Fremont County, Iowa

Fremont's Cookbook Collection
by Evelyn Birkby
View from the Attic ~ A Weekly Series
Fremont County Historical Society
Week of June 28, 2015

Searching antique stores, for community cookbooks is a delightful hobby, and I am enjoying being a part of the one the Fremont County Research and Genealogy Department carries on constantly. We have a number of people who have taken it upon themselves to watch auction sales, antique shops, and second-hand stores to see if they can find local cookbooks published by churches, clubs, schools, and any other community group. The books are not just treasures of good recipes for cooking but they usually include the names of residents from years, decades, and past who took the time to search out their favorites, and put them together into a book to publish and hopefully earn the organization some money.

I understand that the first, such cookbook, was published during the Civil War, to finance the need for medical supplies the women nurses were needing to treat the soldiers.

I recently made a stop at the Finders Keepers Antique Mall at Sapp brother’s center. I know several booths that carry such cookbooks and guess what I found that day? County Kitchens Cookery. This cookbook is, made up of recipes, contributed by Fremont County Women; and published by the Fremont County Farm Bureau Committee. It has a green cover and was published by Carter Printing company, Sidney, Iowa.

The yellow one, Fremont Families Favorites, has the same byline and was printed by Shenandoah Printing Company. I know, that the Fremont County Farm Bureau published a third one, a gray one. I also found this cookbook from Imogene. Cream of the Crop, 1972, by the St. Patrick Church Altar and Rosary Society.

Along with those treasures, that I bought that day, was Shenandoah, Iowa’sBusiness and Professional Women's Cookbook. Many familiar names are in this one, of radio homemaker folks, and professional women from surrounding towns as well.

Cooking with Grace, published by the Percival Community Church caught my eye and I got it, despite the fact that we may already have this book on our shelves. It never hurts to have 2 copies available for research.

The one in which I was most fascinated is a hand-written book entitled Lunch with the Ladies. Members of a Methodist Women’s Society circle, in Sidney, in July of 1996 had each written their favorite recipes by hand. These they duplicated with a mimeograph. They then cut them into the same size pages and put them together with comb bindings. All the names were familiar: Norma Grudle, Marvis Leech, Eunice Lynn, Donna Glenn.

This book and the others, I bought that day are all in the research library at the Fremont County Historical, and Rodeo Museum, in Sidney for your inspection and scanning if so desired. What a fun glimpse into the past.

We appreciate any assistance anyone can give us in finding southwest Iowa community cookbooks to preserve and have available for people to read.

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Page updated on May 10, 2017 by Karyn Techau