September 06, 2007

Old Restaurant Recipes

Long before Jane and Michael Stern ever hit the road and made a career out of guiding us to wonderfully obscure restaurants across America, there was Duncan Hines.

Today, the name Duncan Hines may only be familiar to many as the brand name of a cake mix. His name is on the cake mixes because of the popularity and recognition he received as the successful author of travel guides and cookbooks.

Many editions of Adventures in Good Eating, Lodging for a Night and his Vacation Guide were published annually over the years, covering a period from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Adventures in Good Cooking and The Art of Carving in the Home (1957 edition shown here) brought many of the recipes from the restaurants that he wrote about in his travel guides into a format suitable for the home cook.

Along with recipes from many restaurants, hotels and taverns across the United States he also included some of this own and others he considered unsual.

There are no illustrations for the recipes in this cookbook, although there are some black and white photos in the meat carving section. The pages are not paginated, but each recipe is numbered, all the way up to 714. The alphabetical index in the rear of the book points you to the the correct recipe number.

It's likely that you will recognize many of the restaurant names and there are many that may be only known to those in a particular regional area. Some, like Ye Old College Inn in Houston, a premier restaurant in it's day, are gone, but some of them remain in business today.

Although the original cookbook is now out-of-print, it's possible to find a new version of the classic Adventures in Good Cooking that was published in 2002.

A companion book of Duncan Hines' restaurant recipes, The Dessert Book, has also been recently published.

If you are interested in learning more about this man, you might also enjoy this biography, Duncan Hines: The Man Behind the Cake Mix.

Of course, copies of the original version of the old cookbooks can usually always be found here.

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At 4:26 AM CDT, Blogger RochelleR said...

This was most interesting. I never stopped to think about who Duncan Hines was or even if there was such a person. There is a book on E-bay now and I am going to bid on it. Just found your blog and am reading it from the beginning. Great info. I am a collector also.

At 6:39 AM CDT, Blogger Kathy said...

Welcome Rochelle and thanks for stopping by. There's a wealth of information to be found in these vintage cookbooks, isn't there? I never tire of looking through them.

At 3:16 PM CDT, Blogger marissa said...

Many people are surprised to find out Duncan Hines was a real man! I work with the Convention & Visitors Bureau in his hometown of Bowling Green, Ky. and we actually just helped open a new museum exhibit, "Recommended by Duncan Hines" at the Kentucky Museum here. It is very nice and features many of his personal cookbooks among the artifacts.

At 8:25 PM CDT, Blogger Kathy said...

Marissa, Thanks for the heads up on the Duncan Hines exhibit! The next time I go through Bowling Green, I will plan to time it so that it's during museum hours. Meanwhile, the great photos and information found on the visitbgky website will have to tide me over.


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