Flour Company and Baking Cookbooks

When you start to bake from scratch, it doesn’t take you long to see that there are lots of cookbook options.  Myrna and I usually buy used ones these days, but we’ve been collecting for years.
Flour companies have put out numerous cookbooks over the years, in everything from ring binders, large bound cookbooks with dust covers, small spiral bound cookbooks and all kinds of smaller cookbooks that are usually sold near the cash registers or with the magazines in stores.  The biggest advantage to these books is that the companies have had extensive test kitchens, and the recipes are designed to be successfully made by a variety of cooks of differing skill levels.  The problem with some of the older cookbooks are that the mixes they include in some recipes are no longer available, or are not the same in package size or how they are made, giving differing results.

The iconic flour company cookbook is probably the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook put out by Gold Medal Flour in the 1950’s.  It is so cherished that a facsimile copy has been published.  The Betty Crocker Cookbook on the top right is also a ring binder and came out in 1986.  The Old Fashioned Cookbook from Betty Crocker is a hardbound with a dust cover I paid 25 cents for at our local church thrift shop!  It has some of the old favorites from the other two books and also recipes I haven’t tried yet.  The Good and Easy is my second copy (I wore out the first…actually the first cookbook I ever owned).  It is a spiral-bound hardback about 6” x 8”.  The bottom right book is a supermarket paperback that doesn't use a lot of mixes.
Robin Hood flour (from Canada) was the flour we used all the time when we lived in Minnesota, even though Gold Medal and Pillsbury had mills located in Minnesota!  The Robin Hood Baking book is a big hard-cover and the other is a glossy supermarket paperback.  Both have good recipes.
Pillsbury has a very extensive collection of those glossy supermarket paperbacks…every year from their famous Bake-off and others throughout the year.  These four are the ones I saved because they don’t use too many mixes, except the 50 years Bake-off issue, which has many recipes that it seems like everyone loved and made…a good source if you’re looking for your mom’s favorite recipe!  At almost any used book sale you will find people with their lists trying to complete their Pillsbury booklet collection.
Two of my other favorite baking cookbooks are the Fannie Farmer Baking Book…it has the perfect gingersnap recipe! and the Taste of Home Baking Book, both are hardcover books.  The Taste of Home book is full of contributor’s recipes, and if you look back through the flour company books and booklets, you will see where the contributor’s recipes came from!  But it's nice to know these are the recipes that became favorites.


  1. I'd love to do more baking. Especially learning how to bake bread. Oh well, retirement is only a few months away. I hope to start doing more then.

    1. Sounds like fun. Retirement is lots of fun as is baking bread.

  2. I have my mother's original Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook. The red and white cloth cover is a little faded and worn, but it's my favorite cookbook and I still pull it out for a favorite recipe or two!

    1. I never had that copy in the original; but that's my facsimile copy in the photo. I still like it too.


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