Thursday, June 23, 2022

When an Idea Appears #writing @Lucyburdette

 


LUCY BURDETTE: My brain is so full right now—Key West food critic mystery #13 is due 9/1 and I’m trying hard to get the draft finished early. Plus, we are just back from a whirlwind family visit—first to California to see kids and grandkids, and then to Michigan to visit with my 95 year old uncle.



 He is my father’s only brother and they loved each other dearly. My sister and brother and 3 cousins joined him for a yak-fest—lots of old stories were told, from funny to poignant to downright sad and back to funny again. It felt like a wonderful gift to be reminded of how powerful our history and connections are.


Other than that Mrs. Lincoln…A DISH TO DIE FOR  will be out in August and I’m thinking about promotion. In order to do this right, I feel like I need to remember the earliest days when the idea was germinating. First, a little background. Hayley and Nathan’s dog Ziggy find a body on the beach about ten miles north of Key West. It’s a shock of course, and she’s still reeling from this when she remembers she’s agreed to help sort out donated cookbooks for the Friends of the Key West Library. I’d been talking with my writing pal friends Ang and Chris about struggling with the plot. Soon after, Ang sent this email:


I don't know if this would be of any use to you, but I thought you'd find it interesting. I belong to the Historic Florida Page and this came up today. I wonder if they have a copy of the cookbook at your library. It was done by the Key West Woman's Club. What's cool is that the book was written out in longhand. 




And the next day, he sent this:


ANG: I notice the pie recipe is from Eloise Carey Felton. Here is a picture of her. Eloise and her husband owned a restaurant called the Green Turtle. They also had a construction company and there is a Felton Rd. on Dredgers Key. I know. I should be writing. LOL





LUCY: You're too funny! I've got to work this cookbook into my current story. Just have to figure out what this might have to do with the murdered man... put your thinking caps on...


In real life, I found a copy of the old cookbook on Ebay and ordered it instantly. In the story, I determined that Hayley would discover an old copy of the first Key West Woman’s Club cookbook at the library. She becomes intrigued with the possibility that this bit of history might help her unravel the reason that the victim died on the beach. In order to portray this accurately, I enlisted my pal Annette Holmstrom to teach me how she values old books. She does the same for Hayley. Here’s a snippet from A DISH TO DIE FOR:



    Annette crossed her hands in her lap. “Did I overwhelm you? Do you feel like you have enough information to get started? You can set any books aside that you’re not sure about, and I’ll check those over.”

“I think I’m good, though it feels like a lot of responsibility.”

She patted my shoulder and smiled. “I’ll check your work. By the way,” she added, “keep an eye out for loose papers in the books. I’ve found love letters—both received and unsent—receipts, and once an uncashed check for a thousand dollars. We were able to track the owner down and return it, to much gratitude. I’ll leave you to it—have fun and give a shout with questions, okay?”

I begin to sift through the pile of cookbooks. I put two aside that had been signed by a local celebrity chef who’d since moved off the island. Underneath those, I found many copies of the Sunset cooking series (probably worth something at the time but not these days), a stained and obviously well-loved copy of Jell-O recipes (really?), and at the bottom of the box, a cookbook from the Key West Woman’s Club published in 1949. The recipes had been written in longhand and then copied, printed, and spiral bound. Quite irresistible.

I glanced at the table of contents, then flipped to the section listing soups. One caught my eye: green turtle soup from the Garcia family. The green turtles, the introduction read, were named not after the color of their shells but the layer of fat underlying those shells. That color varied according to what they ate. The list of ingredients began with two pounds turtle flippers. I felt instantly queasy. I had recently been reading about the history of green turtles on our island, thinking of pitching an article with a historical angle. I would have to remind myself that an ingredient that struck me as horrifying today was perfectly normal back then.

