My First Cookbook
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.
The 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.