A Classic Cookbook from the ’50s
And here I go, getting nostalgic over food one more time.
Back when I was a kid, growing up on Detroit’s East Side I spent A LOT of time with my neighbors who lived two houses away from me. Mrs. LaBine was a really young mom of four, always stylishly dressed, listening to Elvis and the Everly Brothers on her console stereo. She was soft spoken, kind and also a SUPERB cook and baker.
A Copy of My Own
The things you remember from when you were a kid–the neighbors Dutch Elm tree falling on our house, the 1967 Detroit Riots, endless days of playing with the kids on our block, walking blocks to the swim mobile and the the book mobile.
And I remember Mrs. LaBine’s cookbook, often times sitting open on her dining room table. It was a HUGE book, probably a wedding gift, and most likely where her all of her great recipe ideas came from.
Fast forward to the late 1980s when I was was living far away from Detroit. Vacationing in L A, I stopped at a thrift shop. While looking through the store’s collection of books, I came upon the Mary Margaret McBride Encyclopedia of Cooking. Could this be a copy of Mrs. LaBine’s cookbook? The one with her Blueberry Boy Bait recipe? (That recipe is still a favorite.) The cover was different but it sure looked familiar.
I pulled the book from the shelf and flipped to through the first few pages. It published in the late 1950s (check) and was it was HUGE (check). I excitedly flipped to the index, and there it was…my beloved Blueberry Boy Bait recipe, up close and in person. I hit the jackpot!
These days a recipe is easy to find on the internet (thank you Pinterest), but back then you had to buy the book. Buying and then schlepping it all the way home to Dallas, Texas, was the thrill of a lifetime. Lucky for me there was no extra charge back then for my bulging suitcase.
Here’s a link to her cookbook on Amazon.com Encyclopedia of Cooking.
A History Lesson
Recently I read an interesting article about cookbook author, Ms Mary Margaret McBride. Considered to be the “first lady of radio,” she was a voice her 6 million listeners trusted, including her words of wisdom when it came to cooking. Here’s a link for more info on Ms. McBride. Who Was Mary Margaret McBride?
And I love a recipe with a good story, and Blueberry Boy Bait didn’t disappoint. The original recipe dates back to 1954 and was submitted to a Pillsbury baking contest by a 15-year-old girl. She won second place (I can’t imagine there could be anything better to beat her recipe). She named her recipe Blueberry Boy Bait because she believed this cake had the power to attract the opposite sex. I think she was on to something.