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Friday Favorite: Cookbooks Old and New

March 11th, 2011

I love to cook, always have. When I was a little girl I dreamed of opening a bakery. I started cooking a lot of our family meals when I was in high school and never left the kitchen. The older I got, the more I started cooking from scratch, trying new ingredients and honing my cooking skills. I have to admit that I rarely use a cookbook, I’m fairly skilled at inventing recipes and in knowing what combinations taste great. This doesn’t stop me from buying and reading cookbooks. I do use recipes occasionally, but they never are followed to a T. Cookbooks inspire me to try to new things and give me ideas for dishes and combinations.

I do follow recipes when it comes to canning. Changing these recipes dramatically can affect the acidity which will affect the canning length and whether or not the item can be water bath canned or will need to be pressure canned. I have a lot of old canning cookbooks as I usually follow their canning length recommendations instead of the newer ones, since I think they’re overkill and cook things to death.

One of my favorite old canning cookbooks is the Preserving the Taste by Edon Waycott. It’s no longer in print and can be difficult to find. The recipes are fabulous, many of them mixing herbs with fruits and vegetables with wonderful results. Mr Chiot’s favorite preserve, Caramelized Apple Marmalade with Thyme is from it. One of my favorites, Yellow Tomato Preserves, is also from this little book. I also love the 1973 edition of Stocking Up: How to Preserve the Foods You Grow Naturally, this specific version uses honey as a sweetener in most of the recipes instead of sugar which I love. I also have the 1972 Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook that was given to me by Mr Chiot’s step mom (it was her mother’s). It’s my go-to book for pickling as all the recipes I’ve tried are really great!

I check a lot of cookbooks out of the library before buying them. If I find that the recipes sound interesting or I try a few that are really great I will purchase the book. Some books I buy for inspiration and ideas for food as well as photography. I keep a list of books that I’d like to buy. These books are currently on my to-buy list:

As my tastes change I try to get rid of older cookbooks I’m no longer using, especially if I get new ones (you know the rule if you buy something you have to get rid of something). I recently added The River Cottage Preserves Handbook and Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More to my collection.

This stack of books is getting the boot from my collection. I no longer use them and I figured they’d be better off in someone else’s kitchen where they’ll be used and enjoyed. If you’re interested in this stack of Cooking Light Annual Recipes cookbooks let me know, I’ll choose one person who comments that they want them below to adopt these cookbooks from my collection. Our winner is Brittany P, congrats.

What’s your favorite cookbook? Have you found any great new ones recently? Do you have any great vintage cookbooks?

29 Comments to “Friday Favorite: Cookbooks Old and New”
  1. Jennifer Fisk on March 11, 2011 at 7:27 am

    My favorite cook book is Betty Crocker’s given to me by my Dad in 1958. I also have had super luck with recipes from the New England Cookbook copyright 1954. These may seem old fashioned because they stick to the basics of the day when everything was made from scratch. I also like the little brown notebook from my Grandmother who died in 1964 at age 88.
    I do have some of the newer books like The Enchanted Broccoli Forrest and The Moosewood by Katzen as well as others. Those recipes too are made from scratch of basic ingredients.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

    • Susy on March 11, 2011 at 8:34 am

      Yes, I too am a fan of the made from scratch books. I have copies of many of my grandma’s recipe cards which I hope to make into a book some day.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. kristin @ going country on March 11, 2011 at 8:15 am

    I tend to read cookbooks like novels, and I don’t really cook from books a lot. The MiL got me Darina Allen’s “Forgotten Skills of Cooking” for Christmas, which is a really interesting book. I haven’t made anything from it yet, but it was a great read.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  3. Melisa on March 11, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I’m big on using the library for cookbooks as well. That’s how I evaluate before I buy. Check out Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie at Home” cookbook- it’s a great one for cooking straight from your garden.

    Reply to Melisa's comment

    • Susy on March 11, 2011 at 9:20 am

      I do LOVE that cookbook, it’s on my to-buy list. I love that it’s part gardening, part cooking. I also love that all the recipes use fresh in season veggies.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Andrea on March 11, 2011 at 9:45 am

    My current favorite cookbook is Rick Bayless’s Mexican Everyday. My oldest and most useful is really a 56 page booklet that originally sold for 25 cents. It’s the 1958 version of Kerr Home Canning Book that I found tucked in my Grandmother’s cookbooks when we were cleaning out her house. It has an very detailed table with processing times and recipes for fruit jellies using nothing other than fruit and sugar. I love that it covers interesting things you don’t find in normal cookbooks anymore, bunny sausage, heart, brains, and pickled pigs feet.

