Cookbooks

Vintage Cookbook | Pillsbury Classic Holiday V – 1986

Ah, the humble Pillsbury recipe booklet- nearly ubiquitous (at least in the US) resident of grocery store check-out lanes. Also, understandably, one of the easier sort of vintage cookbooks to come across, at least in my experience. How long these booklets have been a thing, I have no idea, but they always managed to catch my eye as a kid waiting impatiently for the check-out line to move. Especially the holiday cookbooks, with their bright-red framed images of cookies and cakes on the cover.

Pillsbury Classic Holiday V is, of course, pretty short, coming in at 93 pages, not including the Pillsbury order forms in the back. Still, it packs in some pretty interesting recipes/ instructions for food displays. Not sure I’d ever seen a Sugar Cube Castle before.

The booklet is organized thematically, rather than by food type, some themes looser than others. The very first one ‘Christmas is Love’ seems to be completely composed of sweets that are somewhat heart shaped (whether a candy-coated pretzel or a cut-out cookie). There’s also an entire section dedicated to cranberries and a several quick-to-make sections, including ‘No-Time-To-Cook Turkey Dinner’. Despite the amount of lack-of-prep-time recipes, I was surprised to find that most of the recipes didn’t rely on pre-made mixes. What can I say, I like scratch (or mostly scratch) recipes.

Overall, the recipes included actually sound pretty good. I suppose it’s difficult to go wrong with baked goods though. I do find myself side-eying the ‘Chicken Crunch Salad’, partially based on the name alone. The whole refrigerator salad (not including lettuce thank goodness) being put under a broiler for five minutes thing kind of solidifies that sentiment. Hot or cold, pick one.

The questionable sides continue on with the Cauliflower and Vegetable plate.

How in the world do you serve a whole boiled head of cauliflower anyway? Carve it like a roast?

One thing I do like about this booklet is that it’s pretty well detailed in regards to recipe facts, including nutrition info as well as any needed high-altitude directions- I don’t need them, but I like seeing them included. Additionally, there’s quite a few pictures included. I’d say roughly a third of the recipes have an accompanying image. Always good for showing what your dairy and cranberry-sauce mold is supposed to look like.

And of course the 80’s color palette and theme (the ever-present pastel country) are never very far, because what says ‘Holidays’ more than a painted wooden cow?

Ah, the 80s.

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