Food Stuff

Illustration By Marianne Mancina

When I was a kid, my mom had a pamphlet from Baker’s Angel Flake Coconut with recipes for cakes decorated with dyed coconut. Ever since a pink Ella Elephant appeared on my birthday, I’ve been a sucker for such promotional booklets. I was thrilled to find boxes full at Ames Bookstore, an enormous secondhand shop in book-happy Grass Valley. Browsing revealed such titles as 150 Recipes for Your Holbrook Electric Refrigerator, 1954’s Body Building Dishes for Children and the 1970s-era Cheese: It Gives You Ideas. There are shelves of cookbooks, too. I left poorer by $27 but richer by three additions to my collection: A Book of Good Luncheons (1916), replete with tips for hosting a luncheon party without interrupting your servants’ regular work; Rumford Modern Methods of Cooking, an antique promotion for the brand of baking powder I use now; and Swans Down Cake Flour’s Cake Secrets, which has a recipe for picnic caramel cake that could replace Ella in my affections. 309 Neal Street in Grass Valley, (530) 273-9261.