Back in his bachelor, pre-twin 2 year old girls days, my son did his share of cooking. Of course, that was when it was a leisurely event of creating a meal, not the current juggling act of getting dinner on the table that it is now for him and my (best in the world!) daughter-in-law.
He remarked the other day that in this era of recipes on line, he rarely uses his cookbooks anymore. That, plus on one of my posts Steve (at Shadows and Light) commented about old cookbooks from his family and it sent me to my bookshelves.
I still use most of mine, even if it’s just that one spaghetti sauce here, or the snickerdoodle recipe there. The one I use the most is a loose-leaf binder full of recipes I’ve cut from various places, many of which I’ve then committed to my iPad for ease of travel.
The Better Homes and Gardens red-checked one was a gift from my stepsister, who I always think about when I grab it to look something up. She must have bought it cut-rate because the index stops abruptly – and annoyingly - at page 396, right after the Scotch Crunchies.
The front page of the Illustrated Step-by-Step Chinese Cookbook (surprisingly good, considering it uses no ingredient more exotic than soy sauce) says “To Mama, from Ashley 1977.” It was a birthday gift, but since she was only 6 at the time, I have a feeling she had help shopping. My notation next to the recipe for Sweet and Sour Pork that reads “No. Kids hate it!”
Combining nostalgia with practicality since I really do still use it, is my mother’s Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book, with her notes to add a sliced frankfurter to the split pea soup, or ½ can of Spam and 1 lb of shrimp to Creole Jambalaya. She probably got a lot of mileage out of Spam and hot dogs when my father was a grad student at Princeton or a beginning instructor at U. Mass. It’s now my go-to for Oxtail soup, and every year I thumb to the back for the Christmas sugar cookies. The first printing was 1942, but just before the Contents page there’s a postscript:
As this book goes to press our country is at war. Inevitably certain food shortages will develop. We may not be able to buy our usual amount of sugar nor the full line of canned foods to which we have become accustomed. But take it in stride.
. . . . . A healthy nation is the best contribution our homes can make to our war effort. Let us make it constantly, consistently, and cheerfully.