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Cooking from the Past

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In an effort to find a dish for a “mushroom-themed reception and lecture,” writer and culinary historian Anne Mendelson stumbled onto an antique gem in her cookbook library: the Rangoon International Cook Book.

Published in 1954, the vintage volume binds chapters full of incredibly varied recipes, collected from a myriad of international sources. There is Burmese candied ginger, a rice noodle and fish stew, and a guide to classic, Texan barbeque.

In between the unintelligible recipes (at times, the contributors weren’t all that concerned with the clearest directions), this little cookbook led her to a Burmese Mushroom Curry recipe, which she adapted, only slightly, with success.

It makes us think about the books from which our mothers cooked, and their mothers before them. And, whether or not we could bring back any of those traditional, decades-old recipes. Do any of you cook from vintage cookbooks?


Cookbooks’ Lessons from Zester Daily