When looking for a recipe these days, you’re only a few clicks away from finding a plethora of tantalising recipes to choose from. But while cookbooks are still going strong in the 21st century, the secrets to culinary offerings from all over the world weren’t so widely available to the masses, and normal folk would have to make do with their pig nose stew. Here we look at some of the earliest cookbooks around, which also happen to be among the rarest on the planet…
10 – Feeding the Lions
Feeding the Lions, a two hundred and fifty-page cookbook by Frank Case was first published in 1942. This hardcover book bound in red cloth offers a choice of hints and recipes by the manager of Algonquin Hotel. It is a highly sought after American cookbook which is filled with famous people and humour; making it both informative and enjoyable. The price for this rare book is $300.00.
9 – The Mary Frances Cook Book
This cookbook was one of the first cookbooks given to a child with a great storyline and superb illustrations. It was first published in 1912 with easy recipes for any child to follow. The very rare hardcover book is one hundred and seventy-five pages of easy recipes which were one of the first cookbooks given to any child. This rare book is priceless.
8 – How to Cook a Wolf
How to Cook a Wolf by MFK Fisher was first published in 1942 and is two hundred and sixty-one pages of easy to follow recipes. The cookbook was published during the wartime shortages, with the intention of helping people come up with delicious dishes and a chance to experiment with what they had available in the kitchen. While it’s widely sought after for its historic value, the book goes for a comparatively modest $87.00.
7 – La Cuisiniere Bourgeoise
This cookbook was first published in 1746 (complete with illustrations), and penned by the mysterious Menon (see what he did there). It’s unknown why the author went under an anonymous pseudonym, but this French family cookbook has gone on to become one of the rarest cookbooks on earth, selling for stonking $1,751.43.
6 – The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book
The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book was published in 1954 by an author who was an American living in France and offers a selection of Bohemian recipes from Paris; including a delicious Hashisch Fudge (not to be confused with the illegal stuff). This book offers great French recipes and is suitable for cooks on all levels. The book retails for around $447.00.
5 – A Handbook of Cookery for a Small House
This rare hardcover cookbook was originally published in 1923 and is highly sought after by foodies and avid collectors from around the world. The book offers great recipes that are easy to follow for the smaller household and sells for around £118.00.
4 – Fancy Ices by Mrs A.B Marshall
Penned by the then dubbed ‘Queen of Ices’. Fancy Ices is a very old and rare cookbook dating back to 1910. As well as great recipes, the book also includes eighty six mouth-watering illustrations; offering easy to follow step by step instructions for both sweet and savoury (you guessed it) ices. This cookbook sells for £250.00.
3 – Five Roses Cook Book
The Five Roses Cook Book is a Classic Canadian Cookbook dating back to 1915 and filled with a selection of great and interesting recipes. The book is a hardcover and is highly sought after. No price is available for this sought after cookbook.
2- Beeton’s Book of Household Management
The Beeton’s Book of Household Management was written in twenty-four parts, which were then bound together and published in 1861. Even back then the book was so in demand that it sold over 60,000 copies within the first year. The book is so rare, that a price tag isn’t available.
1 – The Vital Question
The Vital Question dates back to 1908 and offers general cooking tips, along with easy to follow recipes mainly around wheat and the importance of including wheat in your diet. But why wheat? Well, it was actually a sneaky marketing strategy; courtesy of the Natural Food Company who used the book as a way to educate folks to the benefits of their Shredded Wheat product. There are not many of these books in circulation today, but if you are lucky enough to find one you will be the owner of a rare hardbound cookbook.