Saturday, June 27, 2020

Raspberry Reverie

Sunny days make me think of summer vacation afternoons spent outside with my sister, both of us armed with empty extra-large Cool Whip containers to fill with raspberries. There were red raspberry bushes growing next to a fence on the side of the property and wild black raspberries off in a corner way to the back. While I usually hated garden work-- like getting a sore back as I gradually became engulfed in tiny slugs when I picked green beans-- I didn't mind picking raspberries. Yeah, they had thorns, but getting jabbed by a raspberry wasn't half as bad as getting scratched by a cat, I didn't have to stoop much, and I could eat as many raspberries as I wanted while I picked, an option that did not have the same allure when I had to pick green beans.

That's the long way of saying I felt like posting some raspberry recipes today. Raspberries are so inherently delicious that few recipe writers seemed intent on truly screwing them up, so most of the recipes don't even sound half bad!

The least exciting might be the one from Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers: Vegetables Including Fruits (Favorite Recipes Press, 1966).

I mean, who gets excited about tapioca? I think it's mostly something kids eat just because it's available and has sugar in it. I guess the raspberries are there to make the tapioca better, even if the tapioca might be making the raspberries worse.

I'm way more excited about recipes with that strong vintage vibe. You know how baked Alaska was the thing in the '50s and '60s? The American Home All-Purpose Cookbook  (ed. Virginia T. Habeeb, 1966) brought raspberry into the craze.

I just wish it offered a picture of the big, pink, floofy thing, preferably with aqua appliances in the background.

Luckily, Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (8th edition, 7th printing, 1974) offers a lovely Raspberry Bombe that I can at least feast my eyes on.

"Raspberry Bombe is a frozen spectacular." I love looking at all those layers...

I can never get over all the work women used to put into those layered desserts, though! I would be the hostess who set out the various components of the recipe and declared it a sundae bar rather than bothering with all the chilling, softening, freezing, layering, refreezing, etc. (which would probably end with my being unable to unmold the damn thing if I had even bothered trying). Then the ladies' club would talk about me behind my back and I'd hope to get unceremoniously dropped from the hostess list.

If you want to go really old school, The Wise Encyclopedia of Cookery (1971) offers something I had never heard of.

Luckily, the ratafia entry is on the opposite page from this recipe! It's "A general name, no longer common in America, for a liqueur or cordial made by the infusion method." Apparently they were quite the thing in Victorian England, even if they're largely forgotten today.

The weirdest raspberry recipe I could find comes from The Culinary Arts Institute American Family Cookbook (ed. Melanie de Proft, 1979). This one sounds more like a dish for the Thanksgiving table than for a summer evening.

I guess Raspberry-Crowned Yams are for those whose tastes run a little more sophisticated than those of the marshmallow-topping crowd.

Bonus: Here's what we did with any raspberries that managed to get put in the Cool Whip containers instead of my mouth.

Raspberry Pie

1 to 1-1/4 cups sugar (depending on how sour the berries were)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 cup cold water
half a package raspberry Jell-O
as many raspberries as we had picked (maybe a quart? I never measured)

Combine sugar, cornstarch, corn syrup, and water. Cook and stir until thick and clear. Add Jell-O and cool. Fold in berries. Put in baked pie shell and chill until set.

Sit back and remember a nice summer day! Even if this summer is not going as planned, I hope your brain stashed an extra-large Cool Whip container full of summer memories somewhere. Nostalgia will add the mental equivalents of corn syrup and Jell-O if you need a little help sweetening them up.


  1. The only things I miss from the house we grew up in where the raspberry bushes and the white peach trees.

    1. I definitely wish I could just go out back and pick raspberries!

  2. I miss black raspberries! I did just buy a quarter of blackberries though. Most of which are prepared by shoving them in my mouth.