July 19, 2005

New Cookbooks!

In an earlier entry, I mentioned a Good Thing that happened during the midst of this so far, way-too-hectic summer of 2005.

The Good Thing was the acquisition of a personal collection of over 1,000 advertising cookbooks. Fourteen boxes full of lovely vintage cookbooks and culinary ephemera that I can't wait to dig into. They date from the late 1800's to more modern times.

I've taken a handful for A Sneak Peek below:
  • Reliable Recipes, 14th Edition, Calumet Baking Powder

  • Royal Baker and Pastry Cook, Royal Baking Powder, 1898

  • Wonder Shredder Recipes, 1931

  • The Little Book of Excellent Recipes by the Mystery Chef - Davis Baking Powder, 1934

  • Favorite Recipes from the KC Baking Powder

  • Cook's Book Magic Cook Book and Housekeepers Guide, Magic Baking Powder

  • Pillsbury's Cookery Club Bulletins, 1934-1936

I met their previous owner online several months ago. A nice lady (also named Kathy) who lives in Virginia. I liked her right away because she's a bird and cat fancier like myself. She was downsizing and had decided to part with the portion of her collection that related to the promotional cookbooks, pamphlets and leaflets.

I was up in Ohio, so we made arrangements to meet in Morgantown, West Virginia on July 2 to complete the deal. I set out early that Saturday morning heading towards Pittsburgh and down through southern Pennsylvania. This first day of the 4th of July weekend, I shared the highway with cars and trucks pulling boats and other recreational vehicles, cars packed with people going on picnics or camping, armed with their ice chests and BBQ pits for July 4th celebrations away from home. My car was empty, awaiting the transfer of the anticipated loot.

I love to drive. The day was sunny and warm and I made good time. Until I actually arrived in Morgantown, where I wasted a good half-hour taking the wrong turns whenever possible. I realized that a GPS system in my car would have come in handy.

We met up in the parking lot of a local plant nursery. I peeked into the boxes where she had them neatly and lovingly arranged, the care with which she had packed them away apparent in their placement inside the boxes. A bittersweet packing job, I'm sure, one last look at all of her cookbooks before she gave them over to their new home.

As fellow collectors we were both excited, her from showing off the treasures she had collected over the years, myself with the anticipation that comes with acquiring new goodies. I found out that she was from Minneapolis, home of so many of the early flour mills -- Pillsbury and General Mills, and many, many more. She gave me a special gift--a printed flour sack complete with the old paper Pillsbury label still attached. It looks as nice and new as the day the last of the flour was used, perhaps to bake some long ago birthday cake.

She wanted her collection of cookbooks to go to a good home. And so they have, where they shall reside with me until the time comes that I get them catalogued and listed and they find their way, piece by piece, to you. I certainly won't mind the time they spend with me until then.

Life has been busy, so I have yet to even unpack the boxes and look through each cookbook and give each individual one the time they deserve. No time yet to dawdle and marvel over the old graphics and recipes in each booklet, to turn the pages and imagine shopping and cooking with the brand name ingredients of yesteryear. The anticipation of doing so, and then getting them listed on my website, is to be savored slowly. Good Things are always worth a little patience.

Thanks, Kathy E., for letting your collection find a new home with Advertising Cookbooks!


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