Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Cookbooks - part one

I collect cookbooks. Not those priceless heirlooms handed down through many generations with great-great-great grandmothers' notes scrawled in the margin, nor first editions of Fannie Farmers. I like cookbooks from the twentieth century--with lots of graphics, preferrably those that date the book to its respective decade. The more garish and unappetizing (and shiny) the food, the better. Think James Lileks.

My favorites are from the first half of the twentieth century with softly hand-colored photographs in pastel shades that are slightly unreal. But I can't resist the eye-searing dayglo hues, garish psychedelia, and slightly-dated modernity that mark some of the best cookbooks of the 1960s and 1970s, either. Even the 1980s managed to eke out some appealing cookbooks, many as accompaniments to quintessentially 80s products like Kool-Aid.

For the next few months (or, until I run out of material), I'm going to be featuring choice photos, illustrations, and other oddities from my collection. All posts will include any information I have on the publication (date and sponsored company/featured product, if applicable), and all pictures are thumbnails. So, click on them to see a full size, complete picture. There will be little Lileksian commentary; no one is as talented as he in capturing the true spirit of these artefacts. Continue reading for my first selection...

I'm not really sure if I should start or end with this cookbook. It's the gem in my collection. As you can see, the photographs are gorgeous. Why, it's More Wholesome Food At Lower Cost for 2 and 4 and 6. It was published in 1941 by the Pet Milk Company.

1. Front cover - Salmon Vegetable Dinner with Creamed Peas

2. Pancakes

3. Peach Shortcakes

4. Coconut Cup Cakes | Pineapple Rice Pudding

5. Hot Corned Beef Sandwiches | Vegetable Meat Rolls with Vegetable Sauce

6. Spaghetti Dinner

7. Hawaiian Ham Cassarole

8. Salmon Rice Cups

9. Back cover - Cherry Cream Pie

Come back soon for more cookbook graphics!