The Hostess and Host of Tomorrow

Raise your hand if this was your first cookbook:

Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cookbook

This edition was published in 1963.   I don’t know what year my mother gave it to me but I was seven years old then so probably that year or shortly after.

I don’t remember the first thing I cooked but I know I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my mother.  She is a very good cook and was anxious for us kids to have some skills in the kitchen as well as learn proper table setting and manners.

I do remember using the recipe for stuffed eggs and I’m pretty sure I made the baked apples considering the stains are on that page!

I was in Ollie’s recently and this nearly jumped off the shelf in front of me!

Looks like they’ve had too much sugar!

There are some glaring differences between my edition and this new edition, published in 2004.  Style is one.   This is what the future homemaker looked like in 1963:

In 1963, the recipe for Macaroni and Cheese started with – a boxed mac n cheese mix.

Updated version uses real cheese and makes you move like Mick Jagger!

There’s fruit and salad in the new version …

… and in the old version but I always wanted to make Tutti-Fruitti-Ice-Sparkle!

The older version relies on a lot of packaged foods, reflecting the popularity of “convenience” foods in the 60’s.  The Saucy Spaghetti uses canned spaghetti sauce and Vienna sausages.  I know for sure I never made that!  My mother made most meals from scratch, living on a farm we had an abundance of vegetables, fruits and meats.  However, when my sister and I were put in charge of grocery shopping we would come home with things like Shake-n-Bake and Kraft Mac’n’Cheese.  Now I know why – Better Homes and Gardens told us to.

The new version has lots of healthy, easy recipes but looks like cooking on steroids.  It tells kids how to cook a healthy meal and read food labels, but  does it show how to set a “proper” table?  Really, if your fork isn’t in the right place ….

What was your first cookbook?


About SallyK

A little blog about the ordinary and not so ordinary things our family does, places we travel, things we see. Like travel, cooking, family stories, book reviews, music? You will find it all here - comments welcome!
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4 Responses to The Hostess and Host of Tomorrow

  1. Deb Platt says:

    I really like the illustrations that you provided for this post. I love how in the old one, every step is illustrated (pouring, mixing, draining, breaking an egg, etc).

    • SallyK says:

      Yes, my mother could turn me loose with it and I could follow the directions very well. I think the graphics in the new one are very distracting.

      • Deb Platt says:

        That’s what I thought! It’s like the publishers said, “We have to make cooking, bold, noisy and frenetic, or today’s kids won’t even look at it.” I prefer the old approach that the reader is a kid, afterall, doing cooking stuff he/she has never done before, so let’s show a reassuring illustration of each step.

  2. tipper says:

    Love the old cookbook-reminds me of Granny’s red checked one. I think my first cookbook was a White Lily Cookbook. The local grocery store gave them away as part of some program-and Granny got one for all of us : )

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