Green turtle stock had been in huge demand in the late 1800s, not only in local restaurants but across the nation. Key West fishermen were major suppliers, as the turtles were plentiful and easy to catch. The State Department had declared the green turtle an endangered species in the 1970s, and people stopped using it. By then, it was almost too late.

It occurred to me that this cookbook could make a very good article for Key Zest, with a bit of history, a few photos of the pages originally written in longhand, plus my attempts to recreate a few of the recipes. I could probably get my mother to help with the cooking if I needed her. We would not make turtle soup, of course.

I stuck my head into Michael the librarian’s back office. He was sitting at his computer, in front of a wall of bookcases bursting with books and behind a big white sign that read America’s Most Beloved Librarian.

“Do you mind if I borrow this for a week or so?” As I asked the question, I realized how much I wanted to own this cookbook. “Or better yet, once we figure out what it’s worth, I’d love to buy it. It’s giving me an idea for an article, maybe more than one. I’ll treat it with kid gloves. Literally.”

Too late, I noticed Michael was on the phone. He waved and nodded, then covered the mouthpiece. “Sure, take it. Unless Annette determines it’s worth a small fortune, you’ve earned it. See you later this week.”


Question for you Reds, are you intrigued by old cookbooks? Do you have any that you actually use? What do you think about offering a copy of an old Key West cookbook as a giveaway during my book launch events? Any other brainstorms?


I'd love to give away a trade paperback copy of A SCONE OF CONTENTION, hot off the press, to one commenter!

112 comments:

  1. Oh, this is so intriguing, Lucy . . . now I'm anxious to know the connection between the murder victim and the cookbook!

    A cookbook written in longhand? That sounds incredible . . . it's amazing that it actually survived seventy-some years intact . . . .

    I love reading through old cookbooks . . . it’s always interesting to see how the recipe for a particular dish has evolved through the years [but I’ve often found that the original recipe is the best] . . . .
    A cookbook giveaway sounds wonderful to me.

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  2. I do use some old family recipes and we have some older cookbooks around that get used. Not exactly cookbooks but vintage Wilton cake decorating books that were my Nany's are particularly entertaining to me.

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    1. those books sound like such fun Jennifer! Some day when I'm not so busy (ha!), I want to take a cake decorating class

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  3. I don't have many cookbooks - vintage or otherwise. Unless you count the recipes at the back of culinary cozies as cookbooks. In that case, I have tons!

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  4. LUCY/ROBERTA: You know that I love cookbooks. A Key West cookbook written in longhand is such a cool find, and I'm glad you found a way to incorporate it into your story. And a cookbook giveaway sounds even better!

    You know I own 130+ cookbooks & I borrow dozens from the Ottawa Public Library each year. The only vintage/older cookbooks I own are from my mom: Betty Crocker & some thin recipe pamphlets from the 1960s. I still use the latter for making the sausage-bread stuffing for roast turkey that she made every Thanksgiving & Christmas.

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    1. So interesting that you borrow cookbooks from the library. Is this for reading material, or are you searching for a certain idea or recipe?

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    2. New cookbooks are expensive ($45-65). I borrow some cookbooks from the library (new authors/chefs) to browse & see if it's worth buying. If there's only 1 or 2 recipes I like, I take a photo of the pages & return the book.

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  5. What a treasure, Lucy, and a cookbook giveaway sounds great. I have a couple of cookbooks circa late nineteenth century, but they are reproductions and the recipes I've tried needed a lot of tinkering (boil two chickens...) or were massive or both (a cake that takes both lard and a dozen eggs). My copy of the Tassjara Bread Book is now fifty years old and held together with lots of tape - and still my go-to!

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    1. And of course I have my mother's tattered Joy of Cooking that's missing half the index pages, but it has a lot of go-to recipes in it that I still use.

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    2. I think I have that same cookbook on a shelf that I can't reach Edith! I had to throw out my mom's J of C when a previous dog got to it.

