Collecting Baking Cook Booklets
I have been collecting cook booklets for many years. My collection began early in my marriage when I became interested in finding new recipes. My mother gave me a handful of vintage recipe booklets that she had collected in the 1930s and 1940s. I was fascinated by the graphic illustrations that were true art works. In those decades photography was only black and white but real illustrations had vivid color. The booklets were advertising for various food products or booklets accompanying a kitchen appliance. The photographs show the looks of the kitchens and homemakers of the eras. The earliest booklet my mother had collected was from the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition held in Ft. Worth where mother’s family lived at that time. My mother and her sister worked at the exposition.
My father was the oldest child in his family and I was the first grandchild. My paternal grandmother and I started to write letters to each other as soon as I was able to write. After her death in the 1970s a packet of letters she kept were returned to me … the earliest on Brownie stationery from the early 1950s. Later we exchanged recipes in letters and on recipe cards. Those cards in her handwriting are very precious to me now. She lived in Austin, Texas, but had lived in southeast Texas near the Imperial Sugar Company. She sent me two Imperial Sugar booklets. After my mother died in 2008, I found a 1942 letter from Grandmother to my mother in which she tells about a streusel coffee cake recipe that she had made for my Dad … the recipe could be found in the Fleischmann’s recipe booklet that they both owned. Sure enough this booklet was in the stack my mother had given to me. Now I have the letter tucked inside of that booklet.
I inherited a 1930s Better Homes and Garden red and white checked cook book that belonged to my maternal grandmother and in handwritten notes inside she makes reference to the Calumet cook booklet sugar cookies. I was able to collect that very booklet.
A large group of my booklets are about baking and so these are the ones I will be posting this week. My mother’s family job from the age of about 12 (about 1928) was to bake a cake for the family’s dessert of the week. In those years if you wanted a cake you had to bake a cake. Cookies were also homemade. Sometimes, I think of the availability of baked goods at the store but the true great cookie or cake is still the homemade one.
Collecting cook booklets is fun because usually they are inexpensive and almost every antiquing jaunt can yield one or two. I have well over 100 booklets now, most of which I have pinned to my Pinterest boards.