Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Collectors Club - Vintage Cookbooks

Welcome again to another edition in the collection club series of us blogger who collect, today I'm delighted to be sharing Jenns collection ...

I’m Jenn and I collect…all kinds of stuff, really, mostly related to the 1940s and ‘50s. I’m excited about the opportunity Rachael has given folks to guest blog about their collections: such a fun way to meet new people and learn a bit in the process! Rachael and I connected online through our mutual love of powder compacts. You can read more about how that collection started on my blog, powderkegcompacts.wordpress.com here. I also enjoy cooking and baking, which spawned a collection of vintage recipes and kitchenware. 

The recipe collection started accidentally. I inherited my grandfather’s 1961 edition of The Joy of Cooking, and my mother gave me some 1970s Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks when I first moved out of the house. The photos cracked me up—they were so dated! But some of the recipes were pretty good. 

When I was 23, I met two women who encouraged my love of vintage—Helen and Wendy. They were both about my mom’s age. They both LOVED poking around antique stores, auctions, and flea markets. And passing on cool things they found years ago that they no longer used—like cookbooks. Sometimes I took them just to be polite. But years later, I’ve grown to appreciate the artwork and the language.  I like seeing how ideas about health and nutrition have evolved—how we eat today as opposed to the way vegetables are classified in this 1949 recipe organizer. 

I cherish the way farm cookbooks from the first half of the 20th century assume the reader knows how to handle a sheep’s head. I enjoy looking at Ladies Auxiliary cookbooks and wondering about the group dynamics and how their recipes morphed as they were passed down through different generations. 

When I’m looking for authentic recipes for classics, I turn to my 1939 copy of The American Woman's Cookbook, Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook from 1959, or, my first edition Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook. In addition to cookbooks, I love recipes torn from old magazines, as these tend to have the best illustrations. I’m also a huge fan of advertising in disguise—pamphlets like “How to use and care for the Crosley Rotary Barbecue” or “77 Recipes Using Swift’ning Make Your Own Mix.” 

Vintage cookbooks are practical and affordable – besides consulting them for recipes I’ve framed old recipe cards or magazine pages in the past and used them as kitchen decorations. 

Excited to learn more about what other folks collect and how they got started! Keep the guest collector posts coming! 

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Remember if you collect and want to take part, leave your contact details below! 


  1. Wow such an interesting collection, I remember stumbling upon a really old cookbook at a jumble sale last year and being smitten! I love all the old advertsing! xxx

  2. As always, another amazing collection. I bet they are fascinating to look through! x

  3. This is a very interesting collection - what a great thing to seek - vintage cookbooks! :-) Your recipe organiser is in great condition when you consider it is well over 50 years old and could easily have been covered in cake batter or sauces while cooking!

    Jem xXx

  4. I love old cookbooks. I'm also really interested in seeing how ideas about nutrition has changed, so looking at old recipes is definitely fun!

    ♥ laura
    the blog of worldly delights
    the shop of worldly delights