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Historical Cooking Books: Metropolitan Cookbook by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (1964)

June 17th, 2018 No comments

Archive.org has a host of old cookery books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. I happened across a few in my Pinterest feed and gone completely down the rabbit hole in this treasure trove of information. Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these books. I’ll be sharing more books as I find them in the coming weeks. –Douglas


Something a little newer this week, but still probably ancient history to our children. If you are looking for that favorite childhood recipe, maybe you’ll find it here. The graphics are so cute and deeply remind me of my own childhood when this style was particularly in fashion. This edition was from the month and year of my birth, so it probably would have been seen in some family or friend’s house while I was growing up. — Douglas

Metropolitan Cookbook by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (1964)

Metro cookbook cover

Historical Cooking Books: Metropolitan Cookbook by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (1964)

Available in PDF, Text, JPG formats, and more

Metropolitan Life

A INSURANCE COMPANY

(A MUTUAL COMPANY) HOME OFFICE. NEW YORK, SINCE 1668

HEAD OFFICE. SAM FRANCISCO. SINCE l»OI

HEAD OFFICE. OTTAWA. SINCE 1924

OVER 1,000 LOCAL OFFICES IN U.SA AND CANADA

Learn more about cooking history with these books

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Categories: Books, Cooking, Food, History Tags:

Historical Cooking Books: The White House cookbook : a comprehensive cyclopedia of information for the home (1903)

June 10th, 2018 No comments

Archive.org has a host of old cookery books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. I happened across a few in my Pinterest feed and gone completely down the rabbit hole in this treasure trove of information. Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these books. I’ll be sharing more books as I find them in the coming weeks. –Douglas


Information on all aspects of house holding, including where various cut of meat come from, how they are best used, caring for the sick and much more. — Douglas

The White House cookbook : a comprehensive cyclopedia of information for the home; containing cooking, toilet, and household recipes, menus, dinner-giving, table etiquette, care of the sick, health suggestions, facts worth knowing, etc.

Historical Cooking Books: The White House cookbook : a comprehensive cyclopedia of information for the home (1903)Historical Cooking Books: The White House cookbook : a comprehensive cyclopedia of information for the home (1903)

Available in PDF, Text, JPG formats, and more

In presenting to the public the “White House Cook Book,” the publishers believe they can justly claim that it more fully represents the progress and present perfection of the culinary art than any previous work. In point of authorship, it stands preeminent. Hugo Ziemann was at one time caterer for that Prince Napoleon who was killed while fighting the Zulus in Africa, He was afterwards steward of the famous Hotel Splendide in Paris. Later he conducted the celebrated Brunswick Cafe in New York, and still later he gave to the Hotel Kichelieu, in Chicago, a cuisine which won the applause of even the gourmets of foreign lands. It was here that he laid the famous “ spread ” to which the chiefs of the warring factions of the Kepublican Convention sat down in June, 1888 , and from which they arose with asperities softened, differences harmonized and victory organized.

Mrs. F. L. Gillette is no less proficient and capable, having made a life-long and thorough study of cookery and housekeeping, especially as adapted to the practical wants of average American homes.

The book has been prepared with great care. Every recipe has been tried and tested, and can be relied upon as one of the best of its kind. It is comprehensive, filling completely, it is believed, the requirements of housekeepers of all classes. It embodies several original and commendable features, among which may be mentioned the menus for the holidays and for one week in each month in the year, thus covering all varieties of seasonable foods ; the convenient classification and arrangement of topics ; the simplified method of explanation in preparing an article, in the order of manipulation, thereby enabling the most inexperienced to clearly comprehend it.

More Information About This Book

Publication date 1903
Topics Cooking, American
Publisher Akron, Ohio ; New York ; Chicago : Saalfield
Collection leedsuniversitylibrary; ukmhl; medicalheritagelibrary; europeanlibraries
Digitizing sponsor Jisc and Wellcome Library
Contributor University of Leeds Library
Language English

Learn more about cooking history with these books

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Categories: Books, Cooking, Food, History Tags:

Reading – Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson – 19 in a series

June 5th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson – 19 in a series

Reading -  Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson - 19 in a series

It takes a special talent to explain science — and write a book on highly scientific topics — without erring in 2 possible ways. Typically science books for the layman go into far too much detail with far too much technical jargon and quickly leave the reader disheartened. They want to understand, but without a good intermediary to help bridge the gap from expert to everyman, they fail.

