Vintage cookbooks we can’t live without

wooden spoon recipes

A good all-around cookbook is like a much loved aunt who tells great stories and always has the answer to all your cooking questions. Sites like provide instant gratification when you know you want to make something specific. And having those ratings and user notes make sure you don’t waste your time and ingredients on something that winds up as a total meh.

But a cookbook tells you more. It tells you about your ingredients, about your cooking method, about variations you can make to a basic recipe. And if it’s a vintage cookbook, you don’t need ratings to tell you if a recipe is good. The binding and grease stains tell you that.  If the binding falls open to a page and if there are plenty of spatters and maybe a handwritten note in the margin, you know you’ve stumbled on something tasty.

Wondering if there’s a vintage cookbook you should have in your collection? Here’s a few to start with, the vintage cookbooks the Vintage Unscripted team can’t live without.

King Arthur Cookbook

The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook

Author/Brinna Sands   Copyright/1990   Best recipe/All-American Baking Powder Biscuits

Brinna Sands must have known she was creating the best go-to baking book ever when she was working on this, because it is so comprehensive. Basic recipes with suggestions for how to spin variations depending on our ingredients on hand. Clear directions that explain the hows and whys that inspire confidence. There’s nothing outrageous and fancy here, it’s good solid basic baking. We have loved the pages right out of the binding of our paperback version. The Baking Powder Biscuits are by far our favorite recipe, but we also love the pizza crust, muffins, cobblers, crisps, hearth breads, quiches, scones…

–Laurie, NextStage Vintage

Bart’s Favorites

Author/My Mom & her friends   Copyright/1960s    Best recipe/Frozen Fruit Salad

I’m sharing this cookbook, not for the fabulous recipes, but for the wonderful memories it brings back to me. It’s a little three ring binder filled with handwritten recipe cards that remind me of some of the dishes I grew up with. Bart was my Dad and as you can tell from the smudges on the index card, her frozen fruit salad was one of his favorites. I’m not sure what will be our complete menu will be this Christmas day but I do know the frozen fruit salad and his special gumdrop oatmeal cookies will be served. Celebrating family….that’s what the holidays mean to me. 

NOTE TO SELF: A vintage recipe box full of our family favorites might be a memorable gift for our son who loves to cook. 

— Linda, Selective Salvage


Best Recipes 

Author/ Ceil Dyer    Copyright/1993    Best Recipe/?

While I wouldn’t call this a vintage cookbook, it certainly contains age-old recipes from the backs of bottles, cans and boxes. So many in fact that it was difficult to come up with just one to show you! Whenever we are trying to recall a recipe from the back of a package I always resort to this book. What fun!

–Dot, Attic and Barn Treasures


The Vegetarian Epicure

Author/Anna Thomas    Copyright/1972    Best Recipe/?

Anna was taught to appreciate year round celebrations involving food lovingly prepared by her Polish-born family whose faith called for meatless meals as a Catholic Family. Just after we married, we bought this cookbook to give us recipes to add to the few meatless meal we did know how to prepare. She had sections on what should be in the pantry, how to entertain well and even sample menus. We are not vegetarians now but in our newly achieved retirement, we will include more meatless with style meals and share them with friends. I also love the artwork by Julie Maas.

–Mary Ellen, Aunt Hatties Attic Vintage

Los Angeles County Fair Award-Winng Recipes

Author/Various   Copyright/1982   Best Recipe/Old Fashioned Lemon Bread

This book is the fourth edition of award-winning recipes compiled from the largest county fair in the world. The compiled recipes from the Los Angeles County Fair includes everything from breads, to pickles and relishes, to jams, jellies and BBQ and everything in between. A treasure trove of cooking and baking. This 1st prize winning lemon Bread recipe has been a family favorite for many years.

–Pam, Vintage Renude




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