Where would
Where would
we be
we be
from the past?
from the past?

(+ magazines & more

This page is dedicated to a granddaughter born in 2003, who has now already gotten a 2-year Culinary Arts/Baking & Pastry degree (part of       <---her final exam), but without any class in cookbook history!  Also, because 1500 miles separates us, she's not been at my house through her years, to get to rummage through & learn of alllllll the "stuff" of the baking world from throughout my mother's (a reader) & my lifetimes.  

So, not only for my granddaughter, but for all people who are interested in 1) the American culture of baking history, 2) old cookbooks & recipes, 3) the influence immigrants had on our baking culture, and 4) how our grandmothers lived "in their day" (i.e. wondering what resources they had for baking in their wood-burning stoves), this is just a sketch of some of what I know which began by learning from my mom in the 1950s.  Culinary students, food writers, etc., in the various regions of the country could do entire research studies on which cookbooks & magazines had the major influence on the Baby Boomers living in their state area, & could also have many variations to this website info page.    

So to begin, regarding cookbook (or recipe) history available to home bakers during the last century, the purpose for this Cookbook Culture section is to provide an overview of some resources in which one can learn quite a bit about the enormous baking history development in the U.S. during the 1900s (within the larger area of "cooking"). Along with the additional website resources, use this as a beginner's guide, & then you can continue to discover beyond these resources according to your own personal interests.

Also, (in time) there'll be a page for what were termed "women's interest" or "women's service" magazines.  A few of these magazines began in the latter part of the 1800s (e.g., Woman's Home Companion 1873; Ladies' Home Journal 1883; Good Housekeeping 1885 - still today; 1873 1st name, then McCall's 1897), but many more existed during the 1900s, and they all included a section of recipes which had a huge effect on home baking.  Some were written with 100% of the content related to food (e.g., the 5"x7" size:  Cookbook Digest, Good Food, Home Cooking; & then in the 1993, a full-size magazine, Taste of Home w/zero advertising).  Magazines could cover the various foods from the many different nationalities throughout the entire country because subscribers were country wide!  It was an affordable way for women in the home to learn of new recipes for variety & increase their culinary education . . . no matter where they lived, nor their circumstances!  That's why magazines have had such a great impact on our food culture.  

 *     *     *     *     *

 Just realize that there are 10s of 1000s of "cookbooks" today!  Years ago I read that early on, Food Network had a resource library of 40K, but doing a search, 40K is attributed to the Library of Congress, so I believe one can't be correct!?!  I met a culinary teacher who has 10,000, so who knows!  You can do a "search" & type in all sorts of "giving away ..., donating ..., collecting ..., de-cluttering ..., how to rid myself of ..., letting go of COOKBOOKS," & read for hours & days about people wanting to know what to do with all the cookbooks they've accumulated through their decades!  Some years back I read an article where a lady had "a precious cookbook collection" of 400 "treasures" from over many years of her life, & she donated them to her local library in belief that they would become part of a preserved archive of cookbooks (some evidently quite old).  Sometime later she read a local library notice that there would be a book sale of 400 cookbooks.  She said she had ALL SHE COULD DO to NOT go back to the library & buy every one of her books back!

 *     *     *     *     * 

If you do want to begin your own resource - collection - shelf - or "library" of older, or another food-book category, try to first narrow it down to the subject area you're most interested in because even the general area of "baking" is overwhelming within the "food/cookbook" genre.  Or set a limit (for several reasons), & when you find "just one more," can you get rid of "one you already have?"  Ask yourself about your "need" vs. "desire" vs. something else.  What's your objective?  

I'll read food books that have a lot more information, history, cultural info, etc., along with recipes, like some people read novels, & I've learned much that way.  Also, ask what fits into your lifestyle.  If you have an empty wall where you can build floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, or an entire room, or even a basement, & "the hunt" for a specific category becomes a life-long love, plus you actually read or skim through them, go for it 👍😄!  But will you also be able to let them go if need be (like moving)?!?  

Tearing out recipes from magazines are only useful if they're filed so you can access them when needed!
Tearing out recipes from magazines are only useful if they're filed so you can access them when needed!

If you only need cookbooks for your own cooking/baking, over time, 1-2 dozen "basics" should set you for life (with some spiral-bound).  OR if you have 2-3-5+ magazine subscriptions which have recipes, you'll have all you'll need for a month or more of new menus with each issue.

Also, if you do subscribe to "food ..." & what used to be thought of as "women's" magazines, the latter which have a recipe section, will you be able to tear it apart, & keep & "file" only the recipes you might like to make someday, & throw the rest of the magazine away?  (I have some boxes in the garage from twice cleaning out Mom's houses, which are filled with tear-out pages of her magazines mainly from the 1930s through the 1970s.  (I'm waiting for this National Bread Museum to exist "on land" so there's a depository for those filled boxes!  I keep thinking about conserving "history!")  A throwback:  Mentally take yourself into the country, raising a family, & creating a life around the work needed on your part to survive.  A magazine "in those days" (especially 1880-1950s) was the T.V., You Tube, internet websites, & possible travel events in a homemaker's life.

