Cookbook Review Vintage: What Was Your First Cookbook?

What was your first cookbook?

Mine was: The Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step CookBook (1977, special imprint 1984) edited by Gill Edden.

My rating: 4 1/2 stars

Any child (to  later develop a weight problem) would have to stop and caress the cover of The Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Cookbook…..My mum bought this for me from a discount bookstore – the kind Greg Evans did commercials for in the 80s.  Its one of the best cookbooks I’ve ever owned and produced the best baked cheesecake I’ve ever tasted (see below).

This book was special because it had all the photos of the food in the front of the book like an index. I would sit and stare at all the food thinking about all the things I’d like to cook one day.

Chocolate meringue pie

I dreamed of making this chocolate meringue flan



I took a recent look at it and love it even more – some of the food and styling is totally 70s yet still hot to look at. It makes me want to have a “key party” chuck on some flares and lay on a bean bag.

All meat dishes must be lined with canned pineapple

Lamb with pineapple, Meatloaf with pineapple, Pork chops with pineapple




Poussin with pineapple




Glazed Ham with pineapple sitting on a fake pineapple




2 page spread about fruit for dessert but NO pineapple!?!

In the 1970s everything tasted better submerged in Jelly…

Salad in jelly

Tomato soup in jelly







Fish in jelly

This book has multiple variations on fondue




Gorgeous colour photo spreads of food you want to cook and actually eat (except for the creepy marzipan fake fruits)




Candy page from the index…drool






Cookie page from the index… drool more

This book also had the best baked cheesecake recipe I’ve ever tasted. Creamy, chalky, crunchy biscuit base. Farking DELICIOUS. No bullshit healthy shortcuts. You have got to try it…

The Best Baked Cheesecake I’ve Ever Tasted (adapted from Good Housekeeping’s Cherry Cheesecake recipe)




  • 450 G (1lb) cream cheese
  • 225g (8oz) sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 300 ml sour cream
  • 20ml (4 tsp) cornflour
  • 15 ml (1tbs) lemon juice
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence
  • 200 g digestive biscuits
  • 50g sugar
  • 65 g melted butter
Crush digestive biscuits and mix with the remaining ingredients for the crust.






TIP: Using a rolling pin and a zip lock bag really does work the best. Note: Do you like my hot pink digital scales? HOT!!

Press firmly on to the  base and sides of a 20.5cm (8inch) spring-release cake tin, to within 4cm of the top edge.  

Tip: I put it in the fridge to set while I mixed the rest of the cake. Tip 2: add some cinammon here if you like.



Beat the cream cheese with the sugar. Gradually beat in the remaining ingredients for the filling. Pour the remaining ingredients for the filling.




Pour the mixture into the crust and bake at 180C for 1 hour. Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake in it for 30 minutes. Cool in the tin, then cover and chill until required.

TIP: Don’t freak out as the cake rises to almost 6ft tall before it settles in the pan.






TIP: Unless you want a cake with a portuguese eggtart consistency, you must chill. Also to get more chalkiness, leave in oven overnight and then chill. This dries the cake out more.

Remove the sides of the tin, loosen the cake from the base and slide it onto a plate.




If you know a better baked cheesecake than this let me know so I can test the recipe and expose you as a fool.

Also – Let me know what your first cookbook was!


Always shop around. My copy is obviously an old edition. At time of post I found good prices for the 2010 edition at: or

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  • AllyC
    January 25, 2011 - 7:49 am | Permalink

    Hi Cookie, love your work! I found your blog a little while ago when I was thinking about starting a cook book blog of my own, but you are so entertaining – much rather read yours!

    Not sure what the first cook book I owned was but the first one to ever cook from was the AWW recipe card box, which Mum still has and uses regularly. Slightly newer vintage than your book, less jelly!

    Keep up the good work,

      January 25, 2011 - 11:01 am | Permalink

      OMG! AllyC thanks so much for your encouraging words – and we’re not even related! All the best!

  • January 25, 2011 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Great story!

    I wish I knew the name of my first cookbook. I got it for Christmas when I was about 10 years old. It was a “cooking for children” book and I loved it.

    I will have to see if it is still at mums house!

    I remember all the recipes I used to make out of the cookbook. Obviously I mostly made the desserts and cakes, but once I made a “sausage meat flan” yep, not my best moment :)

    It also had Cheddar Cheese Sticks, Apple Charlotte a Green Snow and Welsh Rarebit.

      January 27, 2011 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

      I am desparate to try an Apple Charlotte!

  • January 25, 2011 - 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Hello there! My first cookbook was a Sesame Street cookbook bought for my sisters and I by our parents when we were very young. We made a very yummy sugar cookie recipe by the Cookie Monster. I wonder what has happened to that book…?

      January 27, 2011 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Thats pretty cute!!

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