June 04, 2005

Pillsbury Bake-Off Ephemera

The Pillsbury Bake-Off recipe books are popular with cookbook collectors. A special Bake-Off cookbook has been published for each of the 41 competitions held since 1949. The 42nd Bake-Off is scheduled for March 2006 in Miami, Florida. The Grand Prize is $1 million.

(FYI: According to the CPI Inflation Calculator, the $50,000 grand prize in 1949 was worth $396,850 in 2004.)

It's fun to collect not only the official Bake-Off cookbooks, but also some of the other Bake-Off ephemera. There are many leaflets, package inserts and magazine inserts that contain Bake-Off recipes.

One example of this type is a 16-page tear-out recipe booklet entitled Newest Bake-Off Recipes. This booklet came from a Reader's Digest magazine and featured recipes from the 16th Grand National Bake-Off held in 1964. That year, 17-year old Janis Boykin of Melbourne, Florida won the contest with her homework assignment; a recipe she developed called Peacheesy Pie. The booklet has a small article about Janis and some of her answers to the questions on the questionnaire she filled out as a contest finalist. The recipes in this booklet can also be found in the 100 New Bake-Off Recipes cookbook published in 1965.

It's also interesting to note that in 1964 the quick and easy method for preparing pie crust used a recipe called New "Instant Blending" Pie Crust. This method utilized Pillsbury Instant Blending Flour and the electric mixer. As with many recipes, the one for Peacheesy Pie has been modernized and in 2005 the quick and easy method uses Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust.


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