So next is the Q - Where to find "what you'll consider to be a treasure . . . and at a bargain price?"  Thrift shops/Second-hand stores today are amazing because we Baby Boomers are moving (or dying).  We keep hearing that the "younger/adult children" don't want anything they aren't using.  (NOTE:  Make a list of all these shops in your area & gradually check them all out to see what their price range is, so you know.  Some stores in my area have a "many dollar" tag on each - I pass!  Then some have a flat $1-2 or 3/$5 hardback, & 5/$2 soft cover, but the best is a place where EACH book is 40¢ - hard or soft, old or new, {magazines & booklets - 15¢}.  That means alllll the old spiral bound, "community cookbooks," usually known as fund-raising recipe books, of all tried 'n true recipes - each with a contributing lady's name attached, are almost free!  And they were the best & most often-made recipes or a lady wouldn't want her name with it.  No photos, but 9 out of 10 recipes are the treasures handed down through one or more generations, & the simplest to make.) 


Half of my card file since 1967 - most are recipes I've made, or gotten when I've eaten something, had cookie exchanges, reunions, etc.
Half of my card file since 1967 - most are recipes I've made, or gotten when I've eaten something, had cookie exchanges, reunions, etc.

The other great bargain-price places are usually garage sales, church rummage sales, library sales, & sometimes "salvage" placesAlso, spread the word amongst family & friends that if anyone they know is moving or has any OLD "cookbooks" that they're getting rid of, you'd like them.  That way you can go through, pick & choose, & pass on (like to the local library sale, thrift shop, or in your/someone's Little Free Library). 
The next "bargain or not" price level is at estate sales, flea markets, used book stores, & the whole online world.  Beyond that are retail bookstores & elsewhere where you're paying the retail price.  OR, you just make your own binder or card file if you copy off the internet that has a few million recipes at your fingertips 😉 !!!

I believe it's good if every young person, going out on their own, has 1-3 of the old, what I call "spiral bound," softcover cookbooks from community groups, usually sold as a fund raiser.  All the recipes were contributed by people of that community group & were actually made & loved by the contributor.  The recipes are usually quite simple & basic, made with common ingredients.  The downfall, most younger people would say, is that there are no photos.  If you want that, look for the older Taste of HomeAll Recipes, Food Network, BH&G, Southern Living, Bon Appetit, Woman's Day, Good Housekeeping, Midwest Living, bake FROM SCRATCH, or other "food-included" magazines, & many of those also had "annual" hardcover cookbooks, which always have photos with most or all of their recipes.  

If you're fortunate to be the keeper of your mom's or grandma's cookbooks with their hand-written notes like personal diaries of names, dates, & happenings🤗, or additional recipes, or a recipe box & handwritten cards, then let's hope you know how to read cursive, & if you have children, that you teach them because today, no one else will.  Also, make sure they know the Roman numerals so they can read copyright dates.  Besides cookbooks, Mom always had a handful of magazine subscriptions, & I followed in her footsteps.  Also, through the decades, the holiday issues have become a treasure stack of (<---) 50+ years of memories.  (NO pages are torn out of those!)  A hint - - - for me, every recipe I make from a book or a magazine (if I don't cut it out), I copy for the card file, or I annotate its source on a card in the recipe file.  After awhile, it's the only way to find it again!  ENJOY this trip! 

This is an index of the following books and info on this page, in this order:

American Cookery--1796 by Amelia Simmons
Website Resources (a Baker's Dozen +2)
Mrs. Beeton's Household Management - 1861
The Boston Cooking School (1896-1945)
Fannie Farmer (name change from above)
The Settlement Cookbook (1901)
Good Housekeeping (1903)

1930s - 1940  
Better Homes & Gardens (a checkered past)
. . . . . & the Toll House Choc. Chip cookie
Joy of Cooking (1931)
Radio in the 1930s
WWII (depression 1930s; war 1940s; tough times)

1940s - 1960s
Mom's 3-ring Homemade (1940s-50s)
The Modern Family Cookbook (1942)
CAI - not CIA (1950, 1964)
Betty Crocker (Picture Cookbook 1950+)
County Extension Services (began 1914)

In the beginning . . .

There is a cookbook titled "The Plimoth Colony Cook Book" by the Plymouth Antiquarian Society, originally published in 1957.  It is available through Dover Publications which has long been an invaluable reproduction book company.  The book is described as "receipts" used in Plymouth from the colonial period, 1620 to the end of the 1800s.  Even though it wasn't published until 1957, it could be the first recipes of cooking, baking, & what people of the time ate in this country.

In 1727, an English lady, Eliza Smith, published The Compleat Houfewife in London.  It went through 18 editions over the following 50 years.  In 1742, it was printed in Williamsburg, Virginia, as the first cookery book to be published in the Thirteen Colonies of America (from Wikipedia).

The book in this photo is the 1984 edition by Dover Pub. of "The First American Cookbook" by Amelia Simmons in 1796, the first "American" cookbook known to be published in this country.  Up until then, if there was a written source to consult, it was always an imported book such as Thomas Tusser's Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie, 1573, or a few others during the beginning 1600-1800 colonial period.  But most of those that did exist from England, or two  published in the U.S. in 1742 & 1772, were written by men & titled for the "Housewife" & all her duties.  

What was so amazing about Amelia's book is that even though she copied some British recipes, she had recipes for common ingredients in America that were unknown to the English.  For instance:  cornmeal; certain berries; molasses; pearlash - a chemical leaven in doughs -- a forerunner of baking powder which created what we call "cakes" -- especially "gingerbread" at that time; pumpkin, squashes, & the American "pie;" a separation of lard & butter for "shortening;" and "cookies" from the Dutch "koekjes" vs. the British "cakes" or "little cakes."  Then besides many ways to "dress" & cook fish (+ oysters & turtle), meats (beef, mutton, veal, lamb, turkey), and "game," she had the well-known, every day foods of puddings, tarts, custards, creams, syllabub, cookies (to roll & cut, shape, stamp, or press in a mold), pound-soft-light-cheap-or-sweet cakes, pancakes & Johny or Hoe cakes, slapjacks, wafers, biscuits, bread, preserves, marmalade, jellies, dried fruits, &  picked vegetables.   

