Monthly Archives: April 2012


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—I did find some but not as many, on


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).


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)

THE I DO COOKBOOK FOR THE BRIDE AND GROOM, April, 2007, Celia Jolley et al ($27.00 new, $22.23 used)


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.

Happy Cooking!



My penpal, Betsy, who lives in Michigan, began downsizing her own cookbook collection a few years ago; some of the books went to her adult children—some she began sending to me. She also goes to book sales that are far more prolific in Michigan than they are in California and finds amazing treasures. Recently, she sent me three boxes of cookbooks which included several Gooseberry Patch cookbooks in like-new condition, and a few Quail Ridge “Best of the Best” cookbook collection. The latter contains cookbooks featuring all 50 states and in a few cases, a second volume on states such as Texas. Amongst the books she sent to me was a Volume II of Best of the Best from Virginia—which, surprisingly, I didn’t have. (It’s always amazing to me how many books she has sent that I didn’t have—and I have a pretty large collection).

When it’s a cookbook that I already have, I give the duplicate to a friend or one of my nieces.

Well, in one of the boxes that found its way to my doorstep this month is a booklet titled “CASTLE FARE” with a subtitle “Featuring AUTHENTIC RECIPES served in HEARST CASTLE, and next to it a price of $1.00. CASTLE FARE was compiled by Marjorie Collord and Ann Roranzi and it was published in 1965.

One Thanksgiving weekend in the late 1990s, Bob & I stayed at a motel on Route 1 in San Luis Obispo, and scheduled a tour of Hearst Castle for ourselves. Then, again, in 2008 when my penpal Sharon was visiting me and we went on a California Adventure road tour which included one of the Hearst Castle tours (There are 4, I think, from which to choose). It’s a spectacular Tour—one that average people like ourselves can’t begin to imagine.

When Sharon and I were there in 2008, we bought some books about Hearst Castle and I am quite sure we didn’t see a little cookbooklet such as the one Betsy sent to me.

Let me begin by telling you some of the history of the mansion created by famous newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951.

It was designed by architect Julia Morgan between 1919 and 1947. In 1957, the Hearst Corporation donated the property to the state of California. Since that time it has been maintained as a state historic park where the estate, and its considerable collection of art and antiques, is open for public tours. Despite its location far from any urban center, the site attracts about one million visitors per year.

According to Wikipedia on, Hearst Castle is a National Historic Landmark mansion located on the Central Coast of California, United States. Hearst formally named the estate “La Cuesta Encantada” (“The Enchanted Hill”), but usually called it “the ranch”. Hearst Castle and grounds are also sometimes referred to as “San Simeon” without distinguishing between the Hearst property and the adjacent unincorporated area of the same name.

Hearst Castle is located near the unincorporated community of San Simeon, California, approximately 250 miles (400 km) from both Los Angeles and San Francisco, and 43 miles (69 km) from San Luis Obispo at the northern end of San Luis Obispo County. The estate itself is five miles (eight kilometers) inland atop a hill of the Santa Lucia Range at an altitude of 1,600 feet (490 m). The region is sparsely populated because the Santa Lucia Range abuts the Pacific Ocean, which provides dramatic seaside vistas but few opportunities for development and hampered transportation. The surrounding countryside visible from the mansion remains largely undeveloped. Its entrance is adjacent to San Simeon State Park.

Hearst Castle was built on Rancho Piedra Blanca that William Randolph Hearst’s father, George Hearst, originally purchased in 1865. The younger Hearst grew fond of this site over many childhood family camping trips. He inherited the ranch, which had grown to 250,000 acres (1,012 km and fourteen miles (21 km) of coastline, from his mother Phoebe Hearst in 1919. Although the large ranch already had a Victorian mansion, the location selected for Hearst Castle was undeveloped, atop a steep hill whose ascent was a dirt path accessible only by foot or on horseback over five miles (8 km) of cutbacks.

