Monday, February 11, 2008

Vintage Cookbook Illustrations

(This post was originally written as a guest post for one of my favorite blogs, Ephemera, but all the illustrations wouldn't fit into the layout of Marty's blog, so we decided it would be best for me to post it here in its entirety instead.)

I was lucky enough to score a few vintage cookbooks, and since I just bought a new scanner, I decided to give it a try and scan some of the illustrations.

I've seen a lot of people talk about the food in vintage cookbooks, James Lileks and his Gallery of Regrettable Food comes to mind... but I haven't seen much about the quirky illustrations that are often found along side many of the tempting photos of mystery meat casserole. So, here are just a few of my favorites...

From the 1961 Cutco Cook Book (for sale in my store!) - Illustrator Frank Marcello has some interesting views of our friend the pig:

This drunk piggy is next to a recipe for Barbecued Ham Steaks that calls for cider. Apparently his part in the recipe didn't discourage him too much... or maybe he was so distraught he decided to try to dull the pain?

This little piggy is a bit more bohemian, lounging next to a recipe for Smoked Ham.

This guy is next to a recipe for Baked Ham. I think someone is trying to pull a fast one on him, telling him how being part of a Baked Ham recipe is just like winning a fabulous beach vacation!

Our friend Frank also has some interesting depictions of women in this book... plain old cooking isn't exciting enough for these modern suburban women!

Here's the housewife who always wanted to be a doctor, but married one instead. Who cares if it's just a meat thermometer, at least she gets to wear scrubs!

This housewife's husband thinks her creativity is a silly waste - wouldn't her time be spent better in the kitchen, making him a turkey? Again, at least she gets to wear the outfit, even if she is just painting on a glaze instead of creating the next modern masterpiece.

From the 1957 Betty Crocker's Cook Book for Boys and Girls - Illustrator Gloria Kamen. I just love these little drawings, not too many snarky things I can say about them really! The kids are cute and wholesome, and the retro kitchenware she includes does a vintage geek's heart good:

Where can I find this breakfast set? I NEED it.

Again breakfast is done up right with an awesome atomic pitcher, mug and plate set. I love it so much, I can't even really worry about how there is a bird cage directly over the table. The table with food on it.

Ahhh, the good old days where a kid could be happy with a paper bag mask instead of a $100 Darth Vader helmet. Good times!

Of course I only scratched the surface of the cute illustrations in these books, but a girl only has so much time for scanning... I'm sure that more is to come though, now that I know how to work my new scanner!

And a few more that I didn't include in the original post, but are still, well, awesome:

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The Thriftaholic (Leilani) said...

I too adore vintage cookbooks and their kooky ilustrations. :) I picked up that Cutco cookbook at a thrift this summer.

Monica said...

I love the artwork in all of these old cookbooks!!!!

Mama Brook said...

I had that betty crocker cook book as a child! Brings back good memories.

Anonymous said...

LOVE the retro illustrations! Every time I see them, I want to try and paint my own! Today IS a rainy Sunday, maybe I will!

Holly Hall said...

I'll chime in with my love for vintage cookbook illustrations, too. I've been known to buy books based solely on the artwork/photos. Great blog. Take care.

JoeyfromSC said...

I have that cutco book! OMG what hilarious illustrations it has!
LOVE your blog..very interesting! found u thru a friend thru a friend thru flickr haha

I have WAYYY too many cookbooks and a lot are vintage!