Why do we collect cookbooks? 5,712 and Counting!

Music – “What’s Cooking” from What’s Cooking by The Wolfe Gang. Released: 2010


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“The Vintage Cookbookery” website is up and a work in progress! Please visit it at http://www.vintagecookbookery.com. I will be posting a series of articles about cookbooks as time capsules, why we collect them, and how they reflect cultures, trends, technology and food history. Please join in and add your comments! On October 23rd, 2015, I  surpassed the 5,000 mark.  What’s left?  Just keep collecting! (As of January, 2017, the collection has grown to 5,712)

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

From Cindy Renfrow’s “Take a Thousand Eggs”, to Gil Partington’s “The Punk Vegan Cookbook”, cookbooks run the gamut and are packed with social history. Forget ‘Social Studies”….just read cookbooks if you really want some history!

2013 Guinness World Record title for Largest Collection of Cookbooks

2013 Guinness World Record title for Largest Collection of Cookbooks

Posted in Cookbooks, Cooking, Cooking and Social History, Cooking Technology, Eating, Food Fads, Food Trends, Menu Planning, Recipes, Vintage Cookbooks | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

From Albania to Vietnam, but where are you, Pitcairn Islands?


Music – “Pitcairn Island (from “Mutiny On The Bounty”)” from Mutiny On The Bounty (Original Soundtrack Recording) by Marlon Brando. Released: 2011

Quick quiz: what do these 126 countries have in common?

Albania,  Algeria,  Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia,  Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guam, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong SAR China, Hungary, Iceland, India,  Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia….

Photo Credit: http://www.alamy.com

…..Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau SAR China, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Réunion, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Saint Maarten, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam.

Give up? Amazingly enough, WordPress statistics indicate that in the nearly 4 years since I started my blog, viewers have visited my blog from all 126 of these countries. I have cookbooks from many of these locations in my collection, and I wonder what the readers were searching for when they read my posts….a mention of their homeland, their cuisine, perhaps some familiar photos I have taken over the years from a few of these places, which I have visited?

Now, if only someone from the Pitcairn Islands would have a look. I have a copy of the only cookbook ever published there, by Irma Doreen (Warren) Christian, a descendant of Fletcher Christian of “Mutiny on the Bounty” fame.  Irma died on Pitcairn Island, in 2016 at the age of 89.

Portrait of Fletcher Christian (Photo Credit: http://www.findagrave.com)

Irma Christian, a descendant of Fletcher Christian, on Pitcairn Island (Photo Credit: http://www.theroguephotographer.com)

Flag of the Pitcairn Islands (Photo Credit: http://www.en.wikipedia.org)

Pitcairn Island Cookbook by Irma Christian

Perhaps internet access is a bit tricky on Pitcairn Islands.  After all, it really is out there! But, it just goes to show that cookbooks and conversations about food are truly a global phenomenon!


Pitcairn Islands (Photo Credit: http://www.wikitravel.com)

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

Posted in Collecting, Collections, Cookbooks, Cooking, Cooking and Social History, Food Trends, Guinness World Records, Uncategorized, Vintage Cookbooks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cruising with a Cornucopia of Comestibles!


Music – “Calypso Time (Steel Drums Soca)” from Island Cruise Steel Band Presents Steel Drums & Songs of Jamaica and Trinidad for Your Tropical Caribbean Cruise Party by Island Cruise Steel Band. Released: 2011

If you have ever had the good fortune to take a cruise, you will know just how spoiled you become. The entire world outside of your mega-cruise ship disappears. You are pampered, fed, fed again, feted, entertained, and fed yet again. On most of the larger ships, you can find something to eat 24 hours a day. If you are up for a midnight chocolate buffet, you can probably find it. Pizza stations, ice cream stations, numerous bars, multiple restaurants specializing in a variety of cuisines, snack bars, room service at any hour, the list is endless. My husband and I have been fortunate to have taken two cruises: the first on Holland America in the Western Caribbean (1 week) and the second with Princess Cruises, all around the Caribbean (2 weeks).

Oasis of the Seas…a REALLY big cruise ship! (Photo Credit: http://www.placesyoullsee.com)

From the time you saunter down to the breakfast buffet, you eat, eat, eat. I don’t normally “do” breakfast and haven’t for years, yet on the Grand Princess cruise, I was mortified to find myself unable to turn down scads of smoked salmon with capers, rich scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, breakfast sausage, cheese Danish, roasted potatoes and a myriad of other delights. I morphed into someone else on that cruise (I found her a few months later after she had lost the 8 pounds she gained on the 2 week cruise!)

Picture of the famous cruise liner QE2 Queen Elizabeth 2 on its last visit to Tyneside (Photo Credit:  http://www.freefoto.com)

Although we were usually out on a tour many days, if we were shipboard, I would not usually eat at midday, although my spouse did not want to waste the money spent for the trip, so indulged. In the evening, we experienced truly fine dining in a different restaurant every night. The staff was awesome, the food was awesome, the amenities were awesome. Needless to say, I was impressed to the extent that upon our departure, leaving our two-week home away from home, I cried to think it was over. Alas, back to reality. Suffice it to say, if you don’t gain any weight on a cruise, you are seriously ill and need to check in with your PCP immediately upon your return!

I was fascinated at how, upon returning to port at the end of a cruise, the cruise ships, even the largest of them, have about 6 to 8 hours (yes, hours!), to completely refurbish the ship for the next wave of guests, due to arrive late afternoon on the same day. Thousands of pieces of luggage must be removed in an organized fashion, garbage must be removed, staterooms cleaned, laundry done, and kitchens sanitized and stocked for the next voyage, not to mention a hundred other myriad tasks, which the numerous crew are very adept at carrying out. The entire process is an intricate, extremely well-organized orchestration that is amazing to watch.

