Apparently, back in the day, some cookbooks started with the premise that brides didn’t know how to cook (remember this was long before the Food Network came along). And I do know that some cookbooks (“Joy of Cooking”, “The Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook”) were considered eminently suitable for a new bride. I know; my first Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook was a wedding present when I married in 1958. But what could be more suitable or perfect than a cookbook with “Bride” in the title?
One such cookbook was “THE BRIDE’S COOKBOOK” by Poppy Cannon, and published by Henry Holt and Company in 1954—but an identical title was used also by Myra Waldo, copyrighted in 1958 by Myra – paperback copies went through a number of printings. Well, you could have knocked me over with a basting brush when I entered “Bride’s cookbooks” to do a search on Amazon! I was so enchanted, I ordered several of the titles (like I needed another cookbook with “Bride” in the title.)
Let’s go over some of these titles together – maybe you know someone about to get married who doesn’t know how to cook? Could there really be such a person? I have no doubt it was far more common in the 1950s when I was graduating from high school and engaged in a wild dash to the altar, along with many girlfriends—girlfriends whose mothers never let them near the kitchen stove would call me up to ask how to do some of the most basic things – I had been blessed with a mother who turned me loose in the kitchen when I was ten or eleven years old. Not even my best friends had the latitude in the kitchen that I enjoyed – we did much of our cooking/experimenting in MY mother’s kitchen. I quickly discovered – if you could READ you could follow directions in a recipe. My mother’s Ida Bailey Allen Service cookbook became my kitchen bible. But maybe I give today’s mothers and exposure to cooking shows on TV too much credit – why else would there STILL be such a wealth of cookbooks aimed at Brides?
Consider the following listings (mostly from Amazon.com—I did find some but not as many, on Alibris.com:
THE BRIDE’S COOKBOOK, A GIFT FROM THE MERCHANT OF OAKLAND, 1918, unavailable
COOKBOOK FOR BEGINNERS WITH COOKING FOR TWO (AKA COOKBOOK FOR BRIDES) by Dorothy Malone, 1953, mass market paperback 45.00.
HAVE COOKBOOK, WILL MARRY, A BASIC COOKBOOK FOR TODAY’S BRIDE by Ruth Chier Rosen, January, 1957 (no copies listed)
BRIDE’S COOKBOOK by Myra Waldo, 1958 (paperback copies available starting at $1.25. Collier Books published this and my paperback copy has a pink cover).
1001 WAYS TO PLEASE A HUSBAND – THE BRIDE’S COOKBOOK, Myra Waldo,llustrations by Grames Miller, 1961 (Are 1001 Ways to Please a Husband and the Bride’s Cookbook by Myra Waldo one and the same book? I don’t know.)
A BRIDE’S COOKBOOK: A KITCHEN PRIMER BY Peggy Harvey, 1962 new & used copies $12.00.
BRIDE IN THE KITCHEN by cookbook author Betty Wason, published in 1964. (Not listed in Amazon or Alibris).
THE TAKE GOOD CARE OF MY SON COOKBOOK FOR BRIDES BY June Roth, 1969, hardcover $0.23.
HENRY CHARPENTIER COOKBOOK (BRIDE’S BIBLE) – Henry Carpentier, 1970 (one listing $25.00)
A BRIDE’S VERY FIRST COOKBOOK by James Croom, 1996 paperback $0.01 (*this is a booklet; I recognize the title as one from my own cookbook collection).
THE BRIDE’S COOKBOOK by the editors of Bride Magazine, (1969) (used copies starting at $1.00) I bought a copy of this paperback cookbooklet – that sold originally for $1.45! It promises over 200 can’t fail recipes and more than 250 step-by-step illustrations. You know what? I like this little cookbook.
THE BRIDE’S COOKBOOK by Ernie Couch & Teri Mitchell, 1990
THE BRIDE AND GROOM’S FIRST COOKBOOK by Abigail Kirsch and Susan M. Greenberg, January 1996 (new $0.72, used starting at one cent, collectible copy at $3.99)
THE BRIDE & GROOM’S MENU COOKBOOK BY Abigail Kirsch & Susan Greenberg, January 2002, (new $4.74 and used starting at one cent.
