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.

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7 Responses to “Classic Cooking”

  1. gabe

    love your images! Nicely done!
    It’s also great to hear your passion for books and unquenchable appetite for knowledge and learning. love.

  2. jen

    i love getting lost in second hand bookstores. nothing better.
    i had to laugh because i’m the exact same way, i purchase so many, even when i don’t really ‘need’ them. but i do need them…
    love the images too, of course.

  3. jak@fishes+loaves

    that’s awesome. out here, the seattle public library throws a used book sale twice a year and you always have some amazing finds in the cookbook section. it’s a nice, light glimpse into cultural adaptations over time. my first cookbook ever was a used hard cover of The Chez Panisse Cookbook (all text, no glossy photos) and it changed my life.

  4. Amy

    I showed Ethan the picture of the kids making cupcakes and cookies and he said “Mommy are those kids making muffins and pancakes”…poor deprived child, he sees a picture of cupcakes and cookies and thinks its muffins and pancakes.

  5. DMA

    I love your blogs, Ashley and check every day to see it there are new ones.
    Your appreciation of old cookbooks is so much fun and take back to the same ones in use when we a got married in 1950! (You can even learn to make jello salads! –no longer in vogue–they don’s even take a recipe!)
    Keep blogging. You writ so very interestingly!! G-MO GG

  6. MG

    OK now I’m really jealous. Not only are you gorgeous with darling kids can cook like a pro now I read that these are YOUR photos…..stop it you just too perfect. 🙂

  7. artisansweets

    GG – Thanks for commenting. I’m so flattered that you check the blog.

    MG- Husband’s been to busy to get me the photos that I need so out of necessity I have had to step in. I have really enjoyed it!

    Jak- I think I’ve been to it once. Pretty much the best day of my life… besides the day my children were born of course. Oh yeah and then there was the day I got married.. but those aside and darn great day. Any idea when the next one is?


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