For example, the Royal Caribbean “Harmony of the Seas” can accommodate 5,479 guests! The “Allure of the Seas” can house 5,400 passengers and has 25 dining options including a Starbucks. “Oasis of the Seas” accommodates up to 6,296 passengers. It should be noted that none of these figures includes the number of crew (2,160 on Oasis of the Seas), which amounts to an average of 1 crew member for every 3 passenger! No wonder one gets so spoiled on a cruise!

“Only another 6,000 pounds of lettuce left to load…” (Photo Credit: http://www.seattletimes.com)




When the “Oasis of the Seas” departs for a 7 day Caribbean voyage, the supplies needed are mind-boggling. Not including items such as toilet paper, tissues, light bulbs, replacement TVs (really!), hand sanitizers, and the more mundane every-day items, in just a few hours, they must load an enormous quantity of food, which varies according to the season, special events, etc. but here is an average bill of lading :

  • 7,397 pounds of cheese
  • 330 cases of pineapples,
  • 1,899 pounds of coffee
  • 5,400 lobster tails
  • 21,000 ice cream cones
  • 8,800 pounds of tomatoes
  • 9,000 pounds of lettuce
  • 14,800 pounds of potatoes
  • 2,600 pounds of apples
  • 5,400 pounds of bananas
  • 46,800 eggs
  • 2,622 gallons of milk
  • 19,723 pounds of chicken
  • 18,314 pounds of beef
  • 7,070 pounds of fish
  • 10,680 hot dogs
  • 31,900 bottles of beer (and 900 cans)
  • 16,900 cans of soda
  • 820 bottles of vodka
  • 179 bottles of whiskey
  • 293 bottles of scotch
  • 765 bottles of rum (well, it IS the Caribbean!)
  • 3,360 bottles of white wine
  • 2,776 bottles of red wine

Do cruisers on the Oasis of the Seas really consume 9,000 pounds of lettuce in 7 days? (Photo Credit: http://www.linkedin.com)

A mega-cruise ship needs a lot of fish, but, heck…if the chef runs out, he can always drag a net off the stern. (Photo Credit: http://www.alamy.com)

A storeroom full of veggies (Photo Credit: http://www.imgur.com)

I wonder if this is enough tomatoes for the QE2’s 90 day around-the-world cruise? (Photo Credit: http://www.travelandleisure.com)

That’s a lot of potatoes to peel! (Photo Credit: http://www.columbian.com)

Perhaps this is enough shrimp for a short, 7-day cruise? (Photo Credit: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com)

In addition to the food storage, which comprises multiple areas, multiple freezers and rooms of varying temperature, there must be huge storage areas for dinnerware, cutlery, cooking utensils (lots of BIG ones), and the like. On the last day of our two-week cruise on the Grand Princess, we were given the Galley Tour, which is truly incredible. The bowels of the kitchen are like a vast, never-ending vista of stainless steel, all polished and gleaming, a maze of rooms and corridors and all looking like you could literally eat off the floor. If this isn’t organization to the nth degree, I don’t know what is!

Organization is the key to making 6,000 salads every night! (Photo Credit: http://www.imgur.com)

There’s enough milk on any one mega-cruise ship to make the lactose intolerant squeamish! (Photo Credit: http://www.nytimes.com)

At the price of just one lobster tail, it’s a good thing most cruise fares include all you can eat on the trip! (Photo Credit: http://www.imgur.com)

A large cruise ship not only has to have a LOT of ice cream, but also a LOT of flavours! (Photo Credit: http://www.valpak.com)

10,680 of these would suffice for 7 days on Oasis on the Seas! (Photo Credit: http://www.pdx.eater.com

Enough strawberries to make shortcake for a small city! (Photo Credit: http://www.imgur.com)

A weeks worth of eggs for a mega-cruise ship would have the hens working overtime (Photo Credit: http://www.indiatimes.com)

Plenty of ducks for duck soup. (Photo Credit: http://www.imgur.com)

Yogurt, butter, etc. for a cast of thousands. (Photo Credit: http://www.imgur.com)

These buckets of fresh chickens are a little larger than the KFC takeout size! (Photo Credit: http://www.imgur.com)

7,397 pounds of this stuff holds the Oasis of the Seas for 7 days. (Photo Credit: http://www.vouchercodes.co.uk)

The poor chef on a mega-cruise ship peeling thousands of pounds of carrots (hopefully, he gets paid by the hour) (Photo Credit: http://www.alamy.com)

31,900 bottles of beer on the wall of the Oasis of the Seas (plus cans!) (Photo Credit: http://www.internalcruisemates.com)

18,314 pounds of beef (all types) go into the hold of the Oasis of the Seas for a 7 day cruise. (Photo Credit: http://www.clickhole.com)

On the Oasis of the Seas, 5,400 pounds of bananas might make for lot of slip and fall accidents! (Photo Credit: http://www.rd.com)


A bacon lover’s dream! (Photo Credit: http://www.imgur.com)

In a cookbook I have in my collection, “Queen Elizabeth 2 Cookbook”, the author partially describes the comestibles necessary for their 90 day world cruise, including 180,000 pounds of prime beef from the USA, 36,000 pounds of lamb from Britain, 12,000 pounds of French veal, 11,000 pounds of salt, 80,000 eggs, 3 tons (yes, tons!)of smoked salmon (yum!), 10 tons of butter, 90,000 jars of preserves, 2,500 gallons of milk, 500,000 tea bags and 10,000 bottles of champagne.

Imagine 3 tons of this! (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)


The Queen Elizabeth 2 holds 1,850 passengers and 995 crew.  Now, half a million tea bags may sound like a lot, but between 1,850 passengers and 995 crew, for 90 days, that only amounts to 1.95 tea bags per person per day.  Hardly enough to satisfy the British love of tea, I’d say!  The ship also has stainless steel tanks, which can hold 313,500 gallons of draught beer and multiple bottles of the 120 varieties of wine they carry. In addition, they also have large stores of Kosher food (including Kosher service dishes, utensils, etc.) and even have a supply of 50 pounds of dog biscuits (lucky dogs!) But, alas, it’s too late to book a cruise on the QE2.  She was taken out of service in 2008.