The other notable item was that a woman's name appeared on the title page (& eventually the cover) of a book on cooking.  This set the standard that eventually paved the way for all future, women, "food book" authors!  And I've often said that I don't believe there is any other genre of books that holds more women authors, than do "food" books.  As it should be because usually women give a greater portion of their lives to working with food & creating meals than do men.  So overall, who would know more and know better?!?     

All recipes are written in paragraph form, and it helps to know from Ben Franklin's printing press shop in Philadelphia that when you read words with an "f" at the beginning or inside the word, it is an "s" for us today:  likewife, feafoned, fmall, itfelf, muft, fhell, whofe, fo.

 Website Resources


1) Let's say that you would like to own the above book, or to learn/know of others of decades & a century ago. The publisher is Dover (doverpublications.com). In the "Buy Books" tab, click on the "cooking" link.  (NOTE:  You might want to go through info in #6 & #10 below to get better acquainted with old-to-newer cookbooks, & even to see if one for sale via Dover is available for viewing.)

2) Another fabulous resource of "yesteryear" recipes & info is Patricia B. Mitchell's 73 booklets of prolific research, plus the enormous number of articles in the FoodNotes link.  (https://foodhistory.com)

3) This wikipedia site is worth knowing about:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cookbook

4) The other resource that's an absolute must to know about is the Food Time Line by Lynne Olver (1958-2015).
The main INDEX with all the categories: 
Regarding baking, the bread link is phenomenal:  https://www.foodtimeline.org/foodbreads.html. On this website, way at the bottom of the page, click on the "books" link where it says:  ". . . library owns 2300+ books, . . ."
In the Index, don't miss browsing through the miles-long, book length, "cake" link.  What amazing information!
And not in the Index is this link for a "food index and recipe timeline."

5) https://www.hamiltonbook.com/Cookbooks is today's website for Edward R. Hamilton, Bookseller.  There are 1,060 in the "Cookbook" category, so you might want to link to a sub-category like "Breads & Baking."  The books are new, & most are at greatly reduced prices, plus it's a flat $4 shipping fee no matter how many books you buy!  

6) Doing a search for "cookbooks," many times you'll see a link to the "Internet Archive."  Sometimes the weblink of "An Archive of 3,000 Vintage Cookbooks Lets You Travel Back Through Culinary Time" pops up in a search engine.  But this "Internet Archive"https://archive.org/details/cbk?tab=collection ) states that the cookbook resources are now at 12,668.  The posted items are from The Cookbook & Home Economics Collection drawn from several sources in California.  What's fabulous is that each book is fully digitized, so you're able to see all the pages of every booklet or book!  There are several category-division links on the left menu.    

6-Continued. - This Library of Congress site has 6 links to 7 decades of 1860-1929 cookbooks arranged by years which is the easiest way to view this cookbook timeline in the "Internet Archive." (https://guides.loc.gov/community-cookbooks/chronological/1860-1879)

7) Another note-worthy cookbook resource is Kevin Piotrowski in Michigan, who has a private collection at https://cavalcadeoffood.com along with a massive collection of "Vintage Appliances," like stoves, refrigerators, & dishwashers, to the smaller items of mixers, waffle makers, & ice crushers!  These collections are NOT open to the public, but he's done over 400 YouTube videos since 2011 on his channel, and this is the link for the cookbook series he's done:  https://www.youtube.com/cavalcadeoffood.

8) Just because I know of Sharon Hudgins . . . When we lived in England 1982-88, & Germany 1988-91, we got the weekly "Stars & Stripes" newspaper published for the America military.  Each week Sharon Hudgins wrote a column on a food item in one of the European countries and included one or more recipes.  It was my first "go to" with each issue, and somewhere, stored in a box since those years, are all those weekly articles & recipes!  This Christmas I downloaded from ARTICLES such specialties as gingerbread, Alsatian Kugelhopf, springerle, & such, reliving the travels, tastes, and treasured years of being able to live in Europe.  As you search through the website, you'll come to realize that all the foods she's written about have become part of our culture.   sharonhudgins.com  

9) Since this website is called a "bread museum," & even though this is a "cookbook" area, today I came across a website in an academic journal paper, which is a photo/poster of "Le tour du monde en 80 pains" (A tour of the world in 80 breads) - from 80 countries in 5 continents.  This is an amazing visual, all cross-referenced by the name of the bread in the language of its country/origin.  The story behind it is in the "Route" index tab.    https://letourdumondeen80pains.com/liste-des-pains/   The "carte" tab is the list of all the countries.  So if any are intriguing, you can now search for a recipe of that bread/country to see what it's like😋.

10) The website says:  "82 Vintage Cookbooks, Free to Download, Offer a Fascinating Illustrated Look at Culinary and Cultural History"  -  This is a collection at Duke University.  
After you scroll through the entire page to see all the illustrations & long columns of links, begin again at the top:
#1--Skip the 1st 2 blue links (Women's History & Jell-O), &
#2--begin with the link:  the Nicole Di Bona Peterson Advertising Cookbook Collection of the 82 books & you'll be here:  (https://repository.duke.edu/dc/eaa?_=1575652317432&f%5Bcategory_facet_sim%5D%5B%5D=Nicole+Di+Bona+Peterson+Collection+of+Advertising+Cookbooks You'll be able to open up & go through all the pages of each cookbook by clicking the photos on the left column.  
#3--Then, go back to the Home Page & beginning below the Jell-O ads, click on the links in the articles & some will provide more information on people or products - especially regarding Cream of Wheat plus the 2 that follow it.

