Vintage Tablescapes

I enjoy researching and writing about old recipes, but I also love collecting and selling vintage housewares.  One of my biggest design inspirations is the ‘Danish modern’ style–so here are some of my favorite examples from my collection of vintage cookbooks!

First up is an image from Betty Crocker’s Guide to Easy Entertaining from 1959.  It’s a lovely Hollywood-Regency inspired tea cart with some bright aqua cookware by Dansk.  This line of enamelware, called Kobenstyle, is some of the most recognizable cookware from the 1950s and 1960s.  It came in many colors, but I think the cheery aqua is my favorite.  (I’ll actually be listing some of this cookware in my Etsy shop later this week, so stay tuned!)

Next are a series of photographs from the Sunset Dinner Party Cookbook, published in 1962.  This is a great cookbook for design-lovers as well as cooks as the illustrations and photographs are beautiful.  Unlike many cookbooks of the era, this one features people in most of the photographs, which I love.  I imagine that this photo was taken on a sunny Southern California day in an Eichler-inspired house (look at those exposed beams!).

The next photo shows a tablescape from the same cookbook.  A lot of vintage food photography seems cluttered, but the images from the Dinner Party Cookbook use simple table decorations that are timeless instead of being silly and dated.  The candelabra reminds me of a Laur Jensen design.

Finally, the last photo of the bunch features a wonderful kidney-shaped tray and some rockin’ candle-sticks.


  1. Reply
    Dushenka April 13, 2010

    That picture with the exposed beams was taken in Menlo Park at the Sunset Magazine demonstration gardens – I recognize the courtyard! 🙂

    • Reply
      alison April 13, 2010

      Wow, Dushenka! Thanks for the info–that’s awesome!

  2. Reply
    chie April 15, 2010

    Ahh… so vintag-y… and am drooling with all your food.

    Happy TT.

  3. Reply
    Jane F @ Atticmag April 15, 2010

    Great fun! Some of us remember those skinny candles. — Jane F.

  4. Reply
    tammy/domestic diva April 15, 2010

    very nice – thanks for sharing – that was awesome…

  5. Reply
    Miss Merry April 16, 2010

    I love old cookbooks. I am not sure that I might have this one. I have all my grandmothers, aunts and mothers and I love the idea of dinner parties. Everyone dressed in, well a DRESS, and a beautiful table setting. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Reply
    alison April 16, 2010

    @Chie, Jane, and Tammy: Thanks for stopping by! Have a lovely weekend.

    @Miss Merry: I know, right? Everyone is dressed up!

  7. Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed this!! Took me back… Thanks for a wonderful moment revisiting a moment in time!

  8. Reply
    Beth April 18, 2010

    Why didn’t I act on my suspicion that some smart soul would snap up the aqua Dansk dutch oven if I didn’t move on it yesterday? Why?! Sigh. My loss.

    These posts are lovely. You make me want to make absolutely sure that my mother doesn’t dispose of our vintage Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cookbook.

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