“And now have a look at you! You’re so pretty … wearing a fetching apron, of course, and your hair’s neat and beautiful, held back by a ribbon”
The title of this post comes from a line (the rest of it is above) in one of my favorite interests…older cook books.
This one in particular is special. It was my first foray into old cookbook land. I bought this First edition 1955 “Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cook Book for the Hostess & Host of tomorrow” about 15 years ago at a yard sale. My daughter Jessica was getting interested in the kitchen and I wanted to encourage it. At the time she really didn’t see the charm in the old book, like I did.
She was 10 and the cookbook was “soooo….yesterday.” 🙂
If you can get past the chuckles you’ll have at the quaint language and gender assumptions, older cook books are fabulous peeks into our history. They are windows into how family life was conducted in homes during period in which the cook book was printed. By reading them, we are peeping-toms of a sort. Through the ingredients, we learn what were common staples in the pantry. In the description of tools to use, we know how much time was spent in the kitchen, or how tricky cooking over a wood burner or early gas or electric range may have been. Even the portion sizes change over the eras.
I love my old cook books. I have a lot of them, including one from the White House circa 1901, filled with hand written notes and old news clippings. (and yes, I do wear an apron. We have many of them so our guests can put one on too when they are experiencing our heritage kitchen.) What makes me sad is that the recipes don’t please the average U.S citizen’s palate today. The cook books of today use far more sugar and shortenings in recipes. The scone of today certainly isn’t the scone of a 100 years ago. I wonder why we have an obesity epidemic in the U.S…?
1 lb. gr beef
1 tsp salt
12 soda crackers
6 wooden skewers
3 slices bacon
Set oven to 450. Put beef, salt and egg in a bowl. Mix. Divide into 6 parts.
Shape the balls of meat around skewers to look like drumsticks. Roll in crumbs; place on greased baking pan. Bake 15 minutes.
Cut bacon slices into 4 pieces. Put on meat. Bake 15 minutes more.
This recipe is what a little girl of 9 – 12 in age could be expected to do in 1955.
If you have older cookbooks that are at least 40 years old, have a look at them with an eye toward looking at the home and family life. It is a unique way to look at cook books and may just inspire you to make a dish you’ve never tried before. Share your own cookbook discoveries and new old recipe attempts in the comments area below or by emailing ICan@bygonebasics.com.
A side note of news for you….I’ve completely redesigned our Bygone Basics website. Please, have a look at it and tell me what you think. It is easier to navigate, cleaner, and uses photos to show people what an experience is like here at Bygone Basics.
Check it out: www.bygonebasics.com
Parting quote from the old cookbook:
You’re about to turn the page to a heap of fun. So…hands washed? Have on a pretty apron, and is your hair looking mighty smooth? O.K., Kitchen, here we come.
And a parting photo…how fun!: