My friend Evelyn and I often cook together and share ingredients and dishes we want each other to try (or to help us finish the leftovers). When she and her husband went on a vacation recently, Evelyn brought me back an incredible gift–The Picture Cookbook published by Life in 1958. She was browsing an antique bookstore and thought of me and the cooking we do together.
It’s a massive, coffee-table book with 300 huge pages filled with 600 recipes and many, many photos. The book is charming in its dated way, talking about children collecting box-tops and that you probably have to go to a pharmacy to find saffron. But some of it is timeless, including the classic American and Immigrant American recipes that are now part of our country’s heritage, such as Curried Beef and Chicken Cacciatore. It suggests children be involved in making their own breakfasts and gives valuable advice about how to buy meat and create a kitchen that is useful and beautiful.
It struck me as amazing how, 50 years later, many of the thoughts about food’s central importance to our lives is the same. Thanks, Evelyn!