We love vintage cookery books

Delia (1977) on the cover of "Recipes from Look East 3"

Over Christmas while visiting relatives we raided their kitchen shelves for old cookbooks. How can you resist a 1977 Delia cover?

Recipes from Look East cost 45p and was sent out to viewers of the BBC’s Look East programme. Delia appeared each week on their cookery spot; a star of 70s East Anglia TV. The recipes in the book are mostly traditional (Toad in the hole, rabbit pie etc.) but there are a few, like gnocchi, which must have seemed exotic and daring at the time.

Delia writes about exciting new ingredients like anchovy fillets arriving in English food shops; new, strong tastes to use in the kitchen. How bland much of post-war Britain’s food must have been.

We found this great clip on YouTube of Delia talking about vegetarian food, including an interview with the fabulous Kate Bush. Do watch, though be warned the non-meat loaf looks atrocious.

Mmmm. The delights of "Family Circle's Illustrated Library of Cooking" 1972

Looking at old cookery books, you can’t help but notice quite how bad food photography was in the 70s. Claire fished out an old favourite of hers Family Circle Illustrated Library of Cooking which has fantastic headers like, “Go gay with kebabs” and the most unappetizing food photos we’ve ever seen.

But in amongst the 70s finger food buffets and lurid colours are some great recipes. Ingredients and recipes which are back in fashion (with just a bit less gelatine and dayglo food colouring). It is the photos which make vintage cookery books so enjoyable – and there are loads of retro cookery books lurking in Lewes charity shops waiting to be re-discovered.

The wheel of food fashion comes full circle: 1972 hors d'oeuvre featuring "Bitsy Burgers"

Love the backdrop for this plastic looking shot of "Maryland stuffed ham"

Family Circle Illustrated Library of cooking: Terrible coffee. Great cups.

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