Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Invite Edison into your kitchen

Cooking is hard work. Even now, when many times "cooking" really just means taking something out of a bag or box and throwing it in the microwave or oven for a while, it's more than a lot of people want to do after a long day at work. Well, a cookbooklet from 1950 has the secret to carefree cooking:

Are you shocked to learn that the Home Service Committee of Edison Electric Institute is behind this one?

The real secret to electric cooking (according to this, anyway) is that it can cook everything at the same time in the same place.

Cooks with a range that included a deep well cooker could just throw everything in the hole and forget about it for a while:

Need salmon loaf and veggies for 4-6 people? Pack the salmon loaf mixture into a greased mold, arrange green beans and potatoes in the bottom of the well, throw the loaf in the rack on top, and you're pretty much done. It was kind of like having a slow-cooker built right into the stove top. (I have an infatuation with those old stoves since Grandma had one in her basement. She only used it on special occasions when she needed extra oven space, but I loved poking around and checking out the deep well corner. It seemed so exotic, somehow.)

The recipes that really give me pause are the oven-based menus, though. I have serious doubts about being able to fit everything into one oven without spilling or seriously undercooking it because the oven is too crammed full of food to heat efficiently. On top of that, some of the meals seem, well, kind of random. Look at OVEN MEAL No. 1:

The browned potato loaf sounds pretty good-- kind of a version of scalloped potatoes made glamorous by an overnight stay in the electric refrigerator.

Succotash is a pretty standard reheated frozen blend.

These perfectly acceptable veggies seem a little odd served with frankfurters baked in a catsup and mustard sauce.

Want a bun for that frank? You're out of luck unless you consider banana-bran bread a suitable substitute. (Bananas! Bran! Catsup! Mustard! Frankfurters!)

The baked fudge dessert is surely the best part, as long as it is actually cooked through and not topped with spilled succotash and "spicy" frankfurter sauce.... Is that a risk you're willing to take? (I'll admit it-- I'll take pretty big risks for chocolate!)

Happy Cookbook Wednesday! Thanks to Modern Day Ozzie and Harriet for hosting!


  1. Doesn't Frankfurter sound much more sophisticated than Hot Dog?

    1. It does, but I'm always more amused by wiener...

  2. My great-uncle actually worked as a chemist at Edison Labs when he was young, and so I have to admit fondness for ol' Tom, even beyond his assistance in getting electricity to be so mainstream. But this menu is much too reminiscent of my mother's style of cookery for my taste; Frankfurters, Instant Mashed Potatoes and Canned Beets, anyone?

    I've linked you up today! Thanks!

    1. Thank you for the link!

      My mom was a terrible cook too. I always say I learned to cook in self-defense!

  3. It's so wonderful to see you "guys" still enjoying Cookbook Wednesday:)

    I think I've seen this book before Poppy. Those oven menus are always such a hoot! I think I have another electric company cookbook that does the exact same thing!!!

    Thanks for sharing, Poppy...

    P.S. No, I'm not back to blogging yet. Just thought while I had a few moments I would drop by for a Cookbook Wednesday visit:)

    1. Thanks for dropping by! I hope all is well with you.