Now, get ready for this:  Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, currently under constructions in France, and due to be launched out of Miami in 2018 will be the largest cruise ship in the world.  We’re talking capacity for 6,800 passengers, plus 2,800 crew for a total of 9,600 souls!  If they could take on another 400 passengers, the entire city of Sedona, Arizona could just move in!

So, if you should, perchance be lucky enough to take a cruise, consider that it is a floating city for a time, and often, a pretty good-sized one at that. Imagine trying to take care of all of these people in this city, feed them, house them, entertain them, humour them, and take their minds off of their problems for a brief period.  A tall order, yet the cruise ships do a pretty decent job!

Now, just for fun, take a look at this Youtube video! (Note:  you must click on the “watch this video in youtube” to view it)



Note: if you are interested, most cruise ships publish their own cookbooks and I have several in my collection:

  • The Buffets of Carnival
  • The Carnival Experience
  • Carnival Creations – Cruise Cuisine from Carnival Chefs
  • The Crystal Cruises Cookbook
  • Queen Elizabeth 2 Cookbook
  • Courses – A Culinary Journey (Princess Cruises)
  • Princess Cruises Cuisine
  • A Taste of Excellence Cookbook (Holland America)
  • Royal Caribbean Holiday & Entertainment Cookbook
  • Royal Caribbean International Cookbook
  • Carte du Jour – The Restaurants of Royal Caribbean International

“Wait, wait! Don’t forget the 3,000 pounds of plantains!” (Photo Credit: http://www.en.wikipedia.org)

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

Posted in Collections, Cookbooks, Cooking, Cooking Technology, Eating, Menu Planning, Uncategorized, Vintage Cookbooks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nosh No-Nos for Nuptials


Music – “Wedding March” from A Jazz-Inspired Wedding by Craig Curry. Released: 2013

June has long been associated with weddings. With weddings comes food (usually). Offerings at wedding receptions are about as diverse as are the couple, who just exchanged vows. From traditional (the whole multi-tiered cake slathered in butter frosting, fondant and adorned with colourful flowers, lace, etc.), to the country-style, jazzy, exotic, down-home, the food planning for a wedding reception is wide-open, depending on the tastes of the bride and groom (or bride & bride, groom & groom…you get the picture), and the tastes of their guests.

However, there is one caveat to serving food at a nuptial celebration: practicality and the degree of difficulty in consuming the food without ruining the rented tux, the heirloom bridal gown, the expensive bridesmaid dress that will never be worn again (thankfully), and the reputation of the hosts. In that light, I offer a few suggestions for those wedding planners about what NOT to serve at their upcoming festivities.

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My EatYourBooks cookbook collection


Posted in Collecting, Collections, Cookbooks, Cooking, Cooking and Social History, Eating, Food Fads, Food Trends, Guinness World Records, Menu Planning, Uncategorized, Vintage Cookbooks, wedding cakes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Keep Flouring it till the Eyes Drop Out”


Music: Playtime Songs by The Countdown Kids. Released: 2002

One of the great things about having so many cookbooks is tracing the history of cooking techniques and cookery advice. Marketing, food trends and such were popular topics in 18th and 19th century cookbooks. Hannah Glasse, in her classic “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy”, first published in 1747, provided very detailed descriptions of how to market, select and purchase comestibles such as meat, fish, vegetables, etc.


“See dear….this one is green and slimy and smells…if only we had “use by” labels” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

Presumably, her advice was based on her own experiences and the use of her senses: smell, sight, touch, and on occasion, taste. To select mutton, she advises that “If there be rot, the flesh will be palish, and the fat a faint whitish, inclining to yellow…”.

Pork selection requires intense scrutiny: “As for old and new killed, try the legs, hands and springs, by putting your finger under the bone that comes out: for if it be tainted, you will there find it by smelling your finger; beside the skin will be sweaty and clammy when stale, but cool and smooth when new”.

“Excuse me, but would you unwrap this so I could stick my finger inside to see if it’s fresh?” (Photo Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk)

When was the last time you asked a butcher (if you even saw one at your local supermarket), if you could poke your finger into a pork roast?

“We charge extra if you want to stick your finger into our meat” (Photo Credit: http://www.AlleyWatch.com)






Or, opened a carton of eggs in the grocery store and licked one? (“Eggs hold the great end to your tongue; if it feels warm, be sure it is new…”) Certainly makes a case for washing your eggs first before cracking them open!

“But grocery guy, Mom told me to lick the end to see if it was fresh!” (Photo Credit: http://www.lifetimeofspring.                    blogspot.com)







“I think this egg is a little old, grocery guy…” (Photo Credit: http://www.webmd.com)

When it comes to actually cooking your finely selected purchases, Hannah advises that to roast a pig, “…take a little sage shred small, a piece of butter as big as a walnut, and a little pepper and salt; put them into the pig and sew it up with coarse thread: then flour it all over very well, and keep flouring it till the eyes drop out…” No mention of what to do with the little orbs once they have fallen into the firepit.

“No, this is beef. I got grossed out when I roasted the pig and his eyes dropped out!” (Photo Credit: http://www.janeaustens world.wordpress.com)

Clearly, cheese selection in Hannah’s time was an art: “…if old cheese be rough-coated, rugged, or dry at top, beware of little worms of mites: if it be over full of holes, moist or spongy, it is subject to maggots”. Not a pretty picture.

