Saturday, April 27, 2019

Funny Name: Insufficiently Dangerous Edition

From Nashville Seasons (The Junior League of Nashville, 1964), we find out that Mrs. Cooper feels a bit bored. Calling this creation "Porcupine Meatballs" is just not enough of a warning for her taste.

She tried getting out of cooking supper the night after she made a batch of these, citing her fear of radiation poisoning, but had no luck.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

1001 Ways to Combine Leftover Boiled Eggs and Canned Mushroom Products

Nashville Seasons (The Junior League of Nashville, 1964) is super-classy because instead of having pictures of food on the cover, it features mostly-naked statues covering their naughty bits with flowers and sashes.

I found soooo many weird recipes in here that I wasn't sure what to do... but it's after Easter and everybody is still trying to use up leftover Easter eggs, so I raided the hard-cooked egg casserole section. (It's pretty extensive, as there are plenty of other recipes I didn't even include. I guess Nashvillians have a lot of hard-cooked eggs.)

For the not-very-hardcore hard-cookers, we'll start with Coronado Casserole.

It will use up the last half-dozen eggs with some olives, pimento, and condensed mushroom soup, all topped with the classic crushed potato chips. It's hard to imagine a more 1960s casserole than that!

Have a couple more leftover eggs (and really love canned soup)?

Creole Egg Casserole uses up the last eight boiled eggs, with plenty of tomato soup, cream of mushroom soup, and butter in the almost-credibly-Creole sauce. (It has the holy trinity plus Tabasco!)

If you've still got a full dozen eggs left over, not to mention all that Easter ham, you'll want Ham and Egg Casserole.

This one even allows for the possibility of using fresh mushrooms and cream sauce as an alternative to the canned mushrooms and cream soup, so it's classy.

Are you still trying to use  up more than a dozen leftover eggs before they go bad?

Well, adding a little curry powder to the canned mushroom soup might help cover up that less-than-farm-fresh flavor.

And if you planned for the extended family to come for the egg hunt and everybody went to see Hellboy instead, well, you can turn that pile of way more eggs than you can reasonably eat into a much larger casserole than you can reasonably eat.

Season to taste with cayenne, Worcestershire, and your salty, salty tears. Or just egg your relatives' houses with Easter eggs for a festive touch.

P.S.- The theater for Hellboy was nearly empty on Easter, so your relatives were probably lying to you about where they went.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Easter with a sore keister

So who lays all those Easter eggs, anyway? Well, the Cadbury egg commercials always led me to believe it was not a chicken, but a bunny. If Easter bunnies have to lay ALL the eggs, well this recipe from New Holiday Cookbook (Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers, 1974) would really make them sore.

The trick will entail the bunny laying an eye of round roast roughly its own size. This isn't even taking into account that the roast should be covered in a decorative chou paste with all those little decorative bumps and squiggles that will make its exit just that much more painful. Poor bunny! But hey, forcing a bunny to lay an Easter Beef in an Egg Shell is way easier than trying to make it yourself.

Happy Easter! Try not to eat your full body weight in anything, especially if it's something the Easter bunny "laid."

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Whiplash Americana

Obviously, my love of old cookbooks drives this site. (It's clearly for me and not for you fourteen readers, out there in the dark.) When I get an old cookbook that boasts about having even older recipes, that's just impeachment frosting on the Watergate cake!

That's why I picked up the Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers Americana Cookery: An Illustrated Cookbook of Regional America's Traditional Recipes (1971).

It does not disappoint because it's got that whiplash-inducing combination of recipes I love. Some of them clearly seem like slight modernizations of old recipes handed down by generations of cooks who had to figure out how to make something filling and appealing out of whatever was available. And some of them... well... I'll just say that they don't seem to have quite that same time-tested feeling. If you're not sure what I mean, I've put together a full menu from the Creole section. See if you can tell what's what.

First up: the salad!

Now the main dish:

We'll head back to the bayou for the side dish too:

And finally, dessert:

I know it takes a carefully trained eye, but you've been reading this blog for a while now. (Well, unless you haven't. Even if you're unfamiliar, though, I'll bet you can pick up on the sarcasm. And if you can't, well...maybe you're not destined to be one of the fourteen readers.) Which ones seem more like they originated pretty close the 1971 publication date?

If you prefer your whiplash all in a single entry, here's one from the Pennsylvania Dutch section where the head note and the recipe that follows seem like maybe they shouldn't be on the same page.

You've got to love the talk of lavish special-occasion chicken dishes in Amish country followed by a recipe combining a five-ounce can of chicken with cream of celery soup and biscuit mix. That's just about a summary of the whole book by itself-- and definitely a reason why I love this thing!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Automatic Mastication

Have you ever heard of "The Great Masticator"? (Health food quacks had racy names in the Victorian era since there were so few outlets for being racy.) That's just the fancy name for Horace Fletcher, the health guru who insisted that food should be chewed well past the point that was practical or appetizing, and so, fittingly enough, some early adopters of blenders referred to them as "Fletcherizers."

