For What It's Worth


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Discovering Vintage Cookbooks...



This little different than my usual bookish posts but it was a fun discovery that I wanted to share.

We went to Powell's Bookstore a few weeks ago. If you don't know, they are the worlds largest independent bookstore, based in Portland Oregon. They sell both new and used books and I always have fun browsing in there.

One of my favorite sections is the cookbooks. I have SO many - yet only use about 2 lol

Anyway, I found this cool 1965 Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook Souvenir Gold Edition - complete with newspaper clippings, handwritten recipes and printed recipes and notes from Weight Watchers - all from San Francisco in the 60's... 


I'm not sure if you're at all as interested as I am in all of this 😜 but I'm going to break it up into a few posts. Today - a few pics from inside the cookbook (I'll so some of the ads from the paper clippings and the weight watches stuff next).

Let's just say  this cookbook is "of it's time" lol






I'm looking forward to looking through the recipes. My MIL gave me her used Better Homes and Garden spiral bound cookbook when Kevin and I got married and I bought a later version in the 90's. I'd love to see how the recipes differ and how trends have changed. 

I also got a 60's version of The New York Times cookbook and there's a LOT of gelatin lol

I'm not sure I'll make anything from either but they were under $10 and are just an interesting look back and I may collect vintage cookbooks now??? 🤣

23 comments:

  1. My mom had the classic Red and White Better Homes cookbook when I was growing up. I bought myself one (paperback with glued binding) when I moved on my own and still refer to it now and then. The thing is, the internet makes it unnecessary in most cases. (me)

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    1. I only had the spiral bound ones. They don't make them anymore :-(

      It's one of the few that I go back to for basic info and recipes.

      Yeah, with the internet there's airways a new recipe or a video to help lol I still like cookbooks though.

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  2. I absolutely ADORE vintage cookbooks. I keep my grandma's because I just love them haha they have the best designs and pictures and are so sassy.

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    1. I have one from Kevin's grandmother where she wrote out all her recipes. I'm the only one who has it lol

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  3. I love vintage cookbooks. I don't know why, maybe the nostalgia or just the Americana vibe? Like those pictures,.. I would probably just flip through and look at those.

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    1. Yes! It's like looking at a little slice of life in America during different times. I was born in the 60's and it's really interesting seeing what we ate and how it's changed so much. And even the attitudes. The newspaper ads are even funnier.

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    2. I've been watching some old 70's shows with my mom (she's been having health issues so I've been over there this week a lot) and man it was DIFFERENT.

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  4. Cool :). I have some from the 80sand they are so 80s

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    1. I have a few from the 80's too and that was a weird and wild time lol

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  5. What a find! I used to have such a thing for cookbooks at had quite a collection at one time. We have an amazing used bookstore here and the cookbooks section is enormous. I used to love browsing those. Especially the vintage ones that were filled with aspics and jello molds and stuff that seems so dated now. :) I love the photos and illustrations you shared. So very 60's. :)

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    1. I had to get rid of so many when I moved but I kept all my older, quirky ones. I loved this one because it had all those clippings and handwritten notes. It was sort of like meeting the person as well.

      The NYT one is FILLED with aspics and gelatin. So many things had gelatin added! Even meat lol

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  6. This is awesome. It reminds me of my mom's vintage Betty Crocker cookbook. My first question about the gelatin is does it contain carrots and is it green? That is the most popular gelatin salad in Utah. My mom mad it all the time when I was growing up and I hated it so much! LOL.

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    1. OMG, I'll have to look!!! Do you know what it was called? There are SO many gelatin recipes. I was mostly subjected to jello fruit molds when I was a kid. Lol

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  7. I inherited some vintage baking books from my grandmother after she passed. It was fun to look at the recipes, but by far the best find was seeing all of her notes and comments that she had added throughout. "Really good", "Dad hated this one", etc, means I'm still following her advice!

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    1. I have a handwritten one from my husband's grandmother. She had several "favorite" recipes and she put them all in a book for me.

      It was the handwritten notes & newspaper clippings that got me with this cookbook. I wish I knew who she was. I imagine her family just brought all her books to Powell's to trade in but that makes me :-( in a way.

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  8. I love that our world at the time can be captured in so many ways, and it's interesting to look at the most popular cookbooks at the time. We have a fantastic Betty Crocker cookbook from the 70s that I love, but my dad is savage and got rid of everything during one of our moves. I used that cookbook so often, food stains everywhere.

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    1. My father threw out most of our stuff and it makes me so sad. I have a pan from my mom and her jewelry but that's it. Almost everything I have is from Kevin's family but I knew his grandmother when she was still alive and it's just as important to me.

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  9. I remember cookbooks like this when I was a kid. My mom and grandma had a bunch. I had a few of them but they got ruined one year when our apartment flooded.

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    1. Oh no! That's sad. It's been fun discovering them

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  10. A disaster in the kitchen and yet I love old cookery books. I still have my nana's Bero books from the 1940's. The recipe for a pancake batter is amazing and the one Mr T always uses though, I suppose bigger families then, it makes enough batter to feed the street.

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    1. Ha! Yes, most of the recipes are for very large families or gatherings. I find a lot of those classic recipes are the best versions.

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  11. Oh yes, more please! I wonder if your '90s edition is the same as the one my mother gave me in 1985? I cherish that book. I also have a cookbook in a binder with metal rings a friend gave to me, which I think was her mother's. I want to find that one now to see if It's a Better Homes and Gardens. I love seeing the old photos. 🍞🍲🍛🍝🍰

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  12. So it has handwritten notes and stuff because of the person it previously belonged to? That's so cool! But yeah, I bet old cookbooks are a trip. Probably some interesting recipes too. There's this guy on TikTok/YouTube I've seen who bakes weird old recipes and tastes them. Maybe you'll be able to find some weird ones lol.

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