“No maggots, so it must be fresh…” (Photo Credit: http://www.mirror.co.uk)


Small birds were a mainstay dish in the late 18th century, including Woodcock and Snipe. Hannah advises that “The Woodcock, if fat, is thick and hard; if new, limber-footed: when stale, dry-footed: or if their noses are snotty and their throats muddy and Moorish, they are not good”. Makes sense to me. Few things are worse than a Woodcock with a snotty nose.

Now, as to the variety of comestibles, which people will partake of, although some of us (myself included) might find it a tad squeamish to even consider downing a goblet of fresh pig’s blood (or cow‘s blood), in 1893, Helen Campbell in her book “The Easiest Way in Housekeeping and Cooking”, discusses the popularity of blood-puddings among the Germans. She suggests that “…we are not likely to adopt their use. Fresh blood has, however, been found of wonderful effect for consumptive patients and there are certain slaughter-houses in our large cities where every day pale invalids are to be found waiting for the goblet of almost living food from the veins of the still warm animal. Horrible as it seems, the taste for it is soon acquired ; and certainly the good results warrant at least the effort to acquire it.” (Dracula: your supply may be diminishing!)

“I’d better stay in Transylvania….I hear there’s a shortage of blood in America…” (Photo Credit: http://www.us.blastingnews.com)

There is an answer for just about anything in some early cookbooks. For example, I had never given a lot of thought to the effects of moonlight on fish (have you?) According to Virginia Reed, in her 1896 book, “The Way we Did at Cooking School”, moonlight causes fish to spoil “…on account, of the attraction it has for the phosphorus in the fish”.

Must have been caught on a moonlit night. (Photo Credit: http://www.webmd.com)


I’m not clear on the exact causal relationship here, but the bottom line suggests that you should only fish during daylight hours.

Apparently a live fish will not spoil when the sun is shining. The peril comes after he retires for the night.


“…something to do with the moon and phosphorous…” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)






After all is said and done, Hannah Glasse might breathe a sigh of relief if she were marketing today. In addition to stringent Federal standards for the sale of fresh and processed foods and “use by” labels, she might even invest in a Stable Micro System instrument to measure the ripeness in fruits, or a Stable Micro System device, which measures the extensibility of pizza cheese. No more sniffing, poking or pulling.  Ah, behold the wonders of modern technology (but not nearly as much fun as poking your finger into the pork!)

“If only Hannah Glasse had an instrument to determine how ripe fruit is…. (Photo Credit: 111.2015dlg.org)

…or a device to test the elasticity of pizza cheese! (Photo Credit: http://www.2015dlg.org)

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

Posted in Collecting, Collections, Cookbooks, Cooking, Cooking and Social History, Cooking Technology, Food Trends, Guinness World Records, Uncategorized, Vintage Cookbooks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Preparing Edible Garbage and How to Cook Shoes


“Crazy Shoe Stew” from Cool Songs Collection & Times Table Fun by William Avery. Released: 2007

No doubt, we’ve all had a meal that we found distasteful, inedible and would have just as soon relegated it to the trash.  But, a recipe for “Edible Garbage“?  Seems like an oxymoron to me.  Would you be willing to cook shoes for your family, or whore’s farts? (really!)

A fascinating cookbook in my collection is “The Curious Cookbook:  Viper Soup, Badger Ham, Stewed Sparrows and 100 more Historic Recipes“, by Peter Ross, first published in London in 2012.  Ross delves into historic recipes, whose titles are somewhat confusing at times, if not outright repulsive.

“The Curious Cookbook” by Peter Ross


“You’re not getting me into that soup pot!” (Photo Credit: http://www.ngm.national geographic.com)






Edible Garbage” consists of “fresh garbage” (faire Garbage), chicken heads, feet, livers and gizzards, tossed into a pot with beef broth, pepper, other spices and herbs.  Bread is soaked in the broth and mashed through a strainer, which is then added to the pot.  The recipe dates to 1450.  Despite the name, it really sounds like darn good chicken soup, with the exception of the nebulous “garbage”.

Is this what’s in the recipe for “Edible Garbage”? (Photo Credit: http://www.aginnovators. org.au)


“I am not dumpster diving. I’m retrieving ingredients for tonight’s dinner of “Edible Garbage” (Photo Credit: http://www.insightout magazine.  wordpress.com)






To Cook Shoes” is a recipe that just begs to be investigated.   Not to be taken literally, of course, however, allegedly in 1980, a documentary film was made, which depicted director Werner Herzog eating his shoe, as part of a promise he made if Errole Morris ever completed the film “Gates of Heaven“.  Supposedly the film was completed and Herzog honoured his promise, boiling up his shoes with the assistance of Alice Waters at her restaurant, Chez Panisse and eating one before an audience.

Of course this man can’t eat this shoe…it’s still raw! (Photo Credit: http://www.dreams     time.com)


He did, however, explain that he would not eat the sole of the shoe, as that would be akin to eating chicken bones.  However, in “The Curious Cookbook“, “To Cook Shoes” (1545)  involves a “rumpe of beife“, boiled with cabbage, a few birds including partridge, and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Where the “shoe” enters the picture is unknown, but perhaps the beef was so overcooked that it had the texture of leather.

“I should have consulted the Sommalier…I just don’t know if red or white is appropriate” (Photo Credit: http://www.    canstock photo.      com)

Some of the recipes just can’t be envisioned, including “Butter Roasted on a Spit” (1615).


“Butter Roasted on a Spit”. Sounds messy to me. (Photo Credit: http://www.foodhistory jottings.blogspot.      com)

I scoffed at a recipe for “Dried Instant Vinegar for Travellers” (1615), until I found a modern ad for dried vinegar, but whether the ability and knowledge was available in 1615 to produce such an item I have to question.

There is such a thing as “dried vinegar”, but did the cooks and alchemists know how to produce it in 1615? (Photo Credit: http://www.alibaba.com)








Also picturesque is “Whore’s Farts” (1653), which is fritter batter, and when squeezed into hot oil from a syringe made some rather melodious sounds.