THE BRIDE AND GROOM FIRST AND FOREVER COOKBOOK< Mary Corpening Barber, Sara Corpening Whiteford, 2003, $15.00
BETTY CROCKER COOKBOOK (BRIDAL EDITION) by Betty Crocker, 2005 (new copies $18.14, used starting at $6.16)
THE NEWLYWEDS COOKBOOK, Ryland Pilers & Small, January 2006
WILLIAMS-SONOMA BRIDE & GROOM COOKBOOK: RECIPES FOR COOKING TOGETHER by Gayle Pirie and John Clark, March, 2006 (new, $23.19 – used copies starting at $1.06)
BRIDE AND GROOM COOKBOOK: RECIPES FOR COOKING TOGETHER, Gayle Pirie, January 2007 (used $1.23)
THE I DO COOKBOOK FOR THE BRIDE AND GROOM, April, 2007, Celia Jolley et al ($27.00 new, $22.23 used)
QUICK & KOSHER RECIPES FROM THE BRIDE WHO KNEW NOTHING, Jamie Geller, 2007, $24.00.
THE BRIDE’S COOKBOOK BY Edgar William Briggs, published August, 2008, (paperback copies $12.95)
MY DAUGHTER, THE BRIDE COOKBOOK, CREATING MEMORIES IN THE WAY OF FOOD by Lisa Estabrook, July 2008 (paperback starting at $11.23, hardcover editions $15.99 used, or $22.09 new)
THE FOOLPROOF COOKBOOK FOR BRIDES, B ACHELORS & THOSE WHO HATE COOKING by Rohini Sikngh, Dec. 2011 (various prices – $49.75 new, also $30.66 new—hardcover used copy available from $3.50).
I CAN’T BOIL WATER…THE NEW BRIDE’S COOKBOOK, Katherine Jacobs, 2011, ($45.00)
Actually, this list is incomplete. There are probably a few dozen additional titles. And for those of you confused by the abundance of the same titles – it should be noted that “titles” cannot be copyrighted. So if you want to write a cookbook and call it the Bride’s Cookbook, – have at it.
I wanted to mention a couple of other things and maybe charm you with a recipe or two from something of Myra Waldo’s and Betty Wason’s respective cookbooks because they are two of my favorite cookbook authors and I have written about both on this blog. (See January, 2011 of my blog for posts about both of these prolific and interesting cookbook authors. I have also written on the blog about Henry Charpentier.
I have only a paperback copy of The Bride’s Cookbook by Myra Waldo but it’s in pretty good condition as paperback copies go. I have a hardcover copy of THE BRIDE’S COOKBOOK by Poppy Cannon (sans a dust jacket but sometimes you can’t have everything ) – but I hit the jack pot with BRIDE IN THE KITCHEN by Betty Wason with a pristine copy that has a fine dust jacket. And – I didn’t go looking for it; it came to me. A reader of my blog, a retired nurse named Jane, had a copy in her possession – she doesn’t collect cookbooks – and it was my good fortune that Jane wrote to me offering her copy of this cookbook. (It also provided the inspiration for this blog post).
So, thank you, Jane. And just so you know, if you are looking for some other cookbooks to add to your growing collection, these are a few authors you won’t go wrong with…but I noted there are dozens of new cookbooks for brides on the market so feel free to check out some of those, as well. But I want to point out something that (for me, at least) makes those cookbook authors of the 50s and 60s so attractive – it’s just this – you won’t find frozen/prepackaged/streamlined recipes in these cookbooks. They were written at time when whoever was doing the cooking followed directions from A to Z; Myra Waldo’s baking powder biscuits won’t come in a can, refrigerated at your supermarket – her basic recipe for baking powder biscuits can be found on page 187 of her cookbook.
Myra’s recipe for Coq Au Vin (chicken in red wine) has mostly ingredients you will find on your pantry shelves, except maybe for small white onions, fresh mushrooms and some red wine (although I always have red wine on hand. I buy Burgundy wine in a jug and use it strictly for cooking. How else would I be able to make Beef Burgundy on short notice?
Betty Wason’s recipe for Arroz Con Pollo is made with chicken pieces such as legs, thighs, wings & backs (parts of the chicken you can often purchase for not very much money) and most of the other ingredients you will probably have on your pantry shelves This another one of those recipes that you can make a lot, for company, for very little – or even make it often if you are on a tight budget (most young brides I know are struggling to make ends meet—and it generally takes two incomes to do it).
If you would like to try Betty Wason’s recipe (which is popular amongst Californians), here it is:]
TO MAKE ARROZ CON POLLO you will need:
2 cups chicken broth, made with neck, wing tip & giblets (or 2 cups of Swanson chicken broth—or dissolve 2 chicken bouillon cubes in 2 cups of hot water—sls).