Secondly, science can be explained in such a simplistic way that the reader is left wondering about its importance to the world and also, perhaps, about why scientists find it so difficult to make theoretical and experiential headway into the particular topic. Scientists are always trying to find the “sweet spot” between over complication and oversimplification and it is a difficult path to walk.

Thankfully, Neil Degrasse Dyson has, for whatever reasons, been blessed with the ability to clearly explain complicated scientific concepts to the average person without either talking over their heads or, even worse, talking down to them. This collection of essays holds together nicely as a book, something that doesn’t always happen. Thinking back over my reading there were perhaps 2 times when I lost the thread of what was being discussed, but a quick re-read of a particularly troublesome section seemed to clear it up, at least enough for my purposes. When I read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking† there were many times when I felt hopelessly lost in the world of theoretical physics, but Astrophysics for People in a Hurry kept me involved, enlightened and educated throughout.

While many of us will never have a need for a deep knowledge of Astrophysics, I am a great believer in knowing a little about a lot. Learning new theories, reading new books and absorbing new ideas keeps us growing throughout our lives. Pick up a copy of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry and I think you will enjoy the trip through the cosmos in all its, sometimes confusing, glory.

From Amazon.com…

What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Books, Education, Science Tags:

Historical Cooking Books: Perfect Cooking, I. A. Sheppard & Co.(1890)

June 4th, 2018 Comments off

Archive.org has a host of old cookery books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. I happened across a few in my Pinterest feed and gone completely down the rabbit hole in this treasure trove of information. Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these books. I’ll be sharing more books as I find them in the coming weeks. –Douglas


Scrolling through the archive, the artwork on the cover of this book immediately caught my eye. It is a lovely representation of the way cooking had been only a few decades before this pamphlet was published. I thought it would be a guide on cookery of the era, but instead it is a sales brochure for variety of coal fired ranges that were the state-of-the-art technology for turn-of-the-century homes. It is very interesting to look back on the kitchen technology of the past. Sometimes it is only in retrospect that we can truly appreciate what we have today.

Perfect Cooking, I. A. Sheppard & Co.(1890)

Historical Cooking Books: Perfect Cooking, I. A. Sheppard & Co.(1890)Historical Cooking Books: Perfect Cooking, I. A. Sheppard & Co.(1890)

Perfect cooking cannot be had from imperfect cooking apparatus ; and because of the facts stated above, the time is rapidly passing by, if, indeed, it has not already gone, when one form of cooking apparatus could be regarded as M about as good as another,” and when any range that a builder or owner might choose to put into a house would be accepted as satisfac- tory, without further question on the part of purchaser or tenant. “One range is just as good as another,” used to be often said by those who had houses to sell ; and it was sometimes believed by those who were about to buy; but now, tenants and buyers have come to know better; and when they hear that familiar saying, they at once suspect that the range that is so feebly commended must be inferior in quality. They have found out that some ranges are made of better material than others, and are therefore, more durable; that some ranges will carryfire better than others, and, therefore, require less attention ; that some will bake and roast more quickly and per- fectly than others ; that some possess convenient appliances which make them more pleasant to use than others ; and also that some are far superior to others in beauty of design and finish.

