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.


One response to “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).