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  6. Roberta, what a treasure! I do use a couple of old cookbooks that were my mother's. I have a Better Homes and Gardens (looseleaf) Cookbook from the 1940's with her handwritten notes and a couple of recipes written in her handwriting. We use that one for its cornmeal pancake recipe and there are other recipes in there that probably are equally wonderful!

    I have another one of her cookbooks from the local ORT ( Organization for Rehabilitation Training) chapter which includes a recipe for my step-mother's sweet and sour meatballs, which are still fabulous today.

    The oldest cookbook which I bought myself is an early version of The Moosewood Cookbook. The soup recipes are divine! Recipes from older cookbooks that still work in this day have fresh ingredients that are available in your local stores.

    I will see you at one of your launch events this August! I have a signed and personalized copy of A Scone of Contention so send your "hot off the press" paperback to another lucky blog contributer;>) XXOO

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    1. It's so funny how we all seem to have one or two recipes that we use over and over from certain cookbooks. I am looking forward to seeing you in August!

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    2. The original Moosewood was the first cookbook I bought too. I still make a few of the recipes.

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    3. I also have a copy of the loose leaf Better Homes and garden Cookbook and it is my go to when I can't find a good recipe for something basic. I just discovered the salad dressing recipes - very good! My daughter has already claimed possession of the cookbook when I don't ...ahem...need it anymore.

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    4. LOL on your daughter Chris! If it's like our family, she better write her name in it.

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    5. Gillian, that purchase puts us in the middle of a new kind of food movement. I never totally committed but I do still dance around the edges.

      Christine, I will look for those salad dressing recipes! The bread, biscuit, etc., recipes look uncomplicated and doable, too.

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    6. I need a separate cookbook for your recipes! I love them.

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  7. Love reading your Murder Mystery books ! Hand written cookbooks are the best ! When my Mom passed away 2 years ago , I found handwritten recipies not only from her , but from my Grandmother ! Needless to say , my family was so excited and I have shared the recipies with my Aunts and cousins . Whoopie pies were a huge favorite from Nana . We feel we hit a “ gold mine “ finding her recipies ?

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    1. that's a fantastic story! I have some recipes in longhand from my grandmother--one of them is for poisoning rats. Perfect for a mystery writer!

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  8. I have a hand-written, kid-illustrated, xeroxed copy of the Cape Cod Montessori School cookbook in a small binder covered with contact paper. The seafood and dessert recipes are wonderful. It's time to make my annual pinecone cheesecake.

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  9. My daughter in law is a Food Blogger(Flour on my face) and she took all of my treasured vintage family cookbooks and recipes and went through them and incorporated them into a Vintage blog! Of course she had lots of questions, like “How much is a pinch ?” And “What the heck is Johnny Marzetti?” Always fun to go back in time! Love your books Lucy and look forward to the latest! Especially fun for me since I am a Miami native and enjoy when you mention familiar places and happenings in Florida! Write On !!!❤️🌴📚😎

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    1. My father-in-law, who would have been 109 this year, loved Johnny Marzetti! After my mother-in-law had a stroke and could no longer cook I had to find a recipe that was close to hers that we couldn't find.

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    2. My mother made this recipe, but I never knew it was called Johnny Marzetti!

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  10. I think a cookbook giveaway sounds neat! I love looking at old cookbooks for the history, but the complications of some of the recipes are daunting.

    I don't really have old cookbooks - unless you count the box of recipe cards from my late mother-in-law, some of which are...interesting, to say the least.

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    1. Some of the old recipes are awful:). I definitely would count your mother-in-law's cards!

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  11. You know I love old cookbooks! My own collection inspired my new Vintage Cookbook Mysteries. I love the window they provide into our past eating and entertaining habits. I did a giveaway of a duplicate book from my collection and it was a big hit. I recommend it for your launch. Ooh, maybe you and I can do something together!