11) A History of Cookbooks: Does the Cookbook Have A Future?

12) How 12 Female Cookbook Authors Changed the Way We Eat     https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/how-12-female-cookbook-authors-changed-way-we-eat-180975556/

13) The History of Cookbooks and Where We Are Today

14) The explorations & treasures on the web never end!  An author named Cynthia Bertelsen has a website at https://gherkinstomatoes.com/.  Two tabs to note:  "The Author & Her Works" tells of her amazing worldwide life as a writer.  Then the tab, "Online Historic Cookbooks" has a list of 58-or-so astonishing resources!  One of the gems is "Historic Cookbooks Online (most from Google Books). 

15) The above link takes you to Patricia Bixler Reber's website page,  https://www.angelfire.com/md3/openhearthcooking/aaCookbook1700.html
Her actual Home Page is 
https://www.angelfire.com/md3/openhearthcooking/.  This is the website INDEX of her Culinary History Online.  If Cynthia Bertelsen's resource list would be considered a tome (or 2!), then Patricia's website is an entire set of encyclopedias!  

This was published in England, but known in the U.S. -- BOOK OF HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT Edited by Isabella Beeton 1859-61; The 1986 reprint edition, below, was from a 1982 printing. (£4.95 in England = $7.50)  In 1861 when the book was 1st published, 60,000 copies were sold.  By 1868, 2 million had been sold!

In reading about cookbook history, there may often be references to Mrs. Beeton's book.  She was in England.  There was no such thing as electricity.  The Title page says the book covers information for the "Mistress (my note:  she is the wife of the husband; of the house; . . . not "the other"!!!), Housekeeper, Cook (all the recipes), Kitchen Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, upper & under House Maids, Lady's Maid, Maid of All Work, Laundry Maid, Nurse & Nurse Maid, Monthly – Wet - & Sick Nurses, etc., etc.  Also Sanitary, Medical & Legal memoranda; history of the above entities connected w/Home Life & Comfort.  Sounds like Downton Abbey, right?

The Boston Cooking School --> Fannie Farmer Cookbooks
1896 - 1945 - almost 2.5M copies sold - Mom always mentioned these 2 cookbooks, so F. F. was one of the first I got.

A 2017 Smithsonian magazine article titled "The Making of the Modern American Recipe" might be of interest.  
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/making-modern-american-recipe-180964940/   It's some background among the first American cookbook, American Cookery, published in 1796, The Boston Cooking School Cook Book, & what then became The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

A 1984 article which seems to be a full historical timeline -- says 1951 is the last year the name 
The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book was used.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/food/1984/11/25/through-the-years-with-the-cookbook-of-the-ages/b3fc92c1-88f6-4fc1-be36-7a1b14450a58/


The All New Fanny Farmer Cookbook
evolved from the 1896 Boston Cooking School Cook Book

79 printings under Little, Brown & Company, publisher, in 10 editions, 1896-1959;

then under Bantam Books, begun in 1957, 31 printings of 3 editions through 1970;  I'm sure there are more today. 

This is one of those books which covers everything from soup to nuts, & as a paperback, is easy to consult & use.  One source said over 7 million copies have been sold.  Mine fell apart from use years ago!

The Settlement Cookbook - 1901
Mom's edition in the 1930s-40s

Up through the mid-1900s, Mom had 3 main cookbooks.  It was also her way (& others) that if you wanted to keep another recipe, you wrote it somewhere inside one of your bound cookbooks.  Somewhere in the 1960s, I began to use 3x5" or 4x6" index cards for extra recipes.  In fact, 1 of only 4 wedding gifts I still have are the 4 x 6" index cards on which an aunt typed some of my grandma's recipes & gave us in a wooden recipe box.  

1903 ~ Good Housekeeping ~ 2024

& still going strong!
~cookbooks, & the magazine where it all began~

This is the 1973 edition.

1885 - Began a magazine. 

 1903 The "Good Housekeeping Everyday Cookbook" was published.
1909 The Good Housekeeping "Woman's Home Cook Book" by Isabel Gordon Curtis

When reading Roman Numerals, you must know the basics of I = 1; V = 5; X = 10; L = 50; C = 100; D = 500; M = 1,000.  If a lesser comes before a greater, you subtract.  If a lesser comes after a greater, you add.  IV=4; XIX=19; CM=90 if alone, but M=1,000, CM=900, L=50 + XXIII=23 = 1973.  

For 53 years GH had a "Seal of Approval" for products by their magazine advertisers.

755+ pages;  35 sections

Better Homes & Gardens ~ BH&G ~
1930 & still going strong!
~cookbooks, & the magazine where it all began~

The Nov. 1939 - 5th edition of the 1st, 1930 3-ring binder cookbook with subject division tabs.

After Dad died, each summer I'd "go home" & go through all the books & put sticky notes in those I'd take if no one else wanted it.  The other night I found I had this of Mom's & couldn't believe it, now that I'm doing this website for the museum project, and putting this Cookbook Culture page together!!!  Keepsakes like this from Mom are now my love notes from having had the pleasure of knowing her in my past. Now I realize she used this for years before she was married.

