Let’s Get Cookin’

Yesterday, I promised that I had a special surprise, and here it is. Thrifty-Book-Buying Companion and I were out for a stroll the other night – a new hobby we’ve taken up, although we took a stroll last night too and the clouds of pollen we inhaled might put the kibosh on strolling until the yellowy tint to our vision subsides – and along the way, we stopped in at a local used bookshop.

Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill have a few used book stores, but the Atlantic Book Shop has a lot of weird, cool stuff (like an entire wall of vintage cookbooks that I. Want. So. Bad). They also have a dollar cart out front where every book is a buck. I decided a while ago that for my lovely friend Kirsten’s wedding shower, in addition to all the normal kitchenwares, I’d like to get her a cookbook because we like to talk about cooking. But I wanted to get her a special one –  something that would make an impression, that she might laugh at, or that she would look at and think of me. (Because it’s always all about me.) And then I found them.

Four small books that were bigger than a pamphlet but smaller than a book (Booklets? Cookbook novellas? This is Brooklyn Heights after all, home of Truman Capote, tiny author of tiny books) that were “sponsored” by various different brands, all dating back to the 1950s, all full of recipes and tips for the good hostess, all on the dollar rack. First, we have Lea & Perrins’ “100 Ways To Be Original”, which is code for “100 Ways To Shoehorn Our Worcestershire Into Anything.” As you can tell from the cover, pies and Jell-O mold are not immune to the tweakage of Lea, Perrin and their crack team of kitchen experts.

I also found “A Guide To Wines”, courtesy of the California Wine Growers Association.

“300 Healthful Dairy Dishes” from, you guessed it, the Dairy Board.

And the “Host And Hostess’ Cook N’ Carve” Guide, courtesy of Swift’s Premium Meats.

I’ve gone through all four books and I’ve learned A LOT about what it meant to be a) a cook in the 50’s, b) a woman, prior to “feminism”, and c) someone who basically writes Worcestershire sauce propaganda. There is so much more to come. Also, I have yet to decide if Kirsten is going to receive these or if it’s back to square one with her gift. Sorry, pal!

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  1. I did something similar with anthropology textbooks from the 30’s and 40’s once… You should try it sometime.

    • Mags
    • May 11th, 2010

    omg i am loving your posts on these cookbooks! too funny!

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