I ordered these two vintage cookbooks a couple of weeks ago via eBay. They arrived this week sometime, but I hadn’t checked the mailbox since Monday. I am quite pleased with them. The one on the left is from 1992, by Abe and Edna Miller, From the Rolling Hills of Holmes County – Down Home Cooking and the one on the right is from 1960, no author given, but from Conestoga Crafts, L.E. Smith Company, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and is titled Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking, Recipes for Traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Dishes.
The older one has more authentic old-time recipes, using the basic produce of Pennsylvania – lots of pork, potatoes, noodles, cabbage and cakes. The preserves recipes are old style, mostly ending with “seal in hot jars.” It has charming illustrations, line drawings of bake ovens, farmers’ markets, and barn raisings. The style of dress indicates a Lancaster Amish slant.
“Down Home Cookin'” is self-published, and has numerous recipes that could be found in most church cookbooks – turtle cake, m&m cookies, taco salad, party mix. Jello, mayonnaise and velveeta are some of the ingredients used, which means it is a cookbook adapted to people who shop in supermarkets. Still, there are enough old-style recipes for angel food cake, chocolate gobs (whoopie pies), pies, and preserves to make it worth keeping. It includes homespun verses on farm and kitchen work, probably by the authors.
I’m not a cookbook collector. I buy very judiciously. There are few books I will use regularly, and I’m not a foodie. These two are a good addition to the basic ones I use now on British, Mediterranean and Scottish cooking, as well as my tried and true texts on canning. Soon to arrive, and much anticipated: Edna Staebler’s classic Mennonite cookbook, Food That Really Schmecks.