More Information About This Book

Publication date c.1890
Usage Public Domain Mark 1.0
Topics kitchens, Division 11, residential kitchen appliances, stoves, ranges
Publisher I. A. Sheppard & Co.
Collection buildingtechnologyheritagelibrary; additional_collections; catalogs
Contributor Canadian Centre for Architecture
Language English

Learn more about cooking history with these books

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Categories: Books, Cooking, Food, History Tags:

Reading – This is Taco! by Andrew Cangelose (Author),‎ Josh Shipley (Artist) – 17 in a series

May 1st, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – This is Taco! by Andrew Cangelose (Author),‎ Josh Shipley (Artist) – 17 in a series

How about a little respite from adult books this week with this excellent, delightful and beautifully drawn children’s book, This is Taco! This is a great companion book if you have squirrels in your garden. It lets kids learn about squirrels while also enjoying a funny tale…and who doesn’t love tacos?

Having read MANY children’s books over the years, This is Taco! would have been a wonderful one to have back in the days when Joseph was a child. It is fun, humorous and has a silly, yet lovable, character. The artwork is engaging and really brings out the personality of the main character. The best praise I can offer is that I don’t think I would have minded reading this one over and over to my child and I think you’ll find that true for you, too. Pick up a copy for your kids, your nieces, your nephews, your friend’s kids and more!

Taco 1

Taco 2

Taco 3

From Amazon.com…

This is a squirrel . . . “Hey, I may be a squirrel, but my name is Taco! And I don’t eat nuts and tree bark—blech—I prefer tacos!” The natural predator of squirrels is . . . “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Who is writing this book? I do not like where this is going.” This hilarious send-up of a children’s nature primer teaches kids that the most important story is the one you write yourself.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Reading – Toast and Jam by Sarah Owens – 16 in a series

April 12th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – Toast and Jam by Sarah Owens – 16 in a series

While I am a fairly experienced cook, this book, despite its simple name, was a bit intimidating. Yes, it is truly a book devoted to Toast and Jam, but this is toast and bread unlike you have probably made in your home before.

I would classify this as a cookbook for advanced users — someone looking to challenge themselves and their skills. You’ll learn a great deal about baking by weight, bread made with tahini and sourdough starter and seeds of all description and jams made with melons and sage and sumac. This is certainly not your average, Joy of Cooking, cookbook for beginners.

Still, there is something to be said for taking on a challenge, even if you fail on occasion. If you learn from your mistakes you are sure to improve your baking skills and improve your life, too.

With that in mind, check out Toast and Jam and give it a try.

From Amazon.com…

Bread and butter, toast and jam, scones and clotted cream—baked goods have a long tradition of being paired with spreads to make their flavors and textures sing. As a baker with a passion for plants, Sarah Owens, author of the James Beard award–winning Sourdough, takes these simple pairings in fresh new directions. Spread some Strawberry & Meyer Lemon Preserves on a piece of Buckwheat Milk Bread for a special springtime treat. Top a slice of Pain de Mie with Watermelon Jelly for a bright taste of summer. Lather some Gingered Sweet Potato Butter on a piece of Spiced Carrot Levain for a warming fall breakfast. Make a batch of Dipping Chips to serve with Preserved Lemon and Fava Bean Hummus for an inspired snack. Wow brunch guests with a spread of Sourdough Whole-Grain Bagels, Lemony Herb Chèvre, and Beet-Cured Gravlax. The recipes here offer a thoroughly fresh sensibility for the comfort found in a simple slice of toast spread with jam.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Baking, Books, Bread, Cooking, Food Tags:

Reading – Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser – 15 in a series

April 3rd, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser – 15 in a series

This is an amazing memoir of 2 amazing women who learned fairly early in life that girls do indeed code (or program). They found each other during a “Girls Who Code” program and together helped change the world in a unique way — not only showing the programming can be a talent and profession but also addressing a women’s issue (menstruation stigma) that they had faced directly.

Tampon Run is a small, side-scrolling game that they created during the workshop, but it soon took on its own energy and power and led to international exposure for both Andrea and Sophie.

Read this engaging story told from 2 unique perspectives and learn how early experiences can shape the life and career of anyone.

