Saturday, 7 June 2014

Vintage Robin Hood and Carnation Cook Books


What a find these were!  They belonged to hubby's mother and were left in one of the boxes in the basement.  Well used but still intact, they are the kind of family cookbooks where you can tell what  the favourite recipes were by the smears and smudges on certain pages.  I just love that.  How appropriate for the era that the Carnation one has filet crochet featured as the background.  Both were published in 1947 and according to her inscriptions, my mother-in-law got one in 1948 and the other in 1949.  The Carnation Cook Book by Mary Blake features sections called "Child Feeding" and "Invalid Feeding" in addition to the usual food divisions.  I have used numerous recipes from this little book including the fudge, custard, jelly roll and certain sauces; in fact, I don't see anything particularly old-fashioned about it and all the ingredients are, as one would expect, readily available and basic.  You won't be needing a kitchen pantry stocked with quinoa or asiago cheese and the fanciest the sugar gets is calling for brown.
 The Robin Hood Prize Winning Recipes cook book with recipes selected by Rita Martin is a real winner, too.  All the bread, pie, cake, torte, pudding and cookie recipes are basic, home-made fare and are a great resource for any baker.  Rita writes in her introduction that if your friend borrows this book you must make her cross her heart and hope to die that she'll return it.  How sweet is that!  Certainly speaks to a different, more naive era.
Both of these books are available from Amazon.com.  The Robin Hood spiral bound edition, which is what I have, is now a collectible and worth about $90 (though I'm sure for that kind of money it would have to be in much better condition than mine); a paperback edition sells for about ten dollars.  The Carnation book is also available for about ten dollars and as a collectible it is worth $20.  Both books, though compiled many decades ago, are great additions to any home cook book library, I think.