Unexpected Surprise

SOLC 2011 19.31

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.

The 12 boys and girls who tested all these recipes.

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.

Drum Cake


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.

This entry was posted in book review, Cook Books, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Unexpected Surprise

  1. Cathy says:

    Um, so what will you be making to bring in for us to eat? Loved the word choice of meander…I can just imagine you slowly walking through, perusing the shelves.

    My mom’s Betty Crocker cookbook is one of my favorites…you can see all of the food stains on our favorite pages.

  2. Tam says:

    I think I still have that book–1957 you say. I was 10 years old. Do you collect antique books? I was a cooker as my kids would say when they were younger. I will look for it.

  3. Linda Baie says:

    Always great to make a find like that. What good memories you shared. And it’s a nice idea to find a basket of cookbooks for the school. I’ve had lots of good words written when students do memoirs about food.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s