Monday, July 16, 2007

Those were the days, my friend

There's no entry about dinner tonight because I'm meeting some of the women from the local Flylady group for dinner at Cracker Barrel. I don't know if the man person and 16 year old are going or if they're going to stay here. In lieu of talking about our dinner tonight, I thought I'd address a subject near and dear to my heart...cookbooks.

I love cookbooks, just about any kind of cookbook. Among my favorites are church and community cookbooks and cookbooks that serve as basic guides to the culinary arts. I don't own a single gourmet cooking cookbook and probably never will unless someone gives me one. It just isn't something I'll buy myself because I don't cook that way for the most part.

I especially love old cookbooks - you know, the kind you find in attics, basements, languishing in thrift shops, and sometimes cruelly dumped in the trash. I don't mind the funky smell or the crackling pages or the smudges from years gone by streaking the pages, sometimes causing me to have to squint to read the ingredients. I wish those pages could talk. And I really love the images in those cookbooks. I smile a lot when I see the retro housewives with their perfectly coiffed hair, stiffly starched dresses and aprons, standing so tall in the spotless kitchen, holding a pie in one hand and hubby's pipe in the other. Not all the pictures are pleasant, though. Some of the older cookbooks have the most atrocious food pictures I've ever seen! But they still catch my eye and cause me to giggle and sometimes gasp.

I love to find the books in good condition but even the ones with breaking spines and ragged binding call for me to take them home and add them to the ones that already populate my bookshelves. And that's exactly what I did over the weekend when I went to an estate sale right down the road from me. There weren't many books and precious few cookbooks but I got the three that I wanted.

Here are two pictures of the first one, Treasures For The Home, by Mary O. Fleming, copyright 1952. This book has some yellowing but is in pretty good shape. Even the tabs marking the dividers between sections are in good shape.

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I love this second picture. It's for the chapter about personal loveliness. Charm is discussed as are things like having a pleasant personality and being easy to talk to. My oldest sister actually attended "Charm School" in Dallas back in the late 60s or very early 70s. Apparently, charm schools are still around but judging by the people I see most of the time, they have very low attendance rates. ;)

Sometimes when I look through my cookbooks I get a feeling of nostalgia that takes me back to my childhood. Of course, once I'm there I think about the foods and treats of that time and occasionally even long for some of them. I've never bought anything from this company but I really get a kick out of perusing the candy and hard to find grocery items at Hometown Favorites.

Okay, so that's my dip into the days of's time for me to get back to my house cleaning.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Denise. I'm in the pressure cooker group.

And...I went to charm school in the 1950s. It was wonderful. Irma Austin from Dallas was our instructor, but I took her class in a small South Texas town where I lived.

Thanks for the blog!

CookinsForMe said...

Daphne, thanks for stopping by! Okay, fess up on the charm school, would ya? What was it like? I remember my sister having certain books to read and walking with books on her head (the others of us did that, also). I don't recall much more about it than that but I do remember thinking how neat it was that she got to attend charm school. Hey, I was just a little kid. ;)