May 20, 2005

My First Cookbook

My own interest in advertising cookbooks started when I was a child. I liked to receive mail and consequently sent off for every free offer that I could find from magazines, comic books, backs of cereal boxes and other product packaging. For the price of a stamp in the early 1960's, it was cheap entertainment for a little kid. I can still remember eagerly awaiting the arrival of the mailman to see what he might have for me that day.

I got my feet wet with the offers of dolls and toys advertised on the boxes of breakfast cereals, soon moving on to sea monkeys and magic tricks from the comic books. My mother's magazines were a bonanza, where the blurb "Free Recipe Book" could be found on several pages in each issue. In a pinch I would even send off for military school, summer camp and prep school pamphlets. I amassed a huge cardboard box full of travel brochures that I drug along with me for way too many years.

1959 EditionThe first of the promotional recipe books that I actually used was the 1963 edition of My First Cookbook, which came from a mail-in offer on a package of Imperial Sugar.

I fondly remember the recipes for for Patty's Penuche, Betty's Bran Muffins, Dreamwiches, Roly-Polies, Humpty-Dumpty Eggs and Circus Cookies. I methodically plowed through all of the recipes on our yellow Frigidaire range. The single recipe from that book that I'll always associate with the Imperial Sugar brand was for a Candlestick Salad--an individual fruit salad serving that consisted of a canned pineapple slice resting on top of a lettuce leaf, with a banana sliced flat on the ends and standing in the center, garnished at the top with a dollop of pink mayonaise and a Maraschino cherry. Very easy and fun for a kid to prepare.

My First Cookbook was first published in 1959, with revisions and updates in 1963, 1967, and 1991. Instructions for ordering the newest edition, published in 2004, can be found at Imperial Sugar. This edition fits in nicely with the current trend of kids cooking. Printed in both English and Spanish, it's also a great example of the food companies targeting the Hispanic market.


At 9:16 PM CDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fondly remember this cookbook ... I have already ordered the current revised edition, but I am wondering where I might find some of the original recipes not published in the current edition. Do you have any suggestions?

Blessings in Christ,


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