The Dirty Old Ladies’ Cookbook. January 14, 2010Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, recipes, wit and wisdom.
Tags: cookbooks, Julie Longacre, The Dirty Old Ladies' Cookbook, vintage cookbooks
Silence Dogood here. It is a truth universally acknowledged that when people know you like to cook, they tend to give you cookbooks. This Christmas, I received a great stash of cookbooks from friends and relatives. Despite our friend Ben’s groans of dismay as he viewed the already-bulging kitchen shelves, I was thrilled, especially since, as it turned out, not one of them duplicated a book I already owned.
New-to-me additions to my cookbook collection included American Cookery (“The First American Cookbook, by Amelia Simmons, An American Orphan, A Facsimile of the Second Edition, Printed in Albany, 1796″); The Rustic Table: Simple Fare from the World’s Kitchens by Constance Snow (William Morrow, 2005); Bucks the Artists’ County Cooks: A Gourmet’s Guide to Estimable Comestibles with Pictures (of Bucks County, PA notable homes and landmarks, not recipes; from The Woman’s Auxiliary of Trinity Chapel, 1950); Mediterranean Light by Martha Rose Shulman (William Morrow, 1989); The Book of Stir-Fry Dishes by Elizabeth Wolf-Cohen (HP Books, 1994); and two classic old Pillsbury cookbooks, Pillsbury’s Bake Off Cookbook (1970) and Real Home Baking (1994). Not bad for one Christmas, eh?
However, there was a final cookbook gift that left me feeling a bit dubious: The Dirty Old Ladies’ Cookbook by Julia Goodbody (private printing 2008). Just what was the presenter of this particular cookbook implying?! True, I may currently resemble a bag lady, bundled up as I am against the delightful 56-degree temperature of our cottage home this winter, but dirty and old? Please.
Mind you, I’m actually looking forward to reaching the age of grannydom and white hair, when I can look and act like whatever I damn well please. My role model in this respect is the crusty, smart-mouthed comic character Maxine, and trust me, I’ve been studying. Whippersnappers, watch out! (And to all you forty-, fifty-, and sixtysomething grannies who actually look more like movie stars than the stereotypical “little old lady,” no offense intended. When I think of grannies, I can’t help but think of my own, one silver-haired and dignified, the other plump and jolly, both deeply beloved by me.)
Anyway, it was with some trepidation that I opened the cover of this particular cookbook. The “Dirty” part was particularly disturbing: Would it be filled with crude jokes and lewd illustrations? Eeeewwww.
Was I ever in for a delightful surprise! Turns out the book was written by one of my favorite local artists, Julie Longacre. An original watercolor of her “Stone Barn in Snow” hangs on the wall here in my home office as I write; another original hangs over our living room mantel. The dear friend who gave me this cookbook even had Julie inscribe it to me personally. Paging through, I found it full of Julie’s sketches and personal recollections as well as cooking tips and, of course, recipes. And, good soul that she is, Julie’s donating part of the price of each book to organizations to help feed the hungry. What a treasure, and what a thoughtful gift!
I confess, I still don’t know why Julie called her cookbook The Dirty Old Ladies’ Cookbook. But I will say that it just goes to prove the old maxim, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
‘Til next time,