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Your best cook book finds at garage salesthrift stores etc

What are your all time best cook book discoveries you've discovered at garage sales etc.?
The mythical 'ferrari under a tarp under a tree' types.
I just found this one in a thrift store. I paid $3.00. It weights at least twenty pounds. LOL!
Does any one have this cook book? IMO it's got to be the best 'XXXX' food porn picture book/cook book I've ever seen.

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  1. Although I no longer go thrift tripping all over the kingdom on week-ends I do have a best find that was given to me by a friend who bought it at an estate sale somewhere around 2008. It is "The Complete Asian Cookbook", by Charmaine Solomon. A large book it holds recipes from 15 Asian countries, and those recipes , to a letter, produce exceptionally delicious food. Ms Solomon, who was born in Sri Lanka, has written 31 cookbooks, and is considered to be an expert on Asian cuisine, is known as "the Queen of Asian cooking".

    "The Complete Asian Cookbook" was COTM during the month of August 2010.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      Wow. That looks like a real treasure!
      Have you made some dishes using the book?

      1. re: Puffin3

        Some? I've made many from each section. Then when it was COTM, I immediately glommed onto those I hadn't yet cooked. Everything was wonderful, I'm happy to say.

        Someone here on CH said, during that COTM month, that in Australia if their house were burning down the only thing they'd save would be this book.

    2. I collect the Time-Life Foods of the World cookbooks. I keep an eye out for them at used book sales, garage sales, and thrift stores. The Cooking of Provincial France is my favorite.

      1. I recently found Shirley Corriher's Cookwise for $3.00 and The New Best Recipe by Cooks Illustrated for $2.00. Both thrift store finds.

        1. Great thread, BTW! All happy...

          1. Absolute best - Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cooking and More Classic Italian Cooking for $1 each.

            2 Replies
            1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

              I too paid $3.00 for the Culinaria book.
              Any one ever score any Esscofier books cheap?

              1. re: Puffin3

                Oh yes! The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery - either $2 or $3 at St. Vincent de Paul store. Price tag is illegible.

            2. I have a thing for the Sunset series, I always snap them right up regardless of the subject. Never more than a buck. But my most prized books are signed by the authors, a lot of them summer around here so not that hard to find. Craig Claiborne is one, off the top of my head.

              3 Replies
              1. re: coll

                I saw a Loveless Café book at the thrift shop, signed by the biscuit lady, who is no longer with us. : (

                I should have bought it, but I need to keep my cookbook purchases down; I have too too too many. I didn't think I'd be cooking from it.

                It always bothered me that when she showed her famous biscuit recipe on air, she would sneak a bowl of something "secret" into her mixing bowl.

                1. re: sandylc

                  She did pass along the Secret Recipe to the current Biscuit Lady. You might notice that on their Hams'n'Jams online catalog the biscuit mix they offer is admittedly NOT the Secret Recipe, but "almost as good!"

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    I have often wondered what the tiny bowl that contained her "secret" ingredient actually contained. I suspect maybe cornstarch or MSG. I looked like white powder, and there wasn't very much of it.

              2. Some years ago, my wife and I were shopping in Waynesville, OH, an antique store mecca, when I happened on a full bookshelf and of course made a beeline for it.

                Three of the shelves turned out to be from the collection of a former newspaper food page editor. It was first edition review copies of lots of vintage books about food. I picked up Marion Brown's Southern Cooking, All About Shrimp, and a few others, but the find, for me, was Robert Farrar Capon's Supper of the Lamb, which I'd heard of for years but was out of print. It turned out to be one of my favorite books ever, and now that it's back in print I've given three or four copies as gifts.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jmckee

                  I never went looking for cookbooks there, but I used to LOVE going up to Waynesville when I livied in Cincinnati. I found a lot of art deco drinking paraphinalia there at incredibly low prices. Come to think of it, I think I paid $2.00 for an early edition of the Savoy Cocktail book.

                2. "The Way to Cook" and "French Market Cookbook" for $10 each at a street sale were great, especially since neither book had been out more that a year! But my favorite was a 1st Edition of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' "Cross Creek Cookery" from 1942, in near-mint condition and with a trove of inclusions from previous owner/owners, in an estate sale. The seller told me she'd marked it for just $3 because it was missing its dust jacket. What she did not know was that wartime books didn't HAVE dust jackets! In a move to save paper, they had either plain fabric covers or, as this one does, dust-jacket style art printed directly on a buckram cover. Needless to say, I'm never passing this one along!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Will Owen

                    What a wonderful find WO. I have my parent's first edition of Cross Creek now I must look to see if there are any recipes. I did read it oh so long ago, but you know as time lapses, so does one's memory.

                  2. I'm fortunate to have a nearby used book store with an excellent cookbook curator. The store is run by the Friends of the Library and sells donations so most books are under $4, more often $2 and there are occasional half-price sales. So I've been able to grab Julia Child and Co,, a couple of Raichlen BBQ books, Everyday Cooking by Pepin, Madhur Jaffrey. My favorites though are the regional and specialty ones like the Toll House cookbook.

                    Admittedly I've done more gathering than reading, but just yesterday I picked up Cornbread Gospels super cheap and hope to have some fun with that this summer.


                    1. Found a copy of the French Laundry at a library for five bucks. Was a red-letter day in my book.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Nocturnalbill

                        I found a copy of the long out of print "The Store" by Bert Greene at my place, I couldn't believe it was marked two bucks. It even had the dust jacket! When the woman at the cash register saw that, she was obviously angry she didn't see it first and made me pay $5 instead. Sore loser!

                        1. re: Nocturnalbill

                          WOW! What a find! I paid full price for my FL copy.
                          I once went to a swap meet. A young woman had at least a dozen large boxes of just cook books and food related books. I think she said the books were from her mother's estate. As she unloaded them from her car I was able to go through each box BEFORE anyone else clued in. I was on the last box before some dude shoved his way past me thinking he was going to get 'the good stuff'. HA HA! I thought.
                          Sadly there were only a few books I had an interest in. For a minute I thought I had discovered the old ferrari under a tarp under the tree in some one's back yard.
                          (I did find a 1964 Austin Heally Mrk 11 with spoke wheels and electric over-drive that way once. Bought it for $300.

                          1. re: Puffin3

                            I always love to luck into the crazy things at stores where they obviously didn't knwo what they had. Always hope that I'll run across something nuts but fun.

                        2. At a used book shop, I found a HAND AUTOGRAPHED copy of a Mario Batalli cookbook for $2.50!!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: PotatoHouse

                            Are his recipes any good? I'm usually wary of food network cookbooks but he does look pretty awesome

                            1. re: Siegal

                              Chef Batali's cookbooks are Great! His Osso Buco is the best I've ever made. His books have been COTM twice:


                              1. re: Siegal

                                Batalli is actually nearly as talented as he thinks he is. His cookbooks are complex but fun and the recipes haven't failed me as yet. He actually was a chef before he was a celebrity; which helps a bit.

                                1. re: Nocturnalbill

                                  Thx will check it out - got to support my fellow gingers

                            2. Whenever I would visit Berkeley, CA, I would stop into Moe's Books. Really, that was always the highlight of my trips and I would always bring an extra suitcase for my Moe's finds, and I always found something wonderful. On one trip, I found 3 autographed cookbooks from Wolfgang Puck, at $3 each. I grew up with my mum's Austrian cooking, so I know the basics of many dishes, but these allowed me to *really* know how to cook Austrian food (and all sorts of other things, too).