Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Collection of Cookbooks

My Shelf of Cookbooks

It's a library of books, but, as far as I know, there is no collective noun for cookbooks, specifically.  So, I guess I'd have to go with a collection of cookbooks (although, if I could create my own collective noun, I'd go with a recipe of cookbooks!)  This is my collection of cookbooks after much decluttering over the years.  At one time, I had about two and a half 3-ft. wide shelves of cookbooks.  Now, I have it down to one 2-ft. wide shelf.  I could probably edit it down a bit more - after all, I have two copies (different editions) of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.  I bought the newer one because the older one was falling apart, but then, I noticed that the newer one didn't have some of the older, tried and true, recipes!  So, I kept them both!

Among my cookbooks are some that belonged to my mother.  I wrote about some of my mother's cookbooks sometime ago, when I first started blogging.  Today, I decided to do a post about one of her cookbooks:  Good Housekeeping's Cold Cookery No. 2.  It is a 32-page (including front and back covers) paperback booklet that was priced at 2 shillings, originally.  I am assuming (going by two  other booklets that were printed in 1958 and 1959 at the same price) that it was printed in the late 1950s and before 1962, because a booklet from that year has a price of 2 shillings and 6 pence.

I wanted to post several pictures of the pages, but, on the inside of the back cover, it states, in very fine print, that all recipes and photographs in the book are copyright by Good Housekeeping.  I don't want to run into trouble with copyright laws!  But surely it will be OK to show a picture of the front and back covers of the booklet?  And a little bit of what's on the inside of the covers?  I give full credit to Good Housekeeping for their booklet, Cold Cookery No.2, and all recipes and photographs therein!  Is that enough, do you think?

The front cover features some cold, refreshing lemonade (recipe found on page 27, under the title "Party Cups and Punches"):

Front Cover

The back cover features a picture of "April Candle Gateau" (recipe found on page 25, under "Frozen Desserts"):

Back Cover

The recipe instructions say to place a lemon essence soaked sugar lump in each apricot half on the top and set them alight, just before serving.  I don't know why it's included under "Frozen Desserts", because nothing is frozen.  

The inside of the front cover gives useful information about making the most of your refrigerator:

Useful Tips

I tried to do a close-up of the tips:
Close Up of the Tips

If you click on the photo, you might be able to read what it says.

Pages 3 and 4 are missing!  Not sure what page 3 might have had, but page 4 apparently had colored pictures of Jellied Consomme Madrilene, Mint Ice Cream, Fruit Soup, and Tomato Hors d'Oeuvre (according to the recipes for these items which are found on page 5).  I can't get over the fact that the recipe for Mint Ice Cream (made with double cream, egg white, chopped mint, sugar, and green coloring) states to use it as a garnish and that it is particularly good with grilled lamb chops, or to serve in small quantities with cheese straws, as an hors d'oeuvre for a summer luncheon!  I'd have thought mint ice cream was for dessert!  But the dessert ice cream recipes are features on pages 14 and 15, followed by "Ice Cream Sweets" (including Baked Alaska) .

There are menus for various meals featuring salads: a Leisurely Lunch, a Quick Lunch, a Snack Supper, a Smoerrebroed Lunch, a Sunday Supper, a Special Occasion Lunch, and a Family Lunch.  It's convenient to have the whole menu written out for you.  I wish I could have posted a picture of the menus, but I am afraid of running a-foul of the copyright laws! 

On the inside of the back cover are more useful tips on how to care for your refrigerator:

More Useful Tips

Anybody else has her mother's recipe books?


  1. I love looking at the pictures in cookery books but rarely try a recipe so I don't buy them. I don't think I have more than 5 books. I don't have any of my Mum's but she used to buy the Dairy Book of Home Cookery, from the milkman I think, and if I ever go in her back bedroom for anything I always pick it up and have a flick through it. Brings back some lovely cooking memories of when I was little. There were 4 of us and back then it was cheaper to cook at home than buy from the shops and there was always something delicious waiting for us when we got in from school, scones, cakes, cornflake biscuits etc. Nothing lasted long with us lot so she was always making something. When we left home it took her ages to get out of the habit of cooking for 6! xx

    1. You are a true minimalist, although, these days, with the internet and so forth, one hardly needs cookbooks. I am more likely to follow a baking recipe from start to finish than a cooking recipe. Sounds like your mother made some lovely after-school treats for you and your siblings.

  2. I love cookbooks, I've collected them. I love really old ones that take you back in time and tell you about the history, like the ones from WWII where they had to use rationed ingredients.

    Re copyright. You are allowed to use a 'fair sample' of the work, so showing a photo of one of the recipes in the book would be okay. The work stays in copyright for 75 years after the death of the author (print - music is 50 years after first published). It is tricky, and all credit to you for respecting that. tbh I think the pictures tell the story - a much loved, well used and interesting cookbook which is worth reading because it goes back to a different way of life and also may have some awesome recipes. Thank you for sharing. LM x

    1. Thank you for clarifying the copyright issues! I was hoping you might know and share. I might post one or two recipes from the other books that I have (and give full credit to the source).

    2. I think if it is a sample of an old book and given full credit then that is fair usage. The stuff I have self published on Amazon allows a 20% free sample, so I think (could be wrong) that is the sort of level that is acceptable. After all, a recipe or two from a book that is given full credit is like free advertising!

