Just for Fun: Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes

When I first got the idea to blog about Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes, I figured that I’d be shedding light on a totally forgotten Government publication. I remembered Aunt Sammy as the title character of an odd-sounding booklet that GPO was selling in my early days here. When I searched the Internet, though, she was everywhere. Cooking sites, old time radio sites, newspaper sites – who knew?

On October 4, 1926, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bureau of Home Economics and the Radio Service launched its Housekeeper’s Chat show, featuring Aunt Sammy – Uncle Sam’s wife, of course. In addition to meals and recipes, she talked about all kinds of other household matters, but it was the recipes that got listeners’ attention. In 1927 USDA put the most popular recipes into a pamphlet: Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes. According to the introduction to the 1976 USDA reprint (the one I remembered hearing about),  “The demand was so great that it had to be reprinted after only a month. ‘Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes’ was revised and enlarged three times between 1927 and 1931. In 1932 it became the first cookbook published in braille.”

Aunt Sammy vanished in 1934 and the show did likewise in 1946, yet her memory lingers on. I discovered that the 1931 edition has been reprinted by a private publisher and is still available. I like the 1976 edition, which you can find here, because it has contemporary recipes from USDA as well as some 1920’s favorites. It’s all what I think of as “hearty fare” or “comfort food” – definitely BA (before arugula). What with diners and such making a comeback, our Aunt Sammy may be more contemporary than we think. Maybe I’ll have meatloaf tonight…

18 Responses to Just for Fun: Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes

  1. Dave Ruel says:

    good books. I purchased the first few days ago and I think it is of great interest. Then I comment.


  2. dinner recipes for two says:

    If you are going for best contents like I do, just go to see this website all the time since it presents quality contents, thanks


  3. Jennifer E says:

    I have found a Aunt Sammy’s Radio recipes revised 1931 with a stamp on the front “From the office of William H. Wheat your congressman 19th district, Illinois” it all so has a letter with it. To a lady on real congressional paper talking about a mutual friend that they had and it was signed by W H Wheat. Dated May 27, 1942.


  4. Rosie Hardy says:

    Found this interesting as a friend has a copy of the 1931 cookbook with a stamp on the cover “From the office of B.W. Gearhart, member of Congress”


  5. Terry says:

    Found copy from 1927 but what I thought curious is it stamped “Compliments of Congressman B.H. Snell”


    • cherry says:

      I found Aunt Sammy’s radio recipies revised, 1931 with the cover stamped “From Forest A. Harnes, Member of Congress, Indiana”


      • GPOBookstore says:

        Wow! Great find, Cherry! Thanks for sharing….


      • Roberta says:

        I also have one from Forrest Harness with letter dated in 1940. Pulled it out today to check on turnip recipes since we receive them in our CSA bags in the fall.
        It was my grandmother’s booklet. Great fun and some good ideas I might modify in some small ways.


  6. […] to smile, as I filled my imaginary plate with buffet selections. Almost immediately, I spotted Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes. First broadcast in 1926, by the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Home Economics, Aunt […]


  7. […] on some possible forgotten ways the U.S. government talked to the nation about food. Did you know Aunt Sammy, Uncle Sam’s wife, hosted a radio program about […]


  8. TheFensk says:

    Thanks for the information. Just found an old well-worn copy at a book sale today and was wondering about it. Not a bad find for a quarter.


  9. A Kennedy says:

    I, like you, was curious for info on this book since my grandmother gave me her copy (printed 1931)…
    I found alot of the things she made, I loved so much as a kid, however, a couple I’m glad she never made were the Stuffed Calf Hearts, and the Liver Rice Loaf on page 18 & 19. Yuck! LOL..
    Thanks for the history and info!


  10. B J Huston says:

    How interesting, I just happen to have an Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipe booklet and did not know much about it. Very enlightening
    Thank You.


  11. Christmas Recipes says:

    Aunt Sammy, creative! Good quality recipes. Not all the microwave, processed recipes I find these days!


  12. […] the Government Book Talk blog and learned of Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipe’s.  According to the blog post, Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes was a big hit.   The 1976 version of Aunt Sammie’s Recipes includes […]


  13. cmarg says:

    I bought the Aunt Sammy’s cookbook in 1976. It is a good resource for economical, easy from scratch recipes that an American family would enjoy to eat.


  14. sue says:

    Great fun! Also love the recipes! Thanks!


  15. Kris says:

    Awesome!! Love the recipes.


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