Remarkably Unremarkable

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Today I’m highlighting a couple of community fundraiser cookbooks, from the 60’s and 70’s.  These were twenty-five cent sale purchases, from one of the monthly sales a while back.  Maybe I’ll call this random draw Wednesday .. I just reached into one of my many tub and pulled them out.  Just to change things around a little: neither one of these is a “church” cookbook.
Essex County Cooks was compiled by the parents’ association of the Brookwood School in Manchester, MA and  Shore Country Day School in Beverly, MA.  It was copyrighted in 1966 but this is a copy from its third printing in 1972.
This cookbook has the fairly standard batch of recipes one would expect from the 60s and 70s … mostly made from scratch, with a few casseroles using cream soups.  Because of the seaside location and nautical theme they do have a lot of seafood specialties highlighted.
It does have some very nice period line drawings … old artwork that highlights the vicinity.  Hopefully “they” weren’t as picky about copyright infringement back then.  One interesting and unique design aspect is that rather than list the recipe source by name, the recipes are signed.  Every single one. Here’s a picture shows an example of both.
Just flipping through the recipes I did find one I think I’m going to have to try this fall … a cranberry pie.  Not sure I’ve ever seen that before.  I better go cross-reference with that cranberry cookbook I talked about several days ago!
The Best of Boulder II is obviously the second in a series.  It is a binder cookbook, put together by the Boulder Community Hospital Auxiliary in 1979.  The intro says the original book, “Best of Boulder,” was a small printing from 1971 … so for me that is another book I need to be on the lookout for.  This one also has line drawings, but these are original drawings of distinct local homes, all penned by a local artist.  It uses a menu format with recipes arranged by each menu … sections are separated by seasons.  These menu formats are confusing formats when looking for specific recipes, but they are fun to read.  Thankfully they have the book well indexed.  I’ve seen menu formats that weren’t indexed … good luck ever finding anything you liked again.
Both of these were locally printed … which I think is always a good thing.  The commercial community cookbook companies have been around a long time but there is an irritating sameness to them and if you see as many of them as I do, you’ll notice that a lot of them have the same cover since the local groups who contract with them are just picking from a catalog … ooooo, this looks like a good cover.
The binder format of the Boulder cookbook likely allowed for a reduced cost because the printer did just that … the printing.  The auxiliary probably had a big collating get-together — saving the extra expense.
The Essex County book is plastic-comb bound, but it is a very nicely printed book, with high quality paper and cover stock.
Both books are remarkably unremarkable, which for me means they are standard fare but they both contain some nice unique touches that give them more appeal than the run-of-the-mill stock community books.

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