Reading - Girl Code by by Andrea Gonzales  and Sophie Houser - 15 in a series

Play the game

Reading - Girl Code by by Andrea Gonzales  and Sophie Houser - 15 in a series

Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser

** My version of this book was available from the Los Angeles Public Library in print and ebook versions.

From Amazon.com…

Perfect for aspiring coders everywhere, Girl Code is the story of two teenage tech phenoms who met at Girls Who Code summer camp, teamed up to create a viral video game, and ended up becoming world famous. The book also includes bonus content to help you start coding!

Fans of funny and inspiring books like Maya Van Wagenen’s Popular and Caroline Paul’s Gutsy Girl will love hearing about Andrea “Andy” Gonzales and Sophie Houser’s journey from average teens to powerhouses.

Through the success of their video game, Andy and Sophie got unprecedented access to some of the biggest start-ups and tech companies, and now they’re sharing what they’ve seen. Their video game and their commitment to inspiring young women have been covered by the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, CNN, Teen Vogue, Jezebel, the Today show, and many more.

Get ready for an inside look at the tech industry, the true power of coding, and some of the amazing women who are shaping the world. Andy and Sophie reveal not only what they’ve learned about opportunities in science and technology but also the true value of discovering your own voice and creativity.

A Junior Library Guild selection

A Children’s Book Council Best STEM Trade Book for Students K-12

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Books, Business, Make, Science, Technology Tags:

Reading – The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore by Robert Simonson- 14 in a series

March 20th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore Robert Simonson – 14 in a series

Reading - The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World's First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore by Robert Simonson- 14 in a series

“What?”, you say? “An entire book about one cocktail?”

“Yes!”, I say. “And what a cocktail it is!”

The Old-Fashioned takes us through the long and complicated history of what is arguably America’s favorite cocktail. I know, for myself, that this has become my go-to tipple whether at home our out on the town. It is deceptively simple and when well made almost perfect. The woody bite of bourbon, a slight sweetness from your favorite sweetener (mine is maple syrup), a splash of bitter to mellow it all together and a slice of orange to complete both the taste and visual profile. Yum!

What started out as a relatively straightforward combination went through many changes over the years including the changing of ingredients, overburdening the drink with fruit and changing tastes, but a group of old-fashioned purists wrestled back the Old-Fashioned into something eloquently playable and ready to be experimented with once more. You’ll find old and new recipes here, showing you a place to start as well as excellent places to travel with your favorite cocktail.

** My version of this book was available from the Los Angeles Public Library in print and ebook versions.

From Amazon.com…

A complete history of one of the world’s most iconic cocktails–now the poster child of the modern cocktail revival–with fifty recipes for classic variations as well as contemporary updates.

No single cocktail is as iconic, as beloved, or as discussed and fought-over as the Old-Fashioned. Its formula is simple: just whiskey, bitters, sugar, and ice. But how you combine those ingredients—in what proportion, using which brands, and with what kind of garnish—is the subject of much impassioned debate.

The Old-Fashioned is the spirited, delightfully unexpected story of this renowned and essential drink: its birth as the ur-cocktail in the nineteenth century, darker days in the throes of Prohibition, re-ascension in the 1950s and 1960s (as portrayed and re-popularized by Don Draper on Mad Men), and renaissance as the star of the contemporary craft cocktail movement.

Also featured are more than forty cocktail recipes, including classic variations, regional twists, and contemporary updates from top bartenders around the country. All are accessible, delicious, and elegant in their simplicity, demonstrating the versatility and timelessness of the Old-Fashioned formula. 

With its rich history, stunning photography, and impeccable recipes, The Old-Fashioned is a celebration of one of America’s greatest bibulous achievements. It is a necessary addition to any true whiskey- or cocktail-lover’s bookshelf, and destined to become a classic on par with its namesake beverage.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library.
Check it out! † Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Books, Drinks, Food, History, Recipe Tags:

Reading – The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty – 13 in a series

March 11th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty – 13 in a series

Reading - The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty - 13 in a series

A dizzying swirl of food and life and history and slavery and food and genealogy and stories and Africa and everything else that is a part of Twitty’s life. I learned and/or felt something new on every page.

