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Good Old-School/Retro Cookbooks?

Sometimes I like to revisit warhorses of the past. One may have to search carefully to uncover diamonds in the rough in the old books, but they are there.

Any retro favorites out there?

The ones I try something from most often: Vincent Price's Treasury of Great Recipes(my favorite); The Spice Cookbook, Sunset Dinner Party Cookbook, Foods of the World Time-Life; Brennan's New Orleans Cookbook; Trader Vic's.

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  1. When I was growing up my mother cooked from "Elegant but Easy". There were always recipes from that book at her parties.

    1. The recent thread about cookie cookbooks brought this one up. The original is about 45 years old, but it has been re-issued the same, with-out "improvements."

      Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

      The cookies are still good.

      1. I have several old/retro cook books to I refer from time to time:
        The House and Garden New Cook Book, New York, H&G Editors, Simon & Schuster, 1967
        The New York Times Natural Cook Book, Jean Hewitt, New York, Quadrangle, 1971
        The New York Times Heritage Cook Book, Jean Hewitt, New York, Putnam, 1972

        1. Some of my oldies-but-still-goodies:

          The French Menu Cookbook by Richard Olney
          Cooking with Michael Field
          The Art of Fine Baking by Paula Peck
          Italian Family Cooking by Edward Giobbi
          The Cuisine of the Sun by Mireille Johnston

          3 Replies
          1. re: JoanN

            I keep meaning to track down a copy of an Olney book for myself. I also like the Peck book, though haven't used it for many years.

            1. re: MMRuth

              I do use them more for ideas than recipes these days, but I still consult both fairly regularly. The Olney is chock-full of classics, classicly prepared, and was one of the first cookbooks I was aware of that was arranged by season. And I've always loved the way the Peck is organized, not necessarily dictating the finished product, but offering all the foundations so your imagination is stimulated in a way that's not always true with many more modern baking books.

            2. re: JoanN

              I have the Edward Giobbi and it's one of my very favorites, in fact it's falling apart. The stories, the drawings, the entire book is a delight to read and the recipes are so evocative of my childhood.

            3. It's all about the "Better Homes and Gardens" New Cookbook. It came out in 1930, and while still being updated, you can get a copy of an older one at used bookstores across the US. It's a staple, for sure.

              Recipes, Restaurants, Reviews and More - My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

              3 Replies
              1. re: sirregular

                I'd have to second the BH&G Cookbook as well. . My Grandmother referred to it as her "Bible."

                1. re: sirregular

                  Actually, they've done a reprint of the original, and are selling it for 10$ at Barnes and Noble.

                  1. re: sirregular

                    Aha - I have the original BH&G NC published in 1930. Grey binder, really old and well loved. Haven't thought about that for years! Thanks for reminding me....

                  2. I can't believe someone else owns that Vincent Price cookbook! I have a copy from my grandmother but have never seen it anywhere else. What have you liked from it?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Aimee

                      This book defines retro style for me; big nostalgia personally because this was the style of food I was weaned on by my folks - along with the canon from the likes of Arnaud's, Galatoire's, Antoines, etc.
                      Everyone, always, loves the Sardi's boccone dolce. When I cook wild ducks I often use the Belle Terrasse flambe recipe for breasts; Luchow's sauerbraten recipe is a standard - though the recipe is very slightly different from the one in Luchow's own book of that era.
                      Love to peruse the menus from bygone restaurants, and those of places still extant - oh for those 1958 menu prices . . .
                      Also have to include MTAoFC and Beard's books as retro faves.

                    2. Two of my favorites (which were almost too torn and tattered to still use, but which I was able to replace via ebay!) are the original New York Times cookbook by Craig Claiborne, and French Cookery by Anne Willan. I also still like Classic Spanish Cooking with Chef Ef, by Efrain Martinez.

                      1. Here’s my favorite. It was published in 1971.
                        The L.A. Gourmet: Favorite Recipes from Famous Los Angeles Restaurants by Jeanne Voltz and Burks Hamner.

                        This one would be of special interest to anyone like myself who can summon up memories of some of the notable dining establishments in Los Angeles during the 1960s and 70s.

                        The restaurants whose recipes are featured include Perino’s, Chianti, Lawry’s Prime Rib, Tracton’s, Chasen’s, Trader Vic's, the Brown Derby and dozens more. Not surprisingly, most of them are now gone. Tastes and trends can change but good food is timeless. Thanks to this book, many of the popular dishes formerly served by those fondly remembered restaurants can still be enjoyed.

                        Ms. Voltz was for many years a food writer and editor for Women's Day magazine and for the Los Angeles Times. Burks Hamner was a consultant and publicist for the food and restaurant industry.