just love the matching red gingham aprons on mother and daughter? And what about mom's hairdo - that's quite an upsweep, so 1940s. This book is from Cook Book Addict.

Who can forget this guy? (unless you were born after 1970). I remember his very entertaining TV cooking show - he was sure ahead of his time, wasn't he? This nostalgic book is from Ephemerista. It looks very well used, doesn't it?

I chose this book from Retro Cook Book because of the 1950s artwork on the cover. The little dancing meat and vegetables are just too cute for words. Why isn't the fish dancing? The vibrant pink and purple cover sure grabs your attention.

This book from Calloohcallay answers the ever popular question "What Shall I Cook Today". What a great title. The comic book style cover is wonderful, the recipes are so darn unhealthy all using Spry shortening and lots of frying.  But who would want this book for the recipes - you'd just want to take that cover and frame it!

Mmmmm. Dr. Price Phosphate Baking Powder. Sounds kind of lethal doesn't it? Like something you'd mix up in your chemistry lab. Somewhere along the line, the "phosphate" was removed from the brand and it's just called baking powder. But I bet those phosphate elements are still lurking in every box and can of baking powder (I'll have to check the label). This wonderful little book is from Kittredge Mercantile. It dates back to 1921 and has just an amazing cover, another one that would be perfect framed for some kitchen art.

This particular book is very nostalgic for me since I was a girl scout and wore a similar uniform. Although my uniform was from the 1950s and the one's in this 1972 edition have been a little updated.  I even received the cooking badge which I displayed proudly on my green sash. They've updated the uniform again and it sadly doesn't even resemble the one's we wore. Maybe not sadly for the current crop of girl scouts. Doesn't the girl in the middle look just like Valerie Bertinelli (although I doubt if she was even born yet)? This cookbook is from Dick and Janes Books.

And last but not least, here's another artery clogging bunch of recipes from Crisco - The New Recipes for Good Eating. Ha! This 1948 book is from Avante Jewelry. Mom is saying "Hey kids fill up on a massive plate full of yummy donuts."  Little Susie can't even keep her tongue in her mouth, she's absolutely drooling over her half eaten donut. Mom seems a little unconcerned about the amount of calories and cholesterol lurking in those deep fried confections.

Well that was sure a fun trip down cook book memory lane. Are you a cookbook collector? Do you have some of these old cuties lurking on your bookshelf?


  1. My mother had a curious assortment of cook books. Her most pedestrian was the Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book with a plaid cover. She had the requisite Betty Crocker Cook Book too. She had an entire series by some publisher...the kind that published one called "Casseroles", another "Cakes", another "Meats" etc. Can't remember who put those out but could have been Family Circle or similar. Her favorite for a time was Dinah Shore's Cookbook, "Someone's in the Kitchen With Dinah". It was, by today's standards, kinda tacky. Alot of recipes with Campbell soup although Dinah was known to be a very fine cook and hostess. Of course, nobody was sweatin' it like some of these hams on tv nowadays...Paula Deen (she makes me ill) or
    Rachel Ray or the guy who wears his shades on the back of his head and talks too loud.

    The Metropolitan Cook Book you picture is really a fabulous cover; totally works today. How're the recipes?

  2. Hi California Girl,
    That's really weird. I also have Dinah Shore's cookbook. I love that title - so perfect. I tried one of the recipes for shrimp creole which was not too bad.
    If you click on the Etsy sellers links and go to their "shop" you might be able to see some of the recipes - I didn't really look at the recipes, I was mostly interested in the covers.
    I can't stand Paula or Rachel either. Who's the guy with the shades - I can't think who that is.
    My favorite is the barefoot contessa - except that she laughs too hard and too much. But her recipes are always interesting.

  3. The annoying guy with the shades is Guy Fieri

  4. thanks lin,
    I had a feeling that's who it was. Yes, he is really annoying and his recipes are always kind of difficult. Nothing I would cook.

  5. I love all these old cookbooks--and some of them have such great recipes! OK, no one really wants to cook with Spry these days, but thanks for featuring my book anyway!

  6. Hi Callooh Callay,
    Sorry, I just noticed I spelled your name wrong on the blog. The link works anyway. But I'll correct it.
    Is Spry even available anymore?

  7. Love your blog! I had a good chuckle over the Spry cookbook as well. It's nice how you showcase some Etsy sellers. Makes me want to click and shop!

  8. haha! the last one with the donuts as "good eating" is hilarious. great finds!!!

  9. Hi KobysCache,
    Thanks for checking into my blog. Yes, that Spry cookbook is a real classic. It actually looks very current because of the recent popularity of comic book art.

  10. Hi Megan,
    Can you imagine if I had set a big plate of donuts in front of you when you were little? Your tongue would have been hanging out too.

  11. Great feature. Thanks so much for including me.