The stop wasn’t planned for a Saturday morning. What was planned was a house showing with Sarah and enjoying breakfast together. On the way to the house I noticed an Antique Mall that seemed brimming with possibilities. I’m always on the lookout for wood chairs and other interesting items.
“Do you mind if we stop there?” I ask. The inside story is that I just ask to be polite. My husband knows I won’t accept a no for an answer. We stop. We meander through the store looking at collections that mark different generations of lives.
Old shelves loaded with books always pull me in. On the second floor, a book cover catches my eye and memories begin to FLOOD over me. A book I have not thought about since I owned it. In workshops I share about the first three volumes of Childcraft Encyclopedia that I spent hours reading. How could I have forgotten about this book that brought so many hours of literary joy?
It is the cover of Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls published in 1957. I pick up the book and rub my hand over the cover and open with great reverence. On the inside is the name of the book’s owner, I assume, and the date, April 22, 1961. The cookbook explains that each recipe had been tested by twelve boys and girls. Each boy and girl is named with a comment.
Peter: “We learned what things mean, like baste and fold and sift.”
Ricky: “We always said what we thought, even if it wasn’t complimentary.” Throughout the book the boys and girls also leave advice for some of the recipes.
I turn page after page vividly remembering each page. Recipe names. Black Cat Cookies. Opera Fudge. Candle Salad. Bunny Salad. Drum Cake. Oh, how I wanted to bake the Drum Cake, the Igloo Cake or the Zoo Cake as a child. I never did bake those cakes although I remember trying many of the other recipes. Guess what I’m putting on my baking list as the book is now in my possession.
Out of curiosity I checked in at Amazon. They have a new edition but they also have released the 1957 version. Some reviewers noticed a few changes. A new basket of children’s cookbooks might be in the making for the Literacy Room. I love unexpected surprises.
P.S. I don’t think Nancy (the name in the front of the book) enjoyed the book as much as I. It is in almost mint condition with no food spots on the pages. Or maybe she just took better care of her books.