Cookbooks

Vintage Cookbook | Favorite Recipes of America: Vegetables – 1966

So this cookbook comes from a series, published first in 1966 and then in 1968, which I had, until now, never heard of. The Favorite Recipes of America series came in a five-book set (and maybe individually as well, I don’t know) including cookbooks devoted to desserts, meats, salads, casseroles, and vegetables (which was the fifth volume). I don’t know how much difference there is, internally, between the two editions, but the covers at least are slightly different, with the original series having darker spines versus bright checkered ones, with titles that blend in a little too much with the image on the cover.

cookbook cover, featuring a variety of vegetables, with stuffed bell peppers in front.

You can really see why the changes were made in the ’68 version, because on the surface this cookbook doesn’t look like much. The cover is mostly shades of brown, and once you start flipping through the pages the only color is found on four glossy images.

a pot of baked beans in a yellow pot, along with  dried beans, onion, and brown sugar.

This may however, be the closest thing I have to a mid-century vegetarian cookbook. In dealing with older cookbooks, I tend to run into a lot of “boil the potatoes for twenty minutes” sort of recipes, or ones that include vegetables but mostly as a way to accent the meat used in the recipe. And there’s definitely a place for both of those, however sometimes you just want to figure out a new way to cook cauliflower, without the meat thank you very much.

The recipes aren’t split off by courses or recipe types (soups, dessert, main dish), at least not primarily. The cookbook is divided into different types of produce such as asparagus or carrots, but within those sections there are subsections lasting a page or two including soups, casseroles, miscellaneous recipes, etc. And the variety of the recipes (submitted by people across the country) really run the gamut. There are, of course, your standard vegetable recipes (potato salads, fried cabbage, baked carrots) but you also end up finding things like ‘Tsukemono-Pickled Vegetables’ and ‘Asparagus Pudding’ (which I don’t believe I’ll be trying any time soon).

the recipe for asparagus pudding.

That’s not even getting into the Foreign Vegetables and Foreign Fruit Dessert sections where we find things such as Curried Fruit Bake from India and Green Beans in Tomato Sauce from Syria.

Recipe for curried fruit bake.

As to the authenticity of the ‘foreign’ recipes I have no idea but it’s a fun addition that I wasn’t expecting to run into.

Aside from the recipes, the book also has a bunch of cooking guides at the beginning, such as a calorie chart and basic cooking times for specific fruits and vegetables.

a calorie chart listing calorie amounts for fruits.

There are also some conversion charts case you run into a recipe calling for a number 2 can and a moderately heated oven. Not something I’ve run into so far with this cookbook, but you never know.

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