Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Let's get medical! Today we have another community cookbook from a medical center, but this one is serious about its medical center status:

You can see right from the title that St. Luke's Rx for a Rxecipe Rxendezvous by the Women's Board and Junior Board of St. Luke's Hospital (Cleveland, OH; Sept. 1972) sees itself as the prescription for recipes! The line of people at the bottom of the page looks like a row of cut-out paper ninja to me, but I think they're meant to be medical professionals in surgical scrubs. Maybe the hospital has super-sneaky employees and they are actually ninja who are also prepared for surgery?

If you think the medical theme of the book is a cover-only thing, you are mistaken. There's a whole chapter called "Just What the Doctor Ordered: Low Calorie, Low Cholesterol." It actually contains no calorie counts, so I'm not sure what they consider low calorie. There are no cholesterol counts either, but judging from the recipes, I am not sure the editors would have wanted to include them. (And yes, I know we're not nearly so concerned about cholesterol now as heart patients were in the '70s, but I'm evaluating the book by the criteria of its time period.) Take "Eggs and Bean Sprouts," for example:

This recipe has six whole eggs to serve four people! Given that a single egg yolk has more than half a day's allowance for cholesterol, there is NO WAY this could possibly have been a low cholesterol recipe. 

What has even more cholesterol than egg yolks? Just a page later, we find out:

Yep. Liver is LOADED with cholesterol. I'm not sure what doctor was ordering these recipes, but that doctor was apparently not good with numbers. I'm almost surprised the recipe doesn't include instructions to coat the liver in egg  yolks and dredge it in seasoned flour first, maybe deep fry it in lard while we're at it.... That would be low cholesterol and low calorie, right?

After the "Just What the Doctor Ordered" chapter comes the "Not What the Doctor Ordered (Drinks)" chapter. (Yes, the editors actually put "Drinks" in parenthesis, as if they had to whisper it so the doctor wouldn't hear.)

Here is another case where the ideas about what is healthy don't quite line up to ours today. What drink might we sneak past the doctor if we're lucky?

That's right-- wine-- friend to the heart today! I love any wine instructions that begin with a can of Welch's frozen grape juice, call for a "heavy balloon" to put on top of the fermenting jug, and end with pouring the result "into fancy bottles."

I'm not entirely sure I would trust St. Luke's for recipe advice, but looking at their cookbook is a prescription for fun.


  1. I'm celebrating "low cholesterol" today as well. Eggs and whole milk equals low cholesterol? Um....nah. I might just have to pass that wine recipe on to my soon-to-be son in law, who loves to make him a batch or 3 of home brewed beer (and is brewing more than a little for their wedding in October)! Great cookbook, Poppy!

    1. Thanks! Glad to see you're back!

      My college roommate's dad used to make homemade wine. Some of it (like raspberry!) was really good. Some of it (like peach) tasted kind of like nail polish remover. If your soon-to-be-son-in-law tries his hand at wine, I hope it will be more like the raspberry...

  2. They omitted an important step in the wine recipe: put balloons in nearest toilet