Tools of the Trade: Cooking Bibles

3 Jul

Before any Christians get their panties in a bunch, I’m not talking about chucking the New Testament into a stock pot. I’m talking about those cookbooks that you keep going back to because they contain basic but critical cooking knowledge. Yes, as much as I LOVE Pinterest for discovering new recipes, there are two specific cookbooks that I keep coming back to because they have tried and true recipes for the core comfort food that we all grew up on. That’s why they’ve been reprinted for decades and why there are fierce battles on eBay for reprints. 🙂

So, what are my two desert island cookbooks?

One is Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, specifically the ‘red pie’ edition first printed in 1969 – the hardcover, not the 5 ring binder. 

Courtesy of Vintage Victuals

What makes Betty so awesome over 40 years later? This book is filled with core recipes like scalloped potatoes, yorkshire pudding, 7 minute frosting and things that are making a comeback like chess pie.

It’s got great visual instructions on how do to things like cut a pineapple, make a lattice pie crust and what cuts of meat come from what part of the cow.

It actually contains the first recipe I ever made – chef’s salad – for a project in the third grade. Why I chose to make salad for third graders, I have no idea. The kids who made snowball cookies and French toast were a lot more popular.

Betty’s book is still being printed and I in fact have a more ‘modern’ version as well. It still has some good stuff, but it’s been heavily pared down and crammed full of modern classics like buffalo chicken wings, totally missing some of the stuff that made the original so awesome.

Now to get your hands on one of these, you can either pilfer it from your mom’s collection, or you can jump on eBay and hope not to get outbid (I’ve seen copies go for as much as $100 depending on the condition). The best way to find one is likely at your local used book store though. The prices are generally more fair and you don’t have to pay shipping!

Desert island cookbook #2 is the Purity Cookbook. 

The edition on the market now was carefully reproduced from the 1967 edition. It’s got great charts for roasting all kinds of meats and recipes for just about everything that your grandmother probably put on her table, unfortunately including ‘gelatin desserts’.

Given the fact it was published by a flour company, the breads section is especially great with instructions for lots of classic loaves, waffles, muffins, scones and biscuits. The page that is most marked in this book for me is the apple crisp though. The Purity version is nicely sweet and bakes up very crispy on the edges. MMM. Now I want apple crisp.

There’s really no excuse not to pick this book up. At under $20 and readily available on Amazon and Chapters it should be part of your collection if it isn’t already. Makes a great shower gift for upcoming weddings!

One Response to “Tools of the Trade: Cooking Bibles”


  1. Recipe: Traditional Apple Crisp « baconavecbacon - February 10, 2013

    […] is an adaptation of a recipe from the ‘All New Purity Cookbook’ originally printed in 1967. It’s a classic Canadian cookbook and reprints are readily […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: