Collectibles… Always Classic, Always New… Cookbooks
EXCLUSIVE FOR THE RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, nenasnotes
I’ve collected cookbooks since I was a child or should I say I often gave my parents cookbooks for Christmas, both were superb cooks. The photo above is just a small sampling of my collection which includes over 100 volumes…I’ll sprinkle more into the post. I think the first one I got Ruthy (my mother) was the original Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, published in 1950. I still have it with her handwritten notes on many pages and bits of cooking splashes here and there! I have several newer updated copies and the original’s binding is falling apart but I wouldn’t give it up for the world. It became our “go to” cookbook. Many people only used The Joy of Cooking…I have that as well but rarely use it.
The first I remember getting Daddy was the Spice Island Cookbook with an assortment of their spices…I not only have the book but the original spice bottles (not the original contents!!!!!). I only have a couple of his recipes one for his borscht which I made with him and one for his crepes…that one only because he was working on a weekend and wanted the mixture ready when he got home. We always had a version of crepes every Saturday night. I can do his Beef Stroganoff from memory but all of his ethnic recipes are long gone, I’m sorry to say. Lesson to be learned write down your family recipes as you make them…life is very short! Anyone have a great heads cheese recipe send it my way!!!!!
One of Mom’s early 1940’s books…also in my collection, this one put out by General Foods. Many food companies published books, of course, using their products.
Another of my treasured Betty Crocker books…
Now the challenge of how I want to do this post…perhaps it should be a series, does that interest you? Let me know.
Here two more views of my collection…
This is a fabulous series as are The Time Life books…
Some categories we can explore, regional cook books, restaurant cook books, group books, such as Junior League, books collected on travels, celebrity cook books, modern chefs….the possibilities are endless….
A couple of restaurant cook books…
Let’s take a look back at some early cookbooks….some were originally introduced many centuries again…I’m not going back quite that far…
1861 the first edition of Mrs. Beaton’s Book of Household Management and look at the size of the book….oh my….
Mrs. Beeton’s Every Day Cookery was published in 1890. In addition to nearly 1400 recipes, the book also contains advice on household management, accounting, and medical and legal issues.
We well may think of James Beard, Julia Child and others as the pioneers of modern cookery….we would be very wrong…I’d like to start with Auguste Escoffier….”Before Auguste Escoffier, the famous French chef, the modern restaurant as we know it today, simply didn’t exist. Canonized for his 62 years of service in the food industry, Escoffier is still considered to have had the longest career of any chef.
“In 1890, Escoffier began working with César Ritz, the founder of the famous Ritz-Carlton hotel brand. Ritz became the manager of the notable Savoy Hotel in London and Escoffier was put in charge of the kitchen as head chef.
The Savoy began attracting wealthy and famous clientele and was set as the standard for culinary excellence. Escoffier heightened his reputation by inventing many new dishes that were regularly inspired by hotel guests. On one famous occasion, Escoffier created Peach Melba, a dish to honor the opera singer Nellie Melba during her stay at the hotel.” Taken from www.escoffieronline.com
May I also recommend a book I am totally obsessed with, it is fabulous!!!!
Just a few I’ve found that I think are charming…
A hugely popular book from one of forerunners of American cookery, Fannie Farmer.
Perhaps the beginning of cooking classes.
I love to look at the illustrations in vintage books…here some amazing treats awaiting the dinner guests…only the Brits…
Which brings me to Mary Berry, as co-host of The Great British Bake Off, Mary Berry, in her eighth decade, has become the nation’s favourite fantasy grandma. Yet in spite of being the author of more than 70 books, and having first appeared on TV more than 40 years ago, it took the 2010 debut of The Great British Bake Off to establish Berry as a household name. Her first book in 1983….
I want this one….
If you are more interested in reading mostly non-recipe cookery books look to MFK Fisher, to me she is the Agatha Christie of food writers…I could do a very lengthy post on her works alone…here just a couple with new edition covers.
Elizabeth David started as an actress turned to writing and submitted her thoughts on cookery to the British Harper’s Bazaar and those articles became her first book, A Book of Mediterranean Food….this was followed by many more books with recipes and writings on each of the cuisine areas she was exploring….all quite brilliant!
See if you can find an original edition on these or any others I’m mentioning….first place to start Randolph Street Market, of course, and the always present book dealer and see what he has….what he has is lots of great books, Matt Myers, email@example.com
James Beard called the Dean of modern American cooking….a definite pioneer in print and early television.
My favorite of his massive output, it is one of the treasures in my cookbook library, one I gave it to my Father many years ago, and the illustrations are perfection….
Another treasure of mine….the photographs alone are worth the book but the recipes are fabulous…from the brilliant character actor, Vincent Price and his wife Mary. Price was not only a gourmet cook and world traveler but also a very intense art collector..get it when you find it you won’t be disappointed.
Of course Julia Child…..first of many of her books…..
Another prolific writer on the subject of food, Alice Waters….
The first of a zillion books by Martha Stewart…had to include her
And, of course, Ina Garten’s first…
Followed by many more
Some ways to style your kitchen to showcase your collection.
The top of my cabinets with a sampling of my teapot collection…hard to capture without getting on a step stool….
A bigger view of one area in my kitchen…
What genre shall you collect or are you already collecting. Also a perfect time to think about Holiday giving, hostess/host gifts, bridal showers….once again the list is endless…shall I make this a series???? Let me know your thoughts.
All images found on Pinterest no photo credits available. Photos from my collection taken on my iPhone, exclusively for the RSM Newsletter.
by Nena Ivon