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Jul 26, 2013 06:57 AM

What is the absolute worst cookbook you own. And why do you keep it?

I have a lot of cookbooks. Every now and then I weed some out for garage sales or the like. But by a lot, I mean probably 300. I was going through some today and found one that just had the most vile recipes imaginable, yet I've still kept it. (It was a gift.)
My worst cookbook (that I've found so far) Is the Taste of Home Quick Cook Cookbook from 2000.
This is the one that has a recipe for a taco shell, lined with a slice of american cheese, add a cooked hotdog, then top with canned baked beans.

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  1. I have one put out by my mom's church. Full of mushroom soup/Velveeta/Jello recipes Yuck.

    But can't throw it away, because sure as I do, she will want it for something.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sparrowgrass

      My MIL's church has always had a cookbook. MIL has a Home Economics degree circa 1950, and is one of the founding members of her church. The original is jam-packed full of can-o-soup recipes and Velveeta and Jello, they recently put out an updated edition that's much more modern, much more homemade recipes, but I don't think MIL thinks it's as good as her and her friends' version. Understandable. 8^)

      1. re: sparrowgrass

        One of our local groups (maybe Boys and Girls Club?) has a cookbook that my grandmother gave me as a newlywed. For some reason, everyone raves over it, but I really don't get it...

      2. White Trash Cooking by Ernest M. Mickler. It's entertaining.

        14 Replies
        1. re: Veggo

          I agree, but I did add my copy to the Salvation Army bag of give-aways a few years ago.

            1. re: pine time

              I hope my house never burns down and I end up at that salvation army while I wait for the insurance check to clear :D

              1. re: alliegator

                Hey, we're still in the midst of some serious downsizing, and we've called the Salvation Army for multiple very large pick-ups, including some great furniture. The driver told us our stuff would go to some "special store," so our local store doesn't get the good stuff. They must have some system of knowing what sells for the most $$$ where. The agency does good work, so we continue to support them.

                1. re: pine time

                  Oh, I was just trying to make a funny, sorry if I offended. We just moved house in the spring and the Salvation army hauled away a great deal of stuff from us, too.
                  It is interesting that they sort thing for different stores. Huh...
                  You learn something new every day.

                  1. re: alliegator

                    No offense, at all. I think my skin may be as thick as your alliegtor hide.

            2. re: Veggo

              My mom bought me that one. Love the pictures. Disturbing

              1. re: Veggo

                It was so good, I have White Trash Cooking II. ;-)

                1. re: Antilope

                  I also have "Hot Flashes" by Ernest M. Mickler, the author of "White Trash Cooking", a generous gift from c oliver.

                2. re: Veggo

                  While it's obviously presented as comic, I don't agree it's a bad cookbook - it has some perfectly lovely recipes for regional stuff like perlow and cooter pie (not that I'd ever make that one - my brother in law has one as a pet). Although I do love all the recipes for things like Five Can Casserole and the one where you dump a little bag of salted peanuts into a Pepsi. I'd never get rid of it.

                  1. re: ratgirlagogo

                    I completed forgot about the salted peanuts in a Pepsi. I had a friend that swore by that years ago!

                    1. re: Firegoat

                      Wow! I had no idea you were friends with my dad!

                      1. re: ratgirlagogo

                        LOL. I can't remember who it was, but I do know that it was a woman. I'm racking my brain because I remember being completely shocked at the time, but still trying it.

                  2. re: Veggo

                    Oh sweet Jesus, butter me some toast....that is the first book that popped into my head!!!!! I am honour bound to divulge that it went "away" during a remodel/move out of the house purge.

                  3. The Better Homes and Gardens 500 5 Ingredient Recipes.
                    Where did it come from? I dunno. Why do I keep it? Dunno.

                    Fun topic, Firegoat!

                    13 Replies
                      1. re: Firegoat

                        Here we have Quick Turkey Tetrazzini:
                        6 oz. of spaghetti, cooked and drained
                        1 can ready to serve chunky creamy (chunky creamy?) chicken with mushroom soup
                        1 cup cooked and chopped turkey breast
                        1/2 cup shredded parm
                        2 tbsp. sliced almonds

                        Coat a square baking dish with cooking spray (apparently a freebie). Cook the soup, turkey, cheese through on stovetop, add spaghetti, stir, then put in baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and almonds. Bake in a 425 oven until top is golden, 12-15 minutes.

                        Gag me with a spoon!

