Christmas Collection

12:00 AM 4 Comments

This Christmas I was lucky enough to get three new old cookbooks! My collection thus far is pretty small, but it is growing!
My lovely Mr. Man got me these two: The Woodlawn Cook Book (1898) and the Norfolk Street United Church Recipe Book (1968). The first is American, but the second is actually from the town I live in, which is pretty neat. It also has a unique format in that it is put together on rings rather than bound as a book. I found that the Norfolk Street United Church had been producing recipe collections for fundraising since at least the 1930s, so this later book is part of an established tradition.
The Woodlawn Cook Book is officially my oldest acquiry. Unfortunately I couldn't find any information on it. This book also came with a little something extra - a newspaper clipping titled "Hints for Home Life."

My third book was a gift from my mom. She picked up the Electric Refrigerator Recipes and Menus while on vacation in Hawaii! Although the book seems to be published in Cleveland? This one dates to 1927, although the edition I have was printed in 1928. This book was written for General Electric in order to advertise their new refrigerators. The author was Alice Bradley, the principal of Miss Farmer's School of Cookery - that is, the school established by the famous Fannie Farmer. Bradley took over the school after Farmer's death in 1915 and ran it until the mid-1940s. This book marks an important turning point in kitchen history. It advertises the new technological advances of the age, something which is taken entirely for granted in most parts of the world today. It also marked the beginning of an era, in which companies began to use cookbooks and recipes as agents of advertising. Other brands such as Kelvinator and Majestic were quick to follow the example set by GE in marketing new kitchen appliances.
I love the cover and color illustrations in this cookbook, they are really charming. The recipes are almost entirely desserts. Some look really delicious, especially the recipe for Vassar Devils, which I included a photo of. This book also had some hidden gems - a newspaper clipping with some recipes and a typed recipe for Ice Box Cake. You can read some of the book online here.

Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.


  1. Happy New Year! The books look great- I love that a couple of them came with the newspaper clippings.

    On another blog I read (nothing to do with historic food) the blogger found an old festive punch recipe behind the cupboards when she changed the kitchen. Apparently it was lovely and is now their Christmas party drink!

    1. How cool!
      The only thing I've found in my old house is wacky paint colors haha!

  2. What thoughtful gifts! I can't wait to see the interesting posts these cookbooks will likely inspire you to create :)

    1. I definitely plan to make recipes from the last book - the desserts all look so delicious!
      I have a huuuuge list of recipes I want to make, both from my own books and from books I've found online. It keeps me busy!