Vintage Recipe Cards From the 1970's (2024)

Vintage Recipe Cards From the 1970's (1)

Yep! Fruitcake! Welcome to my post on vintage recipe cards. It’s December, so there couldn’t be a better time to show the dry, brick-like dessert know as Fruitcake.

This image is from the Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library from 1971. That’s right, the one we all grew up with in the US, having our mom’s cook from.

Many of the Betty Crocker recipes are actually very good, basic recipes (not including the one mentioned above) – with no consideration to any diet issues what so ever. They had high fat content, high sugar content, high calorie content, you get the idea – it was the 70’s after all.

Now, to be fair, with my bad food photography recipe collecting, I have learned abouttwo different kinds of recipes:

  1. Some recipes are just god awful, disgusting, and should never have been created, ANDthe photos of those recipes are just horrible.
  2. Some recipes are actually good, and, unfortunately, their photos are also just horrible.

Ok, so don’t worry, my blog didn’t turn into a blog about bad food photography (though you are going to see a lot here today). I have always loved the history of food and what it took for us to be where we are today in our food photography world. Photography has evolved so much over the last 50 years, It’s really amazing.

Food photography, luckily, has changed immensely. I’m not sure what was happening in the 70’s, but the photography was anything but beautiful.

They massively over lit the food. They always had multiple light sources causing double shadows and specular highlights all over the food. The prop styling was just thrown together with very distracting, if not disturbing props (you’ll see that below).

Many backgrounds had very bright, busy patterns that took your eyes away from the food, which might have been their intention, as the food styling made the food so unappealing. Almost every shot had every item in focus – no creativity with selected focus or shallow depth of field, no depth in the shots. Everything was photographed with a very wide angle lens it seems.

Basically food photography now is completely the opposite of what it used to be.

Vintage Recipe Cards From the 1970's (2)

Meet Fred. He was our mascot in the Food Photography Club Facebook group for a photo contest I ran a while back. I think so far, this is the most shocking food recipe card I have to date.

It involves jello, mayonnaise, fish, a cup of cream, and some seasoning, uhhgrghf! I don’t know how to spell that sound I just made, so I guessed at that.

The Seafood Mouse recipe is from Curtin Publications Inc. I have searched all over the web and cannot find any info about this company.

They claim all their recipes are “kitchen tested”. Ok, now, today a tested recipe means that it’s been tested several times and actually works and is a good recipe. Back in the 70’s, I’m not sure what that means. Maybe it means, they did actually make this recipe for the photo shoot??

It seems that with my collection of vintage recipe cards, the Curtin Publications has, shall we say, the most unusual of recipes I’ve ever seen.

Vintage Recipe Cards From the 1970's (3)

I buy a lot of my vintage recipe cards from Ebay. I found a recipe collection from Paul Hamlyn Ltd 1967 (pictured above). I had no idea who Paul Hamlyn was, so I googled him. Turns out, he was a pretty awesome guy.

Paul Hamlyn was originally named Paul Bertrand Wolfgang Hamburger, born in Berlin in 1926. He and his family emigrated from Germany to England in 1933. He changed his name to Paul Hamlyn.

Then in 1961 he basically created one of the first, if not THE first full color cookbooks called, the “Everyday Cook Book in Colour” with recipes from Marguerite Patten. They sold over 1 million copies of this book by 1969 and he was the first person to put a cookbook into a retail outlet such as grocery stores and hardware stores.

Marguerite Patten’s cookery programs were first broadcasted on the BBC in 1947! Julia Child’s first tv show was in 1963. I had no idea that the tv was happening in the 40’s until I did researched for this post. Marguerite was offended whencalled a celebrity chef and insisted that till the day she died, she was a home economist.

Moving on! The image above, Christmas Pudding, is very English. I just had to share this because, well, I’m British and I grew up with my English grandma sending us Christmas cake every year. Our cakes were actually encased in marzipan and royal icing, which I loved as it was very moist and full of flavor. Non of this candied citrus peel stuff with dry cake that you find today in fruit cakes.

Vintage Recipe Cards From the 1970's (4)

Ok, so as I mentioned earlier, there are MANY recipes that are just downright disgusting. So I’ve made a little gallery of a few of those. I don’t know what’s happening in the image above with the Liver in Sour Cream. That’s all I can say about that.

The images below are of some scary recipes. The food does not look appealing and the color of the the props is not helping any of these dishes at all. Yes, the Tangy Tomato Aspic is jello with tomato paste in it!

[envira-gallery id=”3710″]

So the gallery of images below are not of bad recipes. These images have horrible lighting, or really bad or creepy props (like the clown!), ugly food styling, or all three!

Also, when doing a pour shot of something creamy, don’t do what they did in that second shot.

The card for frozen desserts with whistles on the end of sticks in the dessert – this card came from the recipes that children can make. I’m sorry, if any child showed up at my house with those whistle desserts, I would have turned that child right around and sent them home. Can you imagine the ruckus that would have made with all that noise? Clearly, this is why I never had children.

