Happy New Year! The fresh start of a new year is always a great time to get your home in order — and if you think I’m the only one with that idea, just check out the sale prices on home organization products in your local stores — everyone is doing it! It’s a nice time to go through old holiday decorations, your closets, and cupboards. And while I can regularly produce big garbage bags full of old clothes and housewares from my home to donate, I have a very, very hard time parting with books… but I don’t have any problem with that! Books don’t take up a lot of space (well, one at a time they don’t take up a lot of space) and they are amazing time capsules. Since I have been going through my cookbooks this week, I thought I’d share with you some of the favorites that I’ve used for inspiration on this website, and included links to the two that you can actually buy online (#2 and #6).
- The George Worthington Company is no more, but this book from 1990 is a personal favorite. Thus far I’ve only posted “How to Boil Water” on this site, but all of the other recipes in the book are for real food and I look forward to sharing more of them. My mom had several contributions published (yes, she was a good cook but… full disclosure: she also had a slight advantage since my father was president of the company).
- The Better Homes and Gardens Complete Step-by-Step Cookbook was THE cookbook when I was growing up. Published in 1978, my mom’s copy was already pretty old and worn when I started to be interested in cooking, and today it’s a stained, dog-eared mess. It still has little pieces of paper stuck between pages, marking things I wanted to make when I was old enough to read a recipe but young enough to do little more than make a total mess of a kitchen. However, the techniques still hold up! It’s a great resource for basics, like how to make pancakes or how to brew coffee. It’s also full of delightful late-70s photography (seen in my post about Minted Lime Soda). I was super excited to find a second copy of this very book at a Goodwill store recently, thinking it was a really rare find… only to learn that you can buy it on Amazon starting at $1 (click on the title above). I highly recommend this addition to your library.
- This book has seen better days, but it’s where I found the recipe for Pistachio Delight, so I’m glad I kept it around. It’s from my aunt’s office in 1992 at Progressive Insurance. Her department used the exact same publisher as The George Worthington Company. The early 1990s must have been really profitable for Cookbook Publishers, Inc. (who are still in business today!) and Cool Whip, which features very prominently in this compilation.
- This cookbook was gifted to my cousin when she was very young and that label, in her childhood handwriting, is so no one stole it from her! Woman’s Glory was the very first cookbook published by the Slovenian Women’s Union (SWU), and this is a later edition, printed in 1977. It’s the source for the post on JFK and Potica, the Mother’s Day Marshmallow Roll, and Graduation Party Special!, among others.
- I don’t own Pots and Pans, but that was the predecessor to this one, More Pots and Pans. This was a 1998 publication of SWU and I have a copy autographed by my grandma! It’s where I found the recipe for Farina Dumplings.
- Sadly for you, most of the books I’ve listed here are hard to get your hands on. However, you can actually buy this one! In 2015, the Slovenian Women’s Union became the more inclusive Slovenian Union of America and they published a new cookbook in a new, photo-filled format that is arranged by seasons and holidays. It’s available for purchase on the SUA website (linked above). So far I’ve used it for Slovenian Coleslaw and Medenjaki. I look forward to sharing more seasonal recipes.
Please use the comments section below to share any of your favorites that I should know about! (especially if they are still in print and I can add them to my collection!)