Mary Margaret McBride Encyclopedia of Cooking, Deluxe Illustrated Edition

My latest acquisition. Purchased this past spring. I’ve been keeping it a secret because I was supposed to be weeding out my old cookbooks, not buying more of them. Old, and sometimes new, cookbooks are my one weakness. And I just couldn’t resist this one.

The “Mary Margaret McBride Encyclopedia of Cooking, Deluxe Illustrated Edition”. It is a monster, over 3 inches thick. The cookbook to end all cookbooks (of course, that’s not true. As long as there are new cooks, there will be new cookbooks). Over 1500 pages of recipes, hints, tips and more. The General Index alone is 31 pages, with 5 columns in teeny-tiny print on each page. Cross-referencing everywhere. This is going to be a fun read (can we say “sarcasm”?).

The poor old thing has had a hard life. The front cover has come off completely, duct tape notwithstanding, and the back cover will soon follow suit unless someone (moi, naturally) rescues it.

Needs some work to get her back in shape.

Needs some work to get her back in shape.

I love the very back pages that are marked “Personal Recipe Notes”. The previous owner wrote in her favorite recipes from the book and on what pages they could be found. I’d like to go through and see exactly what those old favorites were and if any of them appeal to my modern tastebuds. I may even try to make some of them.

Favorites from long ago

Although….just looking around, I found several recipes for hamburgers. They are seriously plain, bland and boring. Considering the book was published in 1960, it is safe to assume that the recipes are all from the 1950s or earlier. Few, if any people put things like avocado, bacon, pineapple, onion rings, sprouts or any of the hundreds of additions we now use. My own mother used to prefer her burgers plain. Just some ketchup, a little mayo and, on occasion, a slice of onion. No lettuce, no tomato, no pickle.

In contrast, I like lots of goodies on my burgers. The more the merrier. The only problem I’ve ever had with piling everything I like in between the two buns is trying to sink my teeth into it. I either need a hinged jaw or a burger squasher.

As an accidental Mid-Westerner living in a small Wisconsin town, I don’t often find local burger joints with much in the way of additions on their menus. But I feel it is a challenge to myself to discover what is out there for me.

So, in light of that challenge, and because tomorrow is a special day (more later), I will sally forth this evening and see what I can discover. Hopefully it will be a tad more interesting than the recipes Mary Margaret offers.

Just the way Mom liked them!

Just the way Mom liked them! (sans the “sauce”)


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