Which pages in your cookbook tell the tale?

I just spent the afternoon making bread and cookies for the holidays. The recipes came from my ancient, battered, ingredient-stained Betty Crocker Illustrated Cookbook. It was my mom’s, must have been printed in the 1950s, and I, ah, liberated it when I moved out into my first apartment, lo! these many years ago. The illustrations taught me how to cook and bake, and I treasure it to this day.

Flipping through the breads and cookies sections, it wasn’t hard to tell what were my favorite recipes. Those were the pages with the spatters and stains, handwritten notes on changing the recipe, or doubling (or tripling) the yield; even note pages taped in here and there with detailed variations on the original recipe.

So, what’s your most-prized cookbook, and what pages in it bear the smudges, dogears, and overall wear and tear that reveal your all-time favorite recipes?

I have a Phad-Tai recipe that is almost unreadable. (Joy of Cooking) It looks as though the page has been dipped in peanut oil and rubbed with cilantro. Which is not far from the truth actually.

The page with the banana bread recipe from the (of all the embarrassing things to admit) Joy of Your Food Processor cookbook, by Naomi Gilletz - I think that’s her name anyway. It’s practically clear paper now in a couple of spots. I also discovered today that my recipe for Butter-Walnut Cookies (a/k/a Russian Teacakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes and so on - everyone seems to want to claim this recipe) needs to be recopied before I put the cookbook away this season, or I run the risk of being unable to make it out by next Christmas.

We had a Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook when I was growing up too. The pictures showing How To Make Pie Crust and How to make rolled cookies are memorable. I wish i could get my hands on one of those.

In—I think it’s The Complete Cook—there is damage apparent on Basic Meatballs and Basic Tuna Casserole. Not too clever, I suppose.

I also have my moms Betty Crocker cook book from years ago.

I don’t use it much. I love to invent new things. I never write down what I use to create my masterpieces, so its never the same thing twice.
What I look up the most are cookie and pie crust recipies.

We have two copies of The Joy of Cooking - one from the 60s and an new one. The dessert recipes are well thumbed and dog eared.

We also have a recipe book that Susan’s grandmother compiled in the 1930s. In all fairness, though, she was from Scotland and the dishes reflect it

“After heating the gruel to boiling, add gray food coloring…”

I have cookbooks out the wazoo…Joy of Cooking, the ubiquitous Betty Crocker, the Time-Life series, Food Network stuff, even a copy of l’Escoffier…but the most telling, well-loved recipes are all on hand-written recipe cards, notebook pages, and scraps of paper. And that, somehow, seems right and proper…

The thing I like about the Joy of Cooking is that it never settles for pre packaged ingredients. i.e. in the tuna casserole recipe, you need heavy cream, sliced crimini mushrooms, diced onion, etc. . . Then, after you are done preparing it the first time, you realize that a large part of the recipe was dedicated to making your own cream of mushroom soup, and you think, “Well #$@%, why didn’t it just say to add cream of mushroom soup? I have 27 cans of cream of mushroom soup in the cupboard that no one will ever eat. I could have shaved an hour off the prep time.” But then you taste it, and you realize why that extra effort is included in the recipe. It’s the same with most things. BBQ dishes especially, they each have their own BBQ sauce or rub recipe included.

I’m on ly allowed to pick one cookbook? I’ll plump for The Decadent Cookbook. Where else can you find recipies for such delicious snacks as Panda Paw casserole?:eek:

Another Joy of Cooking (the official cookbook of the SDMB?) loyalist here. The binding’s cracked on a visibly stained page 659, which features the recipe for T-BONE OR PORTERHOUSE STEAK WITH SOUTH AMERICAN STEAK SAUCE. I prepare that meal about once a week. The ink is virtually faded on a loose sheet of notebook paper which contains a handwritten copy of a recipe for chicken breasts with zucchini and pesto sauce. Also, the Shrimp Carbonara Fettuccine recipe I mentioned in the What Did You Have For Dinner? thread is commercially printed on a scrap of glossy paper that’s approaching translucence. Even though I’ve basically memorized these recipes, I always consult them when I’m cooking, as I remember one time my mom was making tuna casserole and forgot to add the tuna! Better safe than sorry…

Heh. We’ll go through a couple of cans of cream of mushroom soup a week, sometimes. Sure, I CAN make a mushroom based cream sauce, but my mobility is limited, and I’m not supposed to be standing up very much. So yeah, it’s Campbell’s to the rescue around here.

If my daughter is cooking dinner, there’s a good chance that she WILL make the mushroom cream sauce from scratch. She’s a pretty good cook.

In our Joy of Cooking book, the pages that give the times for various roasts are clearly marked. We can never remember how long to roast stuff, nor at what temperature.

I just read that recipe. It is now officially on the grocery list for next week. Thanks for the tip.