Good Kitchen Advice from Vintage Cookbooks

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Music – “How to Cook” from My Monster Friend by Jason Goodman.

In my cookbook collection, I have a number of “vintage” cookbooks. Although in the advanced year of 2015, we tend to think of ourselves as “progressive”, “worldly”, and “know-it-alls”, some of the advice and hints from “vintage” and antique cookbooks almost a hundred years ago still apply today.

The "Sociable Cook's Book", published in London in 1967.

The “Sociable Cook’s Book”, published in London in 1967.

For example, in a vintage cookbook published by The Daily Telegraph and Morning Post, London, 1967 and titled “Sociable Cook’s Book”, the author “Bon Viveur” shares all kinds of tips for the cook, often tongue-in-cheek and amusing. “Never forget that eggs go on cooking even on a warm plate and the synonym for “dry” in scrambled eggs is “ruined”!

Nothing worse than rubbery eggs! (Photo Credit: www.cookinglight.com)

Nothing worse than rubbery eggs! (Photo Credit: http://www.cookinglight.com)

On pineapple, the author says that “If you are faced with a whole pineapple, your hostess should be shot”.

"I think my hostess should be shot!" (Photo Credit: www.people.com)

“I think my hostess should be shot!” (Photo Credit: http://www.people.com)

As for pomegranates, “…their pippy flesh makes them completely anti-social, so grab one and retire to the garden or the bathroom to chew, suck and spit in decent isolation”.

Perhaps the best attire for eating a pomegranate (Photo Credit: www.collegelifestyle.com)

Perhaps the best attire for eating a pomegranate (Photo Credit: http://www.collegelifestyle.com)

Half a grapefruit with a cherry stuck in the middle is just about as depressing as a British Railways Hotel breakfast room” says “Bon Viveur”.

According to "Bon Viveur", this is extremely depressing (Photo Credit: www.dreamstime.com)

According to “Bon Viveur”, this is extremely depressing (Photo Credit: http://www.dreamstime.com)

Referring to the sad state of Britain’s butchers, the author says that “Here and there you can winkle out some elderly man who is a master at his trade but in the main they do not know a tournedos from a toadstool…”. Such harsh words!

Is this a toadstool or a tournedo? (Photo Credit: www.nytimes.com)

Is this a toadstool or a tournedo? (Photo Credit: http://www.nytimes.com)

Would a British butcher mistake this for tournedos? (Photo Credit: www.rghstock.com)

Would a British butcher mistake this for tournedos? (Photo Credit: http://www.rghstock.com)

And as to advice for leftovers, etc. “….one basic Rule For Cooks….Inspect everything in your refrigerator every day, lest the lurking menace of overlooked corners defies economy with verdigris”.

Inspect your fridge daily for things that might be spontaneously generating new life (Photo Credit: www.businessinsider.com)

Inspect your fridge daily for things that might be spontaneously generating new life (Photo Credit: http://www.businessinsider.com)

Should anyone be able to afford caviar, it might be a good idea to learn how to eat it correctly. Says “Bon Viveur”, “Once we saw a little mound of superb Russian grey caviare being chased around a plate with a knife and fork. The correct way is to eat caviare like jam – spreading a little at a time on to hot toast…” So, be reprimanded.

The proper way to eat caviar (don't chase it around the plate!) (Photo Credit: www.primermagazine.com)

The proper way to eat caviar (don’t chase it around the plate!) (Photo Credit: http://www.primermagazine.com)

The author has several pithy comments about eating spaghetti (you must use a fork and a spoon), as well as a plethora of other sage cooking advice.

Not the proper way to eat spaghetti (Photo Credit: www.canstockphoto.com)

Not the proper way to eat spaghetti (Photo Credit: http://www.canstockphoto.com)

This is most definitely not a classy way to eat spaghetti (Photo Credit: www.eatingrichly.com)

This is most definitely not a classy way to eat spaghetti (Photo Credit: http://www.eatingrichly.com)

 

According to "Bon Viveur", this is the correct way to tackle spaghetti (Photo Credit:

According to “Bon Viveur”, this is the correct way to tackle spaghetti (Photo Credit:

Vintage cookbooks may be “vintage”, but they are packed with information, which was just as tried and true then as it is now. Have a look at some and you might be surprised!


My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 6,037. What next? More shelves!
This entry was posted in Cookbooks, Cooking, Cooking and Social History, Vintage Cookbooks and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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