I truly believe that the Cookery Book is an excellent marker for the social and political mores of the time of publication. You can learn an awful lot about a particular decade by the language used, the ingredient availability and to whom the book is aimed.
I still love that Graham Kerr’s “Galloping Gourmet” recipe book contains the caveat “Green Peppers are very difficult to find. Treat your self to one at the largest supermarket you can find.”
“You may find Soy Sauce is only available at larger supermarkets, if at all!”
Well, today I received the “She Quickie Cookbook” published in 1960 and, as expected it’s very much based on Classic Escoffier with the odd curve ball (The recipe for “French bacon ‘n’ Beans -elsewhere on this post- is a car crash!)
But what thrilled me most about this book was not the book itself, rather a set of hand written recipes, all dated from between 1962 and 1964 that a previous owner had stored, interleaved in the pages of the book. The book is annotated in fine ink pen – none of you biros here!
I can imagine some people complaining that the book was ‘as advertised’, in that it has been defaced and stuffed with unrelated bits of paper, but for me, as a social document, it is utterly priceless.