First cookbook and the backstory

Because I grew up with a working Mom, relatives gave me ideas for making meals for me and my siblings fairly early. It wasnt until my 30’s that I paid attention to. formal recipe books. I bought a copy of The Joy of Cooking and while I cant say I made many of the recipes I did get educated. Food shopping, buying spices and following a procedure made alot more sense. When my wife and I married, I regifted my copy to her. When our son moved out, my wife passed on the tradition. We shared the joy so to speak.

What cookbook do you treasure?

Thanks, Rooster


I don’t remember my “first” cookbook but I have to say Alton Brown’s Good Eats, Serious Eats, Cook’s Country and America Test Kitchen have all had a huge influence on my cooking and were the first cookbooks (blog, magazines) that I read.

I believe my oldest cookbook is Ms. Field’s Cookie cookbook, I still cook from it. It has to be at least 25 years old. :smile:


I’m curious, do you follow the cookie recipes in that book to the letter or after years of owning it, do you put your own spin on the recipes?

I think Alton Brown is a hoot. Smart plus smartass is such a great combination in a teacher.

Sentimentally, an ancient Better Homes & Gardens looseleaf style tome that was in the kitchen during my childhood, from which I baked my first quickbreads.

Educationally, Cookwise, by food scientist, Shirley O. Corriher, because it explains the why of basic techniques. It has only a few actual recipes.


Your comment reminds me of why I want to be a better cook.

The Complete Book of Pasta by Jack Denton Scott was the first cookbook I bought. It has survived a few cullings of my cookbook collection, including a recent brutal culling that got rid of cookbooks by Hazan, Bugialli, and Rossetto Kasper.

Did you make copies of certain recipes from the books you removed from your collection?

Probably should have done that since limited shelf space was one of the main reasons for the cull, but I didn’t.

One of the other reasons was that for several decades, my cookbook purchases had been made almost solely on the strength of the meat sections of cookbooks. When I decided to radically cut meat in my diet, I decided to remove much of the temptation by clearing out a lot of my cookbooks. (and I needed shelf space for cookbooks geared toward my new way of eating)

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I can respect that. Whenever I comb through a cookbook the photos and appetizer section do me in.

Not saying that I necessarily cherish this book but my first cookbook I got as a kid was “the Joys of Jello.” Every possible good and gross jellied salad known to mankind can be found in this book. When I was kid, I always wanted to make things from it. I picked it off my mom’s shelf not long ago as sort of nostalgia.


I also grew up in a Joy of Cooking (1951 edition) household, and it is still a sentimental favorite of mine. The 1975 edition is a masterpiece. I have the reprint of the original 1931 edition too, and that is fun to read. Anne Mendelson’s book Stand Facing the Stove (her bio of the book, and of the Rombauers) is one of the best things I’ve ever read on the history of modern cookbooks.

But of course the first cookbook I really obsessed over, and cooked out of, was Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls. The clown cupcakes! the zoo cake!


The childrens cookbook doesnt look that simple to me!

Glad to know you share a fondness for TJoC too.

Some jellied foods just cant be explained😊

The most treasured recipe collection in my family is not a book so much as a recipe card basket. That wonderful basket holds cards written out by my maternal grandmother, and those my mom was able to write down from my paternal grandmother who didn’t actually measure much of anything. There’s the recipe from the back of the marshmellow cream jar cut out and taped to a card, her best friend’s wild rice and turkey soup that comes out every year the day after thanksgiving, some folded ripped out magazine pages of favorites, some copied from cookbooks, and even a few of my own recipes she wanted me to write down.

It’s an irreplaceable unique and deeply personal collection…


But the cover of the books says it has “over 230 Great_tasting recipes”! (It doesn’t say home many so-so tasting recipes.)

Does look like a terrific book, though. (And I thought I knew of all the science-of-food books out there, including an obscure one in the Western Indian language of Marathi). Just ordered a copy. Thanks.

Wow, your are very fortunate to have such a generational collection.

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Betty Crocker. Meat loaf .

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To the point!

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I think the first cookbook we used was the 1941 edition of The Settlement Cookbook that my mother-in-law gave my wife. It was well used when we got it and has provided lots of basic info over the years. That… and The Joy Of Cooking have been our go-to’s for lots of elementary instruction.

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While looking up The Settlement Cookbook to read more, I noted several diff authors under this heading. Which version are you referring?