What is the oldest cookbook you have?!

Question: What is the oldest cookbook you have?
I have quite a few passed down to me from my mom (from the 60s and 70s) but one that was passed on from her relatives from the 1940s. I love reading them and seeing how things have changed and how much easier cooking is now. They used to use TONS of fat and lard back then too! What is the oldest cookbook you have?


Fannie Merritt Farmer's Boston Cooking School cookbook came out in the late 1800s (I have a First edition) and is still very relevant today -- I use mine all the time. Reprints (both new and used copies) are available pretty cheap:


I also like my copy of *The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook* which was first published in London in 1954 (this is the only good edition) -- it contains many unusual recipes, most of which are quite good. Alice was really into the important details of cooking which is what the book teaches. Toklas was Gertrude Stein's lifelong companion and quite often her cook.

Other older but excellent cookbooks came from James Beard, Julia Child, Poppy Cannon, and (the fictional) Betty Crocker.

I use my mother's cookbooks, too. She has a dilapidated "Joy of Cooking" (1943 edition) that was given to her by her boss after she got married (my parents got married in 1944), but I tend to use the newer editions, from the late 70's and early 90's. She also has an old cookbook titled, "Charleston Receipts" (first edition 1950, but it's based on older recipes, and has a lot of Gullah quotations that are written in the "voice" of the Mammy whose silhouette graces the border of each page!). It is fairly old-looking, but I believe it's a reprint. I don't know how much I want to attempt a "jellied chicken loaf", anyway... lol.

You're right; yes, the recipes were more work and they assumed you knew the basics. And, yes, they used tons of lard--but if you were to look at the unhealthy stuff (growth hormones, pesticides and preservatives) in today's food or in condensed soups that people dump into their casseroles and sauces still today, you'd be reaching for the condensed milk and the lard, like your great-grandmother did. I use lard for some of my Xmas cookies (all old recipes), and they're 100x better than the chocolate chip cookies cut from the frozen commerical loaf and sprinkled with red and green M&Ms that I get at other people's houses. Non-hydrogenated lard is making a comeback, baby! I'll take it over Olestra any day. Who needs "anal leakage"?

I've got a collection of older cookbooks, including my mom's home economics textbook from the 1940s when teaching young women how to run a household was considered worth classroom time. It explains how to manage a wood or coal burning cookstove, how to wash dishes and how to do laundry. But the oldest one I have is The White House Cookbook, 1887. It's got recipes for squirrel, sturgeon steak, quite a few for venison, calf's head, how to make pickled oysters, fruit wines, vinegar, and how to make food colouring. It also dispenses a little medical advice and gives a recipe for cough syrup.They seem to have eaten a much larger variety of meats and birds back then. They also tended to process food much more than we do now. A plain steamed vegetable apparently didn't appear on a dinner table.

I agree, it's fascinating seeing how what we do with our food has changed. If you want to check even further back, there's a cookbook from ancient Rome. The writer is Apicius. Googling that name will find you some recipes. Check out the one for Garum or Liquamen, apparently very popular stuff that no household would have been without, like our tomato ketchup. I have read that what wealthy Romans liked to do was make dishes so complicated that no one eating them could guess what they were made of.

"The Fanny Farmer Cookbook," published in 1965, with a big list of copyright dates going back to 1903.

The only pancakes and pie crust I'll eat are the kind you make from the recipe in this cookbook. :)

My mom knows a recipe (not in this cookbook) for fudge passed down from her great-grandmother. She makes it for the whole extended family every Christmas.

My mother's Boston Cooking School which was renamed after that edition to Fanny Farmer Cook Book

Please note: fats satisfy appetites a lot faster so a person eats less foods. I still use tons of butter in my cookery. Normal blood pressure and cholesterol numbers at 63 with diabetes!! Don't you wish you were as healthy? Oh, yes and 115 pounds at 5'4" without any weight problems ever

I think I have a couple from the 1920's or 30's that were my grandma's. They weren't really books, but more like cooking pamphlets. I still love how even though a company put them out, they still have directions like "An egg-sized lump of butter".

I have some Campbell's soup cookbooks, Joy of Cooking, & an old Kikkoman cookbook from about the 1960's.

I inherited my husbands grandmother's original Best of Bridge when she passed away two years ago at age 90.

it was a old italien recipes


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