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  12. Celia - what a great topic Roberta, I’ll have to do some checking but unfortunately I cleared out some of my first books before we moved. I do have a paperback set of a pair of cook books written by Len Deighton in the early ‘60’s, one of which is called ‘Ou’est Le Garlic?’, the other is a great basic book which had easy but sophisticated recipes for the singleton starting out. I was going to give it to G’son #1 who has his own place at college but looking it up it’s now worth over $150. So who knows what I’ll do with it or to whom I should gift it. I love the idea of a library cookbook sale and the giveaway.

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    1. thanks Celia, Ou est le garlic gave me a good chuckle! I wonder if the grandson would rather have the cookbook or the $$$?

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    2. CELIA: Wow, I had no idea Len Deighton wrote some cookbooks. I have all his spy novels on my bookshelves.

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    3. Celia, I remember when garlic was much too exotic for most of the people I knew. Now I can't imagine life without it! Maybe Len Deighton was instrumental in spreading the good word.

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  13. It will be exciting to see how this treasure from the past helps give us clues to the mystery!

    A few years back a group of us were working to clean St. Michael's House, which is a house that our church owns next to the church. I found several copies of Angel Fare, a cookbook that the church youth group had put together from parishioners' recipes in 1986. The youth group was raising money to donate to the building fund in memory of one of their members, Alison Litzenberger, who had died on Mt. Hood with a group of young people and teachers from Oregon Episcopal School in May, 1986. The youth group collected the recipes, typed them up, printed the books and put them together in small 3 ring binders for sale during Advent (December). The dessert section is by far the largest piece. The last recipe in the book is a recipe for a Happy New Year which apparently came from "The St. Michael's Cookbook--1950." I have not seen the 1950 cookbook. That would be amazing!

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    1. What a great find Gillian, for a sad story. I love the name of that cookbook!

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    2. Gillian B, you are the winner of A SCONE OF CONTENTION--paperback! Pls send your snail mail address to me at raisleib at gmail dot com

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  14. Cookbooks are like history books -- from the kitchen; so much to glean from them about eating and cooking habits in other times. I so regret getting rid of the beginner's cookbook I was given by the family I lived with in France when I was their au pair (nanny) back in the late '70s. I remember two bits of advice from it: always start by putting water on to boil, because you'll inevitably need it at some point; and, get the onions frying -- the smell will reassure your guests the meal prep is well underway.

    A cookbook give-away is a grand idea, Lucy. Readers will love it!

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    1. That's funny, Amanda! An older friend, whose traditional relationship with her husband meant she did most of the cooking, said when he started bugging her about what they were having for dinner she would put an onion in the oven. He'd think she was working on it!

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    2. Love it, Karen! It's clearly an international culinary hack!

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    3. Love this. When my father was widowed and unschooled about making dinner, a friend told him to always start with a baking potato in the overn.

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  15. I absolutely LOVE old cookbooks! They have the best recipes, easy to find ingredients, plus it's so neat to see how the same dish can vary just a little over the years and regions or based on a family's preferences. I have and use several old cookbooks and recipes of relatives going back a few generations.

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  16. My very favorite cookbooks are from my childhood, and I don't know which is older. The printed one, which my dad used in the 1960s, was a giveaway from an insurance company. I don't have that one, but I have my own copy from when I was a newlywed in 1970. It has recipes for everything a family could want to cook, including the very best biscuits, roasts, and Swiss steak, all of which my dad cooked with my help.

    The other is a mimeographed and oilcloth-covered collection of recipes from parents and others associated with the grade school I attended until 1965. My favorites are carrot cake, Coca-Cola cake, boiled chocolate oatmeal cookies, and the Hungarian coffeecake the lunch ladies served in the cafeteria.

    As I was getting into growing herbs almost 40 years ago I bought a cookbook compiled from local cooks, a fundraiser for the Civic Garden Center. That's where I found the world's best vegetable soup recipe, one I still use.

