Vintage 1930s Family Cookbook - The Aunts' Cook-Book circa 1937
Meet Aunt Dell, Aunt Elinor, Aunt Emery, Aunt Gertrude, Aunt Robbie, and Aunt Virginia... they are the loveable aunts behind this 1930s-era family cookbook.
Fun-loving both in the kitchen and out, the aunts gathered all their favorite recipes into book form at the request of two nieces about to be married. The nieces wanted to spoil their new husbands with the whole array of favorite family meals they had known throughout their childhood and the aunts were just the ones to set them on the path to culinary bliss.
That request from the nieces came in the late 1910s. And the book simply titled, The Aunts' Cookbook debuted in 1917. Liked many family heirloom recipe books, all the dishes represented here were favorites in each of the aunt's households. Representing a family lineage that covered both New England and the American South. A few recipes from friends and notables of the era were also peppered in simply for the fact that they were equally beloved and sure to set the nieces off to a good start.
The family cookbook turned out to be a popular one in the Howland, Landstreet, White, Holden, Berry, Greenough, McGinley, Downey, and Bole families. Everyone was happy to have record of the Aunt's special collection. It not only included recipes but also hand-sketched drawings, poetry, humorous anecdotes, helpful notes on entertaining and family portraits of the beautiful nieces all tucked inside. In 1937, the cookbook was revised to include more "professional" (aka precise) measurements and cooking instructions that were casually left out of the first printing. This new revision was to ensure that the new batch of family nieces all eager to have their own copy of the cookbook were set up for success.
A lovely example of one large family's collection of treasured recipes, this book is not only a record of what a group of specific people we eating in the 1910s-1930s, but also a dynamic catalog of New England and Southern fare, popular recipes of the day, family legacy, and the ultimate value placed on food in regards to good health, cheer, hospitality and conviviality within a particular family.
We could write an entire book just on the merits of this cookbook alone and the interesting details it includes, but half the fun in this one is discovering those unique aspects yourself.
One of the things we liked best though, is the sweet nature that is threaded throughout this cookbook. Despite the many aunts who contributed, there is never an air of superiority in regard to the best versions of a recipe. Aunt Dell's Spice Cake recipe sits right above Aunt Virginia's Spice Cake recipe. Aunt Robbie's Peppermint Candy Ice Cream follows Aunt Elinor's Peanut Brittle Ice Cream. And you can also see the specialties of a particular Aunt shine through. It's Aunt Robbie who made a variety of fruit pies. Aunt Elinor was master of the omelet. Fig, Date and Plum puddings were popular in all the Aunt's kitchens. And many of the recipes represent the cuisine and culture where each of the aunts lived - Cleveland, Connecticut, West Virginia, Baltimore, California, Salt Lake City, Boston, New York, and Washington DC.
It's just a delight of a cookbook both for its intimate nature and its contribution to food history of the early 20th century. If you don't have any family recipes that were passed down amongst your own ancestors, never fear. The Aunts are here! And they are happy to call you one of their own.
- 1937 edition
- 247 pages not including detailed index or additional blank notes pages
- Recipes include all meals of the day from breakfast to after-dinner dessert as well as beverages, tea-time and party fare
- Illustrated throughout with black and white drawings and decorated coverboards and endpapers by Nancy Adams Bole (one of the nieces)
- Interesting recipes include Aunt Gertrude's Mushroom Sandwiches, Grandmother Holden's Sweet Tomato Pickle, Aunt Elinor's Oatmeal Wafers, Great Aunt Ruth's Gingerbread, Aunt Robbie's Tangerine Jelly, Aunt Gertrude's Della Robbia Fruit, Aunt Elizabeth's Chocolate Souffle, Aunt Gertrude's Whole Wheat Pudding, Aunt Gertrude's Sauce for Ham, Mrs. Ellen Shipman's spinach Mould, Aunt Elinor's Grandmother Priscilla Worthen's Corn Chowder, Aunt Dell's Eggs a la Belle Otero, Aunt Robbie's Spareribs with Prunes and Apples, Cold Chicken in A Blanket Courtesy of Miss Selma Sulivan, Aunt Gertrude's Chicken Eugenie, Aunt Elinor's Oysters en Brochette, Aunt Virginia's bake Fish, Uncle Tom's Huckleberry Muffins from Aunt Mattie, Aunt Virginia's Coffee Cake, Aunt Robbie's Whole wheat Bread, Ben's Method of Making Wine from Delaware Grapes, Aunt Robie's Claret Cup, Miss Lucy Morse's Aunt Cycthia's Sangaree... and so many more!
In lovely vintage condition. The decorated coverboards are clean and bright. The exterior spine bears some wrinkling at the crease (possibly a repair fixed long ago). The interior pages are in great shape, very, clean and bright with the exception of a few random pages containing cooking spots and stains and/or some light tanning where the acidity of old newspaper articles or note papers were once tucked inside.
Measures 8.25" inches (length) x 6" inches (width) x 1.5" inches (thickness) and weighs 1.11 lbs