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Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (1953)
by Better Homes and Gardens
No current Talk conversations about this book.
The recipes I grew up making, I can now share with my family.
Nostalgia: n. A bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past.
I am a sucker for sentimentality. There are times, however, that I'm confused as to how nostalgia can push through the fullness of time with such a golden sheen. Often the things that I can be nostalgic for don't end up being nearly as enjoyable when I happen upon them at my current perch in life. I end up disappointed, and sometimes sad, for ruining what esteem I held for something that elicited such joy at a lesser privileged time in my history. It might be best to leave some things well enough alone, but I was hopeful that the Better Home and Gardens New Cook Book would not be applied to this category.
If memory serves, this was one of three cook books that we had in my home growing up. The edition that we had was much larger and had a hardcover. This is certainly not that version, as it is significantly smaller both in overall size and text font, some pages have separated from the binding - even with minimal use - and it's harder to keep open because it is a mass-market paperback, so be forewarned. I decided to only rate it 3.5 peaches because of these flaws, and for the basic recipes within, with a whole peach devoted to its nostalgia and staying power.
I couldn't tell you what my mother cooked out of her better quality book - if I'm honest, not much, as cooking wasn't necessarily her forte - but, once or twice, she likely baked some shortbread. For me, it was enough to just have the colourful book to flip through, and dream of the day when I would be able to make anything I wanted. I think I may have even spent some time copying out recipes that I found appealing. The life of a child before the advent of the internet, sigh.
As a gift from my mother, at some point over the last twenty years, I received this smaller paperback version of that red-and-white plaid cook book in my mind's eye, and I set out to make my childhood dreams come true. But, not unlike that big old book, this one sat idle for many years.
Cooking was a skill that took me decades to acquire, as I had other interests that stole my time - many that shall not be named on this website - but by my 30s I had steered my head away from all of those distractions, and I jumped in with both feet. I fancy myself a bit of a foodie at this point in my early 40s, certainly as compared to my earlier years when I subsisted off of Kraft dinner, wieners, and beans. I truly enjoy fixing up delicious meals for my family, even if they take all day and produce a big, honking sink of dishes. Ok, I hate that part, but it is an unfortunate consequence of the cooking, and I am without a dishwasher, so what can you do?
The Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book might make me smile when I pass it on my bookshelves, but I rarely use it unless I'm looking for some kind of bake sale item - the lemon squares are a fabulous option in this case. I just have so many other books that offer more exotic or exciting recipes, so this one often gets skipped and forgotten. I decided to give it a chance as my opening post for The Cookery on Peachy Books, as it deserves some attention after all this time, and if nothing else, there is the nostalgia factor that I appreciate.
I set out to make a meal from this collection for my lads on the weekend. I took a closer look at this classic and read through the first section entitled: 'Cooking Basics.' Here you'll find a breakdown of required ingredients and appliances, some suggestions to maintain kitchen safety, party planning tips, the food guide pyramid, and cooking techniques; all of the things that would help someone completely inexperienced navigate their way through a kitchen.
I had my son take a gander to see if there was anything that he would prefer to have for Sunday dinner. He headed straight to the 'Appetizers & Snacks' section and chose potato skins, and on a neighbouring page, a dill dip for veggies and crackers. I can work with that, I thought. So I took out a package of ground beef from the freezer and decided I would make some burgers to go with his finger-food fare.
We prefer our burgers with simply salt, pepper, and ground beef, which doesn't require a recipe, of course. Since I didn't have any buns on hand, I sifted through the book until I found the 'Breads' section. There was a 'dinner rolls' recipe, but after reading through to the end, I found additional instructions detailing how to instead form the dough into burger buns. I was all set to begin making our scrumptious meal!
To see the results of my finished meal as well as the bookmark I was inspired to make by this exercise, please visit my blog post in The Cookery or Book Review sections at https://peachybooks.ca/2021/06/09/the-cookery-cook-book-review-better-homes-and-... .
I have used this cookbook extensively over the last 30+ years, and made pretty much every recipe in it at least once if not more. There was not one that we did not care for. One I made recently (a few days before Thanksgiving) that filled the air with a wonderful aroma was Vegetable Beef Soup:
Vegetable Beef Soup
3 pounds beef shank crosscuts
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (10 oz.) package frozen whole kernel corn
2 cups chopped, peeled tomatoes, or 1 (16 oz.) can tomatoes, cut up
1 1/2 cups cubed, peeled potatoes
1 cup fresh or loose-pack frozen cut green beans
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
minced garlic to taste (optional)
In a large Dutch oven or kettle, combine meat, bay leaves, salt, oregano, marjoram, pepper, and 8 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 2 hours. Remove meat. When cool enough to handle, cut meat off bones and coarsely chop. Discard bones. Strain broth through large sieve or colander lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Skim fat and return broth to pan. Stir in meat, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Discard bay leaves. Makes 6 main-dish servings.
Almost missed this great new version in my library. Perfect beginners cook book for my grandson, who is very limited in cooking knowledge.
Always a good cookbook
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English (2)
"The updated and revised 15th edition of America's favorite cookbook The Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book has been an American favorite since 1930, selling 40 million copies through fourteen editions. This new 15th Edition is the best yet, with hundreds of all-new recipes and a fresh, contemporary style. Plenty of new chapters have been added to meet the needs of today's everyday cooks, including new chapters on breakfast and brunch, casseroles, and convenience cooking. 1,000 photos accompany this wide selection of recipes, which cover everything from Pad Thai to a Thanksgiving turkey. NEW FEATURES: icons that call out fast, healthy, or classic dishes; an expanded and revised chapter on canning and freezing foods; and new chapters on pizza, sandwiches, wraps, and more. Presents more than 1,200 recipes, including 750 brand new to this edition. More than 800 helpful step-by-step, how-to images and photos. New suggestions for personalizing family dinners, new twists on favorite dishes, and plenty of recipes that yield leftovers you can use again in other recipes. Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 15th Edition covers it all! Completely revised, revamped and updated, this is a must for every kitchen."--Provided by publisher."With 1,000 recipes and photos, this is the ultimate all-purpose cookbook. The newest edition is completely revised and redesigned, with new chapters, recipes, icons and useful information, to be more beautiful and useful than ever before. - A Cooking Basics chapter in the intro section is the ultimate resource for beginners: it includes a glossary of cooking ingredients, terms and techniques; advice on stocking a pantry; and visual guides on identifying tricky foods like hot peppers"--Provided by publisher.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)641.5Technology and Application of Knowledge Home and family management Food And Drink Cooking, cookbooks
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