Something resembling this was “Whore’s Farts”, a most unappetizing sounding food. (Photo Credit: http://www.yowangdu.com)


I find it hard to picture “Artificial Asses Milk Made with Bruised Snails“, no matter how long I concentrate (1747), and I don’t particularly want to envision “Lips, Noses, Udders, Ox-Eyes and Sparrows on Toast” (1660).

“Excuse me, but you’re adding my milk to what?” (Photo Credit: http://www.modern farmer.com)

“Fly, fly….he’s got the toaster out!” (Photo Credit: http://www.travis audubon.org)

Who, however, could resist “Rabbits with Jaw-Bone Horns, a Bunch of Myrtle in Their Mouths and a Frothy Liver Sauce” (1800) Yum.

During Medieval times, longevity and storage was important, thus recipes such as “A Ketchup What Will Last You Twenty Years” (1747), courtesy of Hannah Glasse, which sounds like a fine Remy Martin Cognac, appropriately aged to perfection,  or “A Barrel of Tripe to Take to the East Indies“, which should survive a nine month journey across tropical seas (1747).  Opening the barrel must have been an olfactory experience to match none.

“Just because the ketchup container exploded doesn’t mean it’s spoiled, does it? After all, it’s only been 18 years!” (Photo Credit: http://www.warosu.org)

So, run, don’t walk to your bookstore and get a copy of “The Curious Cookbook” and cook up a mess of “Poisonous Purple Pears“, “Asparagus Coffee” (really!), and “Imitation Entrails(who would want imitation, when you can have the real thing!)



My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

Posted in Collecting, Collections, Cookbooks, Cooking, Cooking and Social History, Food Trends, Guinness World Records, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vintage Cookbooks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hollandaise, Halibut and High Heel Hijinks


Music – “High Heel Shoe” from Bluegrass Guitar by Bryan Sutton. Released: 2007

What do Barbara Billingsley (June Cleaver), Harriet Nelson and Donna Reed have in common?  1950’s sitcom wives?  Sure.  All were predominately featured in their busy kitchens, wearing sleek, tailored dresses protected by pretty organdy aprons, with a string of pearls around their dainty necks.  But, like their peers in advertisements for kitchen appliances in women’s magazines at the time, they shared another common element:  high heels in the kitchen!

Harriet Nelson, resting her feet, while the boys take over cooking duties (Photo Credit: http://www.au. pinterest. com)






I think there was a (probably male) conspiracy in the 1950’s, which dictated that women, while cooking, had to wear high heels to do so.  No matter that the shoes were uncomfortable (and still are), but were dangerous to be teetering around in carrying a pot of boiling water to the sink.  They wreaked havoc with your back and bones, but somehow, the myth that it was simply “de rigueur” for women to cook wearing high heels persisted. From steaming a halibut to whipping up hollandaise, the 1950’s woman in the kitchen did it all in high heels.

“I know your dogs are barking, June, but get back in the kitchen!” (Photo Credit: http://www.huffington post.com)

“I just love my new garbage shredder. How I’d love to toss these high heels into it!” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest. com)


“Gee, Mom….6 pies and all made, while you were wearing high heels!” (Photo Credit: American Graphics    Systems Collection)



“I just flit around the kitchen in my toga style high heels!” (Photo Credit: Alvarado Historic Collection)

“Cooking is a whiz, when I’m dancing in my high heels!” (Photo Credit: American Graphics Systems Collection)








“Gee…I’m so classy, I not only go grocery shopping in hat and white gloves, but when I get home, I’ll still be wearing my high heels to cook the halibut!” (Photo Credit: http://www.theglamorous housewife. wordpress. com)

“Thanks for helping, Tommy. Mom’s feet are SO tired!” (Photo Credit:  Alvarado Historic Collection)




“Well, Harry, I wouldn’t have dropped all of the dishes if I hadn’t been wearing these d**n high heels!” (Photo Credit: http://www.the1950s kitchen. blogspot.com)




“Future schmuture. In my future kitchen, NO high heels will be allowed!” (Photo      Credit: http://www.digital     trends.com)





In an article about the trend, written by Mary Schmich in 1994 for the Chicago Tribune, she notes that “If my back and feet did not scream for mercy, I would cook in high heels. Kitchen counters were made for women 5-foot-5, not 5-foot-2. Short women know the thrill of the extra inch or 3 that lets them bear down on a knife or sponge with the right amount of leverage“.  Now, I admit that I never considered the leverage power of wearing high heels, while cooking, but she may have a point.  On the other hand, wouldn’t it be less painful and less risky to prep, while sitting on a high stool near the kitchen counter?

“These high heels are just the right height for cooking in” (Photo Credit: http://www.glamour daze.com)






“I wear my high heels around the house to do everything…mopping…..” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.           com)





“…vacuuming…” (Photo Credit: http://www.the idealinthehouse          wife. wordpress.         com)

“…polishing the hardwood floors…” (Photo Credit: http://www.jalopy journal.com)







“…even doing the laundry in my state of the art washing machine!”  (Photo Credit: http://www.   pinterest.com)





Elissa Blattman, Project Assistant for the National Women’s History Museum, on “ThrowbackThursday:  In Defense of June Cleaver“, tells us that initially, Barbara Billingsley wore flats during the taping of the TV series, “Leave it to Beaver“, however, as “Beaver” and “Wally” grew taller over the six seasons of the show,  she started wearing high heels in order to look taller than the boys.  According to Blattman, June Cleaver was still the parent and had to appear larger than life, so to speak.

But in the 1950’s and even earlier, women wearing high heels were featured in endless advertisements from manufacturers of everything from cake mixes to vacuum cleaners.  The 1950’s housewife portrayed in television, film and in advertisements featured glamorous, sophisticated women tending to their households, flitting around the house in high heels, while cooking, dusting, mopping, vacuuming, bathing the baby, doing laundry and just about every other household chore.