4 or 5 chicken pieces, such as a drumstick, 2 thighs, wing, back (or just buy a package of drumsticks or thighs—all thighs would be good for this recipe-sls).
¾ cup long-grain rice
1 TBSP butter
2 TBSP cooking oil (such as canola oil)
1 small onion, chopped
1 canned pimiento diced (or use a 4-oz can of diced pimiento)
1 small tomato chopped, or 1 TBSP chili sauce
Make a broth with wing tips, neck & giblets of the chicken by placing into a saucepan with 2 ½ cups water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, until needed for the rice. Meantime, sprinkle salt over the chicken pieces. Heat butter and oil in skillet (the Corning Ware skillet would be perfect for this)…until it just starts to sizzle (don’t let butter get brown), add the chicken pieces and cook over high heat, quickly, until crispy brown. Remove chicken pieces to plate, turn heat to moderate, add onion, pimiento, and tomato or chili sauce. Cook until onion is soft. Add rice, stir to glaze. Stir the chicken broth, measuring 2 cups. (If much has cooked away, you may have to add water to make 2 cups liquid); add this to the rice. Replace the chicken pieces over the rice, cover the pan. Turn heat as low as possible, set timer for 20 minutes. Dish should be ready to serve by that time. If, however, you are not ready—or your spouse has not yet returned home—place the Corning Ware skillet, sans handle but covered, in oven set for 300 degrees until time to serve.
Sandy’s cooknote: I still have some of my Corning Ware – as does my best friend Mary Jaynne..but this might not be the most available type of top-of-the-stove baking dish available now. (sometimes you can find some Corning Ware dishes at yard sales.) Betty’s cookbook was published in 1964. However, I know there are various types of cookware (such as Pyrex) that can be used both on top of the stove and in the oven. This recipe can also be made in an electric skillet if you have one of those. I think Betty’s recipe for Caesar salad* would be a perfect accompaniment to Arroz Con Pollo but a bag of mixed salad greens—and a bottle of your favorite commercial salad dressing—and you have dinner.
*Betty’s recipe Caesar salad also contains raw egg—we didn’t have the danger of salmonella poisoning back in 1964. For this reason, I am not including that recipe in this post.
In Myra Waldo’s THE BRIDE’S COOKBOOK there is a wealth of recipes and you don’t have to be a newlywed to enjoy them. I like her recipe for Marinated Roast Beef which is made with dry red wine—which I love to cook with (although I don’t drink red wines). Anytime you have a roast beef and there are any leftovers, you have the perfect makings for an easy beef stew. To make Myra’s MARINATED ROAST BEEF (for 6 to 8), you will need:
2 cups dry red wine
2 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp thyme
1 rolled roast beef (3 pounds)
½ tsp powdered ginger
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
Begin marinating the beef the night before it is to be served.
Combine the wine, salt, pepper, thyme, ginger, bay leaf, and garlic in a bowl. Place the beef in it and let marinate overnight in the refrigerator [sandy’s cooknote: I would cover it with plastic wrap] Turn the meat and baste frequently. Remove from refrigerator 2 hours before roasting time.
Place the meat, marinade, onion, and tomato in a shallow roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer. Roast in a 325 degree (moderate) oven to the desired degree of rareness, about 55 minutes for rare. Baste occasionally. Discard bay leaf. Force the gravy through a sieve (strainer) or puree in an electric blender.
Sandy’s cooknote: You really want any kind of roast beef to have some standing time, about 15-20 minutes before you serve it, so the juices have time to redistribute. Personally, I like a roast to be more “medium” than rare – just a nice pink. My daughter in law likes meat to be a hockey puck, so we slice a well-done end piece for her. Something great for a roast like this would be oven roasted potatoes and carrots, or even baked potatoes.
I used to whip up an easy chocolate dessert that we called Blender Mouse—but Myra Waldo’s Quick Chocolate Mousse is similar and just as easy. To make Myra’s chocolate mousse, all you need is
2 ounces of sweet chocolate
2 TBSP water
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup heavy cream
Break the chocolate into small pieces and combine with the water in a small saucepan* Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate melts. Cool 15 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Whip the cream (using an electric mixer) and fold it into the chocolate mixture. Spoon into a glass bowl chill 2 hours.
*Sandy’s cooknote: if you are like me and tend to get distracted and burn things, melt the chocolate in the top half of a double boiler. Have water in the lower half at a low simmer.
Recipe is from Myra Waldo’s THE BRIDE’S COOKBOOK.