Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sunset's Kitchen Cabinet Recipes

47. Sunset's
Kitchen Cabinet Recipes
Volumes One - Three, 1944
seventh book for Foodie's Reading Challenge
finished, 6/30/11

Recently I received an unexpected, and much appreciated gift from Andi, who writes the blog, In The Mood. In her note she said she's had them for many years, and 'it was time to pass them on.' Oh, how I love them. These are cookbooks which have been much loved and much used over the years. Just for fun I did a little search to see if there were any poems about old cookbooks, and I came upon this gem.

My grandma’s old cookbook is aged and forlorn.
The pages are grease stained, each faded and worn.
The spine is collapsed and the cover’s askew,

revealing, in no way, what this book could do.
A barrel of cookies, sweet, fresh lemonade,
roasts, casseroles, salads this ancient book made. It brought love and caring to both young and old,
delivering happiness not bought or sold.
Its owner and user breathed life to this book,
by sharing herself with each recipe cooked.

True gifts from her heart were delivered with love,
presented on earth for her Father above.
Her gentle, sweet kindness was blended with care.
A silent reminder that she had been there
to welcome your newborn…

to ease every ill…

true unselfish gestures of love and goodwill.
So don’t be deceived by the physical book,
but rather… rejoice in the wonderful cook.

Just cherish and honor each frayed, weathered page,

for pure, loving kindness has brought forth its age.
by Jane-Ann Heitmeuller

These books were all published by Sunset Magazine in 1944, and each volume contains an 'about the book' page which says:
For over fifteen years, leading homemakers of the Pacific West have submitted their favorite recipes to The Kitchen Cabinet, an illustrated recipe section in Sunset, the Magazine of Western Living. The demand from subscribers who had been collecting these recipes in scrap-books led to the publication of a portion of them several years ago in Sunset's Kitchen Cabinet Cook Book.
Now, ALL the The Kitchen Cabinet recipes printed over a period of fifteen years may be had in handy book form in a three-volume set. This book, Volume One, contains those recipes originally printed in Sunset Magazine from 1929-1933. Volume Two covers another five-year period, 1934-1938, and Volume Three contains the recipes from the magazine for the years 1939 through 1943.
The books are treasures to me. I love everything about these cookbooks. Each page offers recipes from real people, most of them called Mrs. so and so. There are little drawings, and there are meal plans.

There are occasional tips.

And sometimes the recipes

are accompanied by illustrated directions.

Here's one from Miss F.S. Ridgefield. Oven fries/potato chips from the 1930s!

I expect you'll be seeing many of the recipes in my letters as time goes on. For today, I made one from Volume Two called -

Graham Cracker-Apple Pudding

It comes from Mrs. R.E.W., San Rafael, California with her notes.

My husband declares he could eat one of these puddings every night of the week without growing tired of it! It is so easy to make that I am tempted to try out the idea.

1 cupful of graham cracker crumbs
4 medium-sized apples, pared and sliced
1/2 cupful of chopped nuts
1/2 cupful of brown sugar
Juice of one lemon in 3/4 cupful of water

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and turn into a well buttered casserole. Bake, uncovered, in a moderate oven (375-400 degrees) for 25 minutes, or until apples are tender. Serve hot with cream.

Here it is on the page, with a meal plan included.

Just five ingredients -

to make this delicious dessert which is more apple-y than for example, an apple crisp.

So, I asked Tom if he, like Mr. R.E.W. of San Rafael, could eat it every night, and he said, 'not every night, but it is very good!'

[note: please ignore hole in ceiling. This came from a leaking bathtub, and shall be repaired as we slowly work on our kitchen]

I read this for the Foodie's Reading Challenge. Please do go visit the page to find many, many excellent food-related books. You may click on the various categories under Margot's blog header photo.


  1. I am so so glad you are enjoying the books! And it really was time to pass them on. I hope you'll find many recipes to try out as the days pass!

  2. Wonderful collection of recipes! My mum has a cook book (it is the original, not a reprint) from the 1880s, it contains some recipes we would consider very odd nowadays, and portions were HUGE - usually, households were bigger then, including staff, and people were generally eating more at meals because they did not snack around in between meal times, plus they worked a lot harder physically.
    Love the picture of Tom!! And had you not mentioned it, I don't think I would have looked at the hole in the ceiling :-)

  3. What a nice gift! :) And that sure looks like a yummy dessert! I may make it for a 4th of July gathering.

  4. Rabbit, rabbit!

    What a treasure trove you have in these. A most lovely gift, indeed, and what a fitting poem.

    I love cookbooks and often read them like novels, propped up in bed or on a cozy chair and I especially love older cookbooks like these. You remind me of some I have acquired that were from the Ford Motor Company that I keep meaning to write about. Thank you, for the post, and for the incentive to do that writing as well.

    You always inspire, Nan. Much thanks.

  5. I have made a similar apple recipe for years. It is from "The Complete Bean Cookbook". It uses soy flour and my husband (who must eat gluten-free) always liked it.
    Now, it seems that soy flour is not considered very healthy, so I've not made it for a while.

    Also, what about that next recipe, "Confection Celeste"? Any chance you could tell us about it.
    Better yet, make it and send it to me! HA! Happy 4th of JUly.

  6. I'm sure I will, Andi, and again I thank you so very much!

    Librarian, they are such wonderful books. What a great cookbook your mother has! That's a long time ago.

    Les, it's really delicious!

    Penny, I look forward to reading about them! Thank you for your kind words.

  7. Kay, I'll email it to you. :<)

  8. What fun! Nothing like the pleasure of reading old cookbooks - and you made something that looks yummy.
    yes to the rabbit rabbit person!

  9. Susan, I so enjoy recipes from real people like these books offer. Someone, somewhere might recognize their own mother's or grandmother's recipe.

  10. Congratulations on your acquisition! how cool!

  11. What a treasure you have indeed! I love recipes from that era and ones that ordinary cooks have tried. The apple recipe sounds so easy that I have to try it in a few months when the new apples come in season. I'm also glad you took pictures of the book to share with us. I get an idea of what the books are like from that.

  12. This looks delicious. I love fruit desserts and we eat many crisps but it is the fruit that appeals. I'll be giving this a try.

  13. Marie and Ann, I am so happy to have these books.

    Margot, I hope to post more recipes from these treasures. I, too love to see the inside of books. And again, I thank you for offering this challenge.

    Pat, you are right. The kind of fruit used changes a crisp, crumble, etc.

  14. oh my word I have been looking for this set of books again since my aunt took mine without ever asking, I had been out thrift store shopping one day and this little thin blue book caught my eye I picked it up looked it over and was instantly hooked on it (without even making one thing out of it) so I started rummaging thru all the books and you might know my short girl problems kicked as the last 2 books were on the very top shelf so I found a gentleman near by that was most gracious to help me as I giggled with glee over my new finds I quickly ran to the checkout paid for my books went directly to the grocery store and took my books in with me as I stood in the isles picking out my dinner for that evening but once it got to the desert I knew I had to make the applesauce cake my kids loved anything apple so I quickly got all my stuff for dinner rushed home and made my first dinner out of my new books! I had been so depressed after my aunt taking my books without asking I was lost but I found one on ETSY bought it but now I would love to get the other 2 back just no luck in finding them for sale so for now I will ready blogs from them much like yours and take down recipes so I will always have them your very lucky to have these books enjoy them to the fullest


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