THIS is my favorite vintage cookbook.
Of all the dozens of old cookbooks I’ve collected, Good Looking Cooking is the one that makes me happy just by looking at the cover.
The first reason is that every time I read the title, Good Looking Cooking, this Hank Williams song immediately plays in my brain, quite a pick-up line.
Second is the blue gingham cover: picnicky, summery, cheerful.
And third are the illustrations of the three young cooking students on the cover.
Ponytails, bows, fluffy aprons, oddly long arms, and they are just thrilled at how lovely that strawberry gelatine mold turned out!
This is booklet was printed in 1959 by Knox Gelatine, Inc. of Johnstown, NY. Inside it talks about the useful of gelatine to the cook: hundreds of possible, elegant dishes, easy to use, unflavored, and unsweetened.
It also mentions why gelatine is just as important for “you!” And me. Well, women in general: it makes delicious dishes without adding extra calories, it’s made of pure protein, and promotes beautiful nails, glowing skin, and “hair like a shining halo.” Sign me up!
After a brief overview of how to prepare gelatine, the booklet is divided into tabbed two-color sections of recipes covering whips, sponges, snows, chiffons, and whipped mixtures. As a rule I am a person who does not like gelatine dishes (or the sugared-up Jell-O versions either), because the texture is way too wiggly.
But to have it shimmy is apparently the point!
Despite my dislike of shimmying, jiggling gelatine this guide actually has me tempted to put together a coffee whip.
It is just so charming, from the fonts to the little illustrations throughout. Here and there script-style fonts open new sections of recipes. Underneath the headings, a flourish of a curled line or an asterisk at the end of a caption… is it still called an asterisk when used in a graphic design sort of way? The old Pink Panther cartoons had those everywhere. I love them.
This guide came to me from Christian’s Aunt Vicki Belanger, who was a talented and avid cook. It is fun to imagine her as a young student of the gelatine arts. Many of my vintage cooking tools came from her kitchen as well. Good Looking Cooking is the jewel of my collection!
And now for a “marvelous” main dish mousse.
Mold A Main Dish Chicken Mousse
- This recipe is from Good Looking Cooking. It is formatted below as it appears in the cookbook.
1 envelope unflavored gelatine
1-1/2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1 tbs lemon juice
1/8 tbs Tabasco
1-1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup heavy cream – whipped
Sprinkle gelatine on 1/2 cup of chicken stock to soften
Heat remaining cup chicken stock. Add to softened gelatine, and stir until gelatine is completely dissolved.
Add lemon juice and Tabasco.
Chill until mixture is the consistency of unbeaten egg white.
Mix in chicken and celery.
Fold in whipped cream.
Turn into 4-cup or individual molds. Chill until firm.
Yield: 6 servings