Beyond the Cover with Bonnie Slotnick: The Country Kitchen by Della T. Lutes

July  7, 2015

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks—the tiny East Village bookstore is brimming with old cookbooks, vintage knick-knacks, and other cooking ephemerais like twenty grandmothers' homes in one. Since half the fun is listening to Bonnie walk you through each book, we'll be bringing one vintage book and her story about it to you.

First up is The Country Kitchen by Della T. Lutes, originally published in 1936. Why Bonnie thinks this oldie is still a goodie:

"I talk about this book so much, if you Google the title and author, my name eventually comes up. The original 1930s edition has a red and white gingham cover with the title on a pale-green label: I fell in love with the way it looks before I even opened it. Sometimes you really can judge a book by its cover! It’s a fact-based novel (or fictionalized memoir) about a little girl’s life on a Michigan farm in the late nineteenth century, with recipes woven into the beautiful prose. The chapters go month-by-month through the year, which I love. For me, this is the quintessential food book."

Embedded in the narrative you'll find recipes—here's the start of a rhubarb pie recipe.

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What cookbooks did you grow up with? Tell us in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Laura Myers
    Laura Myers
  • lastnightsdinner
Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.


Laura M. July 7, 2015
I grew up with 2 cookbooks. The Better Homes and Garden cookbook and Historic Cookery by Fabiola C. Gilbert, a small slim booklet first published in 1914 by New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now NMSU). It was my bible for southern New Mexican cooking with just 35 pages of recipes from Albondigas to Verdolagas (Purslane--a weed most people pull up and throw away). I used my mother's copy until I went to college and purchased my own (1979). It's now a mess but it has my mother's notes and recipes copied into it and despite all the modern Southwest or New Mexican cookbooks out it is still my go-to guide.
lastnightsdinner July 7, 2015
I love this. Bonnie Slotnick is a NYC treasure.