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Old Cookbooks more frugal?


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Ok - forgive me if this has been covered somewhere, and forgive me if this seems really elementary-kindergardenish to those with a real black belt in frugality. I'm still wet behind the ears!

 

I'll throw my hat in the ring for the best frugal tip ever given to me (by my grandmother, no less). Use a pre-WW2 cookbook.

 

I'm sure this seems like common sense, but I had forgotten this until browsing in a used bookstore for some new cookbooks. Every one I picked up listed all sorts of convenience foods, strange ingredients, or they were all geared for some diet. I picked up a newer copy of the Red and White Better Homes and Garden Cookbook, and I remembered someone giving my grandmother one for Christmas. I also remember her donating it right after Christmas - her reasoning was what I've listed above.

 

I've been going back through OLD cookbooks, and I'm having much more success making a variety of dishes with minimal ingredients and more *regular* ingredients.

 

Since I've started really looking, I'm able to find tons of old and older cookbooks for next to nothing. Ok - you kind of have to ignore the recipes for boiled tripe and pickled ox tongue (or maybe not) but overall I'm doing better with these cookbooks than anything else out on the market.

 

Has anyone else used this idea, or am I nutso?

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The newest cookbook that I use regularly is from 1951. I love all the alternative sandwich fillings, as well as different ideas for sauces, casseroles, pies, and meatloaves (before we got in the habit of making things a certain way, which turned out to be very confining)

 

Also, in most of the really old books, I can grow or raise everything I need to make all of the recipes, with the possible exception of white sugar, baking soda, and salt. The beauty of it is that those old books don't call for much of those items. They, also, make more use of wild foods.

 

Somewhere around here I have a link to a lot of old cookbooks, online. If I can find it, I'll post it later. I printed a lot of recipes from them.

 

In case you haven't guessed, food anthropology is my passion!

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Thanks Belle! I'm glad I'm not the only one who prefers older cookbooks.

 

I mentioned this one day when a coworker was moaning at work about how she needed to conserve money, how they needed to be more frugal, etc. She looked at me as if I'd just ripped off my wig and started dancing on the break table. Her reply? She doesn't have time to do all that from scratch cooking - she had a job and kids, ya know.

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There has been something on my mind for quite some time. I go to a lot of websites that discuss cooking (although not usually as their main topic). So many of the members want recipe to copy commercial foods and mixes. Many of those recipes use exotic ingredients. What are they going to eat, if those exotics aren't available?

 

I'm not explaining this very well, since so much of it is 'felt' by me, rather than being put into words.

 

I'll try again... I feel that Americans have become too dependent on foreign foods, including spices, that might not be available if the SHTF. Some people will need to learn to cook all over again, during a very stressful period. But how do you get them to see that and learn to cook basic foods, easily produced at home, while they can do it at their leisure? How do you convince them it's even a possibility?

 

You see, I believe we are headed for a major depression. These skills will be crucial for survival. The old cookbooks are a great place to start!

 

And don't even get me started on recipes that begin with "Take one cake mix..."!

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We LOVE old cookbook too !

I hate it when you look up a recipe and it say 'easy meal' and then list 15 + things you need and it will take 3 hours to make?

HELLO!

Give me plan and simple any day. Here is one thing we have done to make it easy to find a recipe...........

We get those photo albums with the 8 x 11 page with the lift and stick pages. Then just copy the ones you like and even put them in different categories. We have one for meat, Dinner and crock-pot meals and another one for home canning and made from scratch meats as well as all the great recipes from here too. Then we have one for Michael's recipes and one for Lori's recipes and cookies. Works great as we can pull out a page and put it on the counter for when we cook that night. Then again we do have all the Amish cookbooks and also the secret recipes that they use.

( No I am not giving them out or I would have to put you in one BIG jar, can you and put you in the cellar on a shelf!)

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Another old cookbook fan here. My better homes and gardens is about 1960 or so. Uses mostly things you would have on hand, not fancy stuff you have to go to a specialty store to get...grrr. I have only one newer cook book and it is great..."Mennonite Community Cookbook". It is simple ingredients and all stuff DH loves to eat (meat and veggies!). It even has a section on home canning and meat curing.

 

Belle...I'm with you on another great depression coming. One where all the old skills of scratch cooking only what you grow with maybe a little salt, baking soda, etc...thrown in. And I will venture a guess to say that we will have some that will have to be cooking on an open fire also, so I am trying to learn how to cook on/in the wood stove. Just wish I could find a real old cookbook for that!

