The Joy of Cooking: My Vintage Cookbook Find

The Joy of Cooking Vintage Cookbook

I found a great vintage cookbook in Denton, Texas yesterday.  I found an old edition of “The Joy of Cooking” at my favorite Christian thrift shop, and it was only $2.00!  

 Do you all remember the last time I went shopping at this particular thrift store?  

The last time I was here, they had all their books on sale for 5 cents a piece!  

I had a great time finding old cookbooks, new cookbooks, health and diet cookbooks.  I found some great books on Christian marriage and some Christian growth books too!  I even found some children’s books for my two grandsons.  

Here is what my shopping cart looked like that day.

Cooking and Health Books in my Shopping Cart


 As a Christian writer and food blogger, I was thrilled to find a great number of good books that looked like they would be great writing resources for me.  It was also nice to support the local new mom’s ministry which this particular thrift shop supports.  

While my shopping cart was not so heavy this past time, I did find a gem at that same thrift shop on my trip there yesterday.  

I found THIS:

The Joy of Cooking Vintage Cookbook

The Joy of Cooking in 1943 (1946 Reprint)


If you love vintage cookbooks and traditional American cooking like I do, I’m sure you can imagine my own joy for just finding this old cookbook!  

I carefully picked the fragile book up and put it in my cart alongside the half off jeans I had purchased for my husband and the half off dress shirt I had found for myself.  Oh, I wasn’t going to throw anything heavy like a bunch of books on tops of this little item! 

When I got home and at a safe location at my family dining room table, I took the time to better inspect my new purchase.  I first peeked on the inside of the cover and saw some handwriting.  It looked like some names and numbers.  I’m wondering if these were someone’s friends from long ago.  Were the numbers the old fashioned phone numbers of friends?  Were they the birthdays of friends?  Was that last entry a special number pertaining to the gas and electric service of the original owner of this book?  Whatever this writing was… it must have been important to the owner of this book long ago to be written in the front cover of a cookbook like this.  

Handwriting in an old cookbook

This is pretty real “stuff”.   

The “realness” of the time became even clearer to me as I turned the page to see the forward.  

The 1943 Joy of Cooking Forward

I believe what I have here is the 1946 reprint of the 1943 cookbook.   I have also seen it recorded as the 1943 – 1946 edition.  The 1943 forward was still used in this book, but the various publication dates, including up to 1946 was included in the book. There have been later editions as well, of course, but mine just showed up to 1946.  

One glance of this 1943 forward reminded me of the times and life of Irma Starkloff Rombauer, the author.  

The Joy of Cooking, one of the most widely-read cookbooks ever, was first written by Irma and self published in 1931.  It was self published by a private printing company!  This run away, classic cookbook, a cookbook of all times, was first published without a well-known cookbook publisher to start its long history of sales!  

Hey, I say for those of you who are interested in publishing a cookbook and can’t get a publisher for it, then by all means, consider self publishing!  Look what happened to Irma Rombauer’s book!  The various editions of this book throughout the years are STILL in circulation today!  

It was also riveting just being able to read the actual author’s words in the forward, knowing what she experienced in life and seeing that small glimpse of life through her words in her book’s forward.

You see, Irma was proud of her Victorian Era upbringing.  She had lived through The Great Depression and preserved those old recipes throughout the years.  However, she also grieved, writing The Joy of Cooking after her husband’s suicide in 1929.  

Irma’s forward literally begins with Irma admitting that her growing and departing children hoped she would record all of her recipes.  They also hoped writing a book would keep her busy in her loneliness.  

Fortunately, Irma goes on, it did.   

See the picture of the preface above to see that in Irma’s own words.

As an additional kind of “treat”, that same forward page also displayed some of the original book owner’s interest in recipes.  Look at my picture of the book forward, and check out the little cut out newspaper recipe that was tucked in that page.  I left that one just as I found it to take the picture for you.  

There were other vintage newspaper clippings of old recipes in other pages of the book as well, many of them from the late 1940s and early 1950s.  It was kind of like seeing some of Irma’s thoughts, looking at her traditional recipes, and then seeing some of the moment-in-time interests of whoever owned this book at that earlier time period.  

Those cut out newspaper and magazine recipes always seemed to be stuck into the most used and yellowed pages of the cookbook too.

Whoever first owned this book must have really loved cooking some of Irma’s recipes, just as Irma Rombauer loved cooking those recipes.  

Not every single page was worn and yellowed though.  

Here is one of the lesser used pages from my 1943 – 1946 edition of  “The Joy of Cooking”, one page the original owner must not have been so partial to: 

A page from The Joy of Cooking Cookbook, 1943 - 1946 Edition

This was one of the most unused pages of the cookbook, but the Cabbage Rolls with Rice and Sausage recipes jumped out at me, reminding me of some food I had somewhere as a child, a dish perhaps once commonplace but now almost forgotten.  

I snapped a photo of some of Irma’s cabbage roll recipes in memory of some old recipes someone in my own history had made at one time in my life.  

You see, I believe that old cookbooks and their traditional recipes are a window to our past.  When we find a cookbook like this, we can cherish the world the author lived in, worked in, and cooked and baked in.  We can also cherish the memories such a book gives to each of us individually.  

