Sunday, February 21, 2010

Who is Peg Bracken???

You will note that many of my recipes were inspired by Peg Bracken. If you're under 40, you may well not remember her, and her books are sadly out of print.

Peg Bracken (1918-2007) was an advertising copywriter from Portland, OR, my home city. 50 years ago, she published a little cookbook that was called "The I Hate to Cook Book." The book is a gem....full of irreverent humor, quick and delicious recipes, and lots of kitchen wisdom from a woman who didn't fuss in the kitchen but was nonetheless extremely knowledgeable.

She also published "The I Hate to Housekeep Book" "Appendix to the I Hate to Cook Book" and many others.....all full of her brilliance. In 1986, she published "The Compleat I Hate to Cook Book" (yes the spelling is correct), which took several of her books and consolidated them into one large volume. If you find any of them at Amazon, estate sales, thrift shops, or book stores for a reasonable price, by all means pick them up. They're pure gold for cheap easy recipes. Peg was a lady who learned her stuff BEFORE the processed food revolution, could make anything from next to nothing ingredient wise, and do it well, and do it fast.

Another interesting fact about her....she worked with (and was friends with) Homer Groening, father of Matt Groening of Simpsons fame, and I believe was neighbors of Homer and Margaret (hmmmm.....Home and Marge Simpson....wonder how he came up with those names). That's fun, because you will recipes in the book occasionally pop up with a Simpsons name such as Patty's Patties, or Selma's Oatmeal Cookies.

I am hoping that this blog is befitting her memory. Sadly I never had the chance to meet her, but she was my "kitchen guardian angel" for many years.

Edited to add: It appears that her daughter is re-releasing this volume and it is available for pre-order at It is definitely a worthy purchase at $ will save you that in the first month of using it vs. mixes.


  1. Wonderful tips but I want to warn people who have cats about the Pine stuff...cats are very sensitive to it, even the vapors.

  2. The previous owner of my home left one of Peg Bracken's books and I've since acquired another. I love them! She is hilarious, and I love her recipes and advice. Thanks for the info!