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Old 02-18-2012, 11:25 AM   #61
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Evidently you took my post the wrong way, MrsBlueEzz. If you found it offensive, I apologize. It certainly wasn't meant that way.

My only intent was to show that modern cookbooks do, indeed, still concentrate on scratch cooking; that those which depend on convenience products are actually in the minority.
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:46 AM   #62
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Most of the cookbooks I've seen and most I own don't utilize package or brand ingredients. (I say "most" but I doubt any of them have package/brand ingredients.) The only place I see packages and brands named are either right on the packages themselves in the supermarket, or on the Internet.
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:10 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HistoricFoodie View Post
I'd be the last person in the world to put the knock on older cookbooks, MrsBlueEyzz; my most recent cookbook acquisition is a facsimile of one that was originally published in 1728. But to suggest that all newer ones fall in the Sandra Lee mold is short-sighted at best.

Indeed, a significant number of modern cookbooks have been influenced by the "local and seasonal" trends, and there's nary a box nor can in their pages. Similarly, few recipes in chef written cookbooks use convenience products---although they often suffer from other problems.

If you spend a few minutes in a major bookstore, perusing its cookbook section, I'd lay dollars to doughnuts that the majority of them do not use convenience products, or use only a minimal amount of them.

True, the organizational cookbooks are covered up with recipes using boxed and canned products. But that's because they reflect the way the contributors cook at home. And there's certainly a largish group of cookbooks representing the Sandra Lee/Rachael Ray/Paula Dean approaches. But those actually are in the minority.

If I knew the kind of cooking you do, I bet I could come up with a list of modern cookbooks for you that do not use convenience products.

Meanwhile, being as you mentioned baking, check out Greg Patent's A Baker's Odyssey for starters. Everything in it is made from scratch. Ditto for David Arrick's The Butch Bakery Cookbook. That one was published in the fall of 2011. You won't get too much more recent than that.
I mostly only have modern cookbooks (I didn't start cooking until after college so didn't buy any until around 2006) and no of them are celebrity chef ones and rarely do I see a "convenience" food. The most I see is boxed broth, canned tomatoes, frozen peas, frozen puff pastry. Never can of cream of mushroom or box of cake mix. So i agree on this point that modern cookbooks, at least the ones I have, don't do convenience food. It was before my time but wasn't the concievence food a thing of the 60s and 70s? One of my grandmas cooks like that and she cooked mostly in the 60s. But my other one cooks from scratch so maybe it just depends on what cookbooks you buy and your philosophy.
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Old 02-18-2012, 01:54 PM   #64
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What you say about the 60s (and even more so, the 50s) is true, Siegle. But there are still many modern cookbooks that follow that trend.

First, there are the "quick cooking" type books, put out by the likes of Sandra Lee, Racheal Ray, and others. The focus on these is preparing food as fast as possible, but quality can be secondary.

Next are what we've been calling organizational cookbooks. These are the ones primarily used as fundraisers by churches, fraternal and service groups, civic clubs, and so on. The bulk of recipes in those tend to be convenience-food oriented. But, like a gold mine, if you sift through a lot of slag there is solid ore to be found.

Lastly there are what I call "housewifey" cookbooks. These would be the Betty Crocker, Ladies Home Companion, and Better Homes & Gardens type, which tend to use a lot of convenience products in their recipes. They justify this by talking about their readers being busy housewives who don't have a lot of time to cook from scratch.

However, if you add all of those up, they are a small part of the cookbooks that get published each year. There are, literally, hundreds of them.

So, it isn't so much a matter of when they were published, as one's orientation. If you're a from-scratch cook, you choose cookbooks that cater to your outlook. If you are convenience-oriented, you choose those that satisfy those needs. And, if you're a little of both, the whole cookbook publishing world is your oyster.

It's important, too, I think, to have a good fix on the sort of cookbooks that appeal to you. Nowadays the average retail price of a hard-bound cookbook is 35 bucks. That's a bunch of money, for most people, and can lead to expensive mistakes---which is a compelling reason, IMO, to browse the bookstore and library shelves before making a purchase decision.
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:18 PM   #65
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At my age (73 next month) I have seen and read a lot of coobooks. Grant you the new books of the 50's and 60's that were published at that time were geared to the housewife that was just starting to go into the working world. Up to then we all had been SAHM. Learning how to hold down a full time job and still take care of the home was a full time job in itself. During that time there was an explosion of products that were geared toward this new genre of women. They have their place in the history of the kitchen.

When you walk in the door at 5:30 p.m. and are expected to have dinner on the table by 6 p.m. required that convience food come into play. Most husbands were already home by 4 p.m. and were sitting there waiting for their supper. We hadn't lost most of our manufcturing jobs to overseas yet. So their shift ended at 3 p.m. Women went to work in the 9 to 5 office. And husbands had yet to learn that they were expected to participate in maintaing the home and help caring for the children. That would come with the next generation. If they opened a box of cake mix, they thought they thought they had cooked a major meal. They were just learning how to use the backyard Weber grill.

I thank those folks who gave us new working wives of the 50's and 60's directions on how to dress up these new products of the times. With four kids and a husband along with a home to take care of, those new products of the times were most welcome. They hav a place in our history.
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:48 PM   #66
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You're absolutely correct, Addie.

There's another angle as well. The 50s marked the start of bringing all sorts of technology into the home. And that including things like home freezers, TV, and so on.

Along with that was the idea, heavily promoted by industry, that we (i.e., the US) were no longer a backward, less sophisticated nation. Rather, we were setting the tone for what was new, exciting, and as up to date as tommorow.

Convenience foods were part of that "revolution." My Mom was a typical thoroughly modern Millie. She was a stay at home Mom until the 60s, when she joined the ranks of working women. But still jumped on all those improvements and convenience products because they were the height of moderninity.

Many of the cookbooks of the time were devoted to teaching these modern women how to get the most out of those products. And, of course, to promote the products themselves.
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Old 02-18-2012, 06:32 PM   #67
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A lot of those new appliances had recipe books that came with them touting convience foods in relation to the appliance. That gas oven took all the work out of guessing what the temp was. It told you what temp to set it at for a cake mix. I learned how to tell the temp by putting my hand in the oven, just like my mother did.
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