heinzWe have a wide array of cookbooks in our collection of 200 and counting. Sometimes we love to buy vintage cookbooks that give a snapshot of what type of cooking was on trend at that time. I have to admit, I walked right by The Complete Heinz Cookbook but Mark snapped it up.

I didn’t really think about the book until the other week when Mark and I had dinner with our friends Ann, Peter and Dale when the conversation drifted to the evolution of home cooking. We talked about the time when home cooking meant everything was made from scratch, farm home cooking where every part of the animal was used, cooking during the war when food was rationed and people were creative with their rationed ingredients and the introduction of ready meals and convenience foods. On our side of the Atlantic, Campbell’s soup was used to make quick and easy casseroles and pasta bakes. For example, if you didn’t have time to make a roux, Cheddar Cheese soup was a classic quick cheat or a tin of cream of mushroom soup was used as the base for beef stroganoff.

The Complete Heinz Cookbook was published in 1994 to give home cooks “cheats” for making fast meals at home. Of course the focus of this book was to keep a larder full of Heinz products to achieve that goal. 20 years on, cooking simple and quick meals at home is still relevant issue. How many of you have a copy of Delia’s How to Cheat, Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, Rachel Ray 30-Minute Meals or 10 Minutes To Table: Real food in 10 minutes – no cheating by Xanthe Clay (Cookbook 6 featured here).

Cowboy Hash

Cowboy Hash

Anyway, this cookbook gives recipes and novel ways for using their baked beans, salad dressings, soups, condiments, canned salads, sandwich spreads, toast toppers and apple sauce. In the Starter section you can find recipes like crab and haddock pots using cream of asparagus soup. In snacks and light bites you can find Heinz Neptune, a salad made by combining Heinz potato salad with a tin of tuna fish. In the main meal section of course you have a number of casseroles using soup such as the Lamb and lentil hotpot but there is also the very unique baked bean moussaka, mackerel smothered in tomato soup, and fried liver with a minestrone soup sauce. Side dishes incudes a traditional Marie Rose sauce as well as more creative recipes such as scones using Heinz Ploughmans pickle and ratatouille using mulligatawny soup.

So what did I cook from this book? To be quite honest, nothing grabbed me. I am sure if this was a Campbell’s soup cookbook, I would have found a few familiar recipes and would have enjoyed going down memory lane. So we opted to try the Cowboy Hash which basically consists of sautéing some minced beef with a diced onion and adding a tin of baked beans with pork sausages.

Cowboy Hash, the finished dish.

Cowboy Hash, the finished dish.

This cookbook has made me have a think about my favourite cheats and ways I try to cut down my time in the kitchen when I simply am not in the mood to cook. In summary, we bought this as a vintage cookbook. It is a snapshot in time, thank heavens that today we have moved on and have better options to help us prepare tasty, wholesome meals quickly. I would love to hear about your favourite “cheats”. Please leave me a comment and tell me about them.

This book is currently out of print, if you really must try Ebay.

*If you want to know more about Carol’s adventure with food or even join her on one then check out Food Adventure Ltd.