    Donations for the Little Free Library included several of those fundraiser cookbooks, which are so much fun to read. They give a perfect snapshot of the preferred cuisine of the time, and it's always interesting to see who provided the recipes. One of them included recipes from a friend's long-deceased mother and her friends. He got a big kick out of leafing through it.

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  17. The story sounds very intriguing, Lucy! I have a few old cookbooks around. The standard for me is the Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook that was my grandmother's. I also have several local church group cookbooks, and there is a favorite recipe or two in each. I also sometimes use the Yankee magazine Church Supper Cookbook and one that was put out by the Red Sox wives years ago for the Jimmy Fund charity. I'm not much of a cook, but I do love the tried and true recipes. The new ones I can mostly get from the internet. At 88, my mom no longer cooks much, but still loves looking through cookbooks and watching cooking shows.

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    1. I, too, enjoy reading cookbooks -- all the joy, none of the work! And, like GRACE says above, I borrow them from my local library.

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  18. My oldest cookbook, Searchlight Recipe Book, was printed in 1942, 15th printing. My mother used to have the book and I remember she used their recipe for Penuche fudge. I mentioned that to my sister and she got me one from ebay. Many tabs and categories, even one for Gelatin.

    I once had a handwritten cookbook. Very elegant writing. I think it was put out by the Junior League of high Point, NC.

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  19. Oh, can't wait for release day! I love old cookbooks, and collect the Women's Clubs/Chamber cookbooks whenever I can find them. Always get something out of them. As for using the recipes in my vintage cookbooks. Yes - always find at least one to use. In fact, my mother's McCall's cookbook is my go to comfort food.

    Your Key Lime Pie recipe looks fabulous. I have one that was given to me by a friend who had it from her Sweeting great-grandmother. It's not baked. I've made it a few times (only for personal consumption - it does have eggs) and it is wonderful.

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  20. Hank Phillippi RyanJune 23, 2022 at 9:23 AM

    Oh, this is so brilliant! And yes, I absolutely love old cookbooks – – especially the quantities. It’s so imprecise sometimes, and feels like so much butter and flour. And I love the mystery of it, too—my grandmother left her recipe for coffee chocolate nut bread, it was, I am telling you, transportingly delicious with swirls of coffee flavored chocolate, so I know it had coffee in it. But she left no specifics about the ingredients. No amounts. just like: flour butter yeast sugar chocolate coffee. No amounts. I was always flummoxed by whether she meant… Instant coffee? Liquid coffee? No idea. And no one could ever make it again. I think I still have that index card with her old-fashioned handwriting with the recipe, but it’s absolutely impossible to make. As I said, many in the family have attempted it, all have failed.
    So yes yes yes to the cookbook!

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  21. This is Hank again: blogger has gone completely bananas.

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  22. Rhys: I have so many old cookbooks, inherited from my mother in law. I love looking but not inspired to try the recipes: a pound of butter or lard and 12 eggs? But her WWII personal cookbooks have been invaluable for my research. Mock cream. Mock venison. Trying to create good meals out of nothing. Fadcinsting

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    1. That's so cool Rhys. I bet your kids will be fighting over those!

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  23. I think the cookbook giveaway sounds great -- I think it will be a hit.

    I currently own too many cookbooks collected over my 35 years of marriage, and have recently decided I'm going to get rid of many of them. There are so many that have maybe one or two recipes I fell in love with and use regularly, but the rest of the book is just wasted drawer or shelf space. I plan to copy the few I use from those books and donate them. I predict I will be left with no more than a half dozen cookbooks -- the ones I go to again and again. Of course, The loose leaf Better Homes and Gardens that was probably a wedding present will stay. It's such a good resource for basic questions like how long does it take to roast X pounds of pork, or how long do I need to cook a specific vegetable from scratch. Or how many tablespoons are in a quarter cup. I realize that today I could just Google any of those things, but I am so accustomed to flipping through that cookbook for the answers!

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    1. I have so many cookbooks that I don't use now. I'm addicted to the NY Times cooking section. However, I cannot bring myself to throw out the books!

