Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Bring out your bread! Bring out your bread!

I mentioned to my grandma that I have been writing about old cookbooks. (I didn't tell her about it earlier because I didn't want to try to explain the concept of a blog to her, but I forgot this was one of the things I had resolved to keep to myself. Luckily, she was interested in knowing what I was writing about and I didn't have to explain the format!) I was surprised when a few days later, a little package showed up in my mailbox.

This was one of the goodies:

"Sixty-Five Delicious Dishes Made with Bread" is from the Fleischmann Co. The copyright is 1919, so I think this may be the oldest original copy in my collection now. It's even older than grandma, so I'm not sure how she got it. (She's not either.)

I thought this would have some recipes to make loaves of bread, considering it is from a yeast company. Apparently Fleischmann's figured home cooks already had their own favorite bread recipes, so there was not much point in supplying more. Instead, this booklet is dedicated to using up leftover bread. Maybe the company thought cooks would make bread more often if they knew they would have something to do with the excess in those days before home freezing or store-bought bread full of preservatives.

A lot of the ideas boil down to "soak breadcrumbs in milk and throw them into something else."

Making an omelet?

Soak some bread crumbs in milk and add them to the mix. Everybody loves a bread omelet.

Need some sauce?

Use bread crumbs to thicken a cream sauce.

Need a salad, but think croutons are too obvious a choice for using leftover bread in a salad?

Soak bread crumbs in cream, toss with nuts, and serve over lettuce. (Yay! Soggy bread and nut salad.)

Have a LOT of leftover bread and a fixation on funny titles?

Make a cheese custard thickened with bread crumbs and served over toast! Bread sauce on bread! Now if they would just top it with browned breadcrumbs, this would be the trifecta of leftover bread uses. (Why is it called monkey? Apparently, like Welsh Rabbit, the name is a dig on the poor who have to serve less-expensive cheese sauces in place of more expensive meat. Having watched Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom as a child, I would always opt for cheese over monkey.)

Not all recipes feature ways to sneak mushy bread into everything, though. What does the woman on the cover seem so proud to serve?

It's Eggs and Green Peas! Cut some bread (the booklet says a slice, but this looks more like a loaf to me!) "to form large case," then fry it until it's golden brown. Fill with hard cooked eggs and peas topped with a white sauce. Sounds incredibly bland (as do most of these recipes!), but at least it's imaginative.

It's a bread castle! Build your own story from there. I think the peas are villagers storming in to depose the corrupt egg royalty. One tiny pea can't take on a big egg, but their collective might will make short work of the tyrannic eggs. Off with their yolks! Maybe this recipe will make up for the classism of the English monkey... or maybe I'm getting a bit loopy.

This has been Cookbook Wednesday! Thank you to Modern Day Ozzie and Harriet for hosting.


  1. I love the gently colorized cover. I'd have thought this would contain recipes for kinds of bread, too, given that it's Fleischmann's! It's a wonderful cookbook, and I'm so glad your grandmother gave it to you so we could see it. I've linked you up.

    1. Thank you for linking me! I like the serene joy the women in some of the older cookbooks seem to be radiating. It's fun to imagine that cooking things with breadcrumbs was all it took to make a person so happy.... Of course, I'm sure it was no more likely to happen then than it would be now!