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Heritage Cooking (Old Recipes)

Looking for good resources for historic recipes. Any ideas? I collect community cookbooks from places I've visited and towns my ancestors lived in. Always looking for something new to add.

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  1. Cooking from Quilt Country has many vintage recipes, based on Amish cooking.

    1. like you I collect old community cookbooks from around the universe :)
      my favorites are women's club, chamber of commerce, rotary club, church fund raisers, etc.

      1 Reply
      1. re: iL Divo

        I like the ones with stories best!

      2. For a long while I use to get originals from way back. Check out 'Housekeeping in Old Virgina' of 1879. And don't forget Fanny Farmer from the same era.

        Many university presses also reprint old cookbooks.

        Of course old is relative. For Florida it usually means pre-World War II.

        1. If reading online suits you, check out this link to texts of historic cookbooks: http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/c...

          And here's some info about what it contains:

          1 Reply
          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Thanks for all the ideas. I'm a fan of using community cookbooks in my genealogical research, but have been collecting them for years.

            Gena Philibert-Ortega's book From the Family Kitchen is a good resource http://foodfamilyephemera.blogspot.com

          2. You can't do better than the 70-years of traditional recipes collected from European immigrants at the Settlement House in Milwaukee between 1903 and the late 70s.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Nukedli

              I grew up in Milwaukee and have each of my grandmothers' Settlement Cookbooks from the 1920s. One grandma had written her maiden name inside the cover with funny-looking bubble letters. Treasures. I've never cooked from them, though.

            2. Old 'Escoffier' cook books of course and this old beauty. This one's is part of a matching set of three cookbooks.

              1. I have three different plastic spiral bound cookbooks published by the National Grange in the 70s. The first one was published for the Bicentennial and I guess it was so popular that they did two more. Each recipe has the name of the contributor and where they are located. Sometimes a recipe will say it's 100 years old (i.e. baked beans). Because the contributors are from all over the United States, there's quite a variety of old recipes. I have not seen these at the used book stores. When I got my MIL's set after her death, I gave them to our DIL. Mine are falling apart. Not sure how you might find these. I recently decided to try making Boston brown bread. It was fun to have several different recipes to try.

                1. If you want to go way back, I have this book, which was originally written in 1615. http://www.amazon.com/Well-Kept-Kitch... It's part of the Penguin Great Food Series... eventually I'd like to get the whole set, the covers are so pretty and it's interesting reading. Here's a link to the various books in the series: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_nos...

                  If I ever want to roast a leg of mutton, Well Kept Kitchen will be my go-to book :)

                  1. http://www.vintagerecipes.net/ has recipes from several old turn of the last century cookbooks.

                    I have a kindle so I can download several very old cookbooks because they are no longer copyrighted. I am currantly reading "Things mother Used to Make" by Lydia Gurney 1914

                    "Dishes and beverages of the old south" by Martha McCulloch-Williams 1913

                    "Twenty-Five Cent dinners for families of six" by Juliet Corson 1879

                    There are lots of very old cookbooks on Amazon available for download in the Kindle store and they are usually free but you have to have a registered kindle.

                    1. There are several old / historic cookbooks available for free download from Barnes & Noble (bn.com). You'd need to install a (no cost) Nook for PC reader to download / access these, and also need to establish an e-reader account.

                      I was looking for more ideas for daily menus and downloaded

                      A calendar of dinners by Marion Harris Neil (1922)
                      Everyday Dinners by Olive Green (1911)

                      1. Whenever we're travelling we like to stop in antique malls, especially those in small towns. Most of my 600 or so cookbooks have come from those and from yard or estate sales (and if you want to see this as a cautionary tale I'll understand!). I love real old books, not re-issues and certainly not downloaded copies, especially as they often come with inclusions: handwritten recipes or those cut out of long-defunct newspapers, postcards, written comments on the recipes. Spiral-bound books from local women's aid societies or church groups can be real treasures, even if they do contain fifty cake recipes and one, adapted for canned soup, for the traditional regional dish you were looking for!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Will Owen

                          I totally agree with you. I have also picked up many old books at yard and estate sales. As well someone actually sold an old tin box with family recipes in it, I just couldn't live it there, I brought it home and treasure the hand written recipes.

                          1. re: Ruthie789

                            I got a first edition of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' "Cross Creek Cookery" at an estate sale, in like-new condition with some cool postcards inside. The sale runner had priced it at $2.50 (as opposed to the $5-$10 prices on most others) and tagged it "missing dust jacket." What she didn't know was that in 1942 they were issuing books with printed buckram covers to save the higher-grade dust-jacket paper for the war effort! So this had never had one.

                            Just that story alone tickles me so much I'll never swap or sell that book.

                        2. I have a couple modern reprints that I treasure... you might be interested in

                          Best of Shaker Cooking by Miller and Fuller... the Hancock Shaker Village museum store sells it online. The emphasis is on seasonal fresh ingredients and herbs and goes well with current trends.

                          There is a PA Dutch cookbook available for download on Project Gutenberg that looks remarkably similar to a printed cookbook I own. As you'd expect you have to work in the fields to work off this kind of food.


                          Although it completely dodges the important debate re: shoofly pie: "vet bottom" vs. Dry bottom.

                          and of course the videos and books at http://atasteofhistory.org/

                          1. type in cookbooks on the nook or kindle (if you have one) the free section has an amazing amount of old cookbooks

                            1. At Archive.org there are dozens of cookbooks printed before 1922 that are available in PDF, Kindle, etc format. Just search for "cookbook" and "cook book", "baking", "recipes", "Receipts" etc.