Elsie the Cow’s cookbook

Botsford, Harry.  Elsie's Cookbook.  New York:  The Bond Wheelwright Company, 1952.

Botsford, Harry. Elsie's Cookbook. New York: The Bond Wheelwright Company, 1952.

I remember Elsie the Cow from my childhood in the 1960’s, when she showed up in all kinds of advertising pamphlets – made to look like “real” children’s books – we were given in school to extol the many health properties of milk.   The Borden Company must have spent big on all that targeted advertising back in the day, and people were not as sensitive to companies taking advantage of children as a captive audience and laying who-knows-what on them. 

Elsie, created as a cartoon character in the 1930’s based on a real cow  purchased by the Borden family,  is still around as the Borden/Dairy Farmers of America spokescow.

I thought this cookbook would be corporate nonsense, but it’s actually very good.  Then again, milk is a more versatile subject for a cookbook, than, say, Cool Whip or Jell-O.  There are classic sauce and potato recipes here, and there is no reason this book could not stand as one of a cook’s workhorses when it comes to cooking with dairy products.  Sure, if has some scariness, as all cookbooks from that period do, but it’s minimal.

All in all, a highly usable piece of corporate advertising.

First pages of Elsie's Cookbook

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2 Responses to Elsie the Cow’s cookbook

  1. I would love to be able to make the cake my mom made so many times, we 6 kids ate it up. Was so good. my mom has cancer an is dying, left breast, spreading kind, now lungs to. Mom asked me if I could find it… to make it for her, mom would love a peace of this cake recipe, oatmeal raisin cake, with caramel fudge icing … mom would be so happy, I would love to make this for my mom would be a honor . If wishes come true mom, I wish this memory for you mom. This cookbook was the talk of our house when I was growing up. Mom said it was old when given to her because someone gave her it, she did not have one then. Praying to make this for another memory with mom . <3 1952 cookbook Elsie

    • Renate Valencia says:

      Katherine, if you send me a message (to my email account, listed on my contact page), I will
      send you the recipe, if it’s in the book. Best wishes to your Mom. I am currently being treated for breast cancer myself, which is why I’m not often on the blog these days, so I get it.

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