Inside the 1939 book above is this "pocket holder" in which to keep additional recipes, but here is a real throwback from the 1950s I had totally forgotten about, & it has nothing to do with recipesThis is an "onion skin" paper (called that because it was as thin as an onion skin) of transfer images for kids to put on their hands for playing or party occasions.  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Another item in the book was an Oct. 1941 flier w/the Ruth Wakefield story who ran the Toll House Inn near Whitman, Massachusetts.  One day in 1938, she added a chopped Nestlé's chocolate bar to the cookies she was making, & voila! ~ the creation of the "Chocolate Crunch Cookie" (the original name on Ruth's recipe . . . or was it?  Another source says it was "Chocolate Crispies.")!  I have almost 2 dozen "cut out" print copies of "the" Chocolate Chip Cookie (CCC) from throughout the past 55 years, not to mention recipes in cook books, plus over a dozen hand-copied on cards, & they are NOT all identical, even when halved, doubled, etc.   Just like when I grew up, the "chocolate chip cookie" was the Cowboy Cookie recipe, which turns out to be the version above . . . with oatmeal.  That wasn't the original, but they are fabulous.  And with a dab less flour than the original (3/4 c.), & an addition of 2 c. oatmeal, it became a healthier recipe, helped to "stretch" the dollar & rationing of some foods (like sugar) during the WWII years, & increased the sales of "quick" & "regular (above), but labeled Old Fashioned" today, oatmeal for the Quaker brand & other regional "oats" companies. 

You can go here for the "chip/morsel" timeline, & the "original?" (no water!?) recipe for the Chocolate Chip Cookie  https://americanprofile.com/articles/chipping-in-the-iconic-nestle-morsel/

And amazingly, the Nestlé Company HISTORY website page has an interesting Time Line, but for the 1939+ era, there is NO mention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie, the company's "chocolate bar-to-morsel" creation, etc.!  Strange, since it's had such an impact on the American "cookie - baking" culture & commercial companies selling it.   https://www.nestle-cwa.com/en/aboutus/history/company-history#

Ruth gave her recipe out to friends.  Then a Boston newspaper printed it, followed by others.  Then the Nestlé Co.  began printing it on the back side of their chocolate bar, and it quickly became an extremely popular home-baked cookie. 

By the end of 1939, Nestlé created the "chocolate morsel" so people wouldn't need to cut up a bar anymore.  But prior to that, for a short while, they initially scored their solid 7 oz. bar into 160 sections (8 x 20).  What's very interesting in the above recipe ad is that it says, "Now available in bags . . . as well as Economy Size Bars" - both 7 oz.  Then because a cup of choc. chips is 6 oz., at some point Nestlé switched to selling 6 & 12 oz. bags at least until 1972.  A "6 oz bag" is in recipes in my 3-ring, 1972 Betty Crocker Cookbook.  Today the standard size of a bag of chocolate "chips" is 12 oz. (2 c.), & no one calls them "morsels," although Nestlé's still prints that on their bags.  

ALSO (shocking to me & many, I'm sure) is that the above recipe says it makes 100 (YES, 100 ! ! !) cookies.  The instructions say to "drop by half teaspoons!"  Really?!? ~ a half of a teaspoon?!?  So I made these again, & now paid attention😊just because I'm writing this!  Ah ha!  I immediately realized what was going on.  You see, today if a recipe calls for a "half tsp.," it means a "measuring spoon," but in Grandma's day, she worked with a tableware teaspoon (one you use for eating).  So the difference-->  Grandma's & Ruth Wakefield's "half tsp." turned out to be the amt. of 2-3 of our "measuring" tsps. today😁😍🙄!   

c. = cup(s);  t./tsp. = teaspoon(s);  Tbls. = tablespoon(s);  w/ = with;  doz. = dozen; amt. = amount;  min. = minutes

~ flat with a crunchy rim & a chewy center ~
~ flat with a crunchy rim & a chewy center ~

When I made this recipe, I used quick oats, & 1½ c. mini chips & ½ c. regular just to empty 2 bags, & I always use semi-sweet - our preference.  Then I added the vanilla after mixing in the hot water. (In today's recipes, the vanilla gets beaten in with the eggs.)  I had no idea what only 1 t. "hot" water did in 1941, to about 10 c. of dough, or 1/4th t. (really?!) in recipes half that size (today it's totally omitted) until I realized that in the original recipe, without oatmeal, the instructions were to dissolve the baking soda in the 1 t. hot water!  Early on, THAT instruction was omitted in the above recipe as the baking soda is part of the dry ingredients!  Anyway, I used a mixer through the addition of the hot water & vanilla, then stirred the nuts, chips, & oatmeal in by hand (that means with a wooden stirrer, not my actual hand). 

