Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 1

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 1

On our recent visit back home, I borrowed a cookery book from my mom, which originally belonged to her mom.  It is a little worse for ware but is filled with just short of 900 pages of 26 chapters of information and 2 600 recipes.  I have not yet had the opportunity to sit down and read through the book but on a brief glance I have found loose pieces of newspaper clippings for various recipes, some scribbles which I am sure were made my mom, her brother and sister, a template for a 5 inch cookie star and some handwritten recipes in the back pages with pounds (lb) and ounces (oz) measurements.

I was amused to spot the following in the second chapter “Table Setting and Decoration” under the do’s and don’ts:

Don’t try to be grand.  Everyone sees through it and nothing is so forlorn as a pretentious party.  The most distinguished entertaining is simple, done with ease and naturalness.”

Do put cigarettes and ash trays on the table.  In spite of the custom of passing these after the salad course, people will smoke throughout the meal and you might as well be prepared.”

There are also some antiquated amusing reads like:

Service of Dinner: If you are so fortunate as to have a well-trained maid your role is an easy one.  But it is the hostess without skilled help, who still manages to entertain with grace and distinction, who is the everlasting envy of her friends.”

After-dinner Coffee: After dessert the coffee is served in the living-room.  The cups, already filled and on a tray, may be passed by the maid to each guest.  Or the hostess may prefer to pour the coffee herself, in which case the maid brings in a tray holding after-dinner coffee service and cups, waits while the hostess pours and then hands the cups to the guests.  Small lumps of sugar but no cream are served.”

How things have changed!  I would be really taken to task by the writers of “Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book” if they saw our casual braai evenings with family and friends!

I am looking forward to reading through this weighty book (1.566kg to be exact), page for page and sharing more fun and interesting things with you from yesteryear.  The book was copyrighted for the years 1942 through 1945 and even includes a Wartime Postscript.

It seems there are hundreds and hundreds of great recipes to try too!

29 thoughts on “Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 1

  1. Mandy, this is a riot. I found some similar scriptures in a “How To Entertain” book from the ’50s. Oh, how easy life would be if we all had maids to serve coffee and dessert, haha. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog. I appreciate your support!

  2. My M-I-L has something similar (or the same) which I want! It has a section on how to make tea 🙂 She was given it by her F-I-L with an inscription “feed the beast” 🙂

    • This book has a couple of pages on making tea too. I will report back once I get around to reading those pages.
      What a treasured book your M-I-L has, maybe you could “borrow” it for a while. 😉

  3. Oh, lordy!! How I wish I were fortunate enough to have a well trained maid.
    But, to be honest, I can barely train my kids to pick up after themselves, let alone wander around with trays of coffee!

  4. How fantastic to find that book. Please do share more posts like this. I love ’em. Fascinating to read about the ash trays “on” the dinner table., imagine ‘lighting up’ these days at the dining table, everyone would look at you as if you were a leper 🙂

  5. This made me smile. What a wonderful book to have. Especially as it’s been in the family so long… That’s not even that long ago and things have changed so much… Cigerettes after salad eh?

  6. I have a passion for old cookery books myself. The volume (more of an extensive achive actually) that I inherited from my grandmother is well over 100 years old! You must take a look at my blog sometime!

  7. I was wondering if this copy of the Woman’s Home Companion Cookbook has a recipe called TAKE IT EASY WHITE CAKE. My mother used to make this cake from her 1955 version of this cookbook but I have not had success finding this recipe.

  8. My MIL made ‘cream cheese cookies’ for years from a recipe in this book. My husband says she would roll the dough and use cookie cutters. The only recipes we can find are ones using a cookie press or ‘drop’ recipes. If anyone has this book could you please look in the book for the ‘Cream Cheese Cookie’ recipe and message me? Thank you for your help in advance.

    • Hi Leslie, I’m out of country until the end of February, please may I ask you to send me a reminder then and I will get my mom’s copy and find the recipe for you. Thanks so much. Have a super day. 🙂 xo

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