Monday, February 3, 2014

Cookbooks through the ages....

Have you ever come into some "free stuff"?
I mean, has someone ever showed up on your door saying "Hey, I've got this stuff I don't want want it?".  Free, no charge, absolutely gratis?

A friend of ours is a great source of "free stuff".
He is able to get some pretty bizarre stuff too.
Once, he came to us asking if we could use an antique chick warmer....cast iron...
Among other things, he has brought  free fence pieces, an antique camping lantern, a weed whipper, 5 boxes of mason jars, canned goods, a short...this man is a treasure.
He knows such a cross section of people, that his knowledge and resources are broad.
A family friend of his died recently...leaving her husband to get rid of a lots of stuff before he down sizes into a retirement villa somewhere.  We were gifted 3 boxes of cookbooks.
That is how I came across some of the oldest cookbooks I've ever seen.
I thought I would share some of the most interesting of the bunch...and there were lots, trust me...

The above cookbook must be some sort of classic, circa 1964.
Every proper American household wouldn't be caught without its box of Bisquick.
Personally, I've never used Bisquick...not sure why...but I'm sure there is a good reason.

The title of the above cookbook was enough to make me do a double take and read on past the front cover.  "Cook not mad?!?!  What the heck is this all about..." I caught myself thinking.
Rational Cookery refers to extending your valuable ingredients for large families.
Often times, the average Pioneer family would have 5-6 children at any given time.  Add to that mix, any hired hands that also lived on the property.
People travelling in the back woods would stop in and ask for overnite lodging and a meal.
Figure your harvest would have to feed up to 10 people at any given meal.
The above book is a reprint of Canada's first published cookbook.
Reprinted in 1972, the original was first published in 1831...there is much more than cooking advise in these pages.  Inside there are tips for dying woolen and linen fibres,
common recipes for sickness, how to make bread in a clay flower pot
(which you know i'll be trying one of these days),
drying and preserving flowers and plants, how to get stains and mould out of cloth and
how to dress a calf's head (which I won't be trying...ever).

This little gem was published in 1963.
Apparently "teens" needed help planning an appropriate menu to serve when having a gathering.
Thank goodness Five Roses Flour Co. is here to help!
Inside are several themes including Boston Bean Bash, Pizza Platter Party, Mexican Dude Party and a "Kookie" Cookie Party for a sleepover with the girls.
Each theme includes an appetizer, a main dish and either a dessert or a beverage to serve.
There's even a contest at the back...if you win, you'll be crowned "The Young Baking Champion of 1963" and receive a $1500.00 educational grant.
There was also a baking questionnaire in order to qualify for the contest.
I have to admit...I couldn't answer half the questions...

This booklet struck me as a collection of college food...
It's extremely basic and trusting the average reader's kitchen consists of ketchup, salt and pepper.
This one is circa 1958 and features a cake and dessert section larger than the main dish section.
The best part is the beverage section!!!
Inside this leaflet are recipes for Cherry pink float, Chocolate marble float and Spicy mocha float.
The only disturbing thing is that every recipe uses the product called PET instant (which by the inside cover advertisement implies it is a milk powder).

A truly rare find...a Robin Hood Flour recipe leaflet from the War Ration era.
Basically this book displays every conceivable way you can extend meat with flour products.
Tons of dessert crumbles and meat loaf recipes.
No date attached to this pamphlet...but, when I searched Google,
articles came up in the Ottawa Citizen dating back to 1943. 

A preserve cookbook straight from the masters, Consumers Glass Co Ltd.
Sadly the pages with the pickle recipes was stuck together...of course.
No published date was listed, but a quick online search reveals Dominion Glass Co Ltd began in 1913 but eventually changed its name to Consumers Glass in 1989.

A friend of mine recently took a college program called Sustainable Agriculture.
Basically this is a course for people who want to run their own small scale farm or who already have a farm and want to operate it more efficiently.
She told me about a unit on jarring & pickling.  She warned me about the dangers of using a recipe that has not come from a safe source...meaning, a reputable source...not necessarily from your old Aunt Martha.
The problem you face is f you don't get the measurements or procedures correct,
you could be in for a hefty helping of botulism.
The only way to avoid this problem, if to get recipes from "Trustworthy Sources".
Bernardin fits the bill.  So does Consumers Glass.

This cookbook was dedicated to the Essex Methodist Church.
In memoriam, as the church was destroyed in 1907...same year as the cookbook was published.
There is a wonderful forward all about the hardworking ladies of this church.

The back page has an ad for Salada Tea out of Toronto.

Is it weird that I have a Salada tea box in my basement holding blankets?
The phone number listed is only 4 digits long....

Unknown published date...but seriously?
There are repeated ads for Zam-buk soap that cures everything from eczema to
frostbite to cold sores.  Zam buk dates back to 1906 but is still produced and used today in South Africa.   
Pep is also advertised within...for colds and coughs.
It didn't come to me with a cover...
so I have no idea what this publication is called or where it came from.

Front cover

Back cover

No indication as to who published this or when.
A simple handbook on how to do loads of things, not just cooking, much like the Cook Not Mad book.
The back cover reveals at least the advertising comes from Sharbot Lake.
Another quick search reveals that Chamberlain's Cough Remedy dates back to the early 1900's.

I had to finish off with something I found in our own cookbook collection.
(Of course I had to clear some out in order to make room for the new additions)
Now that I've found this classic...I just might enjoy next summer a touch more!

Does anyone else like historical cookbooks?
(or is it just me...)

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