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 Epicurious.com 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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America – Home Of The Free Because Of The Brave

Veteran’s Day is a time honored celebration in my family for several reasons: 

My childhood – My father spent thirty three years in the Air Force which means I grew up as a “military brat”. As a career military family, we moved every three – four years to exotic places like Indiana, Nebraska and Arizona. But we also had assignments in Japan where I attended 2nd – 4th grade and Germany for 7th – 9th grade. Growing up in that environment fostered a strong sense of family, a loyalty to our country and a feeling of tolerance and acceptance, all character traits I believe can be attributed to the military lifestyle.

My ancestry –  I am proud of the lineage of veterans in my immediate family who served our country in the military, many of whom went on to lives of public service.

  • My grandfather enlisted in the Army when he graduated from high school in South Dakota. In 1914, his unit (the 147th Artillery) was dispatched to Texas on a hunt for Pancho Villa. Two months later the unit was sent to northern France where they fought in the “Battle of the Frontiers”. His unit was gassed but Grandpa Bob recovered and went on to a long career as a rural mail carrier. It’s fair to say public service was his calling.
  • My great aunt served as a nurse in the Army Medical Corp in WWII. Aletha was stationed on a hospital ship off the coast of Italy that transported wounded soldiers back to the US. After the war ended, she had a twenty year career as a public school nurse in Brooklyn NY.
  • My uncle enlisted in the Marines after high school and was a member of the division that captured Iwo Jima from the Japanese in 1945.  RB went on to a life of public service as an IRS agent.
  • My brother served two tours of duty in the Navy during the Vietnam War as a river boat scout in the Mehkong Delta.  Steve continues to suffer from the side effects of exposure to Agent Orange but had a successful career in the IT industry.
  • My father went from a high school in South Dakota to work with the CCC and then into the Army. He was stationed in the Philippines in 1941when war with the Japanese broke out. He escaped from the “Bataan Death March” with five members of his platoon who made their way to the island of Corregidor. When that stronghold fell six months later, Dad was taken as a prisoner of war and relocated to Japan where he worked underground in a coal mine for two and a half years. When the POWs were liberated in 1945, he returned to the same small SD town as a war hero. He met my mother in the post office my grandfather worked in and the rest, as they say, is history.

Our future – The vocabulary of conflict will change as words like “beach head” and “bunkers” are replaced by “drones” and “cyberwarfare” but the need for the “courage” and “honor” personified by our military veterans will never wane.

May we celebrate the memories of the American men and women who serve our country for generations to come.

 

Twenty Trains and a gift from a Veteran

Our friends took the long way home from their son’s wedding in California in order to experience more of our country using US Route 20 as their highway. I just got the most amazing post from Chip who is a newly retired Social Studies teacher and Dale, his wife who worked in town government for many years. They gave me permission to use this as a Veteran’s Day Posting. The email title was “Did my father and Dale’s stop at this station on their way to war?”

On Thursday we detoured south off of U.S. route 20 to visit the town of Dennison Ohio, better known to the one and a half million World War II US Army soldiers and Army Air Corp recruits whose troop transport trains stopped here for the steam engined trains to replenish their water tanks, as “Dreamsville USA”.

Although the origin of the soldier’s nickname for this stop is uncertain, our tour guide believes that it was because of the kindness shown to the troops by the local townspeople who organized a food canteen providing refreshments and a warm smile to soldiers on virtually every train that entered the station, day or night, for more than four years.

It may also have had something to do with the Glen Miller song popular at the time, “Dreamsville Ohio”.

From March of 1942 through December of 1946 more than 20 troop trains a day, carrying more than 600 newly inducted military conscripts each, passed through this Pennsylvania Railroad repair and maintenance terminal on their way to various training stations located through out the country.

Although we will never know for sure, it is likely that my father Army Air Corps Lt. George Bull and or Dale’s dad, Lt. Bill Shaw received a sandwich, coffee and a warm friendly smile from the dedicated women volunteers here.