 I figured 8 dozen = 96 was close enough, so my precision method when wanting equal amounts is to divide - not scoop.  So I make "wheels."  I already explained how the instructions of a 1/2 t. "in those days" would have been Grandma using a regular teaspoon & scooping up a heaping amount on half of it which ended up being 2-3 actual "measuring teaspoons" by our standards today.  I remember seeing my grandma bake like this, so now I understood Ruth Wakefield's 1/2 t. as I measured out the dough wheels.  Each cookie was actually 2-3 t. of dough.  The same went for cups.  Grandma's "measuring cup" was either one of those thick, heavy coffee mugs, or more commonly, a "tea cup," & that's if & when any "measuring" was actually done, vs. "adding till you get the feel."  Ya gotta know some of this stuff if yer gonna work w/Grandma's ol' recipes, especially those w/just ingredients & no directions!😉🤣

Within a few days I made the above "New - w/oatmeal" recipe a 2nd time. The first time I used Land 'O Lakes margarine because it's most like butter in that it doesn't have a % of vegetable oil listed on the box. When margarine has a veg. oil % listed, the balance of that 100% ingredient is water. So the lower the % # of veg. oil (38% vs. 85% for instance), the worse it is for baking. The 2nd batch I made with butter . . . both were terrific, but I had to refrigerate the 2nd batch overnight before baking. This time I skipped the "wheel" (& was done in no time) because I had an idea of the size of 2-3 tsp. to get "around 100 cookies," & actually got 120 (10 dozen).  I used my largest melon baller as a scoop, & w/the more solid (cold) dough, could easily & quickly form balls.  These spread a bit less than the 1st batch of baking room temp dough, & I baked exactly 8 min., even though they didn't look quite done in the center.  But when cooled, they were done, & had that perfect crunch 'n chewy consistency!  Oh, so yummy😋.

It turns out that I just heard about Max Miller who does YouTube history-food videos on his "Tasting America" channel.  So I listened to "The History of the Chocolate Chip Cookie" (amazing research & all historic photos to back up the "show & tell" presentation).  And in it, here he says that the actual, original, Ruth Wakefield recipe says to refrigerate the dough!  Well, whadahya know😉👍😀.  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVDVbu0d4i8&t=567s&ab_channel=TastingHistorywithMaxMiller  (NOTE:  For some reason, this takes you to minute 9:27 in his 17-min. video, so immediately readjust to begin at the beginning.)

Now the RESULTS of my 2 batches are: "You could open a bakery w/this recipe," 🍪😊!

So with 8 dozen cookies the 1st time, you ask, "What in the world did the two of us do with all of them?"  Well, like I said, "You could open a bakery with these."  So as soon as the 1st pan of 2 dozen only counted up to 12 after 5-10 minutes out of the oven, immediately the next dozens got packed into zip bags & distributed to neighbors🤗.

One thing of note:  It's said that with all the "extra large & super-sized" fast food meals people eat these days, we eat way more gigantic portions of calories, than years ago.  And these 2½" cookies are usually "standard" recipe size (or were in days past!!!).  So 5-6 of these might equal the size & calories of one, 4-4+" x ¼" thick round "bakery or a mall 'food court'" cookie today, or many bakery pastries or large doughnuts - almost a meal in themselves!!      

A week later - my 3rd batch:  just to show you a bit of a difference - - a 48% "Vegetable Oil Spread" margarine says "Good for Baking" on the box, but the 1st clue is 48% Veg. Oil which is 52% less solid than butter or a "no veg. oil" margarine.  The 2nd clue:  the word "spread" - they become more "cake like," puffy & soft vs. a crunch with a buttery-caramel-chewy center which is what a good CCC is known for.

The Better Homes & Gardens Checkered Past

These cookbooks were half textbooks as they taught the basics of such things as measuring spoons & cups; there was a directory of various names such as "powdered or icing" sugar; cornstarch & cornflour; our common "granulated sugar" vs. "castor sugar;" etc.  Etiquette of how to set a "proper" table was included.  Some "history back in time" of societal changes was explained as were cultural differences regarding cuisines of other lands.

1-2 no date; 1968-69; 1976-78, 5th Printing; 2005, 75th Anniversary
1-2 no date; 1968-69; 1976-78, 5th Printing; 2005, 75th Anniversary
The T. H. Maenner real estate co. in Omaha, Neb., 1925-'57, gave a "Complimentary" BH&G!
The T. H. Maenner real estate co. in Omaha, Neb., 1925-'57, gave a "Complimentary" BH&G!
Readers of BH&G monthly magazine were told to cut out the recipe page & insert.
Readers of BH&G monthly magazine were told to cut out the recipe page & insert.
20 tab sections
20 tab sections

Better Homes & Gardens began as a magazine in 1922 under a different name, & was changed to BH&G in 1924.  The 1st cookbook was published in 1930 - the 1st style of a 3-ring binder.  It was updated in 1933, & included wartime adjustments in the 1943 edition, which was the first red & white plaid-type cover; although, it's said that the 1st "checkered" was in 1952.  A million cookbooks were sold by 1938, & 34 million by 2015.  For more on this history, see these sites:  

Joy of Cooking - 1931

Although the cover is a photo of a huge 1987 copy (43rd printing) of the 1975 hardback edition, my original was a paperback like my Fanny Farmer, only the Joy one was thicker.  Again, it was a "go to" for almost everything under the sun!  I used both of these 2 paperbacks many times, over & over, for "basics."  One source says over 20 million copies "are in print."  

Baking Classes on the Radio - 1932

Around WWI time frame (U.S. soldiers were involved mid-1917-Nov. 1918), many middle class families could afford a radio.  Prior to that it was just newsprint.  Amongst my mom's papers I found this 1932 Baking Book in which the General Foods Company gave recipes "over the air" on Tues. & Thurs. 11:15 A.M Eastern Daylight Saving Time, and 9:15 A.M. Central Standard Time.  Now what's unusual about that info?  First, it says "Daylight Saving Time" (singular) which began in 1918 for WWI, ended in 1919, & began again in 1942.  These broadcasts were in 1932, so why does the book say "Daylight Saving Time" . . . (if there was none between 1919 & 1942)?  Also, it gives times of a 2-hour difference between the "Eastern" & "Midwest" time zones, . . . strange.  