    Reply to Andrea's comment

  5. Shannon on March 11, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Oh I love Stocking Up and the River Cottage Cookbooks as well.

    Reply to Shannon's comment

  6. Melanie J. on March 11, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Oh goodness, I would love to win these! I work far too much from a Southern Living cookbook, but the truth is I’m obese and my husband and I both need to get healthier. Crossing my fingers, and thanks for the opportunity!

    Reply to Melanie J.'s comment

  7. amy on March 11, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I guess my favorites would be Laurel’s Kitchen and Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book, Ken Haedrich’s Country Baking, Karey Swan’s Home and Hearth, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and last but not least my grandmothers handwritten recipe cards..Where exist all of my most favorite foods especially her yeast rolls.

    I inherited years ago a relative’s cookbooks…..she collected from every place she ever went….there were literally hundreds….I ended up donating most all of them to a women’s retreat but I kept some of the more “interesting’ and older ones:)

    Not so long ago I treated myself to The River Cottage Cookbook and love it especially for the photographs and text but have yet to cook one thing from it….lol.

    Reply to amy's comment

  8. Daedre Craig on March 11, 2011 at 11:16 am

    You sound so much like me! I started cooking dinner for my parents and siblings in high school, I never seem to follow the recipe exactly (except when it matters), and I love looking through cook books for inspiration.

    I seem to like pretty much any recipe by Jamie Oliver, or The Barefoot Contessa. Jamie Oliver’s books make me drool.

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

    • Susy on March 11, 2011 at 11:39 am

      I too love anything by the Barefoot Contessa, she always use good fresh real ingredients to make simply delicious food!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. MAYBELLINE on March 11, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I love the kind of cookbooks that churches or schools produce as fundraisers. Those are recipes people use and they’re usually pretty good. I also like a set of cookbooks that my grandmother used.

    I encourage writing in cookbooks: date tried, critique, adjustments, suggestions, etc.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

    • Susy on March 11, 2011 at 11:38 am

      I always write in my cookbooks: dates, amendments, notes about how we liked the item and I usually use a rating method 1-5 stars.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Trish on March 11, 2011 at 1:51 pm

      These are one of my favorite type of cookbook too. You know the recipes in them ‘work’ and there’s always some great gems tucked away in there.

      Reply to Trish's comment

  10. Emily Jenkins on March 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    The Wild Table has been on my want list since earlier this year when I vowed to do more cooking. I just found out that they have it in stock locally and I seriously need something to keep my grouchy attentions away from the increasing snowfall, so I may just go out and pick it up today! :) Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply to Emily Jenkins's comment

  11. Alyse on March 11, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Joy of Cooking is my favorite cook book and probably always will be. It’s such a great reference not only for recipes for general info about food and techniques. Love it.

    Reply to Alyse's comment

  12. Lynda on March 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I started cooking when I was nine years old: 4-H. I have collected cookbooks ever since, but this year, my 57th I went through the 100’s and narrowed them down to my 20 favorites…I boxed the others up to donate to the local bookstore…BUT since I haven’t done that yet (it’s hard for me to pass them along…they are like friends)…I think the give-away idea would be nice.

    Don’t include me in your giveaway. Yesterday was my b’day and most of my presents were MORE cookbooks!

    Reply to Lynda's comment

  13. Robin S. on March 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I love old cookbooks, too. I’ve found several of my favorites in the book-sale room of our library. Probably my favorite of those is Edna Lewis’ In Pursuit of Flavor. It is a fabulous cookbook that makes you feel like you’re just hanging out in the kitchen with her, cooking real food the old-fashioned way.

    I’m not interested in the Cooking Light books. Like you, I’ve moved away from that type of cooking into more traditional, real foods.

    I love the topic, though!

    Reply to Robin S.'s comment

  14. Brittany P. on March 11, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I would love love love to have these cookbooks! We are looking into cooking light and healthy and I would love to use these to get us started. I also love to cook and use cookbooks for new recipe ideas and fun things to make for my kiddos.