Hearst first approached American architect Julia Morgan with ideas for a new project in April 1915, shortly after he took ownership. Hearst’s original idea was to build a bungalow, according to a draftsman who worked in Morgan’s office who recounted Hearst’s words from the initial meeting:

“I would like to build something upon the hill at San Simeon. I get tired of going up there and camping in tents. I’m getting a little too old for that. I’d like to get something that would be a little more comfortable…”

After approximately one month of discussion, Hearst’s original idea for a modest dwelling swelled to grand proportions. Discussion for the exterior style switched from an initial suggestion of Japanese and Korean themes to the Spanish Revival that was gaining popularity and which Morgan had helped to initiate with her work on the Los Angeles Herald Examiner headquarters in 1915. Hearst was fond of Spanish Revival, but dissatisfied with the crudeness of the colonial structures in California. Mexican colonial architecture had more sophistication but he objected to its profusion of ornamentation. Turning to the Iberian Peninsulafor inspiration, he found Renaissance and Baroque examples in southern Spain more to his tastes. Hearst particularly admired a church in Ronda and asked Morgan to pattern the Main Building towers after it. The Panama-California Exposition of 1915 in San Diego held the closest approaches in California to the look Hearst desired. He decided to substitute a stucco exterior in place of masonry in deference to Californian traditions.

By late summer 1919 Morgan had surveyed the site, analyzed its geology, and drawn initial plans for the Main Building. Construction began in 1919 and continued through 1947 when Hearst stopped living at the estate due to ill health. Morgan persuaded Hearst to begin with the guest cottages because the smaller structures could be completed more quickly.

The estate is a pastiche of historic architectural styles that its owner admired in his travels around Europe. Hearst was an omnivorous buyer who did not so much purchase art and antiques to furnish his home as built his home to get his bulging collection out of warehouses. This led to incongruous elements such as the private cinema whose walls were lined with shelves of rare books. The floor plan of the Main Building is chaotic due to his habit of buying centuries-old ceilings, which dictated the proportions and decor of various rooms.

Hearst Castle featured 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres (0.5 km) of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a movie theater, an airfield, and the world’s largest private zoo. Zebras and other exotic animals still roam the grounds. Morgan, an accomplished civil engineer, devised a gravity-based water delivery system which transports water from artesian wells on the slopes of Pine Mountain, a 3,500-foot (1,100 m) high peak 7 miles (11 km) east of Hearst Castle, to a reservoir on Rocky Butte, a 2,000-foot (610 m) knoll less than a mile southeast from Hearst Castle.

One highlight of the estate is the outdoor Neptune Pool, located near the edge of the hilltop, which offers an expansive vista of the mountains, ocean and the main house. The Neptune Pool patio features an ancient Roman temple front, transported wholesale from Europe and reconstructed at the site. Hearst was an inveterate tinkerer, and would tear down structures and rebuild them at a whim. For example, the Neptune Pool was rebuilt three times before Hearst was satisfied. As a consequence of Hearst’s persistent design changes, the estate was never completed in his lifetime.

Invitations to Hearst Castle were highly coveted during its heyday in the 1920s and ’30s. The Hollywood and political elite often visited, usually flying into the estate’s airfield or taking a private Hearst-owned train car from Los Angeles. Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Bob Hope, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Dolores Del Rio, and Winston Churchill were among Hearst’s A-list guests. While guests were expected to attend the formal dinners each evening, they were normally left to their own devices during the day while Hearst directed his business affairs. Since “the Ranch” had so many facilities, guests were rarely at a loss for things to do. The estate’s theater usually screened films from Hearst’s own movie studio, Cosmopolitan Productions…” (from Wikipedia)

A closer look at guests arriving at Hearst Castle is related in “CASTLE FARE”; the foreword to the 1965 cookbooklet was written by William Randolph Hearst Jr., who writes, “I first started sampling the food as a kid at San Simeon along about 1919…practically all of the perishable food – beef and venison, all sorts of poultry, eggs, most of the fish, vegetables and fruits were raised, shot, caught or grown and eaten right there on the place, which, of course, contributes a great deal to the savory result.