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  24. That lost recipe is a tragedy, Hank!

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  25. Does anyone else have a massive collection of clipped/printed recipes? Or is it just me?

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    1. Me, me, me! Several expanded file folders full of clipped/printed recipes. But I mainly save new online recipes digitally. There's over 5000 recipes in my PC's food & drink documents folder.

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    2. Me, too. I have a 3-ring binder in which I put new recipes.

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    3. Grace, I've never counted all the recipes I've bookmarked, and/or put into .doc files on my computer. I'm kind of afraid to!

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    4. KAREN: Ha ha, I get it. I only just noticed the number earlier this week when my PC was slowly chugging away to find a specific recipe.

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    5. I wouldn't call mine a collection, I would call it a big drawer stuffed with papers:)

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    6. I TOTALLY do! TWO notebooks. With yellowing scotch tape. Honestly, from the 1970s.

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  26. Lucy, it's amazing how you took that bit of useless information and wove it into such an intriguing mystery. Your readers are going to love A DISH TO DIE FOR.
    As you know, Annette has many old cookbooks, but her favorite is one compiled by members of a local Italian-American church. Many of the recipes were contributed by cherished members of her family who have passed on. A cookbook giveaway is a great idea.

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    1. Oh I bet that church cookbook is a treasure! and thanks again for this brainstorm.

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  27. I love cookbooks since they are invaluable and precious especially the ones that I received as gifts when I married many years ago. I think of the olden days and how the cookbooks were pored over and used everyday. They are treasures and the stories from them even more so. Cookbooks as giveaways would be wonderful.

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    1. I'm giving 3 of my favorite cookbooks to a bride for her wedding. Not entirely sure they will be loved but I'm hoping...

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  28. When I hold a cookbook it represents history and fascinates me. I was given one when I was engaged and still use it for special occasions. There are cookbooks that have such interesting background to them and real family stories. I could get lost within the pages and enjoy learning about the individuals. A cookbook giveaway is unique and meaningful.

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  29. Yes, I love old cookbooks! I have actually helped organize and publish some fund-raising cookbooks for several groups, and that is an interesting process. My parents nurtured my interest in cooking when I was young. I even found a re-print of my beloved Betty Crocker's Cook Book for Boys and Girls!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. I can definitely picture a cozy murder mystery set during the collection of fundraising recipes!

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  30. I think old cookbooks are great. They show a bit of out history. One of the oldest I protect is from my grandmother. She married Granddad in 1928 and back page has the signatures of ladies who must have attended her bridal shower. It's the only reason I can think of for Mother Dale being written on a page with Mary Randolph, who was Grandmother's best friend. I think I own that Jello cookbook that Hayley found. If you have two copies of an older cookobook, giving one away would be fun, especially if you sign it, not as the author but in honor of the event.

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    1. What a treasure Deana! I actually have purchased two copies of the newer Key West woman's club cookbook and one of the original to give as prizes. Sounds like I should include one for this blog for sure.

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  31. Yes, give away an old Key West cookbook! That's a great idea.

    I love old cookbooks. They are good for so many things. I have a re-print of Mrs. Beaton's Household Management on my shelf that I will actually consult on occasion. Not for the recipes, as I don't ever cook for a household of that size but it is good reference material about that society nonetheless.

    I used to have a massive tome, pulled from my grandfather's shelf, that was an early 20th century print of recipes from Delmonico's in New York. It was awesome, though not particularly useful as a cookbook, unless you were planning to recreate the menus from the Prince of Wales' visit (included) or just needed a quick timbale for your own guests. Of course, I had no idea what a timbale was until I read this recipe and subsequently piled the information on my mental heap titled "nope, not me, not ever." That book served its best purpose for me as it was sufficiently interesting to a bookseller to pay for a couple month's rent when I had to sell it.

