Sunday, January 8, 2012

Woman's Glory: The Kitchen (New Year's Resolution)

I bought this classic mid-century Slovenian American cookbook last year, as a Christmas gift for myself. But I've just realized what a gem it is. In fact, it has given me a whole new direction in my Slovenian roots quest.

Woman's Glory was first published in the early 1950's in Chicago, by the Slovenian Women's Union of America. This well-used 1958 edition, which I discovered for sale online, was edited by Albina Novak. It's a charming mix of traditional Slovenian recipes and classic 50's American cuisine like jello molds and casseroles made with canned soup. 

I have in mind a sort of ethnic version of "Julie and Julia." I doubt
that I'll cook every recipe in Woman's Glory. In fact, I won't even limit myself to this book, because I've just added two more vintage cookbooks to my collection.

Here's my resolution for the New Year: Once a week, I'll make an all-Slovenian dinner. I'll try to stick to recipes from my trio of Slovenian American cookbooks from the 1940's and 1950's. Maybe I'll call it "Josephine and Jožefa: My Year of Cooking Ethnically."  That was the first name, in English and Slovenian, of my immigrant great-grandmother.  In fact, I've already started. I made my very first dinner last week! 


  1. hi,
    can you tell me what's on page 116. I had a cookbook that was given to me when my grandmother passed and a family member took it. I have a few copies from pages, but cannot remember the name of the book and I'd like to replace it. Any help in matter would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi,

      My copy of Woman's Glory: The Kitchen is from 1958, but there are different editions. It is long out of print. Page 116 is in the "Pie" chapter and has recipes for Glazed Lattice-Top Cherry Pie and Pineapple Cheese Pie. Not traditional Slovenian specialties :-) To find a used copy can be hard. You just need to keep searching the Internet. I got my copy from the online market site Etsy, which sells handmade and vintage items. But I don't think there are other copies at the moment, last I checked. There are various online sellers that can be found if you keep looking.

      Good luck! Hope this helps!


  2. My Slovenian grandmother gave my late (non-Slovenian) mother a copy of this book when she married my Slovenian father in 1945. My mother was no feminist but she was no slouch in the kitchen either (she was a Marine Corp. Master Sergeant in charge of a mess hall during WWII). She found it rather offensive. My kid sister has the book now. What I'm wondering is if Melania Trump owns a copy, as every good Slovenian woman should.

  3. Sadly I found some offensive things also..."nigger toe" cookies??? I loved the cook book for the good old fashioned style recipes but I was very sad to come across recipes like this.I'm biracial and I just ripped that page out unfortunately sacrificing "Christmas cookies" with this racist recipe.

    1. That is true, Anonymous. It is shameful. Five years ago, when I wrote this post, I hadn't yet seen that ugly recipe. (Found it a few years later.) But I had previously heard about this offensive (and bizarre) term for filberts--and it wasn't limited to Slovenians. My Scottish American father once mentioned he'd heard it when he was a boy, just to underscore that we kids were never, under any circumstances, to use that forbidden word. No big loss about the Christmas cookie recipe. I wouldn't blame you for tossing the whole book! That was essentially what my mother did. She pretty much wrote off all things Slovenian American because of what she saw as the backwardness and intolerance of the community she knew in Cleveland. (Her own mother was the exception, she said.) So it took me a long time to even want to explore this part of my family history and to discover that there were also things to value including a strong progressive tradition. There are some more subtle examples of bias this cookbook. The very title feels sexist to me. One of these old cookbooks has a recipe for Wandering Jew cookies. That's another offensive one, at least if you are Jewish, as I am. have been wanting to write more posts with a political flavor. (This didn't start out as a recipe blog!) So I thank you for this nudge--and for taking the time to comment. Feel free to send an e-mail if you'd care to correspond more privately.