I have a small collection of old Be-Ro books including the one I bought for myself in the 1970's and a couple of very early editions of my mum's and grandma's. I updated my collection by buying the 40th edition a few years ago in a supermarket where they were sold with the flour. Copies of the current edition (41st) can be purchased directly from Be-Ro via their website. To do that click here.
I naively thought at one time that it might be fun to collect every one ever published but have noticed that they can now fetch a hefty price on Ebay. Consequently I don't think my collection will grow much more, unless I stumble across one or two in a charity shop somewhere. That's now less likely as charities are more wise to the value of things than they used to be owing to their volunteers being more internet savvy!
Be-Ro books were first published in 1923, nearly a hundred years ago, and are an interesting insight into social history. Looking at the earlier editions they were clearly written for the stay-at-home wife and her daughters, right up to those published in the 1970's. Since then they have become less housewifely. Over the decades well loved recipes have gradually been changed and new ones added to meet modern tastes and appetites as well as fashions in food.
The older editions can be difficult to date as they don't show the date of publication in them. Many of the early ones don't have an index either. As the Be-Ro book was originally published as a helpful booklet to go with the bags of flour that's not surprising.
Recently I decided to try to find out when one of my mum's favourite recipes, the one for rich coconut tartlets, first appeared in a Be-Ro book - the only recipe book she ever used. I wrote about the tartlets here and then set about finding how far back they first appeared in a Be-Ro book.
I have a copy of the 17th edition where they don't appear and the 21st edition where they do (I don't have any of the editions in between) but typically neither copy has the date of publication. So I wrote to Be-Ro to ask them. To my absolute amazement I had a quick reply from Be-Ro with a full list! So, it was as simple as that, all I had to do was ask!
It seems my mum's favourite recipe first appeared somewhere between 1954 and 1958, which does make sense. Being married in 1950 it seems logical that she would have first made them some time between those dates.
Here is the list of publication dates as given to me by Be-Ro:
41st & Current Edition 2009
Interesting. I'll keep my eyes open for some!ReplyDelete
Gaynor, it certainly seems like a good reason for a charity shop visit!Delete
Hi I have a copy but has page missing am just trying to date but I can't it is completely different to all the books on Internet it came from my great grandmother I don't know if you would be able to tell if I sent a few picReplyDelete
You could try "The BeRo Cookbook" facebook group where you could post pictures and ask. You would have to apply to join the group but there are hundreds of members so someone might be able to help!Delete
I think we have the third edition, though I've not seen a first or second to compare yet.ReplyDelete
If there is a date of publication in the book that can tell you which edition it is. How lucky to have such an early one, they are probably quite rare, being nearly a hundred years old.Delete
I have just had an 11th edition handed down to me, along with a plethora of other vintage cookbooksReplyDelete
How lucky! Sadly my father binned so many of my mother's old cook books (and other things) after she died, thinking he would never need them. I wish it had occurred to him to ask if I would like them!Delete
We actually have two of these in my family! The 26th and a later edition. The 26th was my grandmother's(b.1920), honestly shocked its not in pieces as it was the only "cookbook" she owned. The second is my mother's(b.1959) and she still uses it to this day (along with some St. Michael's Cookbooks - M&S). Hoping to get my own!ReplyDelete