    3. The other books I am considering writing about were published in 1958, 1959, and 1962. I will give full credit when I do write about them and include any information from them. Thank you, again. :)

  3. Oh those pesky copyright laws! My Betty Crocker cookbook is almost 30 years old and has broken into several sections even though I don't use it very often. I like your idea of calling them a "recipe" of cookbooks, lol. I'm addicted to collecting recipes and I have many many cookbooks. I tried paring down my shelves a few weeks ago but, in the end, I just couldn't do it. I suppose I'll just pass them own to the kids if they ever show interest, which they probably won't. I don't remember my mom ever owning a cookbook, isn't that weird? Whenever, as a young bride, I asked her about a recipe, she would always get frustrated because she, like her mother who was a cook, never measured anything. The thing is, my mother is NOT a good cook, lol. I think it's neat that you have your mother's cookbooks and I hope your daughter keeps them if you give it to her one day. Do you use a cookbook for Sri Lanka dishes or do you have those recipes memorized? I find that I have to follow the recipe for most everything, even stupid things like pancakes, otherwise I'll end up using baking soda instead of baking powder or tablespoons instead of teaspoons, so I have learned my lesson.

    I like looking at recipes from decades past and see what people used to eat, or rather what editors thought people ought to eat!

    I agree that the internet almost had made cookbooks obsolete, but at the same time, you'll find a million variations of the same recipe but sometimes it's hard to find the exact one that you tried one day and loved. I have thousands of bookmarks for recipes on my laptop and also copies of recipes that I have saved to my hard drive but I still print each and every one of them. I'd rather look at a piece of paper than scroll a screen when my hands are full of meat juices or something. The problem, though, is that I many recipes that need to be put away in page protectors and binders. What I really should do first is go through the binders and pull the recipes that I put away a long time ago but never used. Because I also have a huge stack of food magazines that the library was giving away, that I still need to peruse. I like trying new recipes, although right now I'm just cooking all easy standards.

    All this talk of food has reminded me that I need to check what I was planning on cooking for dinner tonight so I can defrost what I need.

    By the way, how did your daughter's thesis presentation go?! Did she feel good about it?

    I'm going to a Relay for Life event tonight where my daughter will be volunteering and plan on lighting up a luminary in your honor. I hope that you will feel the encouragement across the miles, Bless :)

    1. Nathalie, thank you for lighting a luminary for me! That's very sweet of you!

      I used to clip recipes from magazines! I still have some that I copied out or cut and pasted to books to make my recipe collections. I have a binder with a few clipped or photocopied recipes, too. But I go through it often and toss items to keep it manageable. I have a couple of books for Sri Lankan recipe. I use them mostly when I want to make a specialty.

      Daughter hasn't received her official results yet, but she thinks she did OK. :)

    2. Keeping my fingers crossed for your daughter...

      Well, Relay for Life got rained out tonight, my daughter came home right as we were leaving, they texted her to announce that. So no luminary after all but I'm thinking of you and lighting my French Lavender candle in your honor instead, OK?

    3. It's the thought that counts, Nathalie. :) So, thank you, again.

  4. I am so happy that you gave us a glimpse of your cookbooks and recipes! One of my favorite ways to relax is to curl up on a chair and "read" a cookbook. :)
    Your mother's cookbook is very special and looks like it has some really good information in it. I have a cookbook that belonged to my parents- I believe it was one of their wedding presents, I can sort of recall something like that being told to me when I was a little girl and looking through the book, but I am not completely sure about that- it's a very vague recollection. It is called the Settlement CookBook and it has wonderfully frugal recipes in it. I remember when I was young and my dad wanted to whip up a treat for us there is a very simple thrifty recipe for Shortbread in there that he used to make. We loved it and savored it! :)
    I have some of the same cookbooks as you do! I like the Joy of Cooking cookbook a lot. There is a recipe for Potato Gnocchi in there that I make from time to time. It is another thrifty recipe and it makes a large batch. After we make them I refrigerate them and we like to eat them fried in some butter and sprinkled with some parmesan cheese. Mmmm! In fact, I put that particular recipe on my May menu plan the other day! :)
    I am giggling because I also have 2 copies of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. I had an old copy and then I bought a newer pink copy several years ago when it was being sold to benefit breast cancer research. I also found that some of the recipes from the older one are missing from the newer one, which is why I also kept both of them. I just love cookbooks! :)

    1. Some cookbooks are classics, aren't they?

      At one time, I joined a "cookbook of the month" club and would order cookbooks all the time! That's how my collection grew. It was so hard to give away some of those books, when I decluttered.

      These days, when I am tempted to buy a cookbook, I remind myself that I always go back to the same dozen or so "tried and true" recipes and don't need another book on my shelf!

      That's funny that you have two copies of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks! I offered the newer one to my daughter when she first went up to Berkeley, but she said she can look up recipes on-line. Well, today, she borrowed the page with the banana bread recipe to take with her to a friend's house - she wants to make banana bread for the first time! :)

  5. My favourite cookbook is "The Archers' Country Cookbook", written by actor Mollie Harris, but written in the character of Martha Woodford, who ran the village shop in the radio series. It was published in 1977 and I found my secondhand paperback copy not long after that time. Reading it takes me back to the English village life that I once knew, (even though I was never a listener of "The Archers"). I use some recipes and when I want a heavy dose of nostalgia, about once every 10 years, I will read it cover to cover!

    1. That sounds like an interesting and unusual cookbook! I'm glad that reading it transports you back to the English village life you once knew. It's those memories that sustain us at times.


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