The Fannie Farmer Junior Cookbook

My first cookbook.
My first cookbook.

When I was a young girl, I so desperately wanted to learn to cook and sew. My mom had many talents, but cooking and sewing were not in her repertoire. So, my mom gave me an old 1950s cookbook called the Fannie Farmer Junior Cookbook.

I loved that book. I made croutons, cakes covered in powdered sugar, pretty salads and who knows what all else. I began my habit of writing recipe feedback in the margins of that little red book. I loved that book so much that I still have it in my house, although it is more decoration now than a volume of my cookbook collection.

A colleague asked if I would teach her daughter to cook. Alas, it reminded me of my own youthful days with a mom who wasn’t a willing cook. I eagerly said yes.

Of course, as a person with a doctorate in adult education, I have taken on this task as if we had a semester to impart valuable information, followed by a test.

My new Fannie Farmer Junior Cookbook.
My new Fannie Farmer Junior Cookbook.

First, I had to find my young friend her very own copy of the a Fannie Farmer Junior Cookbook. To my delight, I found it had been modernized a few times since the 1950s edition I own. I purchased four copies (just in case I do start a young chefs cooking school!) of a 1993 edition and am ready to begin working through the recipes.

Second, I have to have a handout. Too bad they can’t be the mimeographed type with purple ink, wet paper, and the smell all the kids loved. But, it is ready to be printed when the time comes.

Third, the young cook must have an apron. I will get to work on that in the next week or two. I will probably embroider her name on it! It is a bonus that I can combine sewing AND cooking!

The willing cook has selected a chocolate cake for her first endeavor. Funny thing I noticed as I looked over the recipe is that it too is dusted with powdered sugar. I think I will have to bake one of the vanilla cakes dusted with powdered sugar from my little red cookbook which I treasured so long ago.

All we have left to do is set the date for our baking fun!

Did you have a favorite first cookbook that makes you smile? Do you still have it?

In the Event You Wondered: I wasn’t even born in the 1950s! I was given my Fannie Farmer Junior Cookbook in the late 1970s.

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