|A very small sampling of my community cookbooks.|
I absolutely LOVE community cookbooks. They’re the cookbooks put out by churches, schools, and other groups, usually as a fundraiser. They’re also called regional cookbooks. If they’re vintage, I like them even more. Oh yeah, if they’re cheap that’s a plus, too. I look for them at yard sales and estate sales. My favorites are the ones from areas that have some sort of meaning to me. I also like the ones from the South, because I think that Southern cooking is just awesome.
For my fortieth birthday, my Mother gave me a box of forty community cookbooks that she had been buying off of eBay. Since then, I’ve been picking up more. I have no idea how many I have, and I probably don’t really want to know.
The vintage cookbooks are interesting because a lot of times you see ingredients listed in the recipes that just aren’t used today. One example is suet. Yes, suet. Suet Pudding, anyone? When I think of suet, I think of the stuff that you put out for the birds. Woodpeckers are particularly fond of it.
Sometimes the covers of these cookbooks have beautiful artwork. I have one cookbook put out by the First Congregational Church in Paxton, Massachusetts in 1980 that has a beautiful folk art cover.
|Cover illustration: A Scene of Paxton “When the Morning Stars Sang Together” by Judith Russell|
Coincidentally, around the time that I picked up the Simply Delicious cookbook, I also picked up a framed note card. The artwork was also in the folk art style. Later, I noticed that the artwork on the note card happened to be by Judith Russell. It was called School House and was one of a series of twelve in The Peaceable Kingdom in Old Deerfield from Historic Deerfield Massachusetts. The date on the back of the notecard is 1991. At the time, I did an internet search for more of her artwork, but was unable to find much.
|Framed note card with artwork by Judith Russell|
At some point, I’ll probably go through my collection and cull the cookbooks that don’t grab me, but for now, they don’t take up too much room, and I enjoy looking through them to find that unique recipe.