I am very glad I stumbled upon this old version of “The Joy of Cooking” and that I have the opportunity to share this with you all as well.  When this book was first published, who would have thought of how we could all be looking at it over the internet today.  “Internet?  What’s that?”, Irma might have said!  

I also hope you enjoyed seeing parts of this old cookbook I found this past week at a thrift shop in Denton, Texas.  I have enjoyed sharing it with you!  

If you have any vintage or antique cookbooks of your own, please share what you have and how they have affected your view of cooking or food today.   We would love to hear from you!  

Publishing a Cookbook: A Journey of Spiritual Faith

Publishing a Cookbook

I completed my cooking class last Wednesday night at the University of Texas at Arlington!  Amber Royer, the instructor, taught so many things to us during that five week time frame.  I am amazed how much she squeezed into our time together each week!  Amber, you did a great job!  Thank you! 

Amber taught us all the different facets on how to write a cookbook like:  

  1. How to set up a cookbook template
  2. How to organize a good recipe book
  3. The ins and outs of e book publishing
  4. The pitfalls as well as the benefits of self publishing
  5. How to submit a cookbook proposal to a publisher for the best chances of getting published
  6. What to expect when you get published
  7. Best angles and lighting for the best food photography shots  (That’s a tough area for me.  I’m still working on that, but I’m getting better!)  
  8. The best writing voice for a cookbook
Cooking and clicking!

Cooking and clicking in my cooking class at UTA!

As a cookbook class instructor, Amber did not present topics about anyone’s journey of spiritual faith.  The class was about  writing, not about spiritual faith.  Just as Amber was hired to do, Amber taught about writing and publishing cookbooks.

However, the Holy Spirit must have been in that class with me because I sure learned things about writing a cookbook from Him as well.  

Amber taught us:

1.  Writing a cookbook calls for perfection, so I should be willing to work hard to be accurate in my writing.  

Then the Spirit nudged me and whispered:

“And be accurate to God’s Word as well”.    

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the words of truth.  – 2 Timothy 2: 15. 

Amber taught us:

2.  Publishing a book with a well-known book publisher is not a guaranteed end result, but I have every right  to work hard  towards that goal or to find another good publishing and marketing route if I have a good idea worth sharing.  

Then the Spirit nudged me and whispered

“And if I call you to share something, if I call you to write a Christian book…or a cookbook… or a Christian cookbook… or whatever I call you to do, you have every responsibility to work hard towards that goal so that what is inside you is not left there untouched”.       

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourself fully to the word of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.  – 1 Corinthians 15: 58

Amber taught us:

3.  Organizing a cookbook requires a balanced approach so that no one category is overdone while others are left with too little. 

Then the Spirit nudged me and whispered

“But let God’s Word be the foundation of it all”.    

That foundation can NEVER be overdone and without it, ALL else is too little.  

He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.  – Luke 6:  48

Amber also taught us:

4.  We may need to stretch ourselves to learn new things or do things we may not have done before if we write a book that gets published.  

For me, using publishing software to set up grids for book proposals and food photography were both pretty challenging.  I almost wanted to quit the class!  Add to that the idea of press releases and interviews in the future if I write a book and get it published.  My cooking class = Eye opener!  

Then the Spirit nudged me and whispered, 

“You may not like being stretched Chris, but just do it.  Do what I give to you to do, and know that I’ll be there for you through it all… as I always have been and as I always will be”.  

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:  5 – 6.

Publishing a Cookbook

Cookies from my cooking class! (And guess what…. I took this picture!)

All in all, I believe the Holy Spirit impressed upon me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my own desires… my own thoughts… my own successes… accomplishments….  feelings or failures should never come before what the Lord wants to do in my life and to do WITH my life.  I must never, ever detract from the message of Christ Jesus.   I must always do my part to let HIS message be heard.

That was quite a spiritual journey for having just taken a “Writing a Cookbook” class at a public university!   

Christians like to quote the old saying “God works in mysterious ways”.  Well, He sure did work in some mysterious ways in my life during these last few weeks!   I took a college course thinking I would get some insight into the field of writing and book publishing. I thought we were going to learn how to write a recipe book.  Writing and publishing?  Yes.  Recipes? Yes.  Cooking?  Yes.  All those things were there.  We even put a recipe book together as a class.  

However, I got schooled in my spiritual well being too, and I do mean schooled, like seriously schooled!  Like Heavenly schooled.  

Now I know not all of you have a call to write a book.  Maybe you do.  I am guessing many of you have other calls in life though, all important in God’s plans.   While I don’t know your call, you perhaps do, or maybe you are waiting for that hoped-for call, or confirmation, or even just a clue!  Maybe you just don’t know at all…. not yet anyway.  I don’t know where you are.

I know this though:  I know the Lord created you for a reason, and I know He is making good on that reason no matter what you are doing, or not.  

I also know that if you reach out to Him and step out in faith, He will be there for you, and He will bless the work you do for Him.  

Be ready though.  As I have just discovered… Those who step out to do His will may just get a little extra schooling along the way as well.  

Are you ready?