Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Wall of Walnuts

I couldn't find a year of publication for the "To Win New Cooking Fame: Just Add Walnuts" pamphlet, but the sources I can find suggest it's from the 1920s or '30s, and that looks about right to me. What do you think?

The pastel-ish color of the food drawings and the disembodied, somehow art-deco-ish looking hand dropping walnuts onto the subtitle confirm my suspicions. The walnuts split open to reveal their "brains" are, of course, timeless.

The booklet has plenty of actually tasty-sounding recipes, as the candies, layer cake, pancakes, bread, and rolls on the cover suggest, so you know I am heading straight for the salad chapter.

Why settle for another loaf of banana walnut bread when there is a shiny, pink Walnut and Salmon Salad to "admire"?

It's loaded up with vinegar, canned salmon, chopped cabbage, walnuts, and plenty of sugar and lemon juice to make up for the oversight of not simply starting with lemon-flavored gelatin.

If you're getting sick of gelatin salads (and if you are, then what the hell are you doing here?), there's always the excellent alternative of the stuffed pepper:

Yes, Pepper and Grapefruit Salad! It's perfect for when your green peppers feel naked if they're seen without their grapefruit, celery, and walnut accessories, all frosted with mayonnaise and topped with more walnuts. (I'd prefer for my green peppers to feel okay with being strippers. There's no shame in running around nude, especially when this is the alternative.)

And of course, when people were concerned about economy, there was a whole section for "Main Course Dishes":

A big, lettuce-engirded Walnut Vegetable Loaf doesn't look too bad. I am contractually obligated to love those white steam geysers springing from random spots on the loaf, along with the hint of painted flowers along the plate's rim. The reality, of course, is as bland as these loaves tend to be:

Bread crumbs, celery, carrots, walnuts, canned peas or string beans, bound with eggs and seasoned with a whole eighth of a teaspoon of pepper and a bit of Worcestershire is not likely to inspire anyone to come running when ma rings the dinner bell. I'm having trouble imagining even the dog being too enthusiastic when little Shirley tries to make her serving disappear under the table.

The Walnut Sausage has a little more promise. At least people expect some kind of flavor from sausage:

Even though this is full of bland bread crumbs and rice, it still may have a hint of flavor: two whole teaspoons of sage, plus paprika, salt, celery seed, and minced onion... I'm sure the "crisp bacon as garnish" doesn't hurt either, although it kind of puzzled me. I thought the recipe might be offered for Catholics on Friday or even early vegetarians, but the mention of bacon means it may just be meant as a stretcher for the more expensive breakfast meat. So much for my theories.

Happy Wednesday! And maybe if I'm feeling generous someday, I'll let you see the Walnut Doughnuts, Maple Walnut Wafers, or Devil's Food Walnut Cake. Today I'll just devilishly leave you with a steaming slice of Vegetable Walnut Loaf.


  1. Ugh, nut loaf from any era is always disgusting.

    Love love love nuts in my stuffing, my mother a really great one for Thanksgiving w/ chestnuts & spicy Italian sausage

    1. I think nuts sound really yummy in stuffing. Any Thanksgiving I go to always has at least one family member who hates them, though, so I've never gotten to try it.

  2. I have quite a few Walnut recipe books from the same era, Poppy. I'd say you're right about this undated booklet.

    I must say, the main ingredient in these books, walnuts, absolutely makes a better addition in desserts, even some appetizers. Although nut loaves are once again popular in the vegetarian community, I doubt a recipe like that loaf would cut it today or any day! As for those "salads" no can do:)

    Thanks so much for sharing, Poppy...

    1. I'm glad you concur on my dating for this (and on the recipes). I do love walnuts... just not the ways I posted here!