Older Is Sometimes Better

Sometimes older is better. I am just saying. It seems like that is a silly thing to say but it is true.

In this case I am referring to cookbooks. I love cookbooks. I have a pretty massive collection and find great comfort in thumbing through the pages of the varied ones that reside in my kitchen.

My collection ranges from church cookbooks, civic group cookbooks put out by various groups and clubs I have been involved with, handed down cookbooks, handwritten notebooks from my Grandma Bonnie filled with recipes, Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Gardens editions, cookie cookbooks, appetizer cookbooks, Pampered Chef cookbooks…..You get the idea. I have a nice collection of cookbooks.

The basic Betty Crocker cookbook is what I started out with. My mom got me my first one for my bridal shower back in 1982. It is the one that I go to time and time again. I think you might be able to tell.



There are not many pages that are still intact in the spiral binding. Most are loose and hanging out. The front cover is taped and retaped. I suspect there are pages missing. The most used pages appear to be in the bread and potato sections. I love this cookbook. One year I told my mom it was falling apart and for my birthday that year I received a new version.


P1000587I love that my mom inscribed this one. She did not do that to the first one that she gave me and so when she gave me this one with that little inscription it made me smile. I must admit that I do not use it as much as the “old”one.  I am not sure why.  It is pretty and easy to use–the pages are in a 3 ring binder version so no more having pages falling out of the spiral ring but for some reason I still go to the older version.

I realized when I started this post that I also had my mother in law’s Betty Crocker cookbook. It was stuck in the cupboard and I had almost forgotten about it but there it was. Of course I realized that it, too, was a special gift to her and I am thrilled that I got to keep it when we cleaned out their house.


P1000615I have a recipe box cram packed with recipes. I think the thing that makes me smile the most is when I pull one out and see who it came from. I have many that friends have written down for me on cards over the years and now and then I am reminded of those folks along my journey who took the time to share a recipe with me when i asked for it. That is what is friends do.  Share.

I often go to the internet and find recipes these days on Pinterest and other recipe sites.  Many of the blogs I follow post recipes. There is never a shortage of places to find that perfect dish to prepare but the tried and true, the old stained, dog-eared, dilapidated Betty Crocker cookbook is the one I go back to time and time again. What about you? Where do you get your favorite recipes?


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  1. Same as you, old cookbooks especially the church ones, my school put several together and cards. The cards take two boxes. Scraps of notebook paper and more cards of favs are tucked into a photo album with 4×6 slips. I find I use the photo album most because I know where to find them.

  2. I love old cookbooks… I tend to get recipes off the internet or from friends

  3. Some of my favs are in church cookbooks. Others I found in magazines and years ago pasted into a notebook. That was falling apart, like your cookbook. So a few months ago I purchased plastic sleeves and a 3-ring binder and slipped recipes into that.

    Like you, I also get recipes from friends and family. And, like you, I also find recipes online.

    I love your mom’s thoughtfulness in getting you that second cookbook. But I totally understand why you keep returning to the old original.

    Old cookbooks possess a certain charm and hold memories that a new one cannot.

  4. I love this post. Old cookbooks are the best, especially when they are given to you by family or include family recipes. Keep us connected through the decades. Plus, you can’t go wrong with Betty Crocker recipes.

    • Betty Crocker is my go to and it seems like it is for a lot of other cooks so I am in good company. I just love old cookbooks—-there is always something new to find in them.

  5. The large 3-ring Betty Crocker is my fave, also, and the one I have given to both my/our sons as gifts (yes, I said ‘sons’). The local Lutheran church cookbook is the other ‘go to’ cb. For all the books I own, these 2 come to the rescue most. At one time, the Pillsbury Bake Off cookbooks (found near the check out registers) held a fascination for me and I have a huge collection of those. All fab recipes but how many can a body have?? This will have to be the year to divest…………ugh!!! LOL! Hugs………………..

    • i did get rid of some of mine and I think this year I will need to scan some recipes in from some of those ones I don’t really go to that much and donate them someplace.

  6. Love cookbooks and love to “read” cookbooks!

  7. I still go to Betty Crocker when I need some help. Cooking for one person is harder as new recipes ask for some ingredients I can not find or will not use again and will just get too old to use.

  8. I have a few cookbooks but my security blanket is my Betty Crocker. So many of the recipes lead you astray–not Betty. My Mother has a huge overstuffed index file on her counter that she can magically pulled the perfect recipe out of. I hyperventilate just looking at it. She reminds me that someday it will be all mine. I plan to put it on a shelf, never touch it with a label that reads Mom’s home cooking. And no not i’m bold enough to scan.

    • That made me laugh. I am sure your mom knows exactly where every perfect recipe is but has that system locked down. I bet you could put it all into Evernote….just saying.

  9. My mom is a typical Italian cook — a pinch of this, a pinch of that, and it never tastes the same twice! I, however, am a Virgo perfectionist, and I tend to be a chemist-in-the-lab when cooking — exact measurements, consistent results. Mom has all sorts of recipes scattered throughout two houses. It’s going to take me YEARS to wade through them when that time comes! Betty, hands down, remains my favorite.

