Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fly killer, medical advice, more pigs in blankets, and cocoa sandwiches

Because I can't resist, here is another creature from the haunted antique shop grab bag:

It's "F. W. McNess' Cook Book" (undated; I've seen estimates from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s). There are various versions of this booklet, but I have the one with a woman practically standing on top of a man while he tries to choose a biscuit from the giant carby pyramid she has constructed. They are also apparently having water in wine goblets and something so unappetizing-looking that she has hidden it in a covered tureen. Looks like an exciting dinner!

So who was F. W. McNess?

Apparently, McNess was a company that sold items door-to-door:

I would love to buy peppermint extract, grape nectar, and ginger from someone who also sells fly killer, sewing machine oil, and insect powder in remarkably similar containers! It makes grabbing for an ingredient without looking at it carefully so much more interesting....

The company didn't just sell various food products and household items, though. They also gave out advice:

Yep! Free medical advice AND veterinary advice, from the same company that sells "Vanilla, Vanillin and Coumarin" (a name for their naturally and artificially flavored extract). That does not sound at all shady. 

The booklet is not all ads, though. There are some actual recipes. Since I was recently discussing what properly constitutes a "Pigs in Blankets" recipe, here is another take: 

Here, it's bacon fried around oysters, then served on toast-- which is nothing like either of the two versions I discussed earlier! I'm not sure bacon would be a much better blanket than a cabbage leaf. (And why should it be the blanket when it's clearly from a pig? How are oysters the pigs?)

Since I love looking for vegetarian stuff, I was excited to find this:

Nut Roast is probably not all that exciting, with its "nut meats" and bread crumbs held together by eggs and milk, seasoned with a bit of sage. At least there's a tomato sauce to go with it.

Some recipes do suggest the age of this booklet:

It's winter ice cream for cooks who don't have freezers. I hate winter, but if it were the only time I could ever get ice cream-- well-- the promise of dessert could move winter to just-this-side-of-bearable. 

The recipe title that made me the most curious, though, proved to be pretty disappointing:

What is a cocoa sandwich? Is it bread with some kind of a cocoa-and-cream-cheese-based spread? Is it bread with peanut butter, banana, and cocoa? Is it some kind of a sandwich cookie? Maybe an ice cream sandwich?

Whatever it is, it's printed on the sheet of recipes on the McNess cocoa package, and they're not telling unless you buy the cocoa. I tried to find out, but while I could find some images of the cocoa containers and a full scan of the entire booklet (that is in much better shape than mine, if you're interested in seeing the whole thing), I couldn't find the cocoa sandwich recipe. 

In the meantime, feel free to make up your own! Happy Wednesday!


  1. Hi Poppy:)
    Don't laugh, but, I LOVE these Furst-McNess booklets! I have quite a few of them and the Rawleigh booklets. I took a quick look to see if I could find out what a cocoa sandwich is to no avail. Each booklet tells you too seek out the recipe on the can label, lol...

    If I ever happen upon the recipe, Poppy, I will gladly share. I'm guessing it is probably some kind of cookie recipe:)

    Thanks for sharing, Poppy...

    1. Rawleigh! My grandma used to sell that. We never had any booklets, though. It's good to know someone else remembers it. :-)

  2. I've seen that "Pigs in a Blanket" recipe commonly labelled as "Angels on Horseback." Or you switch out the oysters for prunes and get "Devils on Horseback."

    Been doing an archive binge from the start of your blog, and I'm loving it. I wish I could find the crazy assortment of vintage cookbooks from my local thrift and antique stores that you seem to be able to pick up.

    1. The angels on horseback name makes a lot more sense!

      I'm glad you like the blog! I've been picking up old books for years-- it takes time to accumulate them.