Hometown Cooking at it’s Best

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In an earlier blog, I wrote about a now defunct magazine called Sphere, that I still miss.  Here is another one I miss.  This is the premiere issue, October, 1999, of Better Homes and Gardens’ Hometown Cooking, presented as “a new magazine chock-full of favorite recipes from the best cooks in America.”  It was aimed at readers “who care as much about family and community values as you do about good food.”  What’s not to like?  The cover photo shows a very fresh and sweet-faced mom making something with apples.  Not only that, she was a “real” person, not a paid model.  This was a very all-American, down home comfort food cooking publication.  The editor chatted with cooks across the country and heard over and over how everyone loved community cookbooks and the stories of the cooks behind the recipes.  Was it a cherished family recipe handed down from generations, or a new recipe that just won a contest?  I can only imagine how much fun the editor had traveling around the country peeking into the recipe boxes of prize-winning cooks. 
The first recipe to be featured was the $25,000 Grand Prize winning recipe from the National Chicken Cooking Contest.  The winner was a retired secretary who developed a recipe called “Japanese Amazu Chicken,” her home-cooked version of an entree she and her husband enjoyed at a Canadian restaurant.  We turn the page to find a walnut-pear sour cream cake and a blueberry breakfast braid.  The cover mom reappears with everything featuring apples-  apple-curry soup, apple cake with caramel frosting, apple dumplings, apple-cheese bars, and apple bread.  Since it was an October issue, there is sweet potato pie, angel biscuits, apricot-pumpkin bread, and other fall fare.  Every issue was packed with recipes following the seasons and holidays. 

Fast forward to August, 2001.  The magazine is still going strong, but it became a larger-sized publication.  This issue was called a “special collector’s issue” because it was filled with winning recipes from state fairs.  It took me a second, until I realized it was the last issue before 9-11.  If there was ever a time for comfort food, it was after the tragedy.  We all need comfort food during the course of our lives, and there are still numerous cookbooks and magazines filled with them.  But to me, this magazine was the ultimate comfort magazine.  I’m glad I saved all the issues in my little culinary cellar.

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11 Responses to Hometown Cooking at it’s Best

  1. July 28, 2010 at 5:16 am #

    Looks like a great magazine. Don’t remember it. 2001? Right around 9/11. That time period is a blur.
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  2. July 31, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    Do you happen to have the strawberry bread recipe? I saved it for years and now can’t find it- can’t remember what the cover looked like.

    • August 1, 2013 at 7:04 am #

      I will definitely look for the recipe for you! If I find it, I will email you right away. Those were great magazines!

  3. April 2, 2017 at 5:22 am #

    I loved this small magazine. I was saddened when it stopped being published.

    • April 2, 2017 at 10:05 am #

      Me too! I loved that magazine!

  4. July 24, 2018 at 6:15 am #

    Debbie,
    How many issues were there? I have 18 of them, from the premiere issue October 1999 through the last issue August 2002, every two months. I saw someone say they have 22 issues, but I don’t know when they would be from. Maybe they were special issues and I didn’t receive them? Just wondered if you might know. Thanks!

    • July 25, 2018 at 12:52 pm #

      Hi Mindy- I loved those Hometown Cooking issues. You are so lucky to have so many. I wish I could tell you how many issues there were altogether but I can’t any more since I lost them all in a flood of The Culinary Cellar. I hope to find them again, maybe at book sales or resale shops. They had so many great recipes! Enjoy yours!

  5. April 29, 2020 at 7:40 pm #

    I absolutely LOVED this magazine! I saved all the issues and was very unhappy when it stopped being published. My home was flooded twice in the last five years and I recently looked for those issues and couldn”t find them I was very upset. I,’m still looking…..
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    • May 1, 2020 at 10:23 am #

      Julia, sorry you lost your copies in a flood as I did. I too, look for copies. Such a great little magazine. I miss it.

  6. April 14, 2022 at 6:05 am #

    I am looking for the issue with the pastitsio recipe if anyone has one available please

    • April 15, 2022 at 12:36 am #

      Hi Debra- I used to have all the issues but most were destroyed in a flood. I have a few and will see if the pastitsio recipe is in one of them and will send it to you if I have it. I loved that publication. It had such great recipes.

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