One, called Pioneer Cooks (the telephone co employees, not Laura Ingalls Wilder & fam) was from the '80s and was so bad I actually took it back to McKay's and recycled it in the freebie section.
The gods of cookbook karma must have been smiling on me for giving it another life instead of tossing it in the garbage because that same day, I scored a good one.
It's titled "Favorite Eastern Start Recipes: Olde Family Favorites" (in an Old English font), and contains menus! Woohoo! I love vintage cookbooks with menus!
Here's a photo of the cover. No date, but Chicago Man and I think it's definitely '60s, if not '50s.
Aren't the colors lurid? I love it!
Besides containing over 2,000 recipes and of course, the menus, which I'll get to in a minute, this cookbook contains charming vintage drawings like I remember from childhood. Here are a couple:
Not so much has changed, at least at my house!
And the back cover; again, with lurid colors, this time of gelatin molds.
The sliced olives with pimento "tongues" on the first mold are hilarious! I will have to search the book for that recipe.
Now, for the menus. I was a bookworm as a kid. My dad would take me to the library each week, and it was nothing for me to check out 10 books at a time, and return them the following week.
But one of my favorite books was right in my mother's kitchen drawer: her 1940s era Good Housekeeping plaid-covered cookbook, with menus! I read those menus over and over.
Maybe because my mother did not cook, the idea that someone would actually put together a meal with appetizer, main course, vegetables, salad, bread, dessert, and a beverage, was fascinating to me. (or maybe I had a past life as a recipe tester in the 1930s and '40s, I don't know!)
And the foods in those menu sections were so different from what I was used to eating. They were written by people north of the Mason-Dixon line so of course turnip greens, cornbread, and pork barbeque never appeared.
In this Eastern Star cookbook, my absolute favorite menu thus far is:
Congealed Sauerkraut Salad (OMG)
Ham Loaf (OMG again)
Candied Yams, Buttered Broccoli (a vegetable I never tasted till I was an adult)
Cake Squares with Pineapple Sauce
Here's another good one:
Tomato Juice (a nice aperitif, I guess)
Surprise Meat Loaf
Mashed Potato Nests Filled with Creamed Peas (I actually think this sounds good because I love creamed peas)
Coffee, Tea, or Milk
Whip O'Gold Cake (love the name)
Can you imagine cooking like this on a regular basis? Just the baking alone would wear me out, and I love to bake. But I usually only do it on days when I am serving frozen Reggio's pizza for dinner.
The interesting thing about these menus is, they are all attributed to ladies of the Eastern Star (mostly in the Midwest and Alabama), but I haven't found the corresponding recipes in the cookbook!
I have found Filipino Meat Loaf (why it's called that, I can't tell) but no Surprise Meat Loaf. :( I wanna know what the surprise is!
So I'll keep searching and reporting here on all the treasures contained in this cookbook because I believe you, like me, probably love vintage recipes :)
What's your favorite vintage cookbook?