The Friday Five – Reigning Cookbooks


I love a good vintage cookbook, if only as a document of social history, but sometimes I even cook from them. So, as we celebrate Her Majesty’s 60 years on the throne, here’s five that span that glorious reign.


The Busy Girls' Cookbook - perfect gift for a food lover who likes it vintage


The Busy Girls’ Cookbook – see, not much changes, multi-tasking was going on then, just with less gadgets to help out. Although cooking with a cigarette in hand is generally very frowned on these days! I’d really like this one, sort of hits those real 50s housewife fantasies into a cocked hat, as this wasn’t for the woman who had all day!


Venus in the Kitchen - great gift for a food lover who likes it vintage


Venus in the Kitchen: Or Love’s Cookery Book by Norman Douglas – who knew? Saucy cooking in the 50s! Whatever next? Wonder if this one made it onto the shelves at Buckingham Palace?


The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen - Great gift for food lovers who like it veggie


The Moosewood Cookbook – onward to the Silver Jubilee, and the year that Mollie Katzen’s classic book was first published. I have the later edition, but this is a great book, even if from the US. I can imagine that it fitted right into 70s sensibilities, although her nut loaf is far from boring!


Cooking for Your Freezer by Mary Berry - great gift for a food lover who likes it retro


Cooking for Your Freezer by Mary Berry – this is a cookbook of my childhood. Just looking at the front cover makes me nostalgic, not only for the book but for those big family parties when this sort of food came out. My mum embraced the cooking for your freezer principles, and if I go through her cookbook shelf, I bet this is still there! And thanks to a charity booksale, it’s now on mine as well.


Jamie's Great Britain - great gift for a food lover who likes it British


Jamie’s Great Britain – one to bring it right up to date. I don’t really love Jamie Oliver books, but I was lent this one, and I’ve loved the dishes I’ve cooked from it. Empire Chicken and Earl Grey Tea Loaf alone make it worth the space. I think some of these we’ll be cooking for quite some time.

Whatever you’re doing, or not doing, over the Jubilee long weekend, I hope great food plays a part in your plans. Happy cooking and eating!


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Helen Tarver

Collector of great gifts and fabulous food, mum, cake baker & eater, wine opener. I write about food and the gift of it in its many forms.

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