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Vintage Cookbook Recipes: Raise your hand if you have a collection of cookbooks or recipe clippings?
Do you have the vintage recipes organized in a beautiful handmade recipe binder? That’s what I thought. We all do to a certain extent.
Some of us foodies perhaps more than others but every collection started with a single cookbook.
While it was not the first cookbook I devoured from cover to cover for potential culinary experiments, my personal collection started more than 55 years ago with an unassuming little booklet in the Pillsybury® Bake Off series.
They laughed at home when I walked in with this mini cookbook then announced that I would prepare dinner that night.
Not only did they laugh but the response was what one might expect of kids these days – “yeah, right!”
Nonetheless, I made dinner that night. And that meal is still a family favorite, with every successive generation.
That little booklet traveled to countries far and wide – even some where the ingredients for the special dish were unavailable.
But let’s start at the beginning with the first cookbook I remember seeing on a regular basis. It is still considered the “Bible” of our French country cuisine recipes.
It was just about falling apart from age and use when my Dad decided to have it bound in beautiful red leather with my Mother’s initials stamped in gold on the front binding.
La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E.Saint-Ange was a wedding present to my parents from Mom’s grandmother.
My great grandmother was THE family cook and her gesture was akin to giving away the keys to her culinary kingdom.
As she put it that day – “Everything I know about cooking you will find in this book”.
Yet, I never saw her using it. She had it all memorized because she could not afford to stop and read the recipes!
During World War I and into the early 1920s, she ran a small restaurant that featured a single menu item each day. Great Grandma knew her cooking!
Mom, on the other hand, used it religiously and this cookbook eventually graced 9 kitchens on 4 continents!
We still use it as the ultimate go-to volume for anything related to food and cooking. The yellowing pages are full of wonderful little notes scribbled in the margins. It is Mom’s treasure.
Today, it sits by itself on a shelf in the corner cabinet where all the other cookbooks reside.
So, yesterday, it came as no surprise to me when I returned from the supermarket with a fresh rabbit from D’artagnan® that Mom would ask me to select a recipe from the book.
Yes, when it came to rabbit dishes, my great-grandmother was a master chef.
My great-grandfather would bring home rabbit from his frequent hunting trips.
I recall the entire game prep process but what I remember even more is the finished dish.
Along with venison (there is nothing quite as tasty as a boar or venison roast), wild fowl of all kinds, rabbit often made it to the table.
As pâtés and civets, it was prepared in a variety of recipes. However, her pièce de résistance was rabbit pâté.
So Mémé Adèle…how shall we cook le lapin this time?
I am ever so proud to say that I still prepare my great-grandmother’s specialties found in her vintage cookbook recipes – including her rabbit pâté!
French Home Cooking: La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange
1 Cook, 2 Countries & A Taste For World Cuisines: Cooking A La Mode De Chez Nous - Cuisine d'Hier Et d'Aujourd'hui! For the love of home style cooking and great food. Memories are made of this!