    I love the old community collections, too. I have several of them from my grandmothers and My Mother. I just bought one from a neighbourhood group that was a collection of "favourites during covid." I haven't even opened it yet, but I liked the idea, and it was a fundraiser.

    And then there are the memories, perhaps the best memories that I have of My Mother that are happily revisited when I open her old copy of The Settlement Cookbook. So, yeah, I like old cookbooks.

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    1. I love these stories. And such good fortune to pay your rent with proceeds from the Delmonico's book!

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  32. I love old cookbooks! I have my great grandmothers (Morgan township farm women cookbook) as well as some from my mother in law's family who are Hungarian. It's fascinating to read the recipes and in the case of my great grandmothers, it reminds me of so many wonderful memories

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    1. I'm not sure why my name camu up as anonymous.....it should be Terrie Black

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    2. Oh I'm wondering if the Hungarian recipes are modern enough to use?

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  33. I like the old cookbooks that churches used to print to raise funds. Most of the recipes are easy with affordable ingredients my family will eat.

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  34. If you're looking for a rabbit hole, here are two links to get you started -- the sociology of women and cooking and cookbooks is a big topic!

    Some of the most interesting and exciting studies in this field have dealt with the role of women in the kitchen; the links between female cooks and both the food industry and dietary changes; the kitchen as a space of gender identification; and the role of cookbooks in shaping the discourse on women and the family.
    https://www.cairn.info/revue-francaise-d-etudes-americaines-2008-2-page-99.htm

    Janet Theophano examines cookbooks throughout American history, and states that the purpose of her book, entitled Eat My Words: Reading Women’s Lives Through the Cookbooks they Wrote (2002), is “twofold: first, to make some of these materials known to both scholars and general readers; and second, to open a window into the lives of women of distinct classes, cultures, and historical periods who would otherwise be unknown to us.”
    https://www.amazon.ca/Eat-My-Words-Reading-Cookbooks/dp/1403962936

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    1. Amanda, have you also seen Women in the Kitchen: Twelve Essential Cookbook Writers Who Defined the Way We Eat, from 1661 to Today by Ann Willan? Fascinating reading, and it contains recipes from the original cookbooks, along with adaptations for "today's kitchens".

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    2. Karen: That one is new to me. Thanks! I'm off to google it now...

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    3. OK, that was a fast trip because I realized that I have an Anne Willan book on my shelf. Her memoir, ONE SOUFFLE AT A TIME: a memoir of food and France. A lovely book!

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    4. cool. thanks for the pointers, Amanda

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    5. Oh me too Debs, now we are down a rabbit hole for sure and adding books instead of getting rid of them!

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  35. I love old cookbooks, I look for them at yard sales.

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  36. I love this, Lucy! I do have all of my grandmother's old recipe boxes that I treasure. I love seeing her handwriting - it brings her back to me. I love the idea of giving away a copy of the Key West cookbook. I find older recipes fascinating.

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  37. I love the cookbook giveaway idea, Lucy, and the snippet. It's fascinating how all these different ideas come together to make a plot!

    I love old cookbooks for research but they seldom have any recipes I'd actually make. You got me started hunting for my cookbook that was printed by St. Hilda's College, Oxford, but I can't find it. Surely I didn't give it away!!

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  38. It is, so sad. When you retire Hank, you can make this the project--recreating the coffee chocolate bread!

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  39. Your giveaway idea is a good one, Lucy! I like regional cookbooks, especially those put together by women's clubs and churches. You find the most interesting recipes in them. The oldest cookbook I have is my m-i-l's Fanny Farmer, which I've never opened. Mom had Joy of Cooking and Ladies' Home Companion but I don't know what happened to them. My big brother and I loved a cinnamon pancake syrup recipe in the latter. My personal oldest books are from the early 70s: Better Homes and Gardens, McCall's, and Recipes and Remininscences of New Orleans.

