This was a rare find. I’ve been collecting for years and had never heard of the 1000 Recipe Cook Book before, but when I saw two of these on my recent trip to Virginia I knew they were something special. The pictured version was published in 1953. Information was scarce on these publications, but apparently they extended back to the mid-forties. These were Dell publications and I assume they were likely sold at grocery stores, perhaps early examples of checkout line display publications. Given the magazine format, it is not surprising that they are so rare — they were cheaply printed on low-quality paper. However, I found that they were surprisingly comprehensive cookbooks. I don’t know if they actually have 1000 recipes, but they certainly are pretty close to the mark. They also have short articles on cooking and the recipes range from very interesting to pretty strange. They were a perfect fit for me and my collection.
The 1953 version simply oozes fifties-style sensibilities. Look at the June Cleaver-esque mother figure!
The person who had this magazine/book took good care of it. Well, sort of. They punched holes in it, I guess, so they could put them in a binder. It is surprising that this particular one ended up in such good condition.
There are so many recipes it was hard to choose, so I just picked a couple to highlight some of the extremes and trends they tried to represent. Like I said, there are hundreds and hundreds of recipes. Hopefully a thousand!
These are on the offbeat end of the scale, yet, although offbeat they do actually sound pretty refreshing. The apricot drink is more akin to a shake and the orange drink seems like the grandfather of your average smoothie.
I chose Cantonese Stew because it represented an entire class of recipes in this book … international recipes but in this case, more like foreign sounding recipes. I think this is Cantonese simply because it has soy sauce, the way you can predict with 97 percent certainty if a recipe has Hawaiian in the title, it contains pineapple.
Now we proceed into the bizarre. I had to think, Baked Deviled Eggs? I don’t have a set process for these blog entries. Each one is an adventure. I shot the picture for this based on the title alone. “That’s interesting,” I thought to myself. All I could say when I started to read this recipe so I could comment here was “Ewwwwwww.” I read it again. Then again to make sure I was reading it okay. Now, I’ve never in fact tried to bake a hard cooked egg before, but … well, 20-25 minutes?
I have used recipes that actually tasted delicious that looked awful. I’m not sure I want to even try this one. But hey, it was the fifties. Most of the people lived, right?
Still, the book is a fascinating read. It is a perfect example of why I love publications from this era. We think we live in an age of sophisticated cooking. It had been primitive and uninteresting for years, decades, centuries. Of so we think But these people were at least trying. They made the mistakes so Martha Stewart and Bobby Flay didn’t have to. And there are good recipes from that era, believe me.