If you have been collecting cookbooks for any length of time and are familiar with some of the publishing companies that specialize in cookbooks—you will recognize the name Favorite Recipes Press. It’s a publishing company that has been around for decades but I have to say, they have really stepped up their game. The old cookbooks published back in the day – and I have many of them in my collection – are all good cookbooks but they may have lacked something to make them really outstanding. I’m not putting down those 70s cookbooks that they published—and collectors today still search for various favorites. I had a woman write to me a few months ago, in search of her favorite MEAT cookbook that was published by FRP. I’m sorry to say I didn’t have the particular one she wanted. If I had, I would have sent it to her.
Generally speaking, these spiral bound soft covered cookbooks would represent a particular organization or group and the cookbooks would contain about 2000 signed recipes. For example, I have in front of me Favorite Recipes of Jaycee Wives and the topic is salads. I have another on salads created by Home Economic Teachers—all different recipes, of course. Another in my collection is Favorite Mormon Recipes and their topic is MEATS. There are many, many of these cookbooks published in the 1970s by Favorite Recipes Press. I think I have about a dozen or so.
But Favorite Recipes Press has branched out and really improved the type of cookbooks being published today. Not to imply that anything was wrong with those published in the 70s—as a matter of fact, some of those books are being reprinted today by FRP (*see below), and I have received inquiries about those earlier cookbooks on my blog. All of this is a kind of long-winded way of getting around to telling you about “More Recipes Worth Sharing” published in 2010. (If you read my blog with any frequency, you may recall that I wrote a review of another FPR cookbook, the first “Recipes Worth Sharing.” Both cookbooks, “Recipes Worth Sharing” and “More Recipes Worth Sharing” present the best recipes culled from various church and club cookbooks being published today. For example, “Recipes Worth Sharing”, which was published in 2008, offered cooks over 500 recipes gleaned from various community coookbooks.
Editor Sheila Thomas has done the same with “More Recipes Worth Sharing” and explains that “More Recipes Worth Sharing” offers MORE recipes from MORE cookbooks and represents MORE states, capturing the unique spirit of community cookbooks with over 500 recipes from 198 community cookbooks representing 40 states and Bermuda….”
It’s no question why community cookbooks are so enormously popular. I began collecting cookbooks in 1965 and quickly zeroed in on a branch of cookbook collecting possibly ignored for the most part in its infancy. You can find statistics on mainstream cookbook publishing but no one has any idea how many churches, PTAs, or other community groups compile cookbooks year after year. Their numbers are legion but perhaps a great percentage of them escape notice; many aren’t published by a publishing company at all. I have cookbooks dating back more than fifty years that were sometimes typed by several people on different typewriters, covered with oil cloth and tied together with yarn. No one really wants these amateurish cookbooks anymore so they don’t fetch much at booksales—like the battered, tattered, stained church cookbooks I wrote about previously, they’re the lost orphans of cookbook collecting—no one wants them….but if you are persistent, and read through these little gems, you never know what you might find. Undoubtedly, they are for the most part worthless, those old falling apart cookbooks—but on the other hand you would be surprised how often someone contacts me searching for something old and tattered that their church printed years ago and somehow they lost their one and only copy. I digress—but I can always go off on a tangent about old cookbooks of any kind.
But fast forward to the past ten or twenty years and you will find that cookbook publishing, even community cookbooks, has grown up – in style! “More Recipes Worth Sharing” is an oversize cookbook with an easy to clean off cover. I am charmed by the recipe box on the cover (something else I collect—and I don’t have that one!)
What makes it so special? The recipes, of course. You can easily tell that a great deal of hard work has gone into the selections—which were already winners, specially selected for the original cookbooks in which they appeared.
If you are a cookbook collector—or even if you just like reading cookbooks in search of something new or different to serve your family. “More Recipes Worth Sharing” is sure to whet your appetite.
Like appetizers? The two I want to try first have long been on my mind, ever since living in Florida for three years and becoming acquainted with southern cuisine…Ice Box Cheese Wafers and Lemon Rosemary Wafers. But there are lots of other recipes to tempt you – Buffalo Chicken Wings, Cranberry Meatballs, Hats-Off Stuffed Mushrooms, Party Cheese Pate or recipes with tantalizing names such as Bulldog Salsa and “Catch a Man” dip. There are over seventy appetizer and beverage recipes—and I’d like to point out something I discovered back in the 1980s; you can give your best, most relaxing parties serving nothing but hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Way back when, I used to give big parties, especially during the Christmas holidays, and would spend three days preparing the food. Then I discovered appetizers – good appetizers, satisfying, easy to prepare and keep hot or cold—as needed, easy for guests to fill on a plate and walk around talking to people. I think our best parties were those in which I served nothing but appetizers. We generally had a bar down in the den and served mostly wines or soft drinks but on occasion I would make pitchers of margaritas. (Then, too, when guests would ask what could they bring I could suggest one of their favorite appetizers—or a bottle of wine).
