Friday, January 14, 2011

Old Cookbooks

My friend over at Mommy Porch received some nice new cookbooks for Christmas and wants to do a feature every month on one.  She borrowed the idea from Taste and Tell and what's a good idea if not to share?  I didn't get any cookbooks for the holidays (hello Beanies, cookbooks for your mother, a good gift idea) so I thought, hey there are a butt load of cookbooks on my shelves - maybe I should revisit some old ones.

The first one to be revisited is Laurel's Kitchen.
I don't remember where I got this book but it was the first cookbook along with A Diet for a Small Planet, that I received in college.  When I was a sophomore I decided to become a vegetarian.  When I was a junior, I was living off campus in Montreal with my friend Rachel (we went to McGill).    We loved to cook and cook we did whenever we needed to procrastinate. 

Paging through this cookbook this week my thoughts were "did we really use this book?"  It's worn, the pages are dog-eared and there seem to be food stains all over.  30 years later, I just can't remember making any of these recipes.  We did have some Moosewood cookbooks that we used too but today, I have no desire to make any of the recipes in this book!

For example, every single bread recipe calls for all whole wheat flour mixed with whatever grain required - rye, oatmeal, etc.  Those loafs must have made great doorstops!  Brewer's yeast, soy flour, cashew gravy, better butter made with soy - ugh.  Thank you Deborah Madison for showing me the way to better tasting vegetarian fare.  This book still hold sentimental value for me so for now, it's back on the shelf.


  1. Laurel's kitchen is somewhat historic. I based my now fully developed and delicious vegi chili on the chili con elote. It's resemblance is minimal to the original, but I think that's where I got the idea of putting corn in it. In Laurel's Kitchen everything was bland and really heavy - I remember a bread I made that was so dense I could barely cut through it.

  2. Good idea -- I have lots of old cookbooks too. Its interesting to go through them and pick our the recipes that I'd like to try now and compare them to the recipes I cooked twenty or so years ago. The old recipes tend to have a lot more heavy cream and cheese compared to the new ones!

  3. One of my favorite old cookbooks is one that came out in the 70's "Country Commune Cooking" by Lucy Horton. I did a post about it awhile back. Lots of good hippie lore.
    It's amazing how many of the things the 70s communes were doing are now more mainstream practices for healthy eating! Things like baking bread, cutting down on processed food, eating less meat, etc.

  4. Oh yes--old cookbooks = memories. I have a Meta Givens Cookbook that was my mom's bible in the kitchen. If I'm ever wondering how she made something, that's where I look.