Cheap Thrill: The New England Cookbook (1956)
Here’s futher proof that the neatest visuals can pop up in the most unexpected places. Trawl through any flea market or antique store and you’ll find dozens of old paperback mini cookbooks published by the Culinary Arts Institute. Organized by food or region, these were cheaply sold in supermarkets to housewives who wanted to try a little adventure in their meal planning (“Darling, let’s try some Scandinavian tonight!”). Christopher recently won an eBay auction in which five of these C.A.I. booklets were included along with the one cookbook he wanted, a rarity published by the Melamine Council (yes, there really was something called the Melamine Council). Although the other cookbooks had rather unexceptional photography and illustrations, one of them was a real treat. You’d never know it from the cover, but The New England Cookbook brims with lots of whimsical, wonderful drawings by one Lou Peters. According to Ward (who oughta know), Peters did several volumes of these cookbooks in different styles, all excellent. I’d so love to see more.
I scanned most of the illustrations and posted them in this Flickr set. Check the excellent typography and spot color usage in the examples below. They’re so freakin’ adorable I could just spit.