I’m finally starting to organize the metric ton of stuff we brought back from Denver when we shut down housekeeping for Rich’s parents. When I say starting, I mean I took the stack of cookbooks that belonged to my mother-in-law and her mother, and started going through them.
I really don’t know what to do with them.
From what I can tell, they’re not going to be of interest to collectors, but they’re fascinating to me, for both sentiment and the glimpse of the era that they provide.
I have one old cookbook from my own mother that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It’s a Rumford Baking Powder cookbook, published in 1939, and it refers to “the new temperature method” of heating an oven. It also contains a recipe for Toast Broth. (You make toast, soak it in warm water, strain the water, and give it to someone who’s been sick and doesn’t feel like eating, and they’re supposed to drink it.)
Really, I’ve loved looking through this cookbook!
My late grandmother-in-law was gone long before I joined the family, so I don’t have the same sentimental attachment to her stuff. But there’s so much history in these, both family and otherwise!
A couple of them are copyrighted in 1930, and one in 1943. The printed pages are interesting, and if you find yourself in need of a recipe for Italian Delight, or Harvard Sauce and Egg for Beets, just DM me.
But it’s the newspaper clippings, notes, handwritten recipes, receipts, and other detritus1 that are so captivating. GMIL filled out an order form for “absolutely without charge, a full size package of Climalene,”2 which I suppose she never got. A few recipes indicate how many ration points (2 Red points, 4 Blue points) you’d need to buy the ingredients. And a newspaper clipping, from 1921, told the story of a neighbor’s underage son who tried to sneak off and marry his sweetheart.3 There were also a couple of Service Bulletins, “published monthly for customers of the Public Service Company of Northern Illinois,” plus a very-well-used copy of the 1930 Ball Blue Book of Canning and Pickling.
I guess I’ll clear out a space on my cookbook shelf and store them there. Maybe I’ll look through them every now and then. They might have a better recipe for Toast Broth.
1 Including the words “Cream Puff” written on a scrap of a Walgreen’s bag. Search me.
3 They got a marriage license by telling what the newspaper called “a fib.” But Mom, who was apparently a friend of GMIL, caught on and got to the priest before they did.