Saturday, January 14, 2012

1930's Cookbook Treasure

This is one treasure that I am keeping in our downsize - 1930 cookbook (made with magazine style pages for economy) I bought about ten years ago when working in a used/antiquity book store. I collect pre 1970 cookbooks - found at garage sales, thrift stores, and used book stores. If you would like to start collecting everything is also available at ebay - at premium prices. I prefer the thrill of the hunt.

Better Meals for Less: Purchased for $5
By George E. Cornforth, Chef for the New England Sanitarium

The great depression was from 1929 to late 1930's, early 1940s. This book reflects that.

Some tidbits(some a bit wayward):
brown bread is described as "all of the wheat bread"
"I prefer to make cake without baking powder and soda because I think it is better not to have in food the chemicals that are left by the use of baking powder and soda" (yes it really says this-remember this is 1930)
"tea and coffee are used to relieve headache and when users of tea and coffee attempt to stop using them, they find that they have been having a headache for years, but did not know it!"
The author was not a supporter of tea and coffee but suggests "palatable hot drinks can be made from dried celery leaves, dried raspberry leaves, dried clover blossoms and pine needles, all somewhat valuable for their mineral and vitamin content"

Suggested simple daily menu:

Breakfast: rolled oats, milk, all-of-the wheat bread or toast, apple sauce, banana
Dinner (lunch): cottage cheese,baked potato, spinach, raw carrot and celery salad, honey and graham cake
Supper: green peas, sliced peaches, prunes, rye bread and butter

Notice - no meat? Many familes ate no meat for days during the depression. Most of those ingredients are ones you could grow your own or easily obtain.

From the Soup section

Washington Chowder Recipe:
1 cup diced potato
2 cups water
1 small onion
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup stewed tomates
3/4 cup corn
1/2 cup heavy cream
Slice onion and cook in the water with the potatoes. When tender add tomatoes and corn. Reheat ensuring it does not stick to bottom of pan. Just before serving add cream and salt.

A nice simple recipe isn't it? I might try it one of these days. A good suggestion was made never to throw out water that any vegetable had been cooked in, use it as a base for a future soup as contains minerals and vitamins valuable for good health.

If you are interested in depression era cooking check this out:
Taste of Home - several depression recipes

I am linking up with, ,, - check them out!


  1. I adore old cookbooks and I do use them. Love the graphics on yours.
    thanks for stopping by to visit me!

  2. I like old cookbooks. I put some picture of old cookbooks on my blog. All the best to you.

  3. Love these old cookbooks--Thanks for linking up to Share the Love Wednesday. Mary

    1. Thanks for hosting! I love your blog.