Victory Cookbook

My trip to the Salvation Army Family Store yielded a two dollar copy of “The Victory Binding of the American Woman’s Cook Book,”  published in 1943. The book is dedicated to General Douglas MacArthur.  This Wartime Edition is replete “with victory substitutes and economical recipes for delicious wartime meals.”  It was edited and  revised by Ruth Berolzheimer  who was at the time the director at the Culinary Arts Institute.

My well used copy was a Christmas gift to Minnie J. Mead from Roland in 1942.  I can’t help wondering why this treasure ended up in a thrift store.  Possibly the owner is deceased and her family packed up her belongings in order to empty the woman’s house.  Or maybe a large inherited collection of cookbooks, not unlike my own, ended up in a yard sale unsold and later donated to a charity.  I stupidly sold my mother’s copy of  “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” by Julia Child.  Luckily, I found a copy of this Volume One book in perfect condition at the same store where I found my wartime cook book today.  My recent foraging through the bookshelves at said store hasn’t unearthed many cookbooks.  This really doesn’t bother me since I already have many more than possible to use on a daily basis.  I still can’t help wondering why there are so few available. My theory is linked to the dealers who show up at opening, along with me, who must be scooping them up before anyone else has a chance.  I visit the store weekly but I am sure the regulars go every day.

Back to the Victory Cook Book.  Throughout the pages of the book are handwritten recipes, newspaper articles and notes tucked deeply into the pages for safe keeping.  My mother’s cookbooks that I did keep also have many similar little papers buried within.  I love finding her notes and feel as if I have saved a small piece of family history.  I hope my children will also cherish these once I no longer need them.

Browsing through my historical find I came across recipes for:  Suet Pastry, Quince Preserves,  Rinktum Ditty,  Sweetbread Supreme,  Kedgeree,  Red Flannel Hash, Pea Timbales and Chicken Victory.   A search online produced some interesting information about this book and its value. I hope that Minnie would be pleased that someone has rescued her recipes and given her book a special place in a home that spends a lot of time thinking about, preparing and eating food.

About circuitousjourney

Retired Art Teacher
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5 Responses to Victory Cookbook

  1. Allison says:

    Hi! You know what’s super funny is that this belonged to my grandmother Minnie and grandfather Roland. I actually stumbled upon your blog while working on a genealogy project. I don’t remember much about Minnie as I was only 3 when she died, but I know she loved to cook. I’m sure she’d appreciate that her cookbook found its way to another person who loved to be in the kitchen. I’m not sure why the book ended up in the sale, but I assume that her things were cleaned out of the big house after her death and donated. Thank you for sharing the story of the book. This was an amazing surprise adventure away from voter registration and census reports.

    • Allison,
      Wow! This is exciting. I would be more than happy to send it to you. I would hope that if someone came across something that once belonged to my grandmother and had a way to return it to the family, they would. The cookbook has some value on its own, but that wouldn’t compare to the sentimental value you probably would have. I had no plans to sell it anyway. The handwritten notes are still intact. Let me know and I will figure out some way to get it to you. Did your grandmother live in Central NY? I have a neighbor with the surname Mead…I never thought to ask her if Minnie was a relative.

      • Allison says:

        Ostrowski is my married name but my husband’s family has many relatives in New Jersey (we haven’t done their tree yet!). I would love to talk with you about the book though. It’s such a small, small world. Here is my private email address: Thank you!!

      • Allison says:

        Yes! Minnie lived in Ovid, NY for most of her life. I can’t believe it has handwritten notes in it. What a treasure. I would love to have it, truly. I would be happy to send some money. I know nothing about vintage books. Do you know what it might be worth? We could either do post office or I could ask my mother who lives in Interlaken to meet you somewhere. Thank you so very much for your kind offer. I hadn’t really thought about having the book myself but it would be such a treasure. Anyway let me know. I sent my email address in the previous email and thought we could work out the details that way. Thanks again!

    • I just saw your email address and the Ostrowski name…I had an art student with that surname in NJ quite a few years ago.

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