Contrast

photo of old cookbook image  of savory jello mold

Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks from the 1950s and 1960s bring me so much joy. The cookbooks I own are thin, hardcover books with titles such as Barbecue Book, Meat Cook Book and Salad Book. I’ve been collecting them on and off through the years when I come upon them at used book stores and garage sales. My requirement when I purchase these books is that the price tag be at a steal. I don’t want to be precious about these books; paying very little for them helps me accomplish that.

Each of these books contains recipes that are elevated by gloriously saturated photos. There’s something about the sharp, contrasting colors that give my eyes and brain such great pleasure. The colors in other areas of my life tend to be muted, very neutral. Maybe my old cookbooks are a kind of private rebellion that I can revel in the moment I open up the book and flip through the pages.