Community Cookbooks

Community Cookbooks

Today's Prompt: Community**

Do you like cookbooks?  I do!  I have so many that I recently had to cull my collection to fit in my bookcase.  Some of them had to go.  But I did not relinquish any of my community cookbooks.  Those were saved because I love to read them. I always find a new recipe I want to try.

The first American community cookbooks were sold in 1864 to raise money to care for wounded Union soldiers during the Civil War.

  You can view it as an e-book here:

The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Poetical Cook-Book, by Maria J. Moss
From <>

This type of cookbook is still popular and is used for a variety of fundraisers.


 What makes these books so special? 

  • Inside them is a peak into history. 

 You will find a record of culinary trends, ingredients available at the time, and equipment used. I have a book from 1958 that list the contributors using Mrs. and their husband's name. Only the single ladies had their names listed.

 recipe community cookbook

  • Most of the recipes are tried and true family favorites. 

After all, you would only submit your best recipes to be featured in one of these books. You will find recipe names like The Drakes Sour Cherry Streusel Pie, Aunt Tillie's Dressing, and Dorothy's Baked Ham.


  • They bring back good memories involving food and fellowship. 

My favorite books are from the church I grew up in and a square dance group we belonged to. Memories of church potlucks flash by with Janice's recipe for Quick Salad. Christmas morning comes rushing back with Marty's Maple Butter Twist recipe. Mom's recipe for Swedish Rye Bread makes my mouth water. I can see the pans lined up on the radiators to rise. I smell the loaves cooking and almost taste the warm bread fresh out of the oven.

Swedish Rye Bread from Community cookbook


  • The handwritten notes are fun and interesting. 

Another favorite is the Herrick Centennial Cookbook. Anytime I asked Mom for a recipe, she would check this book first and usually find what we were looking for. I now have that book in my collection, full of her handwritten notes and paper-clipped favorites. On the recipe for Caramel Dumpling Dessert, she wrote, "made this when first married 1952, Helen Bloebaum gave me this recipe." If you are fortunate enough to inherit one of these, you are in possession of a true treasure.


  • They contain more than just recipes.

Some of mine came from used bookstores and antique stores. If you are lucky, you'll find handwritten notes scattered across the pages declaring, *GOOD!* or, NO, Dad didn't like this. You may discover menus, recipes, and notes tucked between the pages. 

You will find a recipe for Elephant Stew in most of them. They are often sprinkled with wisdom, cooking tips, and other miscellaneous information.


community cookbook


I'm guessing that sharing recipes in your community has been happening since there were cooks. I wonder what recipes and notes Eve shared with her friends and family. She probably had a killer apple pie recipe!


If you are fortunate to have such cookbooks - read them, write in them, and make notes. Contribute to one, if you are asked, you will be making history.


How are you preserving your family recipes? Once you are gone, those family favorites will be too, unless you leave someone a note. And you're welcome to share one here.  I'd love to try it.

have a delightful day

**This post is part of the #write28days Challenge, writing and posting EVERY DAY in February

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I love community cookbooks for all the reasons you stated! They always seem to have the best recipes.


I’m preserving my family recipes by putting them on my blog ;). I do have one of two of those community cookbooks—they are fun to peruse! I also have a Settlement Cookbook from the late 1880s that’s fun to look at, too.

Anita Ojeda

I have quite the collection of community cookbooks! I just recently inherited all my mom’s community cookbooks as well when her things had to come out of storage. Although I use the internet a lot for recipes, I would never want to give up the history of the communities these books represent.

Jerralea Winn Miller

Some of my favorite memories are cooking with my Grandma and my Granny. My 10 year old daughter wanted to join one of those meal subscription services, I told her no, but that we could buy a new cookbook instead. I want to make memories cooking with my children, the way that my grandparents and Dad cooked with me.


My community cookbooks are among my favorites for just the reasons you listed – they hold a special place in my history and my family’s history. I have one that was my Grandma’s, and it still has little scraps of notepaper in it with grocery lists or notes on a recipe she wanted to try. Precious!


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