Cookbook Reviews...Sophie Leavitt’s New Penny Pincher’s Cookbook

I picked up the Sophie Leavitt’s New Penny Pincher’s Cookbook at our local book sale last year…6 cookbooks for $5.  I saved money purchasing one of the best little budget cook books I’ve seen.
The book contains many recipes Mrs. Leavitt had devised from her volunteer work showing migrant families in Florida and Pennsylvania how to prepare nutritious and tasty meals.  The book was published from 1971 to 1974.
The New York Times said that she and her husband, Boris, “opened an apparel store in 1934 in Hanover, Pa., and the business soon grew into a chain of a dozen shops.  After World War II, the couple advertised their better merchandise in magazines and entered the fairly new medium of specialty catalogues, which they mailed out under the chain's name, Lana Lobell. More catalogues were added in the 1960's, and by 1972 the Leavitt’s had almost 2,000 employees.”  Myrna and I used to pore through those great dress catalogs when we were preteens and teens!!

The book has many recipes showing how to incorporate “commodity” food items of the time, like canned meat, fruit and vegetables, powdered whole eggs and powdered milk, as well as fresh eggs and milk.  Many folks who, like Myrna once did, live where you don't have really fresh eggs, milk and produce in the local stores, use these items to fill out their menus, and this book has lots of recipes that show you how and is a popular reason people purchase the book.
The recipes are basic, but good ones, made with ingredients most people have in their kitchens.  She has pages throughout the book of budget kitchen tips in each section that still work today.  
If you are a basic cook or don’t cook much at all, this is a good book to get you started, especially if you need to make nutritious meals inexpensively.  The drawback, of course, is that there are no illustrations, but the recipes are all ones we are familiar with, ones your Mom probably made.  I'll put up a couple in the next few weeks that I tried.


  1. Sounds like a very good one.

  2. Don't you just love them old cookbooks? I know I do. I'm always on the lookout for them oldies; what treasures they are. I especially like those that have hand written notes in them

    1. I agree about handwritten notes...our Mom's WW2 cookbook even had newspaper clippings pasted on the inside covers.
      It's always sad to see old cookbooks that look like noone ever used them.


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