The museum is an amazing restoration of more than eight railroad cars and just dedicated on the day we arrived a restored 1935 steam engine. Perhaps the most touching exhibit, and the smallest, is display of an original wax sandwich bag, given in the middle of a cold December night by one of the canteen volunteers to a 19 year old army private away from home for the first time in his life. That private, touched by the experience,carefully folded and put the empty bag in his rucksack.He carried that symbol of home and generosity for the next four years of World War II and on the fiftieth Anniversary of the end of the war this now elderly veteran returned it to the Dreamsville museum as a token of his appreciation.

 

If you get a chance, take a look at the Dennison Depot Museum video. we have had a lot of amazing experiences on this year’s road trip journey, but this was one of the most emotionally touching.

Thanksgiving Greetings With Vintage Postcards

Thanksgiving is just around the corner – time to start thinking about your family dinner celebration and ways to decorate your table.

Use these digital scans of vintage Thanksgiving postcards to make your table unique! The cards can be downloaded and saved, then printed on a color printer to make placemats, coasters, or name tags for your table.

You could even print the postcard images and use them as cards to write what your family is most thankful for.

Best Wishes for a Good Thanksgiving…

 

To save the images, right-click and choose Save Image As. The postcards are not copyright protected, so they are free to use however you like. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!


 

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Vintage – My Happy Place

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Best and worst Halloween candy: an unscientific survey

candy corn

We took to Facebook to ask our friends three important seasonal questions:
1) What Halloween candy was your favorite?
2) What Halloween candy was their most dreaded? and
3) What Halloween candy were they most likely to steal from their children’s loot bag?

We compiled their results into a poetic lab report:

halloween candyWhen shadows creep and house lights glow,
We slip into costumes and out we go.
Looking for candy with a sack in our hands
But what candies are loved and which should be banned?

We conducted a survey, not at all scientific,
And got some responses, for which you’re* terrific.
Here are the results, compiled for your pleasure
Of the tasty treats we enjoy at our leisure.

The favorite sweets had some common themes.
There are lots of full-size chocolate bars in our dreams.
Milky Way, Reese’s, Heath, Snickers and Mounds,
Almond Joy, Hershey, KitKats and Rolos abound.

Most dreaded were licorice and plump red apples,
Real fruit, it was said, was judged to be crapples.
And since we’re a land of many points of views
Some candies made both lists; here is that news…

Loved and loathed were Neccos, Tootsies and Dots,
Bit-o-honey and Candy Corn were 100s or naughts.
Charleston Chews and Jolly Ranchers won and lost,
Popcorn balls and peanut butter kisses might be kept or be tossed.

Some want the Good and Plenty, which other would skip,
And one person would not let any chocolate pass their lips.
One offer was made to team up to go treating,
Because one’s favorites were what the other wouldn’t be eating.

On whether or not heists were made from kid’s loot,
It’s safe to say that for some treats, in we would scoot,
For Butterfingers, which made neither best nor worst honors,
And Heath bars and Milky Ways and most chocolate’d be goners.

Baby Ruths, Nerds and Tootsie Rolls we’d sneak
And mix up the rest so no one knew that we’d peeked.
We might not be proud and it is kind of tricky
But none of us got caught with our fingers still sticky.

One of the memories a few people shared,
Was of the tiny treat bags filled with great care
With pieces of taffy and jelly beans and wrapped candy.
We all remember those prized bags as just dandy.

So thanks all who served up sweet Halloween dreams,
And shared some nice memories of the night when ghosts scream.
Get your treat basket ready, ghouls are coming to the door,
But remember, kids are not the only ones Halloween is for!

grabbing hands

*Thanks to Kris, Petter, Peter, Nancy, Dot, Linda, Jenni, Donna, Diane, Shelley, Cheryl, Mary Ellen, JD, Susan, Nancy, Diane, Donna, Christina, Russ, Marla, Deb, Pam, Sandy and Erin for sinking their sweet teeth into this unscientific survey for us.

