Books, Cooking

Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking

Growing up, this was the cookbook I remember best. My mom told me much later that this book had come to her from my grandmother, and the copyright dates bear that out – this book has been loved, used, and in the family for more than 60 years now. I’m talking about the Meta Given’s Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking. More than just a cookbook, it includes menu planning, conversions, substitutions, and of course, many many recipes.

I was sad when the original copy Mom handed on to me fell to pieces, but with some digging I was able to acquire a replacement copy identical to the one Mom had given me. Thank goodness for Amazon!

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It doesn’t look like much on the outside…. meta givens-2

And the interior illustrations are delightfully retro. Look at those lacy cuffs on that chicken! meta givens-3

The menus are fascinating. I mean, I can’t imagine having time to do all this. I’m fairly sure housewives in the fifties didn’t even have time for this and my grandmother will doubtless back me up on that.

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My son’s favorite condiment. Although I suspect this would be tastier than the red stuff in a bottle the Little Man will pour over everything put in front of him. As for the chow-chow, I’ve made it from this recipe and it’s delicious.

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The name of this one always amuses me!

So what’s your favorite cookbook, and why?

Also, if you’re on facebook, there is now a group called Eat This While You Reat That! dedicated to discussion of food, books, and eating. Feel free to join in the conversations or just lurk and learn.

1 thought on “Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking

  1. Favorite cookbook? Hmm. Time-Life Foods of the World _Africa_ and _Austrian Empire_, the multi-volume Time-Life cooking set (because although a touch dated, you can find pretty much anything and then go from there, from heart to aspic to cookies to zucchini), and _The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines_ by Jeff Smith. The Time-Life “Food of the World” books have a lot of culture to go with good recipes, and Jeff Smith’s recipes are clear, easy to follow, well explained, and tasty. The Roman pork with celery is a Red family favorite (and you can do it with chicken as well in a pinch).

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