Charleston Receipts (1956)


by the Junior League of Charleston, S.C., a well-preserved copy of the December 1956 ninth printing of the landmark 1950 publication. Paper boards, deep green and white pictorialcover, comb binding, 308 pages. Spine of comb binding is white, with the title of the book in green.

One of the most successful regional cookbooks ever, and certainly the most popular Junior League spiral cookbook ever produced. It has sold hundreds of thousands of copies in dozens of printings throughout the years, many of of the printings 25,000 copies each. In fact, a "revised" version is still in print. This one incorporates the original text. (The “Receipts” in the title is the old-fashioned spelling of recipes).

Why has it been so popular? Mostly because of the rescue of hundreds of time-honored, top-drawer traditional recipes from the inhabitants of a diverse seaport city which has been food-savvy for centuries. Some of the recipes date back to the more than 100 years. The accent is on Low Country cooking and baking.

It features the now-famous deep green and cream hard cover of a map of Charleston, framed by borders of horse-driven carriages, flowers and moss-covered willow trees. It was forward-thinking. The contributors list their own as well as their married names! Also, the editors also didn’t fall into the “ad placement” game so common then and now. “Trade names of products are only given when necessary,” the editors state.

The 330-page book is extremely well organized and contains an extensive and detailed index, revealing, for example, 11 recipes for oysters, three for gumbo, two for Pecan Pie, but, alas, only one for Cooter (large freshwater terrapin) Pie. The recipe for the wonderful and still-popular Lady Baltimore Cake, first made popular in a 1906 novel that involved a Charleston tea room called The Lady Baltimore, was first revealed in these pages.

Hard to find early printing in Very Good+ condition.

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