Vintage Cookbooks

Our Cook Book and Home Economics Collection has many gems, and a few are highlighted below.

Pilgrim Cook Book

“Stewed chicken without mashed potatoes, and pork without apple sauce loose half their zest.” This is according to the Pilgrim Cook Book published by Chicago’s Pilgrim Evangelical Lutheran Church Ladies’ Aid Society in 1921. With 700 recipes, you can find Sausage in Potato Boxes (p. 31), Blitz Torte (p. 123), Cough Syrup (p. 130), and Sauerkraut Candy (p. 145).

If you’re stuck at home with a sick person, you might want to check out Food for the invalid and the convalescent published in 1912. If Beef Juice (p. 19) and Meat Jelly (p.26) don’t make your ward feel better, you might want to try the Cracker Gruel (p. 33). In case you didn’t realize, “Vegetables and fruit, while they do not contain much nourishment, are necessary to prevent some diseases.” And the authors would also like you to know that, among other things, beer and pickles are bad for children.

Betty Crocker Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for boys & girls (1975) shows kids how to prepare all kinds of nifty meals and snacks, including Pigs in a Blanket (p. 112), Three Men In A Boat (p.123), Cabage Wedgies (p. 163), and Ice Cream Cone Cakes (p. 18).

The 1906 book A bachelors cupboard; containing crumbs culled from the cupboards of the great unwedded has a great many pieces of wisdom to impart along with its recipes. Among them: “The day of of the ‘dude’ has passed and the weakling is relegated to his rightful sphere in short order” (p. 2). Once you’re done laughing at the intro, try a saucy recipe like Bed-Spread For Two (p. 75) – be sure to turn to page 76 and read the beginning of the recipe for Chilely for a little giggle. Then move on to some more manly recipes like Indian Devil Mixture (p. 78), Hot Birds (p. 83) and Finnan Haddie (p. 99). On a more sober note, you can read about some of the San Francisco restaurants that were destroyed during the 1906 earthquake starting on page 85.

And finally, you can cook just about anything in a paper bag, including Frog Legs (p. 53), Bacon and Bananas (p. 70), and Omelettes ( p. 88). Check out the 1912 cookbook Standard paper-bag cookery for more ideas.

— Alexis

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