Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Way to a Man's Heart

I read cookbooks like I read novels. When I made that declaration to my PEO sisters on Tuesday, there were several heads nodding in agreement.

I chose the History of Cookbooks for my program topic, and I encouraged members to bring a favorite cookbook to share.

The one at the top of this post is classic: "The way to a man's heart," it declares. Evidently in the case of this cookbook shared by Doris, the way was through recipes prepared on your gas range. And you should wear your high heels, dress and fancy apron while securing his heart. Ah, the days of June Cleaver!

Cookbook manufacturers would certainly not put that adage on a recipe collection today. (Even though it is still probably true: Most men I know like to eat. Come to think of it, most women I know like to eat, too!)

Doris got the cookbook as a newlywed back in 1947 when the Welcome Wagon came to call. Though she didn't have to pay for it, the purchase price was $2.00. The cookbook was first published in 1938. Her version had been revised in 1946.

"They must have thought I needed some help," Doris declared with her typical dry wit.

She got some help from it and another thoroughly used cookbook. We all have them: Those cookbooks that are literally in pieces. Doris' cookbook that fills that criterion is her Gold Medal Flour cookbook (pictured below).

It had recipes organized by decade, complete with full-color illustrations.

Judy also brought an old recipe book, this one belonging to her mom. It was not a cookbook, but rather a personal recipe collection gathered from newspaper and magazine clippings (see below).

There was a recipe written on the back of a hair net package (below). It was the Depression after all, and people used what they had.

She also pointed out this recipe for Victory Chocolate Cake (below) that was secured to the book with a straight pin. She assumes the straight pins were more readily available than tape or glue. And, as it turned out, the ones pinned to the notebook are the ones that remained in place.

Check back tomorrow for more on cookbooks and their history. Until then, happy cooking!


  1. What fun you must have had looking at the old cookbooks. I have my mother-in-law's cookbook, rescued from the remains of a fire in the home. The edges are singed, but the book is still all there - although the water damage is still visible.

    I use my grandmother's Better Homes and Gardens cookbook from the year I was born - 1939. It's neat to see her handwriting on her inserted recipes for pear honey and the like.

  2. You're right. It was fun to see them. I loved the recipe on the hairnet package! Aren't all the best recipes on the the pages with the most food splotches! Thanks for stopping by!