Kay Sullivan: Cookbook Collector Extraordinaire

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Catherine H. “Kay” Sullivan was my hero.  We shared the passion of cookbooks, but Kay took it to a higher level.  Kay’s love of the culinary arts developed into a cookbook business which she called “Kay’s Treasured Kookbook Kollection.”  Kay loved opening up a cookbook and trying out a new recipe, but found equal pleasure in putting cookbooks into the hands of those who also loved cooking. 

Many years ago, I read a local newspaper article about Kay’s business.  I was thrilled to read that Kay could find any cookbook, old or new, or find a certain recipe that you lost.  At the time, I was missing a few of the Pillsbury Bake-Off books for my collection.  The article included Kay’s phone number, I called her, and made a new instant friend.  We chatted then, and continued to chat over the next 20 years.  I had found a cookbook soul mate.  When I was selected to compete at my first Bake-Off, Kate came to my home to give me a handful of her business cards to take along.  Many contestants love collecting the vintage Bake-Off books, and Kay could find them.  The most difficult one to find was obviously the first Bake-Off cookbook from 1949.  I would have been happy owning just one; Kay found me three.  I now have three complete sets of the Bake-Off cookbooks thanks to Kay. 

Kay continued to help the cookbook collectors of the world for 26 years, before her death at age 88 in 2006.  Her recipe for success was cherishing her family and her passion for cookbooks.  Kay’s life was all about food and sharing.  What a sweet life.

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4 Responses to Kay Sullivan: Cookbook Collector Extraordinaire

  1. Pat January 20, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    Found your blog and Facebook page because I saw an article on Kay Sullivan in an old ((Jan/Feb 1992) issue of Country Woman. Wasn’t sure if I could any information on her but was lead to your site. I too have a fascination with cookbooks. I spend more time just reading them than cooking. Thank you for the information on Kay Sullivan and the Pillsbury blog.

    • Debbie January 21, 2014 at 6:34 am #

      So glad you found me, Pat, and hope you come back! Kay was such a lovely person. I think of her often.

  2. Jodie January 29, 2014 at 12:12 am #

    I’ve just found your blog after searching for info about the Brides category in the Bake Off. I’m in Australia but have a love of 40s and 50s American cook books and Housekeeping books. I’ve spent a fair bit on my collection since shipping is such a pain! I have a few Bake Off books and they are gorgeous. You’re so lucky to have 3 of the 1949 edition! I’m always looking for that one. I just got the 1959 1000 recpes from the Bake Off delivered the other day so I have to find some time to devour that. I look forward to reading!

    • Debbie January 30, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

      Hi Jodie- I’m happy you found me and to hear that you enjoy the Bake-Off books in Australia. Isn’t it funny how they used to have a Bride’s category?

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