“I never load my good crystal in the dishwasher….I’m afraid I’ll turn my ankle in these high heels and break everything!”  (Photo Credit: Alvarado   Historic Collection)


“Yes, I even bathe the baby, while I’m wearing high heels. I just put a quarter in this slot….” (Photo Credit: http://www.return  ofkings.com)


“Dusting, while wearing high heels  is definitely classy” (Photo Credit: http://www.magnolia box.com)




She was cool, beautiful and every boy’s idea of what a mother should be.  Even up to her elbows in rubber gloves, on hands and knees scraping gooey messes from the oven, she was still dressed to the nines and still had on those perpetual high heels.

Thankfully, the era of high heels in the kitchen has (hopefully) died a natural (and long overdue) death.  I wonder how many 1950’s women later suffered from back and foot disorders from years of hobbling around on those treacherous shoes.  At least, in America, we didn’t practice the ancient Chinese custom of female foot-binding.  Now, that’s gotta be not only painful but incapacitating!  Here’s to flats in the kitchen!

“Why, of course I’m wearing my high heels in the kitchen. I’d feel positively naked without them!” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.    com)


“I use my high heels for everything in the kitchen…from pitting cherries to kicking the garbage can lid close” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.           com)

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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De gustibus non est disputandum (or: You’re eating what?!)

Music – “I Like What I Eat” from Songs To Strike A Chord by Jon Barker


De gustibus non est disputandum comes from the Latin and means “In matters of taste, there can be no disputes”.  Personal preferences in foods are subjective opinions, not right or wrong, so as the maxim goes, “…they should never be argued about as if they were”.  The English rendition has come to be known as “There is no accounting for taste“.

Thus said, however, I am always amazed at finding “unusual” recipes in my cookbooks.  By “unusual”, I mean only that they are composed of food combinations I would never have thought of, or food combinations that are either unlikely or downright odious.  As an example, consider recipes I located in a new cookbook purchase, “Fashionable Food” by Sylvia Lovegren, published in 1995.  Her book traces “seven decades of food fads” and sports some truly unusual recipes.

Consider “Banana and Popcorn Salad“, from the 1920’s:  “Place the banana (peeled and cut in half lengthwise) on the lettuce leaf.  Scatter popcorn over the banana and put dabs of mayonnaise here and there“.

Part 1 (Photo Credit: http://www.dreams      time.com)

Part 2 (just add lettuce and mayo with Part 1 and you’ve got an unusual salad) (Photo Credit: http://www.newhealth advisor.com)

⇐           PLUS         ⇒



(author’s opinion!)

If that’s not to your taste, you might like “Fruit and Flower Frozen Cheese Salad“, which combines cream cheese, mayonnaise, whipped cream, pimientoes, bell pepper, chopped pecans, salt, pepper and paprika.

Always a favourite, there was “Chipped Beef and Pineapple“, from the 1930’s. Combine bits of fried pineapple (in butter), chipped beef (hydrated with boiling water) and cook.  Yum!

Mix with rehydrated chipped beef and you’ve got yourself a downright unusual meal! (Photo Credit: www. alibaba.com)

Good ole’ chipped beef! (Photo Credit: http://www.seriouseats.com)






Care for “Roast Possum with Sweet Potatoes” ? A “soul food” out of the 1960’s.

“First of all, find a possum” (Photo Credit: http://www.hillbilly crackpot.com)

From the 1950’s we have “Barbecued Bologna for Men a la Crisco“. Essentially, 3/4 cup of Crisco shortening, a couple of tablespoons of “Kitchen Bouquet” (bring on the sodium!), and 3 pounds of bologna sliced. Fry it all up and gorge yourself! If you don’t care for that, you can always make “Bologna Cake“.

Try a nice, filling Bologna Cake (or pie)! Nothing understated about this one! (Photo Credit: http://www.lasvegasfood adventures. wordpress.com)

 (author’s opinion)



In “Fashionable Foods”, the author has a similar recipe: “Wedgies A.K.A. Bologna Pie“, a nice combination of cream cheese, cream, mustard, and a pound of bologna, sliced into 12 rounds.

There are more recipes that astound: 1924 Italian Spaghetti (spaghetti, butter, lots of flour, canned tomato sauce, garlic and onions, salt, pepper and several cups of sliced American Cheese…sorry, you native Italians!)

You might want to serve “Baked Beans au Glow-Glow“, which definitely resembles the food of the 1960’s: combine canned baked beans, molasses, ketchup, mustard, and place sliced bacon on top. Bake for a couple of hours, warm 1/2 cup rum, ignite it and pour it over the hot beans. Hot diggity dog! How about “Impossible Pie“? The “impossible” part is the role of Bisquick in the recipe: mix eggs, milk, melted butter, vanilla extract, sugar and Bisquick in a blender. Stir in coconut and pour into a pie pan. The neat part is that somehow, the Bisquick settles out of this sludge to the bottom of the pan, forming its’ own crust! How cool is that?

“Impossible Coconut Pie”. Leave it to the manufacturers of Bisquick to work their magic! (Photo Credit: http://www.youtube.com)

Lastly, though, was one that I was most fascinated by: “Rosin Baked Potatoes“. Now, I used to dabble at playing the violin for a time, and I thought the only use for rosin was to keep the bow hairs smooth. It never occurred to me that in between maintaining the bow, I could nibble on the block of rosin in my violin case. If you want to sample this (kids, don’t try this at home), you need a large bucket, 15 pounds of lump rosin, 6 large baking potatoes, butter, salt and pepper. Melt the rosin in the bucket until bubbling hot and drop in the potatoes. Cook about 40 minutes, remove and wrap in foil. Serve. I’m not sure why you would go to all of this trouble and expense to cook 6 potatoes, but what the heck. Perhaps necessity was the mother of invention here. Or, maybe the conductor ordered a wee bit more rosin for the string section of his symphony orchestra and didn’t know what to do with it?

