I am a fan of old cookbooks. Not for the recipes – I don’t like boiled meat, thanks! – but because they’re such an interesting reflection of the time when they were produced. This was an interesting read on the subject.

Sometimes, though, these dated volumes go TOO FAR.

Take this 1952 edition of Good Housekeeping, for instance.

It opens innocently enough: with some sexism!

This is clearly a book from before the time when St Jamie of Oliver made it OK for men to cook the supper, back in the days when bachelors either ate at their club or died of starvation. Here’s how the Foreword sets the agenda:

“She can’t even boil an egg!” This sweeping condemnation is perhaps true of few women today; but because cookery books sometimes assume that their readers are already familiar with the very simple processes, it can still happen that a young housewife – or a daughter-at-home called upon to produce a meal in time of domestic crisis – finds embarrassing and unexpected gaps in her cookery knowledge.

You know what, though – I’m not embarrassed by some of the gaps in my cookery knowledge, if what I’m supposed to fill them with is THIS:

I can’t even type the name of the recipe, because I think there are laws against it now.

The book says they ‘make excellent individual place cakes at a party’, so do bear it in mind if you find yourself throwing a Pre-Civil Rights Movement themed party for your kids.


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