Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Online Cookbooks

As Cookbook Month comes to a close, I have sifted through a few of my notes and websites to gather a collection of online cookbooks. Most of these places are dedicated websites that offer a glimpse into the enchanting journey American cookbooks have taken through the years. A couple of them offer lists of published cookbooks which can be very helpful when adding to a cookbook collection.

  • Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project

    The Michigan State University Library and the MSU Museum have partnered to create an online collection of some of the most influential and important American cookbooks from the late 18th to early 20th century. The goal of this project is to make these materials available to a wider audience.

    Digital images of the pages of each cookbook are available as well as full text transcriptions and the ability to search within the books, across the collection, in order to find specific information.

  • Historical Culinary & Brewing Documents Online

    This page contains links to a growing number of old culinary & brewing texts that are now available online. We are compiling a list of people who are working on additional transcription or translation projects involving old cookbooks and cookery manuscripts in order to avoid duplication of effort.

  • Nicole Di Bona Peterson Collection of Advertising Cookbooks

    Advertising cookbooks are a means for food companies and appliance manufacturers to promote use of their products by providing recipes and home hints. Whereas early examples often are simple and printed in black and white, later booklets increasingly were attractively printed with color art or photographs. Advertising cookbooks provide information about American foodways, kitchen technology, gender roles in the household, and much more. The Title Page and Table of Contents or Index for each cookbook have been transcribed and are searchable. The publications in this category may be browsed by subject/product name and by title.

  • The David Walker Lupton
    African American Cookbook Collection

    This is a list of African American cookbooks donated by Mr. Lupton. The University of Alabama Libraries recently received one of the largest collections of African American cookbooks in the country – some 450 volumes covering the period from 1827, when the first book with recipes by an African American was published, through the year 2000.

  • Recipe Pamphlets in the Chef Louis Szathmary Collection of Culinary Arts (list)

    Presented to the University Libraries as part of the Chef Louis Szathmáry II Collection of Culinary Arts, the recipe pamphlets represent another facet of culinary history. These ephemeral publications, which were generally produced and distributed by various food companies and kitchen appliance manufacturers to draw attention to their products, often wore out from heavy use, or were thrown out because they outlived their usefulness.

  • A Cookbook Lover's Guide to The Culinary Arts Institute and Culinary Arts Press

    This website proposes to be a history of the Culinary Arts Institute, based in Chicago, which has published many useful cookbooks throughout the years and which at one time was the leading publisher of cooking literature.

  • A Guide to Pillsbury Cookbooks

  • Not By Bread Alone America's Culinary Heritage (Cornell University Library)

  • The Hearth Project

    HEARTH - Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition and History
    Mann Library at Cornell University has begun work to preserve and make available electronically essential and influential books and journals in the field of home economics, focusing on items published in the United States before 1950.

  • Food Company Cookbooks

    Food Company Cookbooks is a blog where Kathy shares historical notes and recipes from her many promotional cookbooks. Advertising cookbooks have become very popular avenues for collectors to gain access to how products have evolved through the years.

  • Books for Cooks @ The British Library

    This unique collection of cookery books will transport you back in time. It will take you to medieval banqueting tables laden with peacocks and pastry ships; to the medicine cabinets of noblewomen; and to royal picnics in the jungle. It will show you how the poor were encouraged to re-use coffee grounds in Victorian London, and how a rationed population attempted to stay healthy during World War 2. You will find recipes for puddings and roasts, for beauty treatments and bed bug repellents, for pies made with live birds and frogs, and for dishes spiced with ingredients as valuable as jewels.

  • Lost & Found Cookbooks (blog)

    This blog is a place to examine some of the more interesting or charming old cookbooks that come our way in more depth. Whenever possible, we also post corresponding recipes and other relevant links to definitions or other related cookbooks.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Name Day Celebrations

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Thomas Bellacci. Sometimes called Thomas of Florence, St. Thomas Bellacci is the patron saint of butchers.

In old European tradition, every day of the year is someone's name day. A nameday commemorates the feast of the saint whose name is given at baptism. The day of the saint's death is his real feastday. In some countries and religious orders, namedays are celebrated instead of birthdays. In more modern times, each first name is assigned to one day of the calendar and is not only based on religious traditions but could also include historical events or famous birthdays. This endearing custom is still remembered in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Ireland.

On a child's name day, Come for Dessert is a popular way to entertain. It is economical, festive and meaningful. The celebration leaves a lasting memory of time and essence.

I found this recipe for Gugelhupf in an Indiana cookbook titled Aspic and Old Lace published by The Northern Indiana Historical Society in celebration of its 120th anniversary. (© 1987) The cookbook offers a glimpse into the heritage of the St. Joseph River Valley Region of Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan not only with recipes but also with reflections of fashion and accessories such as hats, shoes and jewelry. It is a vintage culinary journey from the 1870's through the 1960's with narratives, advertisements, and photographs as well as the memories of those who contributed the many recipes. If you enjoy reading cookbooks and trying vintage recipes, you will like this book.

