One of the things that makes me the most homesick, the most regretful about missing fall in Boston this year, is not being there for the grand opening of my friend Abby’s new vintage cookbook & cookwares store Farm & Fable, which debuts to the delight of Boston foodies in the South End at the end of this month. (Read more about it in this awesome Improper Bostonian interview.)
I’ve always had a soft spot for vintage cookbooks (and children’s books), which remind me of happy childhood weekends spent learning new things as a family — in particular, baking from a well-loved copy of Betty Crocker passed down from my grandmother to my mom.
Vintage cookbooks and DIY books are also a ton of fun as a portal to another time, allowing you to experience and recreate history, in a way. I would rather spend a few bucks and a few hours with vintage lifestyle books like these, which I found on my trip to the Austin Goodwill on North Lamar earlier this week, than on Pinterest any day.
Shortly after we moved to Texas in September, I found out that fall (not early spring) is the best time to plan and plant a garden here. We have a tiny, weird, sloping, neglected backyard that needs some love, and even though it’s no secret I have a black thumb, I’m game to try but don’t want to spend a ton of money doing it. I was psyched to find this well-loved local gardening book — including tons of personal notes and pamphlets from local gardening tours used as bookmarks left in there from its previous owner. Combined with the AIA Austin home tour we’re taking in early November, I think I’ll have all the inspiration I need to get started.
Picnics are quite possibly my favorite kind of party, and I’m thrilled that Austin has so many more opportunities to pack up a basket & a blanket for a party outdoors. Yay, 75-degree weather in October! Next week, we’re headed downtown with friends for the Austin Parks Foundation & Alamo Drafthouse free screening of Ghostbusters in Republic Square Park and I’m already using this book to plot & scheme an appropriate 80s menu. Rest assured, there will be marshmallows involved.
As a child of the 80s, and the editor of Shoestring, I couldn’t pass up this iconic guide to excess and luxury living — the original Champagne tastes inspiration that moved a generation to believe more is more. Who else watched the TV show as a kid? I can still hear Robin Leach’s voice, loud and clear. “Loife-stoiles of the reech and fay-mous!” OK, I tried.
Another thing I’m learning living in this Texas heat is that sometimes, OK most of the time, it’s far too hot to turn on the range, oven, or stovetop. My oft-neglected slow cooker is about to get abused. Though its binding is totally falling apart, I couldn’t pass up this vintage crockpot cookbook — if only for the illustrations alone. Wouldn’t these look amazing framed? Maybe I’ll have to put them in the Etsy shop when I reopen in November…
What are your favorite kinds of books to find at thrift stores? Love to hear some of your favorite finds & scores, recent ones or all-time bests!
Story & photos: Copyright 2013, Shoestring LLC & Melissa Massello