The General Foods Kitchens Cookbook

I spotted this on the FREE shelf at the library today:


I’m a huge fan of vintage cookbooks, so of course I snapped it up. Published in 1959, it’s full of recipes and tips, divided, not by type of food, but by menu.

First, there are the everyday meals – foods you’d serve your family. Then come the more elaborate meals you’d plan for special occasions or holidays.

Of course, I turned right away to the section on weddings. I always like to compare vintage weddings to the kind of giant, expensive affairs we see now. Sure enough, there were several pages devoted to the mother of the bride who is willing to tackle the catering of the wedding reception herself.


What a woman!

Granted, the guest list for her affair is much smaller than what we typically see; only twenty-four people.

But still!

And then there are the recipes for the wedding cake and the “Groom’s Cake”. I never had a Groom’s Cake at my wedding. I didn’t even think to have one. Did I miss out? I hope not. The recipe actually looks pretty good – sort of fruit cake-y.

Not all of the occasions in General Foods Kitchen are so fancy. There are tips for spur of the moment entertaining, too. Like,




For the unexpected guest your husband brings home, General Foods gives tips on how to stretch your meal (“…that little package of Lima beans will make a proud showing if you add an equal amount of kernel corn, or a can of tomatoes.”). And, in the instance of the snow storm, it recommends soup from canned goods in your pantry, a bowl of crackers, “and a barrel of coffee”.


What to serve the person who’s lost his appendix? Actually, this section is more in support of the mother of the invalid. General Foods suggests you rise to the occasion and send over duplicates of your own meals (just cook double what you normally would). And don’t skimp on the desserts!

Which I think is pretty good advice at any time of life, really. Dessert can be so good for morale.

Which makes me think of that Groom’s Cake again. Should I make one just to see what it’s like?

From the dining room table, wondering…,

Mrs. Smythe

4 Comments on “The General Foods Kitchens Cookbook

  1. That’s awesome. Now it would be “It’s snowing outside . . . you better leave now so you aren’t stuck and I have to feed all of you.” 🙂

  2. What a find! I love those illustrations.
    I didn’t have grooms cake at my wedding because I didn’t want it. My sister did-it was still a pretty regular tradition then. I put it (in the box) under my pillow because you were supposed to dream of your future husband. Of course I was only nine at the time so it was a little early! It is a fruitcake, which is probably one of the reasons it fell out of favour. That, and the enormous expense of everything else!

    • I’d heard about the cake-in-the-box-under-the-pillow tradition before, but only in books. How fun that you actually did that! And, so true about the expense of weddings. I’m sure when people are listing all the “must-haves” for their receptions these days, the fruitcake is among the first to go. 🙂 I actually like fruitcake, though. I know. Strange.