gleaning the rare, the obscure & hilarious

Our friend and today’s stylish guest contributor, Matt Singer, always has his hands in several creative projects, from designing a line of quality apparel and accessories, curating films and books to supporting the amazing writing / tutoring organization, 826. So it should have come as no surprise to learn that he’s cultivated quite the stockpile of vintage cookbooks.

But in fact we were quite surprised.

Whether the subject matter, cover art or “unabashed sense of pride in place” the titles that he has amassed are amusing and like his own work, reflect an appreciation for craftsmanship and storytelling. Not to mention, a playful sense of humor in many cases.

Matt selected a few of his favorite titles and a recipe which illustrates what it is about these works that he’s drawn to.

A few years ago I started collecting old cookbooks. My mother is a very good cook and an exceptional entertainer so I partially attribute my fondness of cookbooks to her but, quite honestly, sometimes I just fall in love with the artwork on the cover. The books themselves are beautifully designed (see Milton Glaser’s cover of Economy Gastronomy and Cuisine of the Sun) and tend to feature lavish illustrations or quirky line drawings that are insanely creative with little or no relevance to the recipe they accompany. I also love that many cookbook authors tend to be obsessive, fervent and single-minded and I find myself attracted to their devout convictions and pious beliefs. ~ Matt Singer

cookbooks with great cover designsEditor’s Note: All of these images came from Matt’s own collection, so we tried to track down the titles should you want to add any to your own. An excellent resource in NYC is Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, Omnivore Books on Food in San Francisco and South Carolina’s Heirloom Book Co.

1. The Store Cookbook: Recipes And Recollection From The Store In Amagansett, Bert Greene & Denis Vaughan, 1974  2. The Cuisine of the Sun: Classical French Cooking from Nice and Provence, Mireille Johnston, 1990, cover by Milton Glaser  3.  Greenwich Village Cookbook, Vivian Kramer, Vivian, 1969, illus. by Barbara Shapira 1969  4. The Hangover Cookbook, Jack and Jill Smedley, 1968  5. The Liberated Cookbook, Arlene Cardozo, 1973  6. Peter Hunt’s Cape Cod Cookbook, Peter Hunt (illustrated by the folk artist author), 1962  7. Economy Gastronomy: A Gourmet Cookbook for the Budgetminded, Sylvia Vaughn Sheekman Thompson, 1963, cover by Glaser  8. A Taste of Texas: A Book of Recipes by Jane Trahey, 1949, 1968

vintage recipe chicken ala king

Chicken a la King recipe ~ Taste of Texas

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