The best cookbook I have ever owned is still The Lily Wallace New American Cookbook. I inherited it from my mom. She bought it back in the 1940s when it was first published. What makes it great is three things: Delicious-looking color pictures of some of the recipes (color from 1943? Amazing!) , the comprehensive list of recipes (from Alaskan Fruit Pie to Zabaglione, Italian) and the awesome index at the back, which is 40 pages long. The cookbook itself is like a Bible of books. It is over 900 pages on thin paper. Mine has become fragile and ragged over time, but has the greatest collection of recipes in my possession. I still use Lily’s sugar cookie recipe at Christmas.
You can get a copy of this cookbook on line. I saw an original for $149 and a cheaper version for $19.95. I believe mom paid $1.00 for hers. Mom made a wise decision the day she purchased Lily’s book.
My point in this blog is two-fold: 1. Highlighting a great old book; 2. And how much I appreciate a good index. I often make and maintain indexes for my clients. It helps them, and me, keep up with all their paperwork. Thanks to Lily Wallace I learned the value of an index many years ago.
When you want to find something in a hurry nothing beats a good index. Does your filing system have one? Do you update it as your files grow?