The cooking was, with exception of a very few dishes, just plain American home cooking. By this I don’t mean Grandma Hearst or Mom did it themselves, but I do mean that there was a minimum of dishes done in a fancy French or Italian style.

There were some, of course, as Pop was a great fancier of fowl and raised literally dozens of varieties of pheasant, guinea hen and partridges, ducks, geese, and what not, right there on the ranch…”

William Randolph Hearst Jr goes on to write that while…the food was plainly cooked, his father was not…a steak and potato man. His taste ran more to fowl and birds, lamb chops, cornbeef (sic) and cabbage, ham and hominy grits, and on occasion rare roast beef, kidneys, tripe, etc. rather than T-bone.

The senior Mr. Hearst was also a nibbler, rarely passing a bowl of nuts or candy or fruit without sampling it. He never touched scotch or gin but enjoyed a glass of wine or beer with most of his meals. While the younger Hearst never saw his father drinking brandy, he did have a sweet tooth for liqueurs like Cointreau, Benedictine and crème de menthe.

William Randolph Hearst was also a late sleeper…and if he had breakfast at all it might be a bit of fresh fruit and a cup of coffee with at least half hot milk.

Lunch would be about 1:30 pm, dinner around 8:30 or 9:00 pm, followed by a movie. At luncheon, it was expected that guests be prompt since this meal was served buffet style. Often there were still roaming around the grounds when the luncheon hour arrive, so the butler would pick up the brass cow bell located conveniently on the top of an antique anvil…step out the front door and ring the bell vigorously.

At seven in the evening, guests would start to gather in the Assembly Hall or Living room for cocktails, which were mixed and served by the butlers. Mr. Hearst usually did not appear until 8 pm. He would relax for an hour before dinner, with his little dachshund, Helena, close by. Guests would wander in singly or in small groups to greet and have a few words with their host. At 9 pm, the butler would announce dinner and invite guests to enter one of the most harmonious and beautiful rooms in the castle. This dining room is now referred to as the Refectory and if you have ever toured Hearst Castle, you would be impressed, first and foremost, by the size of the room (67’ long, 27 ft wide) and has a 16th century ceiling from a monastery in Northern Italy. The ceiling displays Christian saints carved from cedar and linden wood. The dining tables are Monastic Refectory tables that are long and narrow because 300 years ago, when Monks dined at these tables, discipline dictated meditation rather than conversation during meals; consequently, the religious only sat at one side of the table.

In contrast to the tables, the chairs are modern reproductions of a 16th Century Dante chair. These copies were, however, made from antique walnut furniture that could not be salvaged so that in a sense are antique themselves. Each chair will fold similar to a camp stool. When Sharon and I toured Hearst Castle in August of 2008, it was almost impossible to take it all in. Tour guides do explain things as you are walking along, but the opulence and sheer magnitude of everything you are seeing makes it almost impossible to take it all in.
If you are interested in visiting Hearst Castle at San Simeon, (and a million visitors a year do so) I suggest booking a motel room in San Luis Obispo, a fantastic college town only about 50 miles south of Hearst Castle, or book at one of the motels along Pismo Beach. It doesn’t take that long to get there. You can pack a picnic lunch, if you like, and enjoy it across the road from the entrance, at a park with a pier.

Whenever I have been there, the park has been doing a bustling business; it might be a good idea to reserve tickets for one of the tours. This is what I have done the last two times I visited Hearst Castle.

I can only imagine how magnificent it must have been when William Randolph Hearst was in residence, living in this impossibly beautiful place – most certainly and surely La Cuesta Encantada. For recipes and more information about Hearst Castle back in the day, you might want to find a copy of CASTLE FARE. I noticed some copies are available on

–Sandra Lee Smith