There are few things in life that I enjoy more than shopping for used books. It’s truly a thrilling hunt as you scour the piles of musty books in search of a real find.

(Let’s be honest I always find something. I will always make room on my already crowded bookcase for another book.)


I used to feel guilty for my insatiable quest and overly abundant collection of books but I have come to realize that each one has a unique purpose and reason for having their coveted position on the bookshelf.


There was one expedition that landed a real gem in the treasure hunt of used recipes. It was a day like most, cold, gray and wet. With coffee in hand, like a kid anticipating the inevitable trip to the candy store I approached the bookstore giddy with excitement.

There it was, re-covered in plastic protecting its dated rust orange cover. The LIFE Picture Cookbook… to date the greatest find in all my years of used book hunting.


I resist the urge to cut out and frame every picture in this book. They are all so delightfully dated. The text beckons back to the days of yesteryear where men were in charge of grilling the steaks and women made liverwurst sandwiches with protein bread for the children’s lunches.


Chapters include:

Man’s Job: Steak

French Lesson in Innards

Cooking on Ice

Luxury with Leftovers

and Elegant Picnics

There is even a section on dining out that includes some of the top restaurants from the countries biggest cities.


Published in 1958 this classic is more than just an old cookbook. It is a snap shot of a life that was once lived. Food transcends the dinner table. It tells us so much about who we are and what our lives are like. It is culture and this book tells me more about this period of time than many history books ever could.


I have to admit that there are numerous recipes that I am eager to try. Some look tasty, others – not so much. This one sounds intriguing. A retro twist on a Fall classic.

Acorn Squash Baked with Pineapple

3 acorn squashes, halved

1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained

2 tbl. dry sherry

2 tbl. brown sugar

6 tbl. butter

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. salt

Scoop out squash seeds and fibers. Place in greased baking dish and put 1 tsp. each of sherry, brown sugar and butter in each half. Cover and bake in a hot oven (400*) for 30 minutes or until tender. Scoop cooked squash out of shells, leaving wall about 1/4 inch thick. Mash squash and combien with 4 tbl. butter and remaining ingredients, beating until well blended. Spoon back into shells and return to hot oven (425*) for 15 minutes. Serves 6.