Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking
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My story is: my father, a Korean immigrant, was a houseboy for many years in NY during the 1930s. When he began his own family and returned to the U.S., a former employer gave him this set. And where else can you learn about how to make tomato aspic and ham loaf?
A co-worker and friend of mine had taught some cooking classes and had quite a few cookbooks. When she and her husband divorced, HE got the Meta Givens and she was distraught. This was pre-internet days, and I called and drove all over Los Angeles and finally found both volumes for her, coverless, from different printings. It was the best I could do in 1990. I think I paid about $30 for one and $50 for the other. She was ecstatic to get them.
I moved to North Carolina in 1991. One day in 1992 I was in a ratty old second hand book store in Chapel Hill and there they were! Both volumes, dust jackets not perfect but pretty good, and I paid $10 for the set.
I use several of the recipes. My two favorites are her medium white sauce which I use now for EVERY recipe calling for white sauce, and her pumpkin pie recipe. The spices are different than what's on the Libby's can and we prefer it.
Re: Ham loaf... I use a recipe from a recent edition of Joy of Cooking. Once I made it, there was no way I could go back to making regular meat loaf-- it's just so much better. It will probably continue to be out of fashion until one of the Food Network bobbleheads pretends to invent it on one of their episodes.
Ortolan: Hopefully we'll make this a rare and coveted cookbook set--ask your foodie friends if they've heard of it.
This is one of the few books that I use from that collection and I love it, although, I couldn't say which recipes are my favorites right now. I'm out of town, so I can't check my tags.
I have limited space in my tiny apartment and all of my cook books are shoved into a deep cupboard stacked three deep. The one's I use the most are towards the front, and this one is one of the first. I felt quite silly because it sat in a box for over a year before I actually got around to looking at those books (it was too soon after Gram's passing) and I was excited to discover this was in there and what a gem it was. Of course, now I love using it because I feel a little closer to her and I wonder which recipes she may have used or under what circumstances stuff was splatted across a page. :D
However, I think I have only one volume of this set? But it's really big, so maybe it's a combined volume? How can I tell which volume I have? Like I said, I'm not home right now (I'm visiting my parents with the kids and will be here for a few more days) so I can't check.
I mentioned this to my mother and she told me that she hadn't actually given me all of Gram's books; that there were two more boxes out in the garage. As I was going through them, I found the other volume. Yay.
I've also set aside 20 more cook books to haul home with me (only about 1/3 of what was out there). My husband isn't going to be very happy. :D
I'm looking forward to getting these catologued.
I got my copy of Modern Encycl. of Cooking when my Mom passed away in 1994. Hers is a 1952, 10th printing. I remember this cookbook as always being their when I was a child. My Mom was always using it and I was so happy to get 'custody' of it! I've left her slips of paper in it with the handwritten notes about changes she made or such. It's a family treasure for me.
But! Reading these comments has me really curious now. I'll be seeing what they're about in the next few days. So thanks for a good topic and the inspiration!
Then, in approximately 1976, my daughter's friend saw I had a set of these and said her mother had a set exactly like them and she didn't use them at all - she was going to ask her mother if she could give them to me. My set by this time was falling apart and volume II had lost it's spine cover and front board. I have been a little more gentle with this set - they are still in halfway good condition. I didn't realize until recently that they are somewhat collectible! Who knew?
I got my Meta Givens at a yard sale. I didn't even realize there was more than one volume until I picked it up again recently. What in the world could be in the 2nd volume??? The first seems so complete. Anyway, I baked something, can't remember what right now because it's late and I'm dazed, but the reviews of the finished product were great! The book stands the test of time!
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09099/961476-34.stm#ixzz0UK7kh2P7
My Mom passed away August 20th, and I was searching through her old copy of the cookbook to give recipes out at her celebration of life. Her copy was loveworn - it didn't have a cover or any identifying pages so I had no idea of the title. I went to oldcoookbooks.com and they searched based on a page I scanned, and found it! Bless Peter and oldcookbooks.com!
I still make her coleslaw (#1) from the book, as well as the baking powder biscuits, the fudge, the spice cake, and countless others. If you can find salt-dried cod, the creamed codfish is to die for!
I've been scanning book sales and garage sales to find the second volume. Some day... If i weren't so infernally cheap, i'd do the ebay thing. I keep thinking one will come my way more easily, though, like the first volume did. I think i paid maybe a couple of bucks at most at a garage sale.
We love that the recipes are from a time when people weren't afraid of their food.
"At the age of 10 in her Ozark farm home, Meta Given began to use her ingenuity with the simple foods at hand, dressing them up, making unusual combination's, serving them in new ways."
It goes on to say that she studied at the University of Missouri (awesome to me because I just graduated from there!), Wisconsin and Chicago where she became more focused on nutrition. She's recognized as one of the America's most noted food and cooking authorities, selected to head the research and experimental work of a large commercial food org., established her own experimental kitchen, became food editor of one of the largest daily news papers, her column was followed by over 1,000,000 women. From this following came the book we have all came to know and love.
I am very surprised and disappointed that there is not more info. about her online.
Real language, real works of basic art and real food. Real amounts for the hard working american. Not a quarter size meal with seasoning all over the plate. During war times you had to have smart meals as well.
Some of my other favorite finds so far:
1900 The White House Cookbook
1925 The Rumford Complete Cook Book
1939 The United States Regional cookbook
1943 The complete Vitamin Cookbook
1950 The Encyclopedia of Cooking in 24 Vol in the binder
You just have to remember that our ovens are more effecient than what they had back in the day so you will have to adjust you times and temps.
So if you want folks at Thanksgiving to say, "wow that tastes just like Grandmom's" use a vintage cookbook and Meta Given is a Great start.
I'd love to have my mom's old cookbook. The only one I recall ever seeing is that plaid, three-ring-bound Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, not that I recall her ever using a recipe. Now I have one similar to it that I found at a yard sale, and I still love thumbing through it, looking at the pictures as I did when I was a kid.
My copy doesn't have any cover and some of the front and back pages are missing.
I moved recently and am on the hunt to find this book. It's packed away some place! Along with my life time collection of knitting needles. LOL
I'm looking for the pumpkin pie receipe. I've found several on the internet. But they're modified. Her receipe called for 2 Tbs. of orange juice. The addition of orange juice made it taste just right.
Pastry for 9-inch single crust pie
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup mild flavored honey
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 tsp grated orange rind
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp mace or nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 Tbsp boiling water
preheat oven to 425
Line 9 inch pie tin with pastry, crimp edges, do not prick pastry. ( I left out some pastry-related instructions here since I figured you could do this part.)
Beat eggs until well mixed, stir in next six ingredients until well blended. Measure spices into a cup, add boiling water and stir to a smooth paste, then stir thoroughly into pumpkin mixture. Turn mixture into pastry-lined pan. Bake 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300, opening oven a minute so heat drops rapidly to 300. Bake about 25 minutes longer or until custard tests done. Cool to lukewarm before cutting.
They're both pretty well loved, one having the cover almost off, but I'm not interested in condition,really. If I can find a way to replace them with better condition for an affordable price then I would. But I think the splatters and penciled notes add a charm.