There are thousands of cookbooks written by companies to sell products – and most are not particularly interesting in nature or useful in function. This week’s Thursday Three cookbooks represent iconic memory evoking brands. Recipes in them are either timeless or a time capsule.
#1 The Marshmallow Fluff Cookbook
During her early elementary school years, my daughter ate many Fluff and Nutella sandwiches. One day another mom cornered me at pickup and laughingly told me her daughter tried to convince her that my daughter ate marshmallow creme and chocolate sandwiches for lunch every day. We lived in Texas back then and judgmental mommy just couldn’t seem to wrap her head around my attempt to give her cultural context for my parenting choices. She thought I was putting her on when I told her what a fluffernutter was. I learned most people outside New England didn’t grow up eating marshmallow Fluff and peanut butter sandwiches.
She was equally baffled by my description of Nutella which was still a little known specialty item in 2002. I only knew about Nutella because a friend from the Netherlands gave her kids Nutella sandwiches or buttered bread with chocolate sprinkles for breakfast!
The Marshmallow Fluff Cookbook has a detailed history of Fluff. Fluffernutter is the first recipe. Other significant recipes include the popular never-fail fudge recipe found on the back of Fluff jars since the 60s and whoopie pies, another New England specialty
#2 Classic Cooking with Coca-Cola by Elizabeth Candler Graham, Great-great-granddaughter of Asa Griggs Candler, founder of Coca-Cola
It would seem rude to live in Atlanta, the city that Coca-Cola built, and not own at least one Coca-Cola centered cookbook. It’s the Atlanta thing to do – not unlike one of our neighbors who hands out cans of Coca-Cola to trick-or-treaters. Published in 1994, this cookbook includes the history of Coca-Cola and a zany variety of retro dishes made with Coca-Cola products – including recipes for Coca-Cola gelatin salad and a chicken recipe called coq au Coke.
#2 The Toll House Heritage Cookbook published in 1984
Chocolate chip cookies were invented in Massachusetts by Ruth Wakefield of the Toll House Inn. She made a deal with Nestle to print her recipe on their chocolate bar packages in exchange for free chocolate for life. Smart choice! In my 1943 edition of the Toll House Tried and True Recipes cookbook (first published in 1940) the cookies are called “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies” using “Nestles yellow label chocolate, semi sweet, which has been cut into pieces the size of a pea”. Nestles made chocolate chips because of the popularity of Ruth’s recipe…so actually chocolate chip cookies existed before chocolate chips did!
The runner-ups for iconic brand niche cookbooks include: Hellmann’s Favorite Recipe cookbook, Skippy Magic of Peanut Butter cookbook and Fabulous Food the Costco Way cookbook. Although they elicit knowing curiosity, they just don’t have the kind of stature my Thursday Three offer.