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Nov 5, 2010 05:13 PM

What obscure recipe book do you have and love?

I think there is a skill to collecting cookbooks. I refer to them all the time, but over time I have learned that you really only need a handful that have uncomplicated recipes that work to have all you'll ever need in your culinary library. Some of my favorites are Marcella Hazan, Ina Garten, Mark Bittman. All pretty well known. I also have a cookbook that I think may be out of print that I absolutely adore. It's called "Cooking from Quilt Country" by Marcia Adams. She used to have a PBS series years ago and she recreates Amish and Mennonite recipes. The food in this book is simple and often plain. But God it's delicious. I feel like somehow I am preserving old passed down family recipes by having it. Do you have any cookbooks you feel are precious, that we might not know about?

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  1. I usually sneer at "affliated" cookbooks (you know: ones associated with a show, or a magazine, etc.) but probably the MOST used cookbook in my house, day after day, for years (out of over 300) is one published back int the 80s by Southern Living magazine, called Cooking Across the South. Although we've lived in Iowa for three decades, hubby and I are both southern born and bred, and cannot live without a good cook book of our childhood favorites. How can you not love a book that has several PAGES of corn bread recipes (at least 10, I think), for instance?

    13 Replies
    1. re: Beckyleach

      Oh, forgot to add: I have one of only five copies in existence <g> of an anecdotal cookbook my father wrote for the family about 15 years ago. Not only does it have most of my mother's famous recipes, it is filled with well-crafted stories (he was a journalist for a major newspaper) about his growing up during the Depression in New England, his WWII experiences in China and India, his culture shock upon falling in love with a rural Texas gal with a giant family, from the Rio Grande Valley, his civil rights work in the 60's, etc. PRECIOUS and full of great recipes.

      1. re: Beckyleach

        If someone in the family had it published (is your dad still with us?), it sounds like a best seller to me. I would love to read it!

        1. re: Beckyleach

          I agree with Caroline, that's a book I would definately buy. I'm a collector and love the old time church, organization type cookbooks. Full of tried and true recipes.

          1. re: othervoice

            He died about four years ago; my mother went 15 months before him. You know, I'd never considered that, but I already was kicking around the idea of trying to write "his" memoirs (as he never got around to it, himself). He was news editor of the Arkansas Gazette during the Central High School integration crisis (they won a Pulitzer for that) and later worked with ML King during some civil rights times in Louisville, Ky.

            His food stories might fit right in! Thanks for being so nice and encouraging. :-)

            1. re: Beckyleach


              a good friend from LR has a distant cousin sadly in the background of the photo of the crowd jeering the girl being escorted into Central (forget her name, but fab sunglasses and strength of will) my friend was in the first graduating class after it finally reopened years later.

              but to stay on topic, some great food in that region ("now eat your duck, Aunt Jane shot it herself")

              1. re: hill food

                Yep. I've lived in Iowa for over thirty years, now, but I still consider myself a Southerner when it comes to my tummy!

                1. re: Beckyleach

                  Beckyleach, you can leave but it never leaves you!

                  I love cookbooks that include prose. If you published that book, I'd buy it too. I mis Laurie Colwin and read Home Cooking all the time when I'm feeling hinky.

                  I have all my grandmother's church cookbooks. They're hilarious . "Bake til done."

                  My favorite one that's not well known is the Country Gourmet. Some people from Up North moved to NC and write about returning to the land.

          2. re: Beckyleach

            Yes, do publish this!
            (Or make blog-type cooking site from it?)

            1. re: blue room

              No blog..Cooks Source will just steal it..

                1. re: ITry

                  OK, point taken, but seriously, do you think you'll someday make this available to the public, maybe the less personal more culinary parts?

              1. re: Beckyleach

                Being from New England originally, I would love to read your Dad's book.

              2. re: Beckyleach

                The Carter Family Favorites Cookbook (meaning Jimmy Carter, Lillian, etc.) So cool!

              3. I have a paperback copy of a cookbook called Pizza Primer from Cole's Cooking Companion Series. It's less than 100 pages, and I paid $1.99 for it at a local discount outlet over a decade ago. It's one of two cookbooks I own, that I have made nearly every recipe in it,(the other being Ann Hodgman's Beat This) and every single recipe has been exceptional. My copy is pretty bedraggled at this point, but it's been out of print since 1995, so I hold on to it.

                2 Replies
                1. re: lunaburning

                  Just bought this from Amazon. Excited! Thanks for the recommendation.

                2. K.C. Baking Powder's The Cook's Book 1935
                  Great simple recipes for Biscuits, Pancakes and the like. and Awesome graphic design!

                  1. "The Joys of Jello" 1963 ed. it has some of the wildest recipes (cherry jello pork chops) - the best images- and amazing tips on using jello. It is surprising useful and being from a midwestern family it helped me to understand where the thinking for some of those family pot luck dishes came from.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: poached

                      I have this cookbook; it's one of my prized possessions.

                    2. the front cover is lost but I think it's called Food for Thought circa 1972-4. My first vegetarian cookbook and one that got me into cooking and got my mum to realize that being vegetarian could be fun and interesting and not just boiled vegetables. I still have it and the carrot cake and banana cakes are great from that book.