Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook

I've been cooking for as long as I can remember. Mom and Dad both loved to cook and let me have lots of experience in the kitchen.

Dad had his “secret sauce” that could become spaghetti, chili or anything calling for a meat and tomato base. Mom baked and tried lots of exotic recipes from the classes they attended together.

Mom and I inherited our love of cooking from Great Grandpa Johnson who was Chef at the Glendale Sanitarium. The “San” was a health resort of sorts run by the Adventist Church at the turn of the twentieth century. Mom told stories of running up the hill from her grandparent's house to visit Grandpa in the kitchen. He even published Johnson's Vegetarian Cook Book. Here's a copy signed by my Great Aunt Margaret and Great Grandpa Carl Johnson, a Swedish immigrant.

I am more of a dump and pour cook. Most things I prepare don’t involve a recipe, but that doesn’t work well for baking. When we got our float cabin on Powell Lake, I wanted a good, comprehensive cookbook. My choice was The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. It was first published as The Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer in 1896. Mine is the 13th Edition by Marion Cunningham and illustrated by Lauren Jarrett (Bantam Books, 1994). It's in paperback and a steal at $7.99 US/$9.99 CAN. There are 1230 pages of all types of recipes, preparation techniques, general directions and measurement equivalents. The illustrations are an excellent resource when trying new preparation techniques. I'm always referring to it whenever I bake or want to try something different.

If you need a good cookbook, I highly recommend The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. You can get it at Coles book store in the Powell River Town Centre Mall. They also carry all of Wayne’s books in the Coastal BC Stories series. -- Margy


  1. Fantastic choice for F week. Carver, ABC Wed. Team

  2. I'm a pinch of this and a bit of that sort of cook too. Perhaps I need Fannie Farmer's cookbook :)

  3. I'm a Betty Crocker cookbook kind of guy.

  4. I have a Fannie Farmer cookbook but I think it's in a 3 ring binder style (that's what I remember, it's at the river house). My mom used to use it and for me, Fannie Farmer was the epitome of all things good!

  5. I love to cook, and I do miss cooking more often - living at my moms house makes things harder, as she also loves to cook for us and she's the queen at her kitchen!
    I have a very old cookbook where I hand write my favorite recipes. Some pages are stained, so many times the recipes were used. I'll take a look at your cookbook, for the fun of it, sounds good! :)

  6. Linda - I take a lot of recipes from Fanny Farmer and adjust them for jus the two of us. They seem to work out OK.

    Roger - My first cookbook was a Betty Crocker youth version. Back then they still had home economics classes including cooking.

    Nydia - Know what you mean. Both my mom and dad were great cooks, but I learned a lot by watching. Even though you can find almost any recipe online, I still love to read old cookbooks.


  7. I love to cook more now that I am retired and have lots of time to browse through cookbooks. I think I'd really like this one. Like Roger, my Betty Crocker Book has been well used, the front and back have been taped many times.

  8. I can make a decent meal but Lorne is the chef here. The other night he did filet mignon with sauteed asparagus with carrot peelings. Yum!

    abcw team