Next cookout, forget tossing the potatoes on the grill: just cook em’ up in 15 pounds of boiling rosin! (Photo Credit: http://www.amazon.com)

So, go out and indulge yourself: cobble together something from the array of leftovers in your fridge. Who knows, you might patent your creation and create a whole new taste sensation.  Below are some other suggestions you might like to try!

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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What’s In a Number: Part 2


Music – “Big Numbers” from I’ve Got Music in Me by Jack Hartmann. Released: 1995

Does the number 5729 mean anything to you? Should it? Well, “5729” is the number imprinted on a drug called “Famotidine”.

"5729" (Famotidine) (Photo Credit: www.drugs.com)

“5729” (Famotidine) (Photo Credit: http://www.drugs.com)

5729” is also the number of a scheduled American Airlines flight from Dallas to Pensacola.

Is this Flight 5729 from Dallas to Pensacola? (Photo Credit: www.feelgrafix.com)

Is this Flight 5729 from Dallas to Pensacola? (Photo Credit:www.feelgrafix.com)





If you’re at the local office supply store, you might be looking for Avery Labels 5729.

Avery Label 5729

Avery Label 5729

There is a spiffy watch called the “Invicta Men’s Reserve Subaqua Venom 5729“.

Wow! The "Invicta Maen's Reserve Subaqua Venom 5729" watch! (Photo Credit: www.amazon.com)

Wow! The “Invicta Men’s Reserve Subaqua Venom 5729” watch!  (Photo Credit: http://www.amazon.com)

“Alyce 5729” is the name of a dress available at http://www.newyorkdress.com.

"Alyce 5729" dress (Photo Credit: www.newyorkdress.com)

“Alyce 5729” dress (Photo Credit: http://www.new yorkdress. com)

In the market for a tropical tree? Try “Ficus Nerifolia Bonsai Tree 5729” available at http://www.miamitropicalbonsai.com.

"Ficus Nerifolia Bonsai Tree 5729" (Photo Credit: www.miamitropicalbonsai.com)

“Ficus Nerifolia Bonsai Tree 5729” (Photo Credit: http://www.miamitropical bonsai.com)








You could sew up a cool double-breasted cape jacket using Lekala pattern 5729 (Photo Credit: http://www.lekala.com)jacket

For rail fans out there, you might already be familiar with Canadian Pacific locomotive 5729.

CP Rail Locomotive 5729 (Photo Credit: www.rrpicturearchives.net)

CP Rail Locomotive   5729 (Photo Credit: http://www.rrpicture archives.net)








And, in 2013, the per capita monthly income in India was 5729 rupees (approximately $86.00 US)

But, regular readers will know where I’m going with this if they read my post “What’s in a Number“, posted on 6/21/2016.  At that time, the special number was 5328, however,  in my house, “5729” is the current number of cookbooks in “the collection”. And, as Ripley used to say “believe it or not“, I still have a few empty shelves to fill! Full steam ahead!

Supposedly, the "KOBO" electronic device can hold up to 30,000 e-books! (Photo Credit: www.twistthewayiseethings.com)

Not exactly the size of my collection (yet!) (Photo Credit: http://www.twistthewayi      seethings.com)

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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Venturesome Vegan Victuals


Music – “I Can Eat It All [A Music Video]” from Remotely Controlled by Mark Lowry. Released: 1996

I have always been curious about “vegans” and what they eat. The notion of being vegetarian is pretty clear, but “vegan” seems to be shrouded in mystery to me. For those who read my posts religiously, you might recall my January 14th, 2014 post “Any Locavore, Freegan, Flexitarians out There?”  In my cookbook collection, I have numerous vegetarian cookbooks, and a few vegan cookbooks including “Vegan World Fusion Cuisine“, “The Candle Cafe Cookbook“, “How it all Vegan!” and “La Dolce Vegan!”

My understanding is that a vegetarian eats no meat, fish or poultry. A lacto-ovo vegetarian eats vegetables, eggs, and dairy products but not meat.  A lacto vegetarian does not consume meat and eggs, but will eat dairy products.

"Faux eggs" (Photo Credit: www.sporkorfoon.com)

“Faux eggs” (Photo Credit: http://www.sporkorfoon.com)



A vegan, however, does not consume nor use in any fashion, any animal based products, which would include not only the flesh of animals, but products such as milk, honey, eggs, caviar (who could afford it anyhow?!), animal hides and the like.

The Vegan Society, in 1979, amended their definition of veganism as:

“A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

Now, I haven't seen the video, but this doesn't sound like a very nice thing to do! (Photo Credit: www.youtube.com)

Now, I haven’t seen the video, but this doesn’t sound like a very nice thing to do! (Photo Credit: http://www.youtube.com)

I find it an admirable aspiration, however, one that, although I deplore animal cruelty and contribute to several animal support groups and charitable organizations, and although I enjoy vegetables, I have never been able to make the leap from an omnivorous diet to a vegetarian or vegan one. Mind you, I haven’t tried very hard either. Old habits are hard to change.

But, what is most peculiar to me is that there are so many recipes in cookbooks and on the internet, for vegan meals, yet many of them seem to want to “emulate” the very products they eschew! For example, why eat “mock chicken” or faux “steak” or “fish” if you wouldn’t consider eating a real chicken, a piece of beef or a fish?