Since the recipe pages were sent "through the post," a stamp was 1.5 or 2 cents at that time, which the radio must have paid, as it says they'd send free booklets after you wrote with a request. So, to get these pages, it was a

Nathan Hale, Benjamin Franklin, & Harding . . . Who were these men? 😉
Nathan Hale, Benjamin Franklin, & Harding . . . Who were these men? 😉

 "project" if you'd need to write to request each and every one on a weekly basis, unless one request with only one postage stamp could send a continuing subscription! That info is a bit of history, now lost in time.

WWII days - 1940s

WWII seemed to have been enveloped by everyone throughout the entire country.  To "Buy War Bonds" was quite often the cancellation mark on postage stamps, & the message in newspaper & magazine ads, on the radio, on "propaganda" posters, etc.  The country went under food "rationing" for sugar, coffee, meats, fats (including butter), canned goods, cheese, and canned milk.  By "canned milk," it meant evaporated milk, & when diluted with some water, was a substitute for cow's milk.  Before & after WWII, & into the 1950s, evaporated milk was used as a standard baby formula by many mothers.  In the linked website below, it says, "Propaganda posters urged Americans to plant 'victory gardens' & can their own vegetables to help free up more factory-processed foods for use by the military."  With canning, you then always had a storage of 1-2 years supply.
In the larger sense, rubber, tires, gasoline, and shoes came under rationing regulations, as well as paper.  Therefore, my mom glued cut-out recipes from magazines on a child's school assignment papers after they were graded, & she made her homemade, 3-ring, recipe book (it's next after this WWII info).

"During World War II, General Mills (of Gold Medal Flour & Betty Crocker Cookbooks) distributed more than 7 million booklets with meal ideas when using rations. (Business Wire/AP)" Here's a very good history article related to the changing culture of cookbooks during the 1900s:  (https://www.washingtonpost.com/food/2023/02/13/better-homes-gardens-cookbooks/)

And for additional information of the "rationing" subject, type "rationing info during WWII" into a search bar.

Mom's Homemade Recipe Book

Magazine recipes, recipes on food product containers, recipes in the local newspaper, recipe fliers & pamphlets given out by food-product companies for advertising, and such got glued onto the former school assignment papers in a 3-ring notebook.  Every item that came into one's hands went through a mental "Can it be recycled?" process.  

I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin from the mid-40s to the mid-60s, & almost all of our vegetables were grown in a garden & canned; a hog, a cow, & chickens were butchered each year & in the chest freezer in the house, & a rental freezer at a local town's butcher where the hog & cow were cut up & some of it processed into sausage or hamburger; all baking was from 50# cloth sacks of store-bought flour which were kept in the "flour bin" section of the kitchen cupboards; cherries were picked on a 1-day drive to Sturgeon Bay - Door County area, Wisconsin, where we filled some empty milk cans - & all you ate while picking were free 😋; black berries were free - picked in a local woods; purple/blue grapes grew along a fence beyond our back yard; pails of purple & red plums came from the plum trees in this photo, & all the rhubarb we wanted was along the garage driveway; jams were made from crab apples by our farm house & choke cherries on the other end of our 80 acres; applesauce came from other apple trees here & there by fields & pastures; there was an asparagus patch which grew in the spring, & on & on.  

Sadly, this wonderful "grandparents'" farm no longer exists.  You can't even tell where the driveway was!!  My heart sank the 1st time I saw "nothing" there.
Sadly, this wonderful "grandparents'" farm no longer exists. You can't even tell where the driveway was!! My heart sank the 1st time I saw "nothing" there.

Milk came directly from the cows, & a slip of paper to the milkman delivered however much butter & cheese the next morning, w/the cost deducted from the milk paycheck.  It was a VERY financially tight life.  But when growing up, we never thought, nor felt, that we were hungry.  During winter the bed coverings with fluffy handmade quilts kept us warm even though you needed to scrape the frost & ice off the inside of the barely heated upstairs bedroom windows in order to see what the day looked like in the morning.  We were happy.  

We got to go to school (by a yellow school bus - about 40 minutes each way for the 3-mile distance).  There were 6 of us in my class the first 7 years in a 4-room school house.  Lunch was in packed, tin, lunch pails w/a thermos, & how I wished we had store-bought bread for sandwiches, but is was ALWAYS homemade!  When I was 12-14, I needed to make 5 loaves of white bread every Saturday for the 1st half of the next week.  Mom said it was the practice I needed in order to give a 4-H demonstration of "How to Make White Bread" at the county fair for two years!  In the 7 years in the country grade school (1952-59) we could buy a half-pint carton of white or chocolate milk each day for 5¢.  When we were in the town/district school, 8th-12th grades (1959-64), a hot lunch was 35¢ for those who could afford or wanted it.  At $1.75/week, & 3 of us in high school one time, I wondered how Mom & Dad could afford it, & if it was stressful to give us that much each week, vs. a packed lunch.

1955 - Carnation Milk Company
1955 - Carnation Milk Company

The Modern Family Cookbook (1942)

Published in 1942, Mom had this 1961 edition.  It had loose recipes inserted throughout, along with writing in both Mom's and my handwriting (printing).  Along with Mom's 3-ring notebook, this was our family's "grown up" cookbook, used all the time as our "cookbook library."  NOTE: At age 9, Mom gave me the brand new "Fun to Cook Book" (very treasured then & now!), and then at age 10, I got the beginning 4-H "Foods & Nutrition project" baking pamphlet.  It was a gradual baking process into the "adult books!"