    • I am in such good company with my love of all things Betty! It seems like “she” is the go to for many of us. I love your mom’s way of cooking and respect yours because mine is so much more like your mom. 🙂 A bit of this and imprecise measurements–that is me!

  10. I love cookbooks for looking through and finding recipe ideas. I have a baking book that I got from my grandma when Corey and I first got married – it’s a treasure only because it came from her! Lately, I use allrecipes.com for a lot if recipes – their app is awesome and I can read it off right from my phone or iPad, plus save the ones I like the most to my favorites!

  11. Its funny you should write about cookbooks and recipes right now. I just spent the entire weekend sorting out my huge collection of both. You are right about the old standbys. I always go back to my Five Roses Flour Cookbook I won in a baking contest in the 60s. You can tell the ingredients of the most used recipes by looking at the stains on the page. Another standby for me is The Moosewood Cookbook from the 70s. I have many others but so often go back to those 2. (The recycle bin is full from all the clippings I threw out on the weekend.)

    • That is so funny!!!! I totally get it! The stained and crumpled pages, the bent corners and the creased edges! I have so many of those clippings, too, and I actually threw a few out this morning. We must be on the same wavelength.

  12. Some of the recipes I got from my mother & were my favorite meals, my mother got from the Winnipeg Free Press (the internet of the 50’s & 60’s!)

  13. LOVE this post. I have that newer version of Betty Crocker as well – from when I got married – but I honestly don’t use it a ton, either, except for certain traditional standbys. I am afraid that I am a recipe-aholic. Not sure that’s a good thing! I need to use the ones I have and stop collecting more!

    • I know exactly what you are talking about—I have to go through and weed things out every now and then because I keep adding to my collection of clippings….

  14. Allison Spruill says:

    My favorite is a church cookbook that was my mom’s in the early 80’s. I took it for my first home, and it’s still the one I use for my favorite casserole recipes for covered dish lunches. It was copied at church on construction paper it seems and is pretty flimsy but well loved! I do recall seeing one like yours at my mom’s too.

    • I love that it was copied on construction paper. That is awesome and I find that the church ones are the absolute tried and true recipes from some of the best cooks.

  15. I haven’t ever really accumulated my own cookbooks, and pinterest is my go-to, on-the-fly place where I keep recipes I’ve tried and enjoyed. I’m trying to live a little lighter, getting rid of things, especially since I’ve been moving around from apartment to apartment the last few years. BUT I have much love for my mom’s old cookbooks and handwritten family recipe cards, some written by my grandma and great-grandma themselves. The books look a lot like yours, with pages falling out and random photo copies stuffed in with tips scrawled in the margins. Every Christmas my mom makes the same few (really complicated) cookie recipes, and it’s kind of a tradition for my sister and I to scour through the old books when we’re visiting and try out new ones, though now we are starting to settle into our own favorites. It’s also tradition for my family to end up with way too many cookies…..

  16. I have my mom’s old Betty Crocker 3-ring notebook cookbook plus some others including specific ones for the slow cooker and microwave plus a card file with recipes, pictures and sorted by category. I’m ready if I ever decide to bake or cook something!

  17. Nina Buscemi says:

    OMG the first cookbook I have had since it was published!!!

  18. I love this, Beth Ann! I was just thinking about my old cookbooks last night and how fun it would be to do a string of posts on recipes out of my old church cookbooks. I also love that most of my cookbooks have a message written in them. Its something not many people do these days. Anytime I pull out one of those cookbooks, I think of the person that took the time to purchase it for me and write a nice message in it. Great post!

  19. Oh, my mother has the exact, same cookbook! LOVE it!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  20. Awww the memories of Betty Crocker Cookbooks! Not only do I have one like yours but I also have my mother’s old Betty Crocker’s and my husband’s mother’s Better Homes & Garden’s Cookbooks. Mine looks just looks like your, while the other two are much much older. All are in 3 or 5 ring binders. I find myself comparing the old and new versions of BC, just to see the changes. Plus, like you, I have small Pillsbury paperback cookbooks from my Mom and then many from churches, civic groups, and the list goes on. My favorite is still my BC!

    • I adore this post- especially the transcription from your mother. I’m a sap for sentimental things like that. Your “old” (ahem…I was born in ’82) cookbook shows signs of a well-fed family. Great post! Renae

      • Thanks, Renae!!! I love that my mom gave me both of them and that I have so many memories associated with them. And you are such a young one. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

    • Betty Crocker seems to be the hands down favorite of these readers. I am excited to have so many people have the same experiences.

  21. I started out with Betty Crocker, too, and my cookbook looks very similar to yours, though mine has a regular binding (with the pages are falling out). I bought a newer version, but it is not the same. Many of the recipes include processed foods from the store to shorten prep time. The old one is still a favorite, but I have one from Good Housekeeping–with pages falling out–that is used regularly (when I cook, that is).

  22. Love this post Beth Ann. For me, my go to is a church cookbook from my youth. I think I’m going to have to share about my cookbooks like you and Jeni have done!

  23. That top picture is the Betty Crocker cookbook I got when I got married (the first time) 33 years ago. I still use it every time I make meatloaf.


  1. […] week my friend Beth wrote about the beauty of old cookbooks in her post Older is Sometimes Better and I’ll have to […]

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