Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lost and Found - Part 7

Here at last is my final found treasure. It’s a small booklet that I found hidden between two books at an antique store. I am amazed that after 88 years, such a small, ephemeral item still survives, and in quite good condition.

This is an example of a time-honored tradition, the church cookbook. In 1925, the Phoenix Central Christian Church Women put together this booklet and sold it at 25 cents each for the church.

There are several pages of household hints, many of which were new to me.

Imagine using crystallized cyanide for ant control! And putting your ostrich plumes in the oven to get them to curl. (But watch carefully so they don’t burn!)
The advertisements are short, simple, and appealing.

Check out the gorgeous typeface for JC Penneys. And the illustration for Pilcher Optical could fit right in to Dr. Eckleburg’s billboard in The Great Gatsby.

On another page is a barber shop that offers marcelling for $1 and permanent waves for $15.

Finally we come to the recipes, and there are a lot of them. It looks as though the editor wisely decided that every submission should be included, rather than trying to select one or two from each category.
Thus there are five recipes for Gingerbread, eight for Devil’s Food Cake (!), and other similar multiples throughout the book.

It’s interesting that many recipes omit the actual cooking or baking instructions. Also, there are no oven temperatures.  A slow, moderate, or quick oven were the options, if any guidance was provided.

A recipe that no church cookbook should be without is, of course, the Bible Cake.


Another special find was inserted between the pages – a map of Phoenix dated April 1924. I find it utterly amazing to see the entire city squeezed into a tiny space that we consider a small part of the downtown area today.

The quaint charm of this map will probably be more apparent when you see the difference between Phoenix of the 1920s and Phoenix today:

The tiny black spot on the map on the left corresponds to the 1924 map above.

This amazing piece of history is the last of my found treasures, for the time being.

Have you discovered any treasures recently?



  1. What a great find! That editor was definitely a diplomat, allowing all recipes in. Who was she (he?) to say which was the best. I'm sure there would have been many a political battle for that title!

    1. Yes, can you imagine? Talk about a schism in the church!

  2. Pretty interesting that the cure for oily skin is to be drunk before breakfast!

    1. Ha! I wonder if it counts if you are *still* drunk...