    Reply to Brittany P.'s comment

  15. Corrie on March 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    We use my mom’s tattered copy of the 1964 Farm Journal Cookbook for most of our canning recipes. I love the Cooking Light Annual recipes. I only have last year’s book because I found it at Home Goods for about $10. I’d love to have even one of the other years!

    Reply to Corrie's comment

  16. Selah on March 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    I would Love to win these! I’m always on their site looking up healthy diet friendly recipes!

    My favorite cook book is probably the essential vegetarian cookbook from whitecap books. Sadly I haven’t read many new ones lately, My vintage ones are actual journals of family recipes started by my great great grandmother around 1878. I’ve been working on making a copy as its hard to read some of the pages, not to mention I want to keep them safe :)

    Reply to Selah's comment

  17. Kathi on March 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    I work for a local farm market and we have a cookbook exchange table which is a big hit. I just picked up Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day which I love!. It is a no knead bread book. I already made the basic boule. It was delicious and makes enough dough for four loaves. The dough is refridgerated for up to 2 weeks so you can have a fresh loaf whenever you want.

    Reply to Kathi's comment

  18. Jenny on March 11, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    One of my favorite cookbooks is the Little House one, from the Little House on the Prairie series. It is great not only for recipes, but also for reading through for descriptions of how we used to eat, and it also has some excepts from the books. I read through it fairly often just for fun.

    When I go to cook something new, I usually look through lots of recipes, then use the ideas that I like from several of them and then just wing it (except for baking, I need a specific recipe for this.

    Don’t consider my for your cookbooks though, I usually get my recipes from the internet these days, and those would take up the space of all the cookbooks that I have now.

    Reply to Jenny's comment

    • Susy on March 11, 2011 at 8:25 pm

      Glad you like it, I bought this cookbook for my niece for her birthday last year since she’s a huge LHOTP fan.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  19. Sincerely, Emily on March 11, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    I really like looking through cookbooks for inspiration, but rarely use them to follow a recipe. They remind of combinations to try. My favorite cookbook is the three-ring binder I have with things I have made that I reference more than anything, that is also where I stick pieces of paper with things I want to try. That doesn’t stop me from buying more cookbooks – second hand book stores are where I look. Occasionally I check them out at the library too – thanks for reminding me to do that again! Since I have so many of my own cookbooks that I still need to look through, please don’t include me in your drawing. Sincerely,Emily

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  20. trashmaster46 on March 12, 2011 at 2:10 am

    I love to read cookbooks as well – I prefer the ones that “talk”, not just give the recipe. I also love old cookbooks as well. My favorite in my collection right now is an old Frigidaire cookbook aimed at helping the average middle-class housewife learn how to use her new refrigerator. No, not how to use her Frigidaire refrigerator with fancy new gadgets. This one is old enough that the average middle-class household had never had a refrigerator before and likely used a personal or a community icebox till this amazing new Frigidaire purchase. There are, seriously, recipes for refrigerating jelled products, recipes for freezing flavored ices, and directions for saving leftovers.

    My other favorite, packed away at the moment and I can’t remember the title, but there’s a small section at the front about throwing dinner parties. The gist of it is, “You *can* throw even small dinner parties without hiring help, but you *really* wouldn’t want to” from the late 50s or early 60s. It cracks me up.

    Reply to trashmaster46's comment

  21. Stone Soup on March 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Oh lordy I do not want to win the cookbooks, I’m on overload myself but I’m a sucker for a good cookbook. Barefoot Contessa has some great offerings! I just cleaned out 4 so I guess I can go shopping now!

    Reply to Stone Soup's comment

  22. Kris @ Attainable Sustainable on March 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Well, I don’t need any more cookbooks, but wanted to thank you for recommending “Preserving the Taste.” I’ve yet to find a book on canning that I love.

    Most of my cooking is, like you, inspired by recipes in cookbooks – I’ve always got to fiddle with something. That said, the cookbook I most treasure is a reprint of the Searchlight Cookbook that I got for my wedding. My great-grandmother used to use the Searchlight Cookbook and it’s got great recipes from a time when canned goods weren’t the main ingredient.

    Reply to Kris @ Attainable Sustainable's comment

  23. Friday Favorite: You | Chiot's Run on March 25, 2011 at 4:46 am

    […] finally remembered to pick a winner for the collection of Cooking Light Cookbooks that I no longer needed. Our winner is Brittany P, congrats. If you dont’ get my e-mail send me […]

    Reply to Friday Favorite: You | Chiot’s Run's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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