I love seeking out vintage cookbooks from the early and mid 20th century.
Last Spring while browsing through a book-corner in a farmer’s market building I found a 1942 edition (the first edition of this book) of the Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book. I don’t recall ever seeing this cookbook before but was immediately captured by its vintage beauty and history and I knew that I had to add it to my growing collection.
The price written on the inside was a nice surprise as well!
For the age of this book it is in near perfect like-new condition with a few pages (beginning at page 653) which are away from the binding but are still included with the book. Those pages are in the Frozen Desserts section of the book.
There were no other recipe clippings in amongst the pages, which I love to find, and I haven’t noticed any writing in the book either. I so enjoy finding those types of things when I purchase a previously-owned vintage cookbook; it adds character to the history of that book and gives an insight into the cook who owned it before.
Recently I’ve looked on the internet to find that this book is being sold by some at prices upwards of $50.00 and so I am happy at what I consider to be a ‘steal’ of a buy.
There is so much history in these types of books. For example, this book includes a Wartime Postscript in the front of the book which many people mention when discussing this particular cookbook.
And in the final paragraph of the ‘Foreword’ of the book you will see that there is mention of ‘our world at war.’
This is a nice bonus for me because I enjoy learning so much about the 1930’s and 1940’s War World 2 period and of the home front life as well.
I love all of the additional information which can be found in these older cookbooks apart from the hundreds of recipes included. In fact, this book has about 2600 recipes in all as mentioned in the Introduction of the book.
Even today where would you find such a large volume of recipes with so many extras included (and a few photos to boot!)?! It is a bit heavy to carry around but that isn’t something that I would do with this book anyway.
I don’t know if any of my family members had owned this book but I do know that the best recipes which I have ever used, and continue to use today, are those which were passed onto me from the ‘Greatest Generation’ and they are the ones which evoke the best memories which I hold so dearly to my heart.
If you have owned this book or learned to cook/bake through one of these, no matter the edition, I’d love to hear stories from you! I also know that Woman’s Home Companion was a magazine for Women during those early years and I’ve read that some cookbooks like this one were given to Women when Encyclopedias were purchased. I would love to know more regarding other ways that these were “sold” to American Cooks. If you know of any stories please share. You can read more about the magazine at Wikipedia.
Please leave comments below and thank you in advance!