New Cookbook Project



"A cookbook is only as good as its poorest recipe"...Julia Child.

We have been working on an addition to our cookbook project...adding recipe links to each of our cookbook reviews, so it's easy to match up recipes with the cookbook it came from.  We've been enjoying this so much, we are going to share the newly revised reviews as we get them done, on Saturdays.  We also plan to add new reviews as we finish the older ones.  As we have continued to acquire books, and even though we don't cook a week or two from them, we do make some of the recipes.

We love Cookbooks! Myrna and I have hundreds of cookbooks and cookbook leaflets between us. We have surprisingly few duplicates, but we share the others, often exchanging them at our regular coffee times.
My criteria for a cookbook is that the recipes "work", that they offer something new to try, and they not use too many convenience foods.  
Myrna likes old cookbooks too, but also likes to try new techniques and ingredients. 
 Too many "celebrity" cookbooks, where the authors don't have access to test kitchens, have recipes that can't be made successfully by cooks with a wide range of cooking skills.  That's why new cooks should look first to basic cookbooks from Betty Crocker, Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Southern Living and the like.  The entire goal of these "big" cookbooks was to teach basic cooking skills and give recipes that would be successful for most cooks, no matter their background.
Many of the older cookbooks we like, especially community cookbooks, have recipes contributed by women who were very experienced cooks, who cooked many more meals in a week than most housewives today, and they expected the reader to be equally experienced.  Myrna and I often simplify instructions or give extra information when we share these recipes so that you will enjoy making them too.  
One of us has personally made every recipe we share, making notes and taking photos as we cook.


18 comments:

  1. I have many of my grandma's antique cookbooks that are so interesting. They are from the 1920s and 1930s. There are a few published by food companies that highlight their products, just like nowadays. I also have my mom's books, and these include 1940s (not many of these) 1950 and 1960's. The 1960's are all about entertaining. And she bought quite a few Swedish ccok books., her mother was Swedish.
    You show one of own favorite's in your picture, "Fanny Farmer's Baking" by Marion Cunningham. I love that book.
    I have been known to sit and read cookbooks as if they are a novel.

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    1. Oh yes, a gal after my own heart. I like to read cookbooks also. I am always open to trying (buying) new cookbooks or at least ones that I don't have. Good thing we can share ours. Yours sound like quite a find. Some of those older books have the best recipes I use.
      Thanks for reading us and have fun cooking over the long weekend.

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    1. Thanks for the nice compliment. Hope you have a safe and dry weekend.

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  3. Myrna, thank you for sharing your tried and true recipes. I love cookbooks and my husband cannot understand it, when we go somewhere different I always try to buy a cookbook of that region. I still refer to my Betty Crocker cookbook at times and written my own favorite recipes in the back of it for easier access. I read your blog every day and love seeing the pictures around Iowa and trying some of the recipes you post.

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    1. Always fun to have a cookbook from somewhere you have visited. Regional food tastes do vary though maybe not as mnuch as they used too.
      Thanks for the nice comment, nice to hear from our readers. Good idea to write down your favorites so those coming on can fix something
      they liked growing up.

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  4. I prefer my old basic cookbooks too, Betty Crocker especially. I like basic ingredients too. Our town is not big so I usually can't easily buy ingredients in celebrity cookbooks anyway.
    Thank you for all the recipes you share. I know I can trust your site.

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    1. Hi Rhonda, yes we have the problem of living in a smaller town also. I guess most of my problem is with paying for some ingredient I might never use again especially if I didn't like the way the recipe came out. We sure appreciate that you feel you can use our site and find the recipes work.

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  5. I do enjoy your recipes and I also enjoy the church cookbooks that I find in the thrift stores that have been made up locally . Thank you for all the recipes you send me which is shared with all my friends that are not on the internet via my printer.as the old girls say = these recipes we can make without going to find rare ingredients.

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    1. Glad you enjoy the recipes, we like the ones without the rare ingredients also.
      Nice of you to share them and we are glad to have them there for you.

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  6. I love your cook book collection. I have my grandma's books along with 2 that she bought for me when I was first married. I also bought at a yard sale a 1950's Better Homes & Garden recipe book. Whenever I get to a thrift store I always look for unique or very old cookbooks. I was born & raised in Iowa and love seeing your pictures. Brings back memories! Keep up the great job!

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    1. Aren't you lucky to have your Grandma's books and the 1950's BH&G is getting harder to find.
      Thrift stores are great places to find cookbooks, some of the ones I use the most come from there.
      Glad you enjoy the photos of Iowa. Have a Great Memorial weekend.

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  7. I love collecting and reading old cookbooks too! My favorite was a wedding present to my mother "The Woman's Home Companion Cookbook". I remember sitting at the kitchen table and looking at the color photos in that book before I could read. I use some of those recipes to this day. I think these books keep us in touch with our heritage and serve to remind us of the importance of food, family, and home.

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  8. What a nice statement. We agree with you and all of our readers that the cookbooks of our childhood and young adult ages are important and that is why so many of use collect cookbooks.

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  9. I love this. I always enjoy the recipes you select. I use basic cookbooks mostly. I love when there is a photo that goes with the recipe too like you ladies feature.

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    1. Nice to hear from so many of our readers. Most of the books we use are basics also, though I tend to like the fancier ones.
      We like photos with our recipes also so that is why we post them with our posts. Hope you enjoy the posts and try some of the cookbooks.

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  10. I love old cookbooks--the older the better! It's interesting to see how things have changed in terms of what folks thought would taste good together and what dishes are essential to a meal. You can kind of infer what was inexpensive and readily available at that time too.

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    1. Hi Ivy Mae, you have a great point for buying and reading older cookbooks. I sure wish Lamb and Veal were considered inexpensive nowadays.

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