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This story from the LATimes foucuses on a different kind of book, all together.
Paging through old cookbooks published by women\'s organizations is more fun
than reading novels. Along with recipes, they offer tender memories of families
and friends, historical insights, unassuming humor, inspirational tidbits, practical
It\'s like peeping into other people\'s lives, at least the parts of their lives that
revolved around the kitchen and dining room. The bonus is access to treasured
family recipes, set down in print for what was probably the first and only time. hink of the traditions represented by Old Aunt\'s Cookies, Grandmother\'s
Chocolate Cake, Aunt Jessie\'s Boiled Salad Dressing, Grace\'s Wedding Cake and
Mother Hughes\' English Mincemeat.
You can almost smell the aroma of baking bread while reading Kia Lund\'s
recollections of baking day in Kodiak, Alaska. In \"Joys of Ethnic Cooking,\" an
undated book from the Los Angeles Orthodox Club, she wrote: \"In Alaska we did
things from scratch, and our kitchen smelled so good from the beginning of the
yeast until the last smell of fresh baked bread went out the window.\"
Edith Westmoreland provided an interesting literary note about lamb stew. She
wrote: \"At sheep-shearing time, on the ranch in San Diego County where Helen
Hunt Jackson was staying gathering material for her book \'Ramona,\' they made a
stew enjoyed by the family, guests, ranch hands and sheep-shearers alike. A stew
so delicious, she included it in her book.\" Westmoreland gave two versions of the
stew, one concocted by her mother, the other her own.
Cookbooks such as these were usually sold through the organizations that
compiled them and not in bookstores. Most vanished within a few years of
publication. Places to find them today are used bookstores; thrift shops; garage,
rummage and library sales; and the catalogs of specialists who deal in antiquarian
cookbooks. The rewards are twofold: good home cooking and a good read.