Why not indulge your inner chef and check out some dishes from the past? It's easier now than ever thanks to the Internet Archive, which has been digitizing vintage recipes from American history. From the late 1700s to the early 1900s, the ongoing collection now includes over 10,000 cookbooks. Best of all, they are free to view and download.
Perusing the vast library shines a light on the innumerable types of guides that exist. Some of the writing and topics of these resources underscore the differences between past audiences and those of the present. One such example that dates back to 1911 is titled The Cook Book of Left-Overs; a collection of recipes for the practical housekeeper. As the name suggests, it delves into useful ways of making use of extra food so as to not waste money for the employer. “In the average small family where there are no servants, or perhaps one servant, setting a table with the very least margin of ampleness means that there will inevitably follow some left-over food,” it says in the preface.
Other books have surprising relevance to today's market, such as the Vegetarian Cook Book, which was published in 1914. It might come as a surprise that this guide promotes the benefits of eating vegetables over meat, stating: “It is a recognized fact that the foundation of many of the ills of the human race is laid at the table through the eating of unwholesome food…as suggested by the name of the book, all meat recipes have been omitted, the superiority of other foods being recognized.” It then covers everything from bakery and breakfast dishes to puddings, and even how to correctly prepare fruits and nuts.
Check out the full collection of vintage recipes and cookbooks via the Internet Archive's Cookbooks and Home Economics section.