Wishing you no apples in your plastic pumpkins tonight!

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Holiday do-ahead gift: chocolate pudding mix

hourglass count down

Disclaimer: No one likes holiday creep. Thanksgiving has no right to be hanging around in October. And Christmas, don’t get me started. Eggnog at the supermarket before Thanksgiving? Wrong. Boxes of peppermint sandwich cookies? Oh so tempting, but oh so wrong in October. Holiday creep is to the December holidays what DVDs were to The Wizard of Oz. Watching The Wizard of Oz used to be special because it was only on once a year. Now that you can watch it any time, it’s still a classic but it’s not an event. So while posting a holiday-do ahead gift recipe might feel a little bit like holiday creep, this is shelf-stable and mixing it up now will give you a little breathing room later.

♦  ♦  ♦

Cecily Brownstone's Associated press CookbookCecily Brownstone is not exactly a household name now. But for 39 years, she was a syndicated columnist and the food editor at the Associated Press (from 1947 to 1986). She was the cooking equivalent of Dear Abby, a household name that provided recipes and cooking information. Influential cooks James Beard and the Joy of Cooking authors were among her friends. She was a titan in the cooking world for most of her life. Which makes one wonder why she is so little known now.

In one of her published weekly columns, reader Quick Cook asked for an chocolate pudding recipe she could make up in a flash. Ms. Brownstone provided her with this recipe for a homemade instant pudding mix.

Times may have changed, but it’s hard to imagine a world where your friends and family wouldn’t flap their flippers over a gift of instant chocolate pudding mix. Just add mason jar, bow and snazzy label with directions. To really dial it up, add vintage pudding or parfait glasses.

(You also get a bonus salad dressing recipe, but not one you can make and store for months.)

Cecily Brownstone's chocolate pudding recipe

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The Gift of Vintage

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2000 Years of Halloween

According to history, Halloween has been celebrated in one form or another since the days of the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. We’re talking 2000 years ago! This is the time of year when nature makes its dramatic change from warm and sunny to dark and chilly. The end of the harvest and growing season.  

Wearing costumes has been attributed to everything from fooling the Pagan Gods to imitating the souls of the dead. Early Europeans were known to dress up and go door to door playing pranks on their neighbors.

Superhero costumes and pillowcases filled with candy are a far cry from the origins of Halloween. But much more fun! Slowly throughout the years we have gone from celebrating the end of the harvest to purple and orange lights and fake spiderwebs. Halloween has become one of the biggest retail holidays in the US. This year consumers are expected to spend over 9 billion dollars on Halloween in the US alone.

One of the oldest traditions is decorating for Halloween with paper skeletons, jack o lanterns, black cats, and spiders. The Beistle Company has been in business since 1900 and has been making Halloween decor since 1921. They are still in business today and have revived some of the original designs from the 1920’s.

The shops of Vintage Unscripted have some great items to complete your Halloween look too.

A Round Up of Vintage Porch Decor for Halloween

Now is the time to get your front porch decked out for Halloween!

Here is a round up of some ideas to get you started.

Vintage Pails

Gather all your old galvanized pails and turn them into pumpkins for your porch. Use a black charcoal pencil and white chalk to draw jack-o-lantern faces on your pails. Fill the pails with twigs, gourds, or small pumpkins and you have a great look.

 

Vintage Crates

There are so many clever ways you can decorate your porch using vintage pop crates. Stack them and fill them with fallen leaves, colorful gourds from your garden, or small pumpkins. Save  crate to hold bowls of candy, too!

 

Vintage Sign Letters

Use a collection of vintage sign letters to spell out messages to your trick-or-treaters. 

 

Vintage Mirrors

Use a vintage mirror to create a spooky ghost look. It’s sure to scare away visitors!

 

 

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