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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6 Responses to Kay Sullivan: Cookbook Collector Extraordinaire

  1. 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.

    • 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. 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!

    • 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?

  3. May 30, 2021 at 10:51 am #

    I tried to leave the following comment on Kristina’s site shown on this page but when I would click submit a pop up said my comment was previously submitted, which it wasn’t since today is the first time I even knew about that particular site. ????

    Comment I “tried” to leave on Kristina’s site :
    Was looking through some “old” newspaper clippings I had saved & wanted to see if Kay Sullivan was still buying & selling cookbooks so I went to her site in the news clipping “Kay’s Treasured Cookbook Collection” & found she sadly passed away in 2006. On that page I saw Debbie’s Real Cellar & also y our web site then checked them both out. So that is how I got here.

    The Cinnamon Blueberry Breakfast Buns was one of the first recipes I saw. I need to make this , it sounds so good. Im sure I will find many more.

    Currently I was searching for an Apple Kuchen recipe like my Mom used to make. Also I initially was looking for a place to sell cookbooks. I have sold many over the years but still have several that I would like to sell , some smaller books that my Mom had saved dating back to the 1930’s – 1950’s .
    Happy to have found your’s & Debbie’s Real Cellar site’s , thank-you.

    Judy S.

    • June 4, 2021 at 8:05 pm #

      Hi Judy- I’m glad you found me too! Kay Sullivan was such a lovely lady and I still miss talking to her. There are many recipes for Apple Kuchen. Do you know where your mom got the recipe, or can you describe hers? I’ll do my best to help.

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