Mystery Chef Relic

Posted Sat, 01/21/12


During my foray to a local paperback exchange, I stumbled across a copy of the Mystery Chef's Own Cookbook (circa 1934). It appears to be an original hardcover edition, which was printed in 1940 by Longmans & Green.


"Mystery Chef's Own Cookbook: Presenting Marvelous Meals at Lower Cost" by John MacPherson.


The cookbook was based on recipes from the old radio show Mystery Chef (1931-1945) hosted by John MacPherson. His cooking motto was:


Always be an artist at the stove, not just someone who cooks.

More information from TV Acres:


"Mystery Chef" is the nickname of radio/TV chef John MacPherson who hosted the Philadelphia cooking program THE MYSTERY CHEF/NBC/1949. One of NBC's first daytime programs, the show ran on Tuesdays and Thursdays afternoons (later Wednesday) from March 1st through June 29th. MacPherson, a former chemical engineer, arrived in America from London in 1906. He started on radio in the 1930s when he took over a program for a friend and soon began to share his love of cooking with his listening audience. His "Mystery Chef" radio program ran from 1931-1945. His programs (which featured recipes for limited budget, limited equipment and limited know how) became very popular with thousands of people who requested copies of his no-fuss recipes.


The interest in his recipes inspired the 366-page book "Mystery Chef's Own Cook Book: Presenting Marvelous Meals at Lower Cost" published in 1934. Chapters include cooking terms, fundamental cooking information (with a wartime supplement section), cooking tips on eggs, biscuits, breads, muffins, cakes, waffles, fritters, appetizers, pies, pastry, all kinds of desserts, cakes, cookies, puddings, rarebits and cheese snacks, preparation for dinner parties, canning and preserving.

One of the things I noticed from first-glance is recipe ingredient references to "chopped round steak." In other words, the recipe is calling for hamburger.


I'm looking forward to "investigating" the rest of the cookbook, which in itself is two years older than my own mother!


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