I grew up a country girl. There were several times a year when my grandmother and her friends would get together and cook for 50 or 60 people. I loved being in the kitchen as they did so. And though they made it looks so easy, each and every one of them would bring along their trusty cookbooks.
Though there are thousands of people who collect antique books, there’s just something about old cookbooks that bring about a sense of the past like no other. You have the chance to relive those memories; the sights, the smells, and all the mystical flavors. These are not your modern heart-healthy recipes.
Old cookbooks offered something more than just pages filled with things to cook. There were pages on how to figure out measurements, ideas on how to substitute flavors, and instructions on how to keep your cast iron cookware clean. They were every housewife’s best friend.
There were a lot of name brand cookbooks, such as Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Gardens. However, some of the best vintage cookbooks came from local organizations. Women would get together through places like church or the VFW, and offer up their best family recipes. These would be printed into small publications and sold as a fundraiser for some upcoming event. The best part is many of these recipes would have been handed down for generations. I still use a lot of these in my own kitchen.
You can find a lot of these types of cookbooks online, but the best places to find them are at yard sales or at your local secondhand store. Many people today won’t use these cookbooks as they’re not health-conscious. You can usually pick them up for a couple of bucks. You’ll be able to tell which ones have the best meal ideas as they’ll be the ones that have been well-loved.
Did one of your ancestors have a favorite cookbook? Do you? If so, be sure to pass it along to the next generation. After all, a good meal never goes out of fashion.