Overhead view of an old book with text that says, "The Star Cook Book".
Behind The Scenes,  Series

A Family Heirloom – The Star Cook Book

Overhead view of an old book with text that says, \"The Star Cook Book\".

I was recently given an old family cookbook from my aunt. This cookbook was passed down from aunts to nieces for three generations now. It’s a collection of recipes from a group of ladies called the “Star Society” from the Grace M. E. Church in Pekin, Illinois. This is a third edition published in 1922, given to my great grandma’s sister from her aunt in 1924. She gave it to my aunt Janis, and when my aunt saw me drooling over these old recipes, she decided to pass it on to me. I think she figured I’d actually put it to good use!

The way these recipes are written is so different than how they’re written now, and I love how each section starts off with a food/cooking/eating related quote.

The Star Cook Book
To Sue from Aunt Pink Aug. 1924.

The Star Cook Book
We may live without poetry, music and art;
We may live without conscience, live without heart;
We may live without friends, we may live without books;
But civilized man can not live without cooks.

We may live without books : what is knowledge but grieving?
We may live without hope : what is hope but deceiving?
We may live without love : what is passion but pining? —
But where is the man that can live without dining?
-Owen Meredith.

The Star Cook Book
The ladies of the “Star Society” of the Grace M. E. Church of Pekin, Illinois have been gratified because the real merit of The Star Cook Book has been so widely recognized. There has been a constant demand during the past four years for a Third Edition, and the time has come when it can no longer be disregarded.

The Star Cook Book has been thoroly revised and improved by eliminating duplicate recipes, and by adding many new ones, all of which have been found practical in economy, food-value, and appetizing quality, and are vouched for by those whose signature they bear. In addition the ladies of the “Star Society” have tested and approved each recipe.

Confident that they are making a valuable contribution to the art of Home Cooking, this Third Edition of the “Star Cook Book” is sent upon its mission by the ladies of “The Star Society.”
Grace M. E. Church,
Pekin, Ill.
March 10, 1922

I’m excited to sift through this book and find some fun old recipes to try. There are definitely some in there that I won’t, but I know there will be some real winners in there! I love the thought of making the same recipes that my family made before I was around. Wish me luck!

Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.


  • Katy ~

    Ashley, what a great gift and heirloom! A family history in food. I have my grandmother’s old cookbook as well. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  • lorhen82

    I wish my copy was in as good of shape as yours, but I’m really glad you have the better one. I know you’ll treasure it!


  • Lynn

    Hi! I recently found my great grandmother’s trove of recipes and the 2nd edition (1914) of this cook book was in there!
    This was before refrigeration, so it is pretty foreign, some of the ingredients, etc. How did you do with yours? I see this blog is from over 10 years ago. I will look through to see if I can find something you made from it. I just got excited to see it here!

    • Ashley

      Hi Lynn! So cool that you have this one also! I haven’t tried many from it yet. The divinity recipe was delicious, but I had a big fail with the molasses fudge. I should try out some more from it this holiday season. There are definitely some odd measurement methods and ingredients that aren’t really around or ones that I want to use, but I bet there are plenty of good ones here.

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