 

Q

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4.gif a-HEM!

 

 

I've probably got more Amish cookbooks than you, plus Grandma's box of recipes, AND have the human resources to back them up. smile28.gif

 

 

Those are GOOD secrets... and I'll share 'em ANY day!!! Lovin-Wink.gif

 

 

Is that Michael threatening to can us all??? ziplip.gif

 

 

 

tonguestretch.gif

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"Belle...I'm with you on another great depression coming. One where all the old skills of scratch cooking only what you grow with maybe a little salt, baking soda, etc...thrown in. And I will venture a guess to say that we will have some that will have to be cooking on an open fire also, so I am trying to learn how to cook on/in the wood stove. Just wish I could find a real old cookbook for that!

Q


Quilty and Belle - it's funny you mention that. My quest to master frugality has come about because we are working on disaster preparedness. While deciding on foods to keep on hand, I quickly realized two things:

1) In the event of a disaster, depression, etc, the items available will be very limmited for a long time to come - other than grains, sugar and spices, it might be only what you yourself can grow or already have canned.

2) The things that you can't grow yourself (grains, sugar, etc) keep a fair amount of time if stored well AND are some of the best bulk purchases in terms of money.

So - while prepping for disaster/depression/financial hardship, I realized the correctness and necessity of frugality. And it was THEN I realized.... I better be thinking about how to cook all this over a wood fire... ahem. SO.... here I am with really old cookbooks - about the only things that will tell you how to cook something WITHOUT the necessity of feta or Asiagio cheeses or raspberry truffle oil.

It's sad - my sister in law doesn't know how to cook ANYTHING that doesn't come from a box or a can. All of her recipes are compilations of different convenience foods.

I hope this is coming out right - Prepping meant frugality to afford it, which meant the foods I'm storing need to have recipes to go with them... and that means OLD cookbooks, which are more frugal ANYWAY! These were JUST what I was looking for!
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I actually own the Fannie Farmer Cookbook (a reproduction). I used to have an original, but lost it in a flood.

 

Fiery Wench, we think so much alike, it's scary. I already have things in place, if I need to cook over fire, including a makeshift oven and dutch oven. I, also, know how to make a solar oven. I've been interested in this a long time - several years. My neighbors are always stopping to see what I'm doing. They were most impressed with the solar oven.

 

I plan on building a horno or some other kind of outdoor oven this summer, if we ever decide where we're going to build the new house. I'd like it to be near the site, but not in the middle of it.

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Just think how VALUABLE your home-cooking skills will be if things get bad for whatever reason.

 

Great bartering skill, or another reason to keep *you* happy...

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Oh Cat...I'd love to see you post some of those in the Kitichen!! I used to have one for something called Amish cookies...you had to mix it in a canner or the sink because it had about 5 pounds of flour and 5 pounds of sugar in it.

 

Q

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Actually, most of them are exactly what the original post wanted to point out... older recipes with "real" ingredients.

 

Unfortunately (shut your ears, Michael!

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Well, this is an interesting thread. I have a few pretty old cookbooks, too.

 

Maybe we can do an occasional posting of an old recipe for the MrsS cookbook. Label the section, 'old recipes' or 'no commercial mix recipes' or whatever pops.

 

We could pick a 'theme' for the month or so: Eggs, cakes, biscuits, meats, wild game, 'wild greens' and salads, one pot meals and the like.

 

It is just a thought....I'd be willing to type something in there once a month or so.

 

One question, is it going over copyright on the old recipes? Or do we change one thing and then it is not the same?

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Thanks Belle, I was thinking of my older cookbooks that are 50 or more years old.

 

Somehow I thought copyright was 60 or 70 years -- but I really had no clue.

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The things you guys get me into!

 

Check this out:

 

Although recipes could boost product sales, ultimately they could not save an unpopular product. At the beginning of the twentieth century a Chicago physician, Dr. V. C. Price, attempted to combine the magic of the "Cereal City," Battle Creek, with that of the "Celery City," Kalamazoo. The result was "Tryabita," a celery-flavored hot cereal manufactured just outside of Battle Creek. In 1903 a recipe for Tryabita bread appeared in Mother Hubbard's Modern Cupboard, a 170-page publication distributed without charge to those who purchased Snyder's flavorings (e.g., vanilla extract). The book printed recipes using Snyder's extracts, as well as general recipes and recipes calling for the use of many other manufacturers' name-brand products (no doubt these companies paid for the privilege). Although the text extolled Tryabita bread as a food that "may truly be called the 'Staff of Life' as it contains all the nourishing qualities to make bone and muscle and feed the nerves," Tryabita disappeared after only a year. (49) Americans were ready to eat corn, rice, or wheat first thing in the morning--but not celery.