"Fake cheeseburger" (Photo Credit: www.meettheshannons.com)

“Fake cheeseburger”  (Photo Credit: http://www.meetthe shannons.com)

"Faux sausage pizza" Does Papa John serve this? (Photo Credit: www.thatwasvegan.com)

“Faux sausage pizza” Does Papa John’s serve this? (Photo Credit: http://www.thatwas vegan.com)

"Faux steak" (Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com)

“Faux steak” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest. com)

"Mock Chicken Salad" Why simulate something you don't want to eat anyhow? (Photo Credit: www.downtoearth.org)

“Mock Chicken Salad” Why simulate something you don’t want to eat anyhow? (Photo Credit: http://www.downto earth.org)

Why eat products that resemble eggs, or ham, yet aren’t? Why would a vegan want to partake of “sausages” or “cheeseburgers”, or “meatloaf”, made from vegetable sources, but resemble their real animal counterparts?

"Faux sausages" (Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com)

“Faux sausages” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

"Faux fried chicken" (I'll bet you can't get this at KFC!) (Photo Credit: www.hellyeahitsvegan.com)

“Faux fried chicken” (I’ll bet you can’t get this at KFC!) (Photo Credit: http://www.hellyeah itsvegan.com)



Could it be that some vegans are really closet carnivores, but won’t admit it, or are easing themselves into veganism from their lurid carnivorous past?

"Faux chicken soup" Is it still good for colds, even if it has no chicken in it? (Photo Credit: www.thecomfortingvegan.com)

“Faux chicken soup” Is it still good for colds, even if it has no chicken in it? (Photo Credit: http://www.thecomforting vegan.com)

"Faux meatloaf" (Photo Credit: www.avirtualvegan.com)

“Faux meatloaf” (Photo Credit: http://www.avirtual vegan.com)


And, for the Scottish in you, fake Haggis! (Photo Credit: www.vegnews.com)

And, for the Scottish in you, fake Haggis! (Photo Credit: http://www.vegnews.com)






I welcome comments from readers to assist me in explaining this odd conundrum. After all, if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it must be a duck, right? But not necessarily so, in the world of veganism!

If it walks like a turkey, gobbles like a turkey, it must be a turkey, right? Not necessarily! (Photo Credit: www.archives.quarrygirl.com)

If it looks like a turkey, walks like a turkey, and gobbles like a turkey, it must be a turkey, right? Not necessarily! (Photo Credit: http://www.archives. quarrygirl.com)

Could this lady really be a cheating vegan? (Photo Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk)

Could this lady really be a cheating vegan? (Photo Credit: http://www.dailymail.    co.uk)

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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The Pivotal Parable of the Peaceable and Plucky Porcine


Music – “This Little Pig” from Baby’s Best Playtime Songs by The Countdown Kids. Released: 2002

January 17th, 2017 has come and gone and my spouse has a brand, spanking-new mitral heart valve.  The days of sodium restrictions have not yet faded, however, thanks to a plucky porcine, he can look forward to many more heart-healthy years.

When he was recently diagnosed with atrial fibulation and congestive heart failure, the world as we knew it came crashing down.  Sodium restrictions, fluid restrictions, a virtual pharmacy of medications was all foreign territory to our otherwise placid and uneventful lives.  However, when it became apparent that surgery to replace his mitral valve was the only viable option, we did a lot of research, guided by our very competent cardio surgeon.

We learned that there were essentially two options:  a mechanical valve, or a biological valve, composed of either bovine or porcine tissue.  It appeared that porcine tissue was the best option and on January 17th, my long-suffering spouse emerged from a lengthy surgery with a fully functioning-functioning mitral valve, thanks to an anonymous pig donor.

We owe a lot to these little guys! (Photo Credit: www.quatr.us)

We owe a lot to these little guys! (Photo Credit: http://www.quatr.us)

Well, it got me to thinking about that little pig, to whom we pay homage for giving up his little heart valve tissue. There are so many idioms associated with pigs:  “pig in a poke”, which is essentially a warning of buying a pig unseen (poke being a sac or a bag). Then, there is “in a pig’s eye”, etc. which supposedly denotes that, when compared to a human eye, a pig eye is relatively small.  Of course, there is the story of “The 3 little pigs“ and the infamous “Bay of Pigs”, the location of the 1961 US/Cuban volatile situation with John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro being significant players.  “Sweating like a pig” refers to the moisture which “sweats” out of a pig being cooked on a spit.  After coming across so many porcine-related idioms, most of which maligned this very intelligent animal, I researched how significant the little guy has been in human history.

Just a few things the pig gives up his life for humankind (Photo Credit: www.animalsmart.org)

Just a few things the pig gives up his life for humankind (Photo Credit: http://www.animalsmart.org)

In addition to heart valve tissue, I found the following contributions the pigs provide for pioneering research, industry, food and the entire gamut.  The list is by no means inclusive:  of course, there is food:  bacon, ham, pork chops, sausage, ribs, headcheese, chitlins, lard, ice cream, bread, beer, wine, yogurt,  cream cheese, whipped cream, energy bars.  But did you know that pig parts are also harvested and used in the production of insulin, collagen injections, Heparin, multivitamins, toothpaste, medicine tablets, shaving cream, makeup, shampoo, body lotions, soap and moisturizers?  Not to mention antifreeze, water filters, insulation, rubber, floor wax, chalk, fertilizers, corks, adhesives, footballs, fabric softener, crayons, tambourines, suede for clothing, bullets, cigarette filters, paints, paper, photographic film, train brakes, shoes, dog treats and other pet foods…the list is endless.  In addition, pigs have played an important role in forensic science:  the mass, tissue features, etc. of pigs mimic human anatomy in many ways and are used in studies of bullet trajectories, soft tissue decomposition and more.


Thus, our homage to the pig is immeasurable.  I recall that, years ago, when I attended the annual Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, I passed by a small enclosure with about a dozen baby piglets, all pink, cute and fuzzy, nuzzling up to their mother.  After a few “oh, they’re SO cute”, my gaze fell upon a sign immediately above their enclosure:  “Put pork on your fork” and I squealed in disgust.  However, I have not eschewed pork since that time, but I have a whole new respect for those plucky porcines, who have given their all (literally!) for humankind.

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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