I originally decided to read this book as it was about food and food history, but as I made my way through it I discovered so much more. Even with an authority on United States Slavery living here in my own home, I still learned even more about it with each page. Twitty’s journey to discover who he is by discovering where he came from is a familiar one, but also unique in so many ways. Informed by DNA analysis, deep food-ways research, personal stories and his encounters with people throughout the American South delve deeper into the past and root out basic historical reasons why food, race, history, and families are so complicated today.

At times this book is hard to read. The stories are just too despairing and most modern readers have no frame of reference. It does force you to face the past — all of the past — and come out a better person on the other side with a deeper, if still imperfect, understanding of our collective history.

As other reviewers have mentioned, I wish there had been more recipes throughout the book, that isn’t really its purpose. The recipes provide cultural touchstones but it is the stories that resonate long after you close the covers.

** My version of this book was available from the Los Angeles Public Library in print and ebook versions.

From Amazon.com…

A renowned culinary historian offers a fresh perspective on our most divisive cultural issue, race, in this illuminating memoir of Southern cuisine and food culture that traces his ancestry—both black and white—through food, from Africa to America and slavery to freedom.

Southern food is integral to the American culinary tradition, yet the question of who “owns” it is one of the most provocative touch points in our ongoing struggles over race. In this unique memoir, culinary historian Michael W. Twitty takes readers to the white-hot center of this fight, tracing the roots of his own family and the charged politics surrounding the origins of soul food, barbecue, and all Southern cuisine.

From the tobacco and rice farms of colonial times to plantation kitchens and backbreaking cotton fields, Twitty tells his family story through the foods that enabled his ancestors’ survival across three centuries. He sifts through stories, recipes, genetic tests, and historical documents, and travels from Civil War battlefields in Virginia to synagogues in Alabama to Black-owned organic farms in Georgia.

As he takes us through his ancestral culinary history, Twitty suggests that healing may come from embracing the discomfort of the Southern past. Along the way, he reveals a truth that is more than skin deep—the power that food has to bring the kin of the enslaved and their former slaveholders to the table, where they can discover the real America together.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library.
Check it out! † Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Books, Cooking, Education, History Tags:

Reading – Cinemaps: An Atlas of 35 Great Movies by by Andrew Degraff and‎ A.D. Jameson – 12 in a series

February 26th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – Cinemaps: An Atlas of 35 Great Movies by by Andrew Degraff and A.D. Jameson – 12 in a series

Reading - Cinemaps: An Atlas of 35 Great Movies by by Andrew Degraff and  A.D. Jameson - 12 in a series

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See more cinemaps on the author’s web site

All movies take place in a world of their own design and Cinemaps helps to map out those spaces for 35 of our favorite movies from Star Wars to Pulp Fiction to Back to the Future. Each map details the passage of the main charactear, showing how and where they encounter one another, diverge, and meet again throughout the passage the film. This is a new way of understanding films, providing a visual summary of the movies and a piece of art in its own right. A.D Jameson’s essays on each film provide more illumination to the “illuminated” maps showing how one informs the other.

A great gift for movie and map buffs!

** My version of this book was available from the Los Angeles Public Library in print and ebook versions.

From Amazon.com…

This beautifully illustrated atlas of beloved movies is an essential reference for cinephiles, fans of great films, and anyone who loves the art of mapmaking.

Acclaimed artist Andrew DeGraff has created beautiful hand-painted maps of all your favorite films, from King Kong and North by Northwest to The Princess Bride, Fargo, Pulp Fiction, even The Breakfast Club—with the routes of major characters charted in meticulous cartographic detail. Follow Marty McFly through the Hill Valley of 1985, 1955, and 1985 once again as he races Back to the Future. Trail Jack Torrance as he navigates the corridors of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. And join Indiana Jones on a globe-spanning journey from Nepal to Cairo to London on his quest for the famed Lost Ark. Each map is presented in an 11-by-14-inch format, with key details enlarged for closer inspection, and is accompanied by illuminating essays from film critic A. D. Jameson, who speaks to the unique geographies of each film.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library.
Check it out! † Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

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