One of those people was our old friend (and also health food quack) Gayelord Hauser, author of The Gayelord Hauser Cook Book (1946/ 1963). For our leisurely weekend snack, I've brought you some Fletcherized drinks! First up is something you will think is familiar until you actually look at the recipes: nut milks.

Nut milks are not creamy, dairy-like concoctions as they are today, but fruit juices with pulverized nuts meant as "builder-uppers" for the "needlessly thin and weak." While combinations like pecans and pineapple sound pretty appealing to me, I imagine early "Fletcherizers" churned out pretty gritty concoctions. (The coconut variation seems to admit as much, noting that it "tastes better strained.")

If Fletcherized nut/ fruit "milks" aren't your thing, there's the ever-popular raw-eggs-and-fruit combo, like Banana Eggnog:

If you're squeamish about raw eggs, there's the delicious-sounding Cream of Soya Milk:

The first variation is kinda like actual soy milk now, but the variations are more like the nut "milks" above.

My favorite in terms of truth in advertising is this recipe, though:

Those Calcium Cocktails should really contribute to the daily total for that mineral, with the full tablespoon of cream or cottage cheese adding 1-2% of calcium's daily value to that cup of juice. It's recipes like these that let you know the automatic Fletcherizer is really worth that splurge. Now get out there and chew up your weekend!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Let Uncle Ben work his magic

Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!

Bullwinkle may never find his rabbit, but at least he's still in the animal kingdom. Uncle Ben's The Magic of Rice Cookbook (1969) makes me want to see Bullwinkle try to scoop some pilaf out of his top hat. I wonder what Rocky would have to say about that...

I wasn't really sure how to highlight all the rice-y magic in the book, so you're getting my signature weird menu format, this time with rice-based appetizer/ veg, main dish, and dessert.

The appetizer is a classic with a little twist.

I'm sure you recognize stuffed peppers, but what are those little "roses" on top?

I'd call them stinking roses, but that's a nickname for garlic. Anyway, the starters are saffron-rice stuffed peppers with anchovy roses! I love the bright green and yellow contrast against the shiny brown fish.

The main dish may sound a bit familiar...

...but this time the picture sells it.

Who can resist rice volcanoes erupting over porkchops with a backdrop of kaleidoscopic 1960s wallpaper?

And just in case you're not completely riced out, how about a rice-based dessert that ISN'T pudding?

It's not sand with oddly lumpy sea foam and a deformed, decaying starfish on top.

You've always wanted a grainy cheesecake full of cottage cheese and instant lemon pudding mix rather than that smooth, luscious cream cheese, right? Uncle Ben knows what you like.

I'm thinking it might actually take a little magic to make that entire cheesecake disappear, even though disappearing cheesecake is usually one of the easiest tricks in the book! Sorry, Uncle Ben.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Loose-bottomed cakes made the '30s world go round

It's no secret that I love notes in old cookbooks. I usually have some inkling of what the notes are supposed to mean, but the scribbles in the margin for Nut Cake in Lorain Cooking (by Dorothy E. Shank for American Stove Company, 1930) just leave me scratching my head.

I think the big note on the left says "Too much for Loose Bottom." Is loose bottom supposed to be a good thing? It almost sounds as if that's the goal, but the cake has too much of something to achieve loose-bottomedness. Or maybe the apparent changes written in the right margin are too much, and they give the cake a loose bottom? (My second guess as to what the scrawl says is "Too much for horse Bottom," which makes even less sense.)

I'm not sure about the extra measurements on the right, either. Some ingredients are left alone. Most are apparently increased (such as the 1/2 cup of butter increased to 3/4 cup). The vanilla is halved, though, and I don't know what is going on with the milk. What's tbt milk? (Maybe it's "+ 6 t" meaning to add six teaspoons?)

I clearly don't know what's going on here, but I love trying to puzzle it out. Let me know if you have any theories!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

I'm kind of surprised she didn't call this month "Egg-pril"

It's April, so Peg Bracken's I Hate to Cook Almanack (1976) tells us to prepare for "Floods, Muds, & Buds." The introduction should really have prepared readers for puns, though, as more of the chapter is devoted to jokes like "Why did little Eggbert wear his asbestos suit to the produce market? He didn't want to get chard" than to recipes.

Just in case Eggbert is bothered by how many hard-cooked eggs are piling up post-Easter, Bracken does offer a casserole to help use them up:

It doesn't sound spectacular, but I can't really be mad at the idea of cheese-soaked broccoli. Serve it over some rice and I might overlook the fact that I have no idea what the "Shakel" in "Shakel Egg Supper" is supposed to mean.

For those who are ready to move past still-chilly April and into May, Bracken offers a little craft project that should be ready just as ice cream weather starts to think about arriving:

If you get a second pint of brandy or vodka, the wait for the sundae topping to be ready will seem just a bit shorter....

Happy April! Now come on, May!