I know I talk about older and vintage cookbooks a lot, and really, I do concentrate on those when I am hunting through stacks of cookbooks. I do. I promise.
But sometimes one crosses my path that is just too strange or weird or otherwise unique to pass up.
Today’s entry fits all of those descriptors but in a good way. A MEAT LOVER’S COOKBOOK was published in 2000 by E&M’s Fancy Foods in Chicago … billed as Chicago’s Premier Butcher Shop. I don’t know where this place is but I sure wish I lived within easy driving distance!
The format is primitive, but it is endearing because of the amount of work that went into it. All of the major recipes are accompanied by a fanciful caricature … and some border on outright weird but as I said before, that is weird in a good way.
For instance, I’m not sure how Spock fits into the Leg of Lamb recipe but … well, there ya go.
Here’s another example … they all have some silly accompaniment too. Corny for the most part, but I like it. According to the introduction, these recipes were originally giveaways in their shop. It isn’t clear to me if these pages were the actual giveaways or not, but understand this: the recipes look good. I’m thinking they are all originals … using silly humor to delight their customers.
In my experience, a butcher’s life is food and most butchers are very good cooks.
Every page is one recipe, printed on one side. They had the foresight to put “Notes:” on the back … plenty of room for you to add your own recipes. Some cookbooks give you a couple of blank pages in the back, these guys give you room for notes throughout the book. A bit of overkill I guess but it is a good use of otherwise blank space.
I picked this up and put it down three or four times. I have to admit, I don’t like 8 1/2 x 11 format books … especialy plastic comb bound. It is a practical aspect. You need big shelves and a book like this is fragile, but I am glad I opted to keep it. Hey, it was a quarter. The fact that it likely had a limited print run and it is very original means that it is likely fairly rare, like a good roast beef.
I’ll never know this little gem found its way from Chicago into a small used bookstore in rural North Carolina, but it has a home with me.