While the BHG Cookbook is my go-to book, the cookbooks that are dearest to me are the ones with spiral bindings and tabbed dividers. They contain recipes that have ingredients like breakfast cereal and “cream of” soups; recipes with names like “Company Casserole” and “Donna’s BBQ.” Great potluck recipes come from these books; the ones created with love by communities of cooks.
Here are some of mine. My Grandpa worked at John Deeres, I went to elementary school at Roosevelt School (just imagine how old those two are, eh?!), I have two from the church we went to in the little town I grew up in, and a couple family cookbooks–my nostalgic favorite is the Stavanger Lutheran Church Cookbook from Ossian, Iowa, celebrating 150 years as a church(in the upper left corner). My mom grew up in Ossian, and this book is full of names I know from my childhood, even people I never met, like my Grandma–Mom’s mom. Lots and lots of traditional Norwegian recipes here, and some, like Chicken Cordon Bleu and Pesto, that I didn’t expect to see!
I love how these little books capture the essense of the era in which they were written, and the flavor of the area of the country they represent. When I want a recipe for rhubarb anything, I know to look in one of the books from Iowa. Rhubarb grows here in Western Colorado, but doesn’t seem to be as revered by Colorado cooks as it is by Iowans. Looking for a peach recipe? the Grand Valley grows amazing peaches–look in the Grand Junction’s Newcomers’ Favorites Cookbook. Want a classic Midwest-y salad from the 60s–maybe one containing fruit cocktail? Check the John Deere or Roosevelt books.
Mr16’s Band Parent Association is looking into producing a cookbook as a fundraiser. In the age of the internet, this project seems fairly do-able. I can’t imagine the hours and hours spent by whoever compiled some of my older books, retyping on an actual typewriter, so that all recipes would have a uniform appearance. I’m asking for recipes sent to me as email attachments, which I can open, highlight and change to whatever font I want in the blink of an eye, and store in a folder. I’m hoping this project will come to fruition, so I can add another community book-full of yumminess to my collection, as well as continue to support a fabulous band program.