We all have a favorite recipe of grandma’s. With a dash of this and a pinch of that, she’d toss it together effortlessly and completely from memory. Even today, one bite of that recipe and you’re transported right back into grandma’s kitchen or sitting around her big dinner table. If you’re lucky, your mom talked grandma into writing her vintage recipes down, or she inherited a small metal flip top box filled with handwritten 3X5” recipe cards that will one day be passed to you.
Food trends come and go, but a classic recipe never goes out of style. That’s just one reason why vintage cookbooks have become all the rage as of late. Everything old is new again and vintage cookbooks capture the zeitgeist of the era in which they were published. Vintage recipes often use whole or hard to find ingredients that are fun to dig up. Plus, they make for interesting conversation starters at parties and get togethers.
If you’re looking for vintage cookbooks to add to your collection, start by searching online or at garage sales. You’re sure to turn up with some antique favorites. Not all cookbooks come at a bargain, though. One of the most expensive ever, A Guide to Modern Cookery, published in 1907, sold for $5124!
If you don’t have the time (or money) to get your hands on hard copies, our archives are full of vintage cookbooks that you can download for free. For just over 100 years, we’ve produced recipes for avid cooks of all kinds. Here are just a few of our favorites.
This pamphlet helped homemakers with many recipes to reduce the “high cost of living.” Many of these recipes were big batch cooking that would last families long lengths of time. The book included advice on budgeting and forms for tracking expenses, plus you can find recipes for everything from homemade butterscotch candies to hair tonic.
Freezers became a household item in the late 1920s. They grew in popularity as home refrigerators got bigger and bigger. This cookbook lays out the best ways to use the freezer and sugar to preserve fruits and vegetables. Two of our favorite recipes are the Strawberry Bavarian Cream and the Cherry Upside Down Cake.
Every recipe in this cookbook has a story of association with people and events that are part of our nation’s history. Some of the stories are legends (and most of them are true…) From Raspberry Rum Cake made with fresh Colorado wild berries to Pecan Puffs, each of these recipes has a story to tell.
Teena’s guidance helped teenagers learn how to get going in the kitchen. She taught them the four steps of recipe making along with teaching terms like fold, cream and blend. Many of the recipes here are simple and sweet, perfect for a teenager’s first foray into the kitchen. Be sure to try the Praline Pecan Picnic Cake and the Summer Snowballs.
On our 125th Anniversary, we came out with an extra-special cookbook. It was filled with some of our readers’ favorite Imperial Sugar recipes. The vintage recipes range from pantry staples to delectable frostings. We highly recommend the Stephen F. Austin Devil’s Food Cake and the Fancy Fudge Bars.
No matter if you reach on your own shelf or delve into our archives, you’re sure to find vintage recipes that resonate. Try something new by going vintage today.