But “More Recipes Worth Sharing” has a great deal more to offer than appetizers and beverages. There are Breakfast, Brunch & Breads, Soups, Salads & Sandwiches, Entrees, Fish & Seafood, Vegetables & Sides, Cakes, Cookies & Confections, Pies, Puddings & Sweet Treats, and finally a chapter of Preserving Traditions—Jams, Jellies, Pickles & More. (The latter is one of my favorites since canning is is something I do a lot of throughout the year. I was pleased to find recipes for Green Tomato Pickles and Green Tomato Chow-Chow since just last year we found ourselves with a bounty of green tomatoes from my son’s and my sister’s gardens). There are jelly recipes such as Blackberry Jelly and Sangria Jelly (which uses Burgundy wine, something I keep on hand to make Beef Burgundy) – and Blackberry Jelly is my absolute favorite. There are also relish recipes, such as an easy Cranberry Relish (from the cookbook America Discovers Columbus) and Miss Judy’s Pepper Relish from the cookbook The Stuffed Griffin.
Under the chapter for “Sides” you will find recipe for making the elusive but valuable roux – titled “First You Make a Roux” from River Road Recipes, but also look for the recipe for making Homemade Taco Sauce, and Tomato Gravy, and Kansa City Rib Rub. There is also a recipe for making Old Kentucky Bourbon Marinade from Splendor in the Bluegrass, the Junior League of Louisville, Kentucky.
In all honesty, one of the first chapters I turn to in a new cookbook are those for cakes and cookies, since baking is a favorite past time. I’m not disappointed with what “More Recipes Worth Sharing” has to offer.
You will surely find your own new favorites in the CAKE chapter but I’d like to point out Fresh Apple Cake and Banana Nut Cake, St Louis Gooey Butter Cake and Decadent Chocolate and Tangerine Mousse Cake (This latter recipe is a little long, is from California Mosaic by the Junior League of Pasadena) but I believe you will find it well worth the effort for a special occasion! There is Mississippi Mud Cake and the famous Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting—which I first tasted when my daughter in law’s mother made it. There are Cream Cheese Pound Cake and a Sour Cream Pound Cake plus a Whipped Cream Pound Cake—Plus a Lime Glazed Pound Cake—take your pick. I am often asked for a good pound cake recipe. My first endeavor will be the Lime-Glazed Pound Cake—I love the taste of lime and they are very inexpensive in California.
I’m looking forward to trying Care Package Almond Bars (made with a yellow cake mix!) and Zebra Bars, White Chocolate with Raspberry Bars and surely will have to try Best Cookies on Earth from “Under the Magnolias” at Athens Academy in Athens, Georgia. I chuckled over “Urban Legend Cookies” offered by a Junior League in Georgia – because I know the background story to this urban legend cookie…if I haven’t already written about it on my blog, I’ll be sure to do so very son. Well, as you can imagine – there is no way I can describe or point out every single recipe in a cookbook with over 500 recipes to offer. You’ll have to get a copy and see for yourself!
Before I close on this subject, I want to also mention The Cookbook Marketplace and their free catalog. If you are an avid cookbook collector, you probably enjoy reading about new books as much as reading the books themselves (I spend hours reading book catalogs). The Cookbook Marketplace is the pride and joy of Favorite Recipes Press and the catalog is free. It features many (or most?) of the cookbooks available through FRP and there is no minimum order, ever. If you sign up for a catalog online you will receive notices from time to time about special sales. For more information about FRP you can call 800-269-6839, or you can write to them online at firstname.lastname@example.org. “More Recipes Worth Sharing” can be ordered directly from the Cookbook Marketplace. The price is $24.95.
If you are new to cookbook collecting and not sure where to start, or if you have an interest in a particular region of the USA (Southern, Southwest, East Coast, West Coast) the Marketplace Catalog can help you make selections based on regions – they also provide a list of all their cookbooks by City & State – a great feature if you especially want to find some cookbooks from a particular town (for me it’s always Cincinnati or Columbus, or other nearby towns in Ohio since I am from Cincinnati).
*Favorite Recipes Press has begun reprinting some of the most favorite of those FPR cookbooks; the series collected by home economics teachers, presented with a facelift. There are books about casseroles, desserts, meats, salads, and vegetables. They sell for $19.95 each and can be ordered from the Cookbook Marketplace also.
Favorite Recipes Press, an imprint of FRP, has been producing custom cookbooks since 1961. I love the catalog. I love their cookbooks. If you love cookbooks, you will too!
Review by Sandra Lee Smith, January, 2011