Another Reason I Love Old Cookbooks

Posted by mrssmythe on February 4, 2014 in Kitchen, Musings |

Another thing I love about old cookbooks – and old books, in general – is the little clippings and slips of paper you often find among the pages.

The cookbook I brought home the other day had lots of these little papers, and I had a good time looking at them before I carefully tucked them back into the book’s pages.

There was a lovely recipe for “Oatmeal Bread.”


What do I love about this?

I love that it was written with something other than a ballpoint pen. I love that it was written on letterhead. And, I love that it’s the kind of recipe I’d be inclined to try myself – though I wonder just how much yeast is contained in a “yeast cake.”

This recipe, I will most likely not be trying.


Head cheese.

Can you imagine being at a ladies’ luncheon and saying to the woman next to you, “Marge, I have the best recipe for head cheese. You’ve just got to try it.” And then reaching into your purse, grabbing a piece of paper, and jotting it down for her.

Times have certainly changed.

Here’s a tamer recipe for something called “Lemon Cup.”


Different letterhead this time – different handwriting too. Did the owner of the book move? Or did the recipe come to her from an out-of-state friend or relative?

At some point, the owner must have moved – or, at least turned “snow bird” – because the final snippet I found was a bookmark for a library in Coconut Grove, Florida.


Maybe the head cheese recipe came from someone the cookbook’s owner met down south. Can’t you just see two women sitting on a sunny beach, enjoying the sand and the waves, and comparing recipes for head cheese?

Hey, it could happen.

From the dining room table, thinking a trip to Coconut Grove, Florida sounds rather nice right about now,

Mrs. Smythe



  • Sandy says:

    My mother loved head cheese. She would buy it at the market and put it on a sandwich. It was made of some meat type of meat embedded in a clear gel. Ugh, it looked awful. But, then, my mother also loved liverwurst….

  • Lisamariemik says:

    I found this online to help those of you eager to try these recipes. Happy Baking!

    Cake Yeast | Red Star Original – Red Star Yeast


    For this reason, many bakers have substituted Dry Yeast in their baking. Cake yeast is … 1/3 of a 2 oz. cake is equal to 1 packet (2+1/4 teaspoons) of dry yeast.

  • Grandma M says:

    I remember when yeast came in cakes. But I’d like to find the comparison to today’s dry yeast packets.I’d also like to try the
    oatmeal bread and the lemon cup. I’ll keep the recipes, just in case.
    Oh, and in my mothers recipes, I found some written in the hand of my great uncle who spent most of his years alone and was a wonderful cook. And I enjoy the recipes that were written in longhand and have
    them still in my recipe collection book. Wonder who will find my recipes someday!

    • mrssmythe says:

      Let me know how they turn out if you decide to make them. I’d love to see those recipes of your mother’s some day!

  • Amanda says:

    LOVE this!

  • Lisamariemik says:

    I think you maybe on to something with your theory of the former owner being a snow bird. The last recipe with the address of Sutton Manor in New Rochelle NY is a pretty nice neighborhood. Big homes right on the ocean.

    I imagine this lady is down living in sunny Florida, chatting it up with the other ladies , at her over 55 complex. While they float around in the pool on their noodles. Their topic of discussion today is, ” remember when we used to trade recipes of Head Cheese and Lemon Cups?” “Ya, I wonder what ever happened to that old recipe book.”

    • mrssmythe says:

      LisaMarie, how did you know that? Have you been to that area before? I looked it up on line after reading your comment, and you’re spot on. The house that matches the address on the stationary is gorgeous.

Comments are closed. Would you like to contact the author directly?

Copyright © 2013-2019 Mrs. Smythe All rights reserved.
This site is using the Desk Mess Mirrored theme, v2.5, from BuyNowShop.com.