I am someone who has collected cookbooks for many years from thrift stores and have enjoyed them. The cookbooks were always cheaper than a magazine and there were endless hours of reading and looking through them. When my stash of books became too large, I could sell some and donate the ones that I wasn’t using. Many were given as gifts to friends that I thought would like the type of recipes. My family always made fun of this hobby and called me a hoarder, but in the recent years I have discovered on line that others also have done the same thing probably more to the extreme then me. The collection I have is really more of a working library of reference then just a collection to own. I do admit I have collected two decades of Southern Living Annuals and also an incomplete collection of Taste of Home Annuals. I just like looking through them from time to time. The rest of them I have kept are because they are well written recipes and loaded with good information. Also some very old classics that have historical value.
The cookbook that I am reviewing is a vintage cookbook that is well worth adding to your library. There is over 800 pages with 2000 recipes. It is a practical cookbook of down home cooking of food that can be found in the local grocery. You don’t have to shop around in specialty grocers to find the items that are used in these recipes. It is not a cookbook that is on top of the collectors lists like Betty Crocker’s general cookbooks so it doesn’t get much attention.
There is so much packed into this cookbook, that it is almost an encyclopedia but easy to read. You don’t find that in a cookbooks being published today. There is only a few photographs of dishes in the cookbook so you are getting a lot of information. The first Good Housekeeping Cookbook was published in 1903 and is still being published today.
When I found this cookbook in a thrift store, it was priced a little more then what I normally paid for a cookbook. It did have it’s dust cover in excellent condition and the book looked unused considering the book was almost 30 years old. It took me a while to decide to buy it. I had so many general cookbooks but I thought the vegetable section could be worth it. I don’t collect cookbooks for their resale value but for the recipes that are in them. After I got it home and dug into it, I was delighted with the recipes. So many of them fit right in my budget. I think that is because this edition was published just before cookbooks started to compete with cable television cooking shows and a little later with the internet. The cookbooks became more visual with luscious pictures illustrating the finished prepared food and less about instructions. The current publication of this cookbook has 1200 recipes in their 800 pages and lots of pictures compared to the 2000 recipes in this addition with just a few pages of glossy pictures.
What attracted me to this cookbook was the vegetable chapter. Most general cookbooks usually treat vegetables as an afterthought and don’t provide many recipes. This cookbook gives lots of information on how to cook different vegetables so they are favorable. Each vegetable is listed in alphabetical order with a drawn illustration of it and how to prepare it. Something also nice there is a section on canning and freezing at the end of the cookbook with charts and processing times.
I use it more then my other general family cookbooks now since I bought it. It is a great reference cookbook. I did research this cookbook for resale value as I wrote this post and many are buying it to replace their original copy and willing to pay top dollar to get a clean copy with dust cover. I have a book cover on mine to keep it in good condition. When I cook I don’t put my cookbook on the counter in the kitchen. I keep it in the next room so I don’t get anything on it. I live in a very small place.
Had I known about this cookbook, I would have checked it out of the library years ago to find recipes and to read it. If I could only have a few cookbooks this one would be on the top of the list to own.