As you may have surmised by now, I have a lot of cookbooks. Most of them I never use, even when I intend to. I’ve become somewhat of a collecter, and I’m not sure why. Maybe I just really like pictures of food?
Cookbooks, unfortunately, are expensive. So when I say I’m a collecter, what I really mean to say is that every time I go to a used bookstore or a Goodwill, I browse the shelves for the weirdest things I can find. I like practical cookbooks, sure, but I also like things like diet books from the 70s.
One of my earliest “weirdos” is A Fifteenth Century Cookry Boke, compiled in the 1960s. The recipes are written in Middle English, and of course contain no measurements as we know them. Here you can find such recipes as Pgge or Chiken in Sauge, Puddyng of Purpaysse, Garbage (I’m going to assume the meaning of the word has changed over the centuries), and A Goos in Hogepotte. Needless to say, I haven’t tried any of these recipes, but I love looking through them.
Another favorite, since I’m a Florida girl, is Jane Nickerson’s Florida Cookbook (published in 1973). There are soul food and Jewish recipes, Cuban recipes, and even Seminole recipes, and recipes for some things that even as a born and bred Floridian I missed growing up. Things like armadillo. Yum.
But my absolute favorite oddball is something I found in the sale room of my library on one of my first days of work. Here’s How: Mixed Drinks, published in 1941. It has wooden board for covers and is bound with leather ties, and tells you how to make pretty much every mixed drink you’ve ever heard of, and then some. There are a ton of whimsical illustrations (as well as some really awful, racist ones), and great-named concoctions such as the Hot Brick, the Knickerbocker, the Zombie, and Huckle-My-Butt. Seriously, what were our grandparents getting up to?
Well, that does it for my first ever foray into the world of cookbooks. If you guys enjoyed it, maybe I’ll try it again sometime. Cookbooks have really helped me stretch my boundaries with food, and become more confidant in my ability to feed myself and others. Its just another facet of the book industry that I really love.