Vintage recipe pamphlets

The history and culture of food fascinates me – especially when it is represented visually. This is probably why I started collecting vintage cook books and pamphlets. I am especially drawn to the delightfully illustrated recipe and entertaining pamphlets, or booklets, published by companies for homemakers in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s.

In the 20th century advancements in the way people stored and cooked food at home changed dramatically. Food and appliance manufacturers published recipe pamphlets to encourage homemakers to use their products in their own home kitchens. Through the use of these materials, companies achieved brand name exposure while providing consumers with new and exciting ways to use their products. These beautifully illustrated recipe pamphlets were selling more than just products, they were selling a lifestyle – a lifestyle to which homemakers could aspire.

Reading and using vintage cooking pamphlets is a great way to discover unknown recipes and a variety of foods and dishes that were at one time commonplace – gelatin salads, jelly braid, floating islands, noodle oyster loaf and boiled tongue.

Composite of cook book covers
Composite of covers and photography from various cooking pamphlets and books, 1938 – 1957.

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