Better With Age

The best online sources for vintage cookbooks

From dumplings to celebrity chefs' secrets to offbeat guides to entertaining, this year's crop of cookbooks included some excellent titles. But sometimes pages yellowed with age can be even more exciting than glossy new spreads.

The proliferation of web-based booksellers has made it easier than ever to access America's culinary past–and build a collection of vintage volumes (as gifts or for your own shelf). Here are three of our favorite sources:

TheCookBookery.com launched last winter and has steadily amassed a collection of a few thousand old cookbooks, with a heavy concentration from the 1940s, '50s and '60s. The vintage section offers everything from the quirky to the collectible, such as early editions (1922, 1927) of the Good Housekeeping Cookbook and 1941 issues of The Boston Cooking School's American Cookery magazine. Added perk: The site will soon post a sample recipe from each book listed.

OldCookbooks.com has an excellent selection of American classics, including a 1904 edition of Fannie Farmer's The Boston Cooking School Cook Book and a collection by popular early-1900s cookbook writer Lilly Wallace. Check the site's blog for highlights and backstories.

Alibris.com isn't focused on food-related books specifically, but this independent bookseller aggregator is useful for searching a slew of sources for a particular book–say, The Gentleman's Companion by Charles Henry Baker.