16 best cookbooks and recipe cards from readers’ vintage collections

Vintage retro-recipe-boxI had so much fun looking through the 133 vintage recipe cards, cookbooks and finished treats from the Labor Day weekend uploader. The recipe box above belonged to reader Tut‘s mother, who used it for decades — and took mighty fine care of it I might add — it looks to be in pristine condition. The lively illustrations, fanciful type and sentimental value make this a family treasure for sure.

Cooking can be humorous

vintage recipe cardI noticed a definite recurring theme in reader submissions — humor. Again and again I found myself confronted with clever titles, humorous photos or illustrations and references that are laugh-inducing. The illustrated recipe card above, submitted by Louisa, reminded me of some of my own family’s cooking blunders. My Nana — who loved to give dinner parties, but did not love to cook — was known to serve exploded peas as the vegetable at many a gathering. I like to think she was having too much fun at her own party to patrol the peas. My mother’s issues were in the baking department. She has managed to burn and make lop-sided the store-bought, frozen Mrs. Smith’s pumpkin pie every year on Thanksgiving — which has now become a tradition. I admit, I’ve had my own hilarious cooking blunders over the years — and I’m sure there is some truth to laughter being the best medicine, followed by a healthy portion of home cookin’.

Vintage Cook book donutsThe 1949 cookbook above — which features 112 pages of recipes all using healthy “digestible” Crisco — is wonderful for so many reasons. I’m in love with the vintage wallpaper, the stove — and is that a Revere Ware pot on the stove? What I love most though, is the ridiculously joyful expressions on everyone’s faces — especially the kids — who appear to be on sugar overload already.

retro Meat-Power-cookbook-1962Above: Who wouldn’t want to attend a party powered by meat? That is one big ham. That’s Meat Power!

Alice's-Restaurant-cook-bookAbove: Speaking of meat, I don’t know what would posses Alice to hug a heaping pile of raw chicken and beef (I think?) — maybe she’s on her way to the meat power party? Weren’t the hippies all vegetarians? I hope she’s going to change first.

aunt-jeminma bacon cakesAbove: We have reader Bungalow Bill to thank for submitting this delicious meat dish, which he claims is “actually pretty awesome.” Apparently the bacon craze of today has been going strong for years.

retro stag-night-recipesstag-night recipesAbove and right: This excerpt from reader Hannah‘s retro Good Housekeeping 10pm Cookbook, has a special section for when your late night dinner crowd will be “strictly stag.” The spread they suggest: A sausage fest. I’m in disbelief that the publisher gave the okay for that hot dog and bean arrangement.




schmecks-appeal-1990-Mennonite cook bookAbove: As long as our minds are in the gutter, why not try cooking something from one of these cookbooks — guaranteed to have a plentiful serving of Schmecks Appeal?

buffets-book-LarsErik-1971Above: Thanks to reader LarsErik for submitting this interesting cookbook cover — featuring dozens of professional chefs sitting around and smoking while they admire the buffet of food they have just created.

retrp booze-book

retro booze-book insideAbove: This cookbook cover nearly blew me out of my computer chair with its bold and succinct title — I’ll give the cover designer credit for simulating the hangover that will surely occur after using this book.

serving-food-attractively vintage cook book

Above: Yes this cookbook will show you how to serve food attractively — but what is that? Artichokes filled with jello?

Vintage cookbooks with great illustrations

retro betty-crocker-hostess-cookbookAll comedy aside now, there were several wonderfully illustrated examples of vintage cookbooks. The cookbook above is so cool — because of the mid century house on the cover — that two of our readers uploaded photos of it. The photo above is courtesy of reader Hannah. Reader Ima Pam also owns this book.

simple-recipes retro cookbooksAbove: I love the graphics on this collection of mini cookbooks — from reader Mary — featuring different ethic styles of cooking.

retro cookbook ways with wineAbove: Here’s another brightly colored cookbook with great graphics. The cover makes it look like cooking these great dishes is as easy as opening a bottle of wine.

vintage-recipe-tile-in-kitchenAbove: If you aren’t the cookbook type, there are always great vintage recipe tiles that can be built right into your backsplash. The tile looks good — not sure about the cream dressing recipe.

retro betty crocker-good posureAbove: If all this talk of cooking is making you tired — you can always lay down on your kitchen floor — a remedy advised by this Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, submitted by reader Betsy . If that doesn’t sound appealing, take Betsy’s advice, “…leave the floor dirty and head out for drinks with {your} friends.”

Thanks to everyone for all your photos, they were great!

Do you have any humorous cooking stories to share?
Anyone else’s Nana make them eat exploded peas with their dinner?

Categoriespostwar culture
  1. Miss Wynonna says:

    Oh my my !!!
    I recall MANY years ago my newly married aunt hosted her first thanksgiving dinner.She went to Eastern market in Detroit and got a fresh killed turkey, brought it home, stuffed it and put in my Grandparents vintage roaster oven………..
    30 minutes before it was done she opened the roaster to find a stuffed turkey skeleton with all the meat having slid off of the bone to the bottom of the roaster.
    Turns out she was not paying attention when she was prepping the bird and instead of using regular seasoned salt, she used seasoned salt/meat tenderizer……She was in tears over it, and all the guests were in tears as well trying to keep from laffing at the situation.

  2. Michelle says:

    I live in Rochester, near where Jell-o was invented. The Jell-O Museum, in LeRoy is a riot. Some of the recipes are a little… unsettling.

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