Saturday, March 14, 2009

250 Delectable Desserts

One of the fascinating things about the cookbooks from The Culinary Arts Institute is the way they (Ruth Berolzheimer) recycle their material. Nowhere is this more obvious than with 250 Delectable Desserts. The oldest edition I have is from 1940. This two-color cover was standard with the books from the 40s. Honestly, I have no idea what this dessert is on the cover--especially the little rounds, possibly bacon, or those little soy disc things that come with vegetarian udon. The strange thing about this book is that when you open the cover the title page reads, 250 Tempting Desserts. If you're re-packaging material, it seems easy to understand how this kind of mistake could happen. What's less easy to understand is how this "typo" happened on the 1949 and 1950 editions, which were similarly titled 250 Delectable Dessert Recipes. The dessert pictured on this 1950 edition also seems impenetrable to me. I think it might be baked apples. The title page of 150 Delectable Dessert Recipes (1971) reads correctly. I assume this happened when they culled their “best” 150 recipes and had to change the title page anyway.

Despite the cover or the title, all of the editions of the 250 Dessert variety are EXACTLY the same on the inside. The 1970s versions, the smaller 150 Desserts, use the same recipes, same pictures, same font. The only difference is pagination, and of course the missing 100 recipes. This really makes me wonder about the content of these books. If the 70s editions are simply selections of the 50s editions, which are reprints of the 40s editions, then just what is the source for the 40s editions? How old are these recipes anyway? Is this why they are so strange?

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