23 August 2010

Joy of Cooking

My Cookbook Collection
Part of it!
One of the things I get great pleasure out of is cooking.  I like trying new ingredients and new recipes.  I am not one to create my own recipes, but I will change recipes to suit my tastes, omitting or adding ingredients at whim.  It drives my husband crazy when he helps me in the kitchen.

In addition to my love of cooking, I love cookbooks!  Currently, I have around 130 (or more?) cookbooks in my collection.  They range from basic (Better Homes & Gardens, Fannie Farmer, Joy of Cooking) to world cuisines (Cuisines of Mexico, Thai Cooking, Chinese Technique) to various community and fundraising type cookbooks and just about everything in between.

I began my love of cooking and cookbooks in high school.  The first recipes collection I bought was McCall's Great American Recipe Card Collection.  I would get two packs of recipes a month and I did complete the set.  Next, I bought a group of 6 or so Betty Crocker paperback cookbooks.  Sadly, they have since fallen apart.

I guess it shouldn't surprise anyone that I went to college and majored in Home Economics and continued my love of cooking. 

Throughout my married life I would get cookbooks for gifts, scour garage sales and used bookstores for cooking treasures.  I also, make use of my public library and check out cookbooks to read.

A few of my favorites include:
  • The Centennial Cookbook from Trinity Lutheran Church, Onekema, Michigan (The church I was baptised in and the one many family members belong too.  My aunts and cousins have quite a few recipes in it.)
  • River Road Recipes:  A cookbook from the Junior League of Baton Rouge, La.  Lots of great southern and creole recipes.
  • Eastern, Midwestern, Southern and Western Junior League Cookbooks, edited by Ann Seranne:  A great collection of recipes from Junior Leagues around the country.
  • Bernard Clayton, Jr.'s cookbooks Complete Book of Pastry, Complete Book of Breads and Complete Book of Soups and Stews:  All great books of recipes.  
A great website for those who enjoy cooking or have an interest in the historical aspect of cooking should check out Michigan State University's Feeding America website.  It's online collection includes images from 76 cookbooks from the late 1700's to early 1900's.  The earliest cookbook being a 1798 one titled:  American Cookery: Or, The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry, and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of Making Pastes, Puffs, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards, and Preserves, and All Kinds of Cakes, from the Imperial Plum to Plain Cake...  by Amelia Simmons.  It even tells you how to dress a turtle.

If you need to know what an aebelskiver pan or a bain marie is, check out the section of images of antique cooking tools.  Additionally, there is a glossary of cooking terms.  I could spend hours reading this website.

So, whether you love cooking or have a historical interest in food, Feeding America is a great website.

Do you have family recipes or cookbooks that you love?  Feel free to share them.


  1. Love your post! Have you ever done a genealogy/family tree related cook book for a reunion or special wedding/anniversary? I have a few, and I treasure them. Especially those that have old recipes for cooking on the hearth (no standard measurements or baking temperatures as a guide!)

  2. Sorry Brenda, I don't share your love of cooking. I do most things from scratch, but it isn't love. Your organizational skills are evident here, so neat and tidy...just like your genealogy. Heads up, in Dec. a lot of people share their favorite recipes.

  3. Barbara, you are ahead of most people if you are cooking from scratch. I will have to remember to share a few recipes in December.

    Heather, I haven't done a genealogy related cookbook. What a good idea. I know I enjoy community type cookbooks.

  4. It's nice to see someone who likes cooking, and maybe be their relative. I found out early in my marriage that if I am taking the usual dishes to the family gathering to help out, do not add or subtract. It only took one time...
    I find it is great to just google a receipe, but often it's not the same.

    Have you ever seen a recipe for the old coleslaw with bananas and marshmallows in cabbage cut small? It's hard to find or recognize, cause well moms must have been changed.lol
    Nice post.

  5. I have made many mistakes in cooking. The frosting slid off my daughter's first birthday cake I made her! I checked a couple of my books I thought your recipe might be in and didn't see it. I will check a few more and see if it is in one of them.

  6. One of my MANY cooking related favorite memories of us was selecting the recipes that I would submit to the Miss Michigan cookbook. Which, ps, I want someday.

    And I think Heather has a fabulous idea. You should get together a Frederick family cookbook for the family reunion next year!

  7. Kirsten, that was fun to select recipes. The cookbook is yours! I agree, Heather had a great idea.