Famous Recipes Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House Cookbook

This review covers Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House in Savannah cookbook. The inn the cookbook surrounds has had many accolades including being named one of the 50 most distinguished restaurants in the US by Conde Nast Traveler magazine. Many have referred to Sema Wilkes as the "Julia Child of country cooking." I have sold this book many times over and each time I know my customer is getting value in this great cookbook. It includes all kinds of Southern classics including fried chicken, biscuits and Key Lime Pie.

This is by no means a commercial-style cookbook. There are no photos, there is no fancy paper. The book can be likened to a community fundraising cookbook in terms of design and format. The recipes though are right up my alley...simple and easy to follow. For the most part they require a minimal number of ingredients and are written in simple English, no fancy marketing behind them. This is a truly great Southern-inspired cookbook.

It appears from my research that Sema Wilkes signed many copies of her cookbook. I see a good majority of those currently available online are signed. My own copy too, includes her "Mrs. Wilkes" signature which looks at first glimpse somewhat like the handwriting of a child. Her restaurant and recipes have been reviewed many times over, I figured this would make a perfect collectibility review.

Cookbook Title: A Cook's Tour of San Francisco Cookbook
Sema Wilkes "Mrs. Wilkes"
Publisher: n/a
Copyright: 1976
Format: Hardcover with wire spiral interior (this book has also been published in a softcover spiral bound book. Photo shown is the May 2000 hardcover with wire spiral interior updated printing)
Specialization Categories: Restaurant & Inn Cookbooks, US Local Cookbooks, Southern Cookbooks
Average Price: $10-$15 First Edition First Printing; $6 - $10 Other Printings
Noted Recipes: Wilke's Boarding House Style Biscuits, Fried Chicken, Shrimp Creole, Tuna Corn Chowder, Pecan Whiskey Cake

Famous Recipes Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House Cookbook


Availability: 7.0
Popularity: 5.0
Investment Outlook: 4.0

Final Collectibility Factor: 5.33

Famous Recipes from Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House in Historic Savannah Cookbook - Availability Rating - 7.0

I hesitated on this one between a 7.0 and an 8.0. While the book is still widely available in a newer printing, the original first editions are not quite as prevalent. I see several formats and cover art styles--again--from the many printings of this book. The prices range quite vastly for this book. If you are going to pay top dollar ($15+), make sure to go for a signed or first edition. The book can be had for much less and available through all the major book sites and can also be found in a brick-and-mortar used bookstore as well, without too much persistence.

Famous Recipes from Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House in Historic Savannah Cookbook - Popularity Rating - 5.0

This book rates 5.0--average on the popularity rating. It is not a household name, but is popular amongst those who cook or are cookbook lovers. It is a Southern classic so likely pretty known in the region.

Famous Recipes from Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House in Historic Savannah Cookbook - Investment Outlook - 4.0

In terms of investment, I rated this a 4.0 as there won't likely be much of an increase in value because of its wide availability and numerous printings. A first edition or signed first may be more interesting if her boarding house restaurant ever closes.

Famous Recipes from Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House in Historic Savannah Cookbook - Final Collectibility Factor Rating - 5.33

In terms of cookbook, I'd personally rate this one a 7.0 or 8.0. Of course, this is a collectible cookbook review and thus it scores only a 5.33 on the final collectibility factor rating.