Culinary Arts Institute (CAI) Encyclopedic Cookbook (1948 / 1950)

Don't mix up the culinary CIA with the CAI, nor the government CIA!!!

 There is a CULINARY INSTITUTE of AMERICA, the CIA (May 22, 1946 - https://www.ciachef.edu/our-story/), which began as a restaurant institute to train returning World War II veterans in the culinary arts.  They moved & opened up their school, still today, in Hyde Park, NY (1970), and then one in Napa Valley, CA (1995).  This is where the Williams- Sonoma museum is today (Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum with 4,000 items).

Now regarding this CULINARY ARTS INSTITUTE (CAI) Encyclopedic COOKBOOK (below), I recently found cavalcadeoffood.com by Kevin in Michigan.  He just did his #420 YouTube.com/cavalcadeoffood episode.  It's in his "cookbook series" of videos, and this #420 just happens to be about the AMERICAN WOMAN'S COOKBOOK (which I've never heard of) which is a forerunner to this 1969 "Encyclopedic Cookbook" edition.  The first was in 1950.  This book was given by someone as their "gift to Grandma in 1970."  At almost 1,000 pages, it was like the American Woman's Cookbooks which began in 1938 (info from Kevin), right when the WWII era was heating up in Europe.  The main editor, Ruth Berolzheimer, was behind the success of all the hard cover books, and gradually individual booklets of all the various food category divisions.  They were so much easier to handle than this heavy tome.  Sometime I'll add a photo of the 5"-wide ring binder which holds a series of 24 of those booklets.

Again, like a few others, this cookbook encompasses so many thousands of recipes, it would work as thee only ONE anyone would need in their lifetime because as it says in the title, "it's a set" of encyclopedia books. 

I wonder if this was a new bride's one & only through her years?  It was so used & treasured!
I wonder if this was a new bride's one & only through her years? It was so used & treasured!

Betty Crocker -  1950 from General Mills - Gold Medal Flour

A truly well-loved & well-worn 1950 1st edition, & below, the 1998, 50th-year anniversary Facsimile.  Betty Crocker was created in 1921, & 63 million Betty Crocker cookbooks have been published!  Her looks have changed 7 times during her first 100 years.  She keeps up w/the times!  

Your State & County Extension Service

Throughout the 1900s, some of the most basic recipes of "where to begin" with cooking and baking were put out in booklet/pamphlet/flier form at no-cost (under an Act of Congress - 1914), with just a request by a postage stamp, to the Department of Agriculture, or a call or visit to your local County Extension Office.  Everyone who was living in rural communities throughout the entire United States, and connected with 4-H (began in 1902), and was familiar with county and state fairs, knew, and today still knows, about these offices.  

They were headed up by two main people:  a woman who was the Home Economics Extension Agent (dealt with everything in the home, plus gardening), and a man who was called the County Agriculture Extension Agent for everything to do with agriculture of crops, plus the animal side of dairy-hogs-poultry-sheep-goats-rabbits, etc., nature conservation & forestry, woodworking, automotive, & all other work projects necessary for farming.  

Regarding "the woman," she went to college for a "Home Ec" degree.  Prior to that, she probably took the high school classes for home economics.  The areas were finances which included budgeting to run a household, consumer issues (purchasing & selling), housing & interior design, nutrition & food preparation & preservation (i.e. canning), as well as textiles & apparel (i.e. sewing)So like many other country and small-town gals, 4-H became a part of my life at age 10.  Local women were volunteer leaders, & Mom began in that role the following year for her next 35 years, plus 15-20 as a Girl Scout leader.  By the time I entered high school, I had already been baking 4 years (with 2 straight years of 5 loaves of yeast bread every Saturday), learned to sew which helped immensely for the following 30-some years, canned, went through Home Furnishings, babysat, had junior leadership, & so on.

Therefore, when high school came around, 4-H replaced home ec & I could take French 3 years, band & chorus 4 years, & the required classes of English-4yrs., history & government-4, math & economics-3, & science-3, typing, PLUS  extra-curriculars . . . & no "half-day" senior year classes & then have a job.  The 7th hour was "phy. ed." 2 days (i.e. physical education = gym) & study hall the other 3 days, besides a shorter period for lunch.  (I was on the bus at 7:10 for an hour, at school 8:20-3:30, & home by 4:30.)  When it became time to go to college, I had had 8 years of many 4-H projects & an apprenticeship of 18 years of farm work, plus 2 summers working as summer help for families in Milwaukee.  By that time, I pretty much knew how to run the basics of a farm household, plus the barn & beyond, & could drive.  Besides, I could read in order to learn more as, if, & when needed!  What a blessing.  

Recipe History to be continued:
More Books - Country-wide Magazines & Tear-outs - Booklets - Pamphlets - Fliers - Cards - on Product Containers - & more ...  

Put out by:  Appliance Companies; Celebrities & Recognizable Names; "Community Cookbooks" of Regions of the USA, churches, schools, community groups of clubs & social or community project organizations such as hospital & other "auxiliaries," radio & T.V. stations (recipes from listeners), individual families, etc., etc., usually sold as a "Fund-Raising" project, sometimes referred to as "Spiral-Bound" Cookbooks; Food Companies & their Products; Health Oriented for fats, carbs, calories, weight, etc.; Nationalities & Heritage Groups, & Countries of the World; Seasons & Holidays; & an endless list of other sources.