Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Vintage Cookbook Review

I picked up a jewel of a book (off my mother's bookshelf;) titled, 'The American Woman's Cook Book,' from the Culinary Arts Institute .. originally published in 1938.  It makes for a good read as it goes into detail the daily nutrition needs of children and adults ... and includes such topics:  Food Values, The Lunch Box*, Menu Making, Food For Invalids, Useful Facts About Milk (farm fresh) .. etc.  This book was written prior to the mass use of commercially produced (fake) food, and the current epidemic of obesity. There are charts explaining vitamin content in produce (cooked and uncooked), the importance of good fats/oils and a host of other topics.  As a gift to you, I'm including a few links .. this one you can read the book online .. and here you can download a pdf copy for yourself.  Enjoy.

*Imagine that!  Long before the FDA got involved parents were responsible for sending nutritious foods packed in boxes for their children to take to school. 


Dani said...

Bless you Mrs Mac - To e there is nothing better than o-l-d cookbooks - that's when cooking was cooking, not like today when there are so many "modern" ingredients that trying to share recipes across the planet is difficult.

I'm going to download the full 70-odd Mb version, and the Kindle. I'm hoping to get a Kindle for Christmas - libraries are few and far between on the farm :)

How did you manage to get the book available on the Net - must've taken you ages. Or did you find a link for a download-able copy. Whatever - Thank You :)

Mrs. Mac said...

@ Dani .. I simply had to share this book and googled the name thinking it would lead to used copies at To my great surprise, the book is available FREE as a download and in readable (on-line) print. The hard copy I have was updated in 1958 and includes the term 'mechanized' refrigeration every once in a while .. a refrigerator must have been a luxury, eh?

Felisol said...

I love my mother's old cook books, and I have inherited all of them.
I especially love one written during WW2, when food supplies were scanty.
What infinite source of ingenious cooking.
Later researches have over and over again showed that the Norwegian population were healthier during the war than after. Sugar, cocoa, tobacco, coffee were totally absent from the stores. Likewise white wheat.
People ate lots and lots of fish, oats, barley, berries, fruits, honey e.t.c. Milk and eggs were for children and patients.
People used to have their own hens, and even a pig or two for meat supply.
I'm learning all the time.

Unknown said...

I have my mother's copy of this wonderful cookbook. More then just cooking, but also caring for your family. Thanks for handy links. I have glue my moms book back together once to offend!

Unknown said...

I'm back. I read somewhere that you should only use cookbooks that where in print before 1964. The early cookbooks use less sugar, then the later ones. Thought you would like to know.

Sandy Livesay said...

I can't wait to read it! I'm downloading the book now. Thank You! I love older cook books.

Sue said...

I have a shelf full of old cookbooks from my mother and grandmother. I've started going back to them--and have lost weight as a result. The portions we are used to nowadays are far far bigger than they used to be. I don't know how I slipped into it, but I'm much more aware of portion control since using the old cookbooks.
(and the ingredients lists are sure a LOT simpler too!)
Have a great week, Mrs. Mac. And thanks for the link!

Tanya Murray said...

So right on many levels. Is that really why American schools have canteens? I am currently reading Nourishing Traditions and it is grass roots stuff too and I bet even though it is written recently it has recipes very similar to your old one. Thanks for the links.

Mrs. Mac said...

@ Felisol ~ Yes .. during the war, food items were rationed in the States as well. There were victory gardens in most every backyard. Now I'm afraid we 'eat' with our eyes with dire consequences. You are so blessed to have your mother's cookbook collection.

@ Rose ~ that is a good point you mention about there being less sugar in recipes. Sugar was rationed during WWII and was used as an occasional treat in cooking.

@ Sandy ~ Enjoy the book. Please post if you try a recipe.

@ Sue ~ yes ... portion control WAS smaller back then. No SUPER SIZE anywhere on the menu. And .. NO snacking in between meals.

@ Tanya ~ American schools feed (some) children breakfast AND lunch. This is a hot topic as a lot of the stuff they prepare is nutritionally bankrupt.

Moonwaves said...

How timely to find this link on the day after I had bought a new USB stick, therefore having enough space to download this for future use. You seem to have posted a few times about recently about something on my mind at the moment - making a home. I really like your new banner photo. Look forward to catching up on the other posts I've missed in the last few months. :)