Sources for old cookbooks

 Image courtesy of magazineart.com

The Internet Archive is a great source of antique, public-domain cookbooks online. I love browsing through one or two when I have a few extra minutes, and their online view is a great reading experience: all the fun of turning the pages without the worry of messing up an antique book.

As TJ commented in the last post, these older cookbooks are much harder to cook from. I like to cook from books from the '30s and on. Thrift stores have plenty of vintage cookbooks, especially from the '60s and '70s. I find the best source for books from the '30s through the '50s is Amazon. Lots of people sell used books there for modest prices.

My very favorite old books to cook from, though, were my grandma's. Here are some recipes from her books that I've shared in the past:
Coconut crunchies
Cheese waffles
Gingerbread upside-down cake

Do you cook from old books? Where do you get your books and recipes? What changes do you find you have to make to older recipes?


  1. I love cooking from old books... I think it's just my love for all things vintage :)

  2. My best vintage and retro cookbooks have been from the following sources: hand me downs from family, yard sales, the library discard cart, and Freecycle.

    My big binder of vintage cookbook pamphlets was picked up for $3 by my sister in law at a yardsale. I've paid $1 a book from the library cart, and the others have all been free. Once people know you love old cookbooks, they will start coming your way as they clean house.

  3. Two of my favorite treasure are a couple ancient cookbooks from my grandmother and great aunt - such interesting recipes!


  4. I haven't tried cooking from old books, but sometimes I try to do everything by hand, like people would have had to do before we had electric mixers and such.

    Because of this experimentation, I now swear by always creaming butter & sugar by hand. I can tell a difference in the texture and body of the finished product when I do it the old fashioned way.

  5. I love cooking from old cookbooks, but I mostly just raid my grandmother's bookshelf and copy down recipes. However, I absolutely LOVE the Internet Archive link that you posted. It's already well on my way to becoming my new favorite site!

  6. Me and my mom cook from old cook books....and I do mean old. The oldest is from 1913. These were all passed down through my family. It doesn't really surprise me too much...we still have tin prints of distant relatives from over 100 years ago.