Tuesday, April 27, 2010

By the book

I have about fifty cookbooks of all kinds, but my all-time favorites remain the charity cookbooks. These interesting compendia of recipes are typically put together by women's organizations, such as the Junior League, various hospital committees, and other women's service groups.

Main Line Classics is now in its umpteenth printing and is, I must say, still my go-to choice for easy and yummy cooking. It is still produced by the Saturday Club in Wayne, PA here on Philadelphia's Main Line. I love the fact that each recipe is attributed in the old style. Its newer, spiffier version is lovely to look at and very glam, but for me lacks the charm of the precursor. I also love the sweet salute to the train stations that gave the Main Line its name.

Another cookbook I adore-but for entirely different reasons--is Charleston Receipts. First published in 1950 by the Junior League of Charleston, it is a monument not only to old-time Southern cooking, but to a lost way of life and graciousness as well. (Many recipes actually begin with a first step that includes instructing one's help to set up the ingredients.)

And the use of "receipts" instead of "recipes" is also an anachronistic reference that is just delightful.

So popular, it was re-edited and updated

I find this foreword extraordinary. Within the first few paragraphs, the "dilemma" of the post-war homemaker is revealed: where is all the kitchen help I grew up with, who didn't need written "receipts?" The solution? A handy cookbook designed for the new realities of cooking for one's husband and family.

My cousin had a hand in putting CR together. Anne Montague--from whom our dear dog's name is derived--apparently tied on a starched linen apron and got down to it, contributing many recipes herself. (Never under her maiden name, of course--but as Mrs. Arthur J. Stoney.)

Flashback to the Bicentennial: Trinity Presbyterian in Berwyn cooks

For Memorial Sloan Kettering...a gorgeous book with lovely recipes...

The swankier, 21st-century Main Line

Benefitting Episcopal Academy

Just used two of these books this past weekend for our son's Eagle Court of Honor party for 50...

Whisking away,


JMW said...

Great post! I've always wanted a copy of Charleston Receipts - I'll have to plant a seed with Hubby. I love pouring over cookbooks, especially ones that feature great writing and images, in addition to the delicious recipes. There's a story behind each recipe and I love to hear about it!

rosiecampbell said...

I collect vintage cookbooks. I completely agree with you that the best ones are the charity cookbooks. Wonderful post!

Summer is a Verb said...

Slinking off to look up anachronistic...XXOO

uncoolmom17 said...

Must get Charleston Receipts. Hopefully it's still in print. Love southern cookin'!

Anne Lake said...

For all interested, Charleston Receipts is available at Barnes & Noble.com. Happy Southern cooking!

bevy said...

Of course I have both Charleston Recepts and Repeats. As a matter of fact, my cousin/godmother was the president of the Charleston JL when Repeats was printed...

Nishant said...

I collect vintage cookbooks.
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