[envira-gallery id=”3722″]

When I was searching for vintage recipes on the interwebs, I found a few sites that were very fun and have been doing this important research for quite some time, and need some recognition:

McCallum Vintage Recipe Divas:

Vintage Recipe Cards:

Click Americana:

Have a great holiday everyone and a happy new year!

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Vintage Recipe Cards From the 1970's (2024)


How do I copy old recipe cards? ›

You can capture the recipes using a scanner, camera, or your smartphone. If you're taking pictures, make sure you've got good lighting. Take pictures straight on so the recipe is easy to read.

Do people still use recipe cards? ›

Although many call it outdated, the world of using good ol' paper for books, studies, and even recipes is still very much present. There are simply some things that digital tools cannot replace, and deciding to print your own recipe cards is one of them.

What can you do with old recipes? ›

A sizeable collection can be stored in standard archival file folders and boxes. Weak or damaged paper also can be placed in polyester sleeves and then in folders and boxes. Recipes also can be scanned and accessed electronically while the originals are kept in safe storage.

How to make your own recipe card? ›

To make a recipe card, follow these key steps:
  1. Write the recipe's name.
  2. List the required ingredients with exact measurements.
  3. Clearly identify instructions for preparation and serving size.
  4. Include an image of the product.
Nov 9, 2023

What can I do with my grandma's old recipes? ›

If you have larger or full-sized 8 1/2 x 11″ recipes, you can easily store them in print pages or 3-ring page protectors, which will display Grandma's beloved apple pie recipe while keeping it safe from your everyday kitchen mishaps.

What can I do with old handwritten recipe cards? ›

What are some recipe gift ideas?
  1. Showcase your handwritten recipe with a shadow box.
  2. Turn a cutting board into kitchen art.
  3. Use a small easel to hold recipes upright on the counter.
  4. Make backsplash art with customized recipe tiles.
  5. Create wall art with handwritten recipes on a canvas.
Nov 11, 2022

Is there an app for recipe cards? ›

Recipe Keeper is the easy to use, all-in-one recipe organizer, shopping list and meal planner available across all of your devices. Enter your recipes with as much or as little information as you like. Copy and paste recipes from your existing documents or apps. Categorize your recipes by course and category.

Is there an app to make recipe cards? ›

Recipe Card 4+

Recipe Storage: Easily store and manage your recipes in both text and photo formats. Capture your culinary creations with photos or type in the details of your recipes, including ingredients, measurements, and cooking instructions.

What is a standard recipe card? ›

1. A standard recipe card includes the name of the recipe, the number of portions it will make, ingredients and amounts required, the method of how to make the food, temperature for cooking and some even have pictures.

What is the best way to digitize recipe cards? ›

Tips for digitizing old recipe cards
  1. Scan the recipe cards using a document scanner or phone app, such as CamScanner.
  2. Use an online recipe database like BigOven to store and organize your recipes digitally so that you can easily share them with family members.
Jan 24, 2023

What is the best leftover food? ›

  • Meatloaf. Though meatloaf is often restricted to the weeknight dinner table, it is a powerhouse leftover. ...
  • Lasagna. Sure, there's nothing better than lasagna coming out of the oven hot with bubbling cheese. ...
  • Pulled Pork. ...
  • Beef Stew. ...
  • Chili. ...
  • Frittatas, Quiches and Tarts.

How do you turn a recipe into a gift? ›

Transcribe your family's favorite cookie recipe onto a cookie jar, engrave grandma's oxtail soup recipe onto an easel (now you don't have to lean over and squint), or hang up the most oft-used family recipe on a sign so that it's always in sight.

What is the best size for recipe cards? ›

What size are recipe cards? Recipe cards typically come in three sizes: 3 x 5 inches, which is old-fashioned style; 4 x6 inches for the standard style; and 5 x 7 inches for the oversized style. Consider the size of the box, file or folder where you'll keep your cards to help you decide on your card size.

How does a recipe card look like? ›

What Does a Recipe Card Look Like? A recipe card is a small card, beautifully perfected not just with a delicate design but with all the ingredients and cooking procedures that make up the mouthwatering kitchen masterpiece on paper – easy to read for everyone.

What printer prints recipe cards? ›

The Canon PIXMA TS8120 is perfect for a project like this because you can print on different paper formats and not sacrifice any of the colors or quality of the prints. And it's so nice being able to print them at home, as there's no limit to the number of recipe cards you can print!

How do you digitize a recipe collection? ›

Follow these steps to get started:
  1. Collect your recipes. Make sure you've got all your favorites ready to go. ...
  2. Download a mobile scanning app. ...
  3. Convert your handwriting. ...
  4. Save, organize, and share.

How do you digitize handwritten recipes? ›

Scanning: You can use a scanner to create a digital copy of a physical book. Scan each page of the book and save the images in a file format such as PDF or JPG. OCR software: OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software can be used to convert scanned images of text into editable digital text.

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