Okay, I’m back on the quarter books. Can’t beat books for a quarter. I’m counting the weeks until the next sale. I just pulled a random book out of the stacks.
You’ll have to look at the cover to get the full effect because they use the symbol for prescription, Rx, for every recurring R in the title. St. Luke’s Rx for a Recipe Rendezvous was a fundraiser created by the “Women’s Board of St. Luke’s Hospital … and Junior Board.” It is a first edition, copyright 1972. Hospital fundraiser cookbooks are right up there with churches. There are a bunch of these, going way back. Good plan, since almost every hospital has/had a gift shop. “Here, I knew you wanted to remember your hospital stay.” Just in case the scar from your operation wasn’t enough, I guess.
My two pet peeves in collecting community cookbooks are no date and no location. I have said it before and I’ll say it again and again. In this case, they very clearly dated the cookbook. But where are they located? The detective work here is further complicated by the organization name. St. Luke (you, know, the Gospel of St. Luke?) is thought to have been a physician, based on a reference in the New Testament by St. Paul. Because of that, it is an extremely popular name for hospitals. There might be a citation in this book somewhere, but a cursory search found nothing. Wait! I found the location in the back. They had an order form, not on the last page as usual, but several pages in from the back. Whew. I was checking the page count and missed it on my first search. My apologies. Did you know, you can use those order forms to help date book? This book was $3.00 plus 15 cents postage. Seems odd to say this when I bought it for a quarter, but that is pretty cheap. Cheap equals old. If they had omitted the date I would have estimated this at the late sixties/early seventies, just on that info alone.
It has the look of a locally printed book. Back then, it is possible the hospital had their own printing shop. Large organizations used to do a lot of in-house work. Another reason I think this … the cover was laminated. One reason for the damage evident in the picture cover was due to improper sealing of the lamination, allowing some moisture to sneak in and do a little damage. That indicates a smaller scale lamination operation. Anyway, there is no printing attribution, but it was definitely not a commercial fundraising cookbook edition either. I almost always mention this because, well, the commercial cookbooks have a definite generic feel to them. Printing locally allows for creativity in the cover and interior, and it involves more of the local community. Locally printed cookbooks often have local ads, sold to offset the printing cost. (Yes, that was an intended pun). What that means is that … it is a true community cookbook, involving local people and business in the endeavor.
Except for the initial mystery of the location and the catchy title graphic, this is pretty much your buck basic community cookbook. It is 200 pages, which is a good size for this type of cookbook. As far as recipes go, the early seventies the “cream of … soup” casseroles were popular and these are well represented in the pages. Beyond that, it is a fairly standard array of personal recipes. I’ve picked a couple that caught my eye to share.
Artichoke Bottoms … well, it did catch my eye. I guess they mean artichoke hearts? Better than Artichoke Butts, I guess. Looks good, if you can still get the component Stouffer’s Soufflé. That is a problem with some old recipes, especially from the seventies … people were using available products and sometimes those products don’t exist. If a recipe is popular, sometimes workarounds exist on-line. Do your own research.
This Indian Curry Chicken Dinner was a popular idea in the seventies and I picked it for that reason. You create a base chicken curry dish and lay out an array of component add-ins, allowing your guests to pick and choose what they want to use to “complete” their custom curry. And you thought those ice cream shops originated this idea.
I’m still a bit confused by the use of “rendezvous” in the title. I guess it was a stretch, trying to get in another “R” for Rx. Cute.