Cookbooks

Vintage Cookbook | Quick & Easy Dishes – 1968

When I started collecting vintage cookbooks a few years ago, this was one of the first ones I found at my local goodwill. I still had not idea really what I was looking for, or what was out there, and the words Southern Living Cookbook written above the title, sealed the deal. It wasn’t until I got it home and started flipping through the pages that I realized this one was quite different from the Southern Living Cookbooks I was accustomed to seeing.

Evidently, when Southern Living magazine was first started in 1966 they weren’t as strictly Southern in some of their content as they aim for today. Or, at least, their additional publications weren’t. Unlike the magazine, this cookbook was published by Favorite Recipes Press, used commonly by Junior Leagues and Future Homemakers of America, and publications typically subtitled ‘favorite recipes of home economics teachers’. It’s not a surprise then, to see that self-same subtitle on the front page of this cookbook. I’m guessing perhaps it was a cheap way to get publication material, something I can’t really verify since I haven’t found any info online concerning the connection. Within the cookbook itself the only place that even mentions Southern Living at all is the cover, as well a Southern Living Cookbook Library ordering sheet slipped into the pages.

The cookbook cover is fairly low profile, a fall toned picture on the cover with an orangey tan spine and trim that seems more at home in the seventies. I’m not sure how they were trying to convey quick and easy with a candlit lantern, but it’s interesting at least.

There’s an additional photo on the back, one that’s decidedly more bright and cheery.

Aside from a glossy photo within the first pages these are the only colored pieces of the cookbook, and even black and white photos are slim pickings, with those only turning up as our section dividers.

What the book lacks in photos, however, it makes up for in actual recipes. With an average of 6 per page and about 374 pages, not counting the index. And boy are there some humdingers in this one. Cooks from all over the country contributed to this book, proving the vintage weirdness was not secluded to one region or another.  Fruited Shrimp Salad, Mayonnaise Muffins, Baked Beans with Cheese (yum, cheese wiz and corn syrup), and Quick Tomato-spice Cake are some of the stand out examples, resting alongside tamer, if nondescript, titles like Slaw and Beef Casserole.

There’s even the infamous Banana Treat I’ve seen floating around on the internet- a strange dessert made of bananas, lemon juice, mayo, and peanuts. One recipe I wouldn’t be trying even if I didn’t have to contend with a peanut allergy. 

I must admit that a few of these ‘quick’ recipes take over an hour to cook, such as some of the potato recipes. The ‘simple Potato Casserole’ is meant to bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours, though there’s not much prep involved so at least there’s that. Nor do I consider the overwhelmingly large amount of molded salads speedy endeavors. In my opinion, anything that requires twelve ingredients and overnight chilling tests the boundaries of ‘quick’, but perhaps ‘quick recipe’ just meant something different back in the 60s. 

If there’s one thing I can say about this book however, is that it’s made for browsing. The corner of every page is titled with a descriptor- sub-sections within each section. For example, a portion of the ‘Quick Deserts and Beverages’ section is subdivided into ‘Apple Desserts’, ‘Fruit Desserts’, Blueberry, Cherry Desserts’.

You don’t see a sub-section like that very often these days

Even without an index in the back, it’s fairly easy to find the recipe you have in mind just by browsing through the sections and sub-sections, and with the amount of recipes within the pages this book could keep me occupied for some time.

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