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    1. I was just looking on my shelves and I think I see the old Joy of cooking that I thought I'd thrown out:)

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  40. Lucy, your post is so interesting. I love the cookbook being in longhand, making it a much more intimate experience in perusing. Of course, penmanship was once a valued skill, and that skill is always a treat for me to view. And, the different phrasing of this older cookbook catches one's attention, too. "Break eggs lightly" has me wondering about exactly what that means. I'm delighted that this piece of culinary history of Key West is a part of the book.

    My favorite older cookbook is one I received as a gift when I got married in 1976. It is We Make You Kindly Welcome: Recipes from the Trustees House Daily Fare (Shaker Village), compiled by Elizabeth Kremer and first published in 1970. I love this 76-page gem, as it contains recipes of foods I grew up with, such as scalloped oysters and corn pudding. I also have the sequel, Welcome Back to Pleasant Hill, 92 pages. I bought that one myself. Having visited and eaten at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill outside of Harrodsburg, Kentucky multiple times, I have that connection to it, too. What's great is that the gift shop there still sells the two cookbooks. Last Christmas I ordered several copies of each, to give my kids copies and an extra set for me. They only cost $5.50 and $5.00, so they are a real bargain. Here's the link: https://shop.shakervillageky.org/collections/kitchen

    Oh, and Lucy, I love your giveaway idea for your book launch.

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  41. I don't have any old cookbooks, but I do have my Mom's recipe box and I use it quite a bit. It's kind of nice to see recipes that my Mom had copied and made for us.

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  42. I love the treasure troves that help you build your wonderful books. Mom didn't have cookbooks, but she did have loose recipes, and I have most of them, as I have the space to keep mementos safe. The one I've used the most is her pumpkin pie recipe . . . one's mother's recipe is always the right one. <3

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  43. I have a 1961 edition of Craig Claiborne's NYTimes cookbook, which surely these days counts as old. Still, I look recipes up in it all the time. More fun is a ladies' (definitely not "women's"!) cookbook from Baton Rouge, LA. My parents married in 1950 and moved there as newlyweds, and my mother worked on a (the?) local newspaper doing the society pages, which was all they'd hire a woman to do. I bet she got a copy of the cookbook while attending some society function for the paper. In any case, I only use it for making my Thanksgiving pecan pie, and even that recipe I adapt quite a bit, but the collection of dishes is intriguing. There's one recipe for squirrel stew.

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    1. No thanks on the squirrel stew! I have a cookbook from New Orleans that had the best oyster stuffing. I haven't made it in a long time--must dig it out and read through. Thanks Kim!

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  44. OH, I'd adore to! Or, even better, YOU can! And I'll be the tester. And you are so right, Karen!

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  45. My husband's grandmother was from PA Dutch area, and I have one of her cookbooks, which includes head cheese, yes it is the head of the hog. It has great fritter recipes that I still use.

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  46. I like reading recipes and cookbooks, though I’m not much of a cook. This book sounds very intriguing. I look forward to reading it.
    Ann Mettert
    penmettert@gmail.com
    (With this new phone, I can’t figure out how to not be anonymous!)

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  47. I think that would be a fantastic prize! It ties into the book, is fascinating, and actually useful as well. I adore cookbooks of all kinds. While at a used bookstore, second hand shop, or garage sale, I’ve stumbled across copious old cookbooks. Many of them containing jello!

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  48. I collect cookbooks—something my mother started for me. My favorite is my Betty Crocker cookbook from my HS Home Ec days

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  49. I love love love this, and love that I’ve been able to help out. All my friends and family will be ordering copies of course - and I’ll help with promotion! And I do love cookbooks, but also have an overflowing clippings collection. The NYT recipes are irresistible.

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  50. The oldest cookbook I have is Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls. I got it for my 10th birthday in 1962, along with a wooden spoon(which I also still have, although I don’t use it anymore). The book is well-loved, going through my six siblings as they each reached the age of 10. It’s a precious memory for me.

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