                        1. re: alliegator

                          I bet this would be especially good if you used parmesan from the green container vs fresh. I'm surprised the recipe didn't specify this!!

                          Love the sliced almonds on top too! You've got to wonder how that came about. Someone standing over the hot mess, I bet sliced almonds would be great with this. I gagged thinking about what this would look like!

                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                            I know--the almonds?! Just, what the...?
                            It sounds like something my MIL would make.
                            I do at least know now why I keep it, to hide things in. Like the receipt from an overpriced pair of shoes I purchased on November 17th, 2005. It fell out when I was putting the book back!

                            1. re: alliegator

                              You have the receipt but do you still have those pricey shoes? ;-)

                              1. re: suzigirl

                                Very good question, and indeed I do. I just had new front soles and heel taps put on them last spring. Worth every penny ;)
                                I can look totally glam when I decide to prepare some trashy 5 ingredient slop.

                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                              Maybe it was presumed that the parmesan was from the green can.

                            3. re: alliegator

                              Sounds heavy but the almonds were a nice touch.

                              1. re: alliegator

                                Can I use chopped peanuts instead of the almonds?

                                    1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                      You drink tea with your pinky out dontcha?

                          2. I know it's popular here, but Bittman's How to Cook Everything, because he is unbearably smug for me.

                            That being said, it makes an excellent sofa prop-up for a broken leg.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: Violatp

                              I borrowed Bittman's book from the library and returned it the next day. He's not only smug, but his recipes were so basic that they sucked the life out of potentially interesting ethnic recipes.

                              1. re: 1sweetpea

                                Ditto - How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is, for ethic recipes, constantly and tragically underseasoned. International foods for white people. A friend and I have experimented and believe that boosting spices etc. by 3-4x makes things 'about right.'

                              2. re: Violatp

                                Have to agree, there is aboslutely nothing in it that inspires me. That said. I hold on to it because I may need to know the basics of some obscure recipe from the past at some point, and it it probablyy has it.

                                1. re: mike0989

                                  "I hold on to it because I may need to know the basics of some obscure recipe from the past at some point, and it it probablyy has it."

                                  This is why I keep it, too, despite almost never really finding what I want in it. In fact now that you've put it into words, I don't know why I even think I'm going to find out "the basics of some obscure recipe from the past" in it. I never do. I almost always end up finding what I'm looking for in the Joy of Cooking, instead. Gee! Why AM I keeping this doorstop???

                                  1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                    Oh, yes to a good old, old school Joy of Cooking! I'm not a fancy, trendy cook, so JoC is a go to for, not necessarily word for word recipes, but techniques.

                                    1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                      I have some really odd old cookbooks (can't think of any names offhand) that I'd never get rid of because they have genuine comedy value, and a couple have some interesting historical info.

                                  2. re: Violatp

                                    I'm sure it's not the worst cookbook I own but it may be the least useful to me since I'm never inspired to cook from it.

                                    Inevitably I'll see a more appealing recipe for the same dish in another cookbook. I'm also just put off by the title of the book.

                                    Why do I keep it? It was a gift from mr bc and he hasn't forgotten he gave it to me...yet!!!

                                    1. re: Violatp

                                      Lol, I will have to vote this one the worst as well. It has its own story. My FIL "likes" to cook but has about 2 recipes. So I helpfully bought him this cookbook for his birthday. Make a long story short, somehow it turned up again in our kitchen, gifted and re-gifted. Now dh, who is learning to cook and is doing quite well at it, uses this cookbook as a go to when he has no other recipe or instructions. Fortunately, he knows enough to doctor up the seasoning.
                                      As for me, I've only made desserts from it and they were pretty sad. Chocolate chip cookies and lemon cheesecake with sour cream topping. They tasted ok but did not look or cook well. Even dd turned down the cheesecake.

                                      1. By the Sackful: A Scrapbook with Recipes from 85 Years of White Castle Craving

                                        I keep it because it's kitschy, but I would never make any of the recipes.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Sloth

                                          Good heavens, what can you make with recycled White Castles? Wait, not sure I want an answer to that...

                                          1. re: pine time

                                            There is actually a recipe for Turkey Stuffing made of White Castles.

                                            1. re: jcmods

                                              Oh my. Thanksgiving at Honey Boo Boo's? (Never watched the show, just picking a stereotype from seeing only the ads!). Although, back in the day, our family loved a "sack" of White Castles for dinner.

                                            2. re: pine time

                                              Fried rice. You can make fried rice out of anything.