Sunday, February 21, 2010

Old Cookbooks and Memories

Ilene at A Visit with Grandma and Suzanne at Chickens in the Road blogged about old cookbooks and old recipes. I am not the collector Ilene is or my sis in Iowa, but over the years I have acquired quite a collection. I also got all of Mother's cookbooks and her handwritten recipes and newspaper clipped ones. They all bring back wonderful memories and bring tears to my eyes. Mother would write recipes down on any blank spot in her cookbooks, so to find a particular one isn't easy!

I had recently searched for old recipes for mincemeat and home rendering of lard and breakfast sausage. Between the old recipes, and kind people online sharing, I came up with what I think is delicious. I made meatless. I think it was the meat fibrous texture that I didn't like when Mom and Grandma made it. I made a half gallon and have used it all. I digress, sorry; one thing always sends my mind off on a tangent in another direction.

The point is that I had recently gone through a lot of these old cookbooks and recipes so they were fresh in my mind and when the other two blogged about theirs, I decided I would add mine too.
My aunt even gave me an old home curing recipe book from Morton Salt. It is such fun to read through them all. I have rendered lard twice now and have lots to do in the freezer. Yes, don't faint.....I cook with it; use it for home-made soap and suet cakes for the birds. The dangerous part of fats is the hydrogenation process they use for all vegetable oil shortenings.

The Symphony Cookbooks probably have more repeat recipes than some of the others. I have several from the Women's Missionary Union one too.

Mother was a great cook and really didn't follow recipes much. Dad always reminded me when they ate at our house that "it was good, but the real cook was Mom". Sort of a back-handed compliment.

I miss them both.


  1. Those are really wonderful, Glenda!

    My Mom hardly ever used a written recipe. She used her old standbys over and over so many times that they were memorized. If you wanted a recipe for something you just had to be there when she made it again.

    But she did have a few recipe books in a drawer in the kitchen -- clippings and little flyers that came with something she bought. She had one recipe in my Dad's mother's scrawley handwriting for Poor Man's Cake -- something made during the war when there were shortages -- calling for lard, cold coffee, raisins, etc.

    Yes, I use lard, too! And bacon drippings. I fry my chicken in rendered chicken fat. The "experts" have jerked us around so much about what's good for us and bad for us that I just don't know who to believe any more. I think it's just, do what you like, but in moderation!

    Enjoyed your post.

  2. I bought Nina Planck's book "real food". It was a real eye-opener. I am a true believer in real food!

  3. Thanks for this post, Glenda. It spurred me to spend a couple of hours searching the web to identify what I remembered as my first cookbook. All I recalled was the cover picture. A few hundred lookups later I spied the cover! Yay It was the 1947 FUN WITH COOKING by Mae Blacker Freeman. Wow. What a rush of memories. :-D I may have to acquire it....

  4. I love cookbooks of all ages, but rarely follow a recipe. I do like to use recipes, though, and adapt them to how I want to fix them. I have some old cookbooks that used to belong to my husband's grandma and mom. I also have some I've picked up here and there. I am so excited to get more counter space so I can do more cooking. I used to make bread and more of a variety of foods for meals, but have been making easy fast things more and more. I don't think I'll be rendering any lard or making cottage cheese, though. You remind me of a pioneer woman!