 

http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summa...86-29017382_ITM

 

Anybody want the recipe for 'Tryabita Bread'--I got that cookbook!!

 

It's one of my favorite 'oldies'-over 100 yrs. Absolute favorite is called 'The Peoples Cookbook'. It is old-woodstove cooking, but the cover and the first part is gone. The pages are yellowed and crisp, so I'm real careful with it, but love reading through it.

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Necie, did you know that Tryabita Bread is not on the internet? At least I couldn't find it by searching Google. I'd be interested in the recipe, if only for the historic significance. I can't fathom celery flavored cereal, but there might be another use for it.

 

Now, if you happen to have the recipe for Corn Flakes...

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Maybe we can do an occasional posting of an old recipe for the MrsS cookbook. Label the section, 'old recipes' or 'no commercial mix recipes' or whatever pops.

We could pick a 'theme' for the month or so: Eggs, cakes, biscuits, meats, wild game, 'wild greens' and salads, one pot meals and the like.

It is just a thought....I'd be willing to type something in there once a month or so.


I think that's a good idea, and one I think that would be good to pursue if others are interested. We would, as you mentioned, have to have some ground rules (no convenience foods, prehaps request any relevant kitchen testing notes from when the poster made it, etc...) Just some thoughts.

From a prepper's standpoint, I'm compiling print outs and copies of easy, pantry-type recipes that require minimal prep - which a great many of the older recipes are. But, in general I really enjoy older recipes where the flavor of the food comes through - not the processed flavor of a *drive thru pantry* dish. (You know - the Stove Top/Hungry Jack equivalent to McD's Golden Arch Food taste... blech.)

How many others would be interested?
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Well, one thing I do know is that I have cookbooks from the 1940's that were already using a can of Campbell's soup etc. so it is not as easy as it sounds. My 1960 books are full of premade ingredient usage rather than from scratch. I always cook from scratch--never have learned to cook from mixes except for cakes because I am lazy.

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TRYABITA BREAD

 

One pint milk, or milk and water, lukewarm; 1 teaspoonful of sugar and 1 of salt; 1 compressed yeast cake dissolved in 1/4 cup of water. Stir this into 1 1/2 pints of Tryabita Food and 1 1/2 pints of spring wheat flour, thoroughly mixed, adding more flour if necessary, so that it will make a stiff dough that will knead without sticking to the board. After it has been thoroughly kneaded, grease your bread-raising pan with a piece of sweet lard about the size of an egg, put in dough and let it raise until three times its size, then take it out and put it upon the board and fold down; place back into greased bread-pan and let raise again, and fold down the second time. Divide the dough into two equal parts, put into tins and raise to twice its size. Bake in oven from 30-40 minutes.

Tryabita bread may truly be called the "Staff of Life" as it contains all the nourishing qualities to make bone and muscle and feed the nerves. These qualities are nearly all lacking in ordinary white bread.

********************************************************************************

*****

 

Ok-so I've been trying to figure out EXACTLY what *Tryabita Food* is! All I can find is what is in the above link: 'a celery flavored hot cereal' and on another site it said that it was: 'peptonized and celery impregnated'. Maybe something like malt-o-meal or cream of wheat with celery powder? No wonder the business failed in less than a year. YUCK!

 

I was searching the history of cookbooks-the link above is the history of cookbooks in Michigan (which is where I grew up and lived up til 5 years ago). Sounds like if ya want really basic old recipes that you have to look pre-1910 or pre-1900 would even be better. Once the industrial revolution started most cookbooks were published for companies trying to sell their product-thus recipes contain at least one ingredient that is 'brand name manufactured'.

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What we are going to discover with the old old cookbooks back before even the 1940's is that those people ate VERY simple foods. They weren't cooking the types of foods that we are used to eating today. I would venture to say that we would find their food extremely boring. Maybe a better idea is to focus on making your own mixes from scratch to use. Like a basic pancake, bisquit, cream soup etc. made to use instead of boughten mixes.

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Do we still have the list of recipes in the site that show all the mixes you can make yourself that someone (I forgot who) posted? I think it was for the MrsS cookbook.

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