My husband's grandmother was 18 years old when she arrived in South Bend. She carried with her on the boat a large copper Turk's head mold used in making this special bread...Unfortunately, she left no directions for mixing, assuming that her descendants would be good cooks! Just follow the procedure for making any yeast cake or coffee cake.
4 cups flour
3 cakes yeast
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup butter
5 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Directions: Grease a mold or tube pan. Sift the flour before measuring. Scald the milk; cool and pour over the yeast which has been crumbled to help it dissolve more uickly. Beat in 1 cup of flour to make a sponge; let this mixture rise until double in bulk in a warm place. Cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the salt and the sponge. Stir in the remaining flour and the raisins; beat until batter is smooth and elastic. The almonds may be mixed into the batter or spread into the bottom of the mold or tube pan with the dough placed on top of the almonds. Put in warm place and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees 50-60 minutes.

1. Christian Name Day Celebrations
2. Celebrating A Name Day in Old Ireland
3. Greek Name Day Celebrations
4. Feast of St. Thomas Bellacci

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pumpkins: The Standing Dish

Okay, I'll admit it. I don't like Halloween. I mean I really detest Halloween. Personally, I think, one week from today, on October 31, everyone should be reminded to donate blood. Yep, that's right, Halloween is such a ghoulish day of celebration, which is the perfect day to remind people to donate blood. It was the best agenda I could have ever thought of (if I had, which I didn't) when someone declared to change the batteries in smoke detectors when we turn the clocks back or forward. I can never remember so I do it for both. Let's make Halloween a day to remember to donate blood. There's nothing to FEAR except perhaps a few witches, goblins and monsters who come knocking at your door crying "give me your blood" after all, they could be begging for food. Donating blood is really no big deal. However, I do understand why there are those who are a bit peekish about the whole routine. But, how cool is it to think that on the "eve of the dead" we can give the gift of life. Very:)

On the other hand, I am pleasantly pleased with pumpkins. I actually even like carving them. I use canned pumpkin throughout the year and fresh when it is in season. It is so versatile, inexpensive and readily available. It's loaded with vitamin A, has less than 1 gram of fat, and even offers a decent amount of Potassium and Vitamin C. I agree with the writers over at the Pumpkin Nook. Pumpkin recipes are filled with all that bad stuff, not pumpkins. Pumpkins are actually quite healthy. After all, they are 90% water. Second only to corn, among the American Indians gift to the Pilgrims, was pumpkins, and the part they played in our early survival earned for it the New England nickname of the "standing-dish."

Let no man make a jest of pumpkin, for with this fruit the Lord was pleased to feed his people till corn and cattle were increased
Pumpkins were called pompions by the Pilgrims. One of the earliest and most interesting ways of preparing it was to cut off the top, remove the seeds (toast them) and fibers, and pour milk, molasses and spices inside. The top was then put back on and the whole filled pumpkin was slowly cooked in a dutch oven. The results, served in wedges, may have been the first pumpkin pie. A more modern approach to this recipe is to replace the milk with rum. I haven't tried it but...I do have a recipe for Pumpkin Rum Souffle that I found in The American Drink Book, by S. S. Field, copyright 1953.

Pumpkin Rum Souffle

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and blend in 3 tablespoons of flour, mixing thoroughly. Stir in 3/4 cup of milk and cook until thick and smooth, stirring the while. Add 1 1/4 cups of cooked and sieved pumpkin, 2 tablespoons of orange juice, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 3 tablespoons of rum, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Fold in beaten yolks and then stiffly beaten whites of 4 eggs. Bake for 30 minutes in a buttered casserole at 350 degrees.
If you're looking for a more traditional pumpkin pie recipe, here's one undated in poetry form.

Pumpkin Pie

Grandmother Lord was a woman wise
And this is the way she made pumkin pie:
Wash pumpkin and cut it small,
Put into, cook in a kettle tall
So that the bubbles will not pop out
To spatter the stove all round about.
Let it bubble and boil and stew
The livelong day 'till it's brown all through;

Stirring it often, and when its done,
Make it through the colander run.
Take of molasses. half a cup,
And with 3 of pumpkin mix up:
Cup and one-half of sugar white
And salt one-half a teaspoon quite.
Mix these well, stirring does no harm--
Then ginger, cinnamon, butterwarm,
A teaspoon each of the above
To season the pies of the Yankee's love.

Then four fresh eggs and a quart of milk,
Line three round tins with pastry white.
Beat well and stir 'till as fine as silk;
Pour in your filling and bake them quite

A full half hour, 'till they're well done
Then let them cool, and sire and son
And husband and preacher and family friend
Will praise your pumpkin pies no end. 
North Dakota Baptist Women Cookbook
1. Questions about donating blood
2. Halloween @ wikipedia
3. The Pumpkin Nook has Recipes

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Nicolas Appert & Canned Food!

Of vineyards, tree, and garden sauce,
There should never be any loss.
If fresh picked and quickly canned,
When winter comes it will be in demand.
Collin Class Cookery 1931

Canned Food Day
National Canned Food Day is always celebrated on the birthdate of "The Father of Canning" Nicolas Appert was born on October 23, 1752 in France. There's very little information available about Nicholas Appert's social life but documentation of his canning contributions is pretty easy to find.

There have been many contributors to the timeline of canning and food preservation but Nicolas Appert has gone down in history as the "father of canning" Hmmm...perhaps, this is a good time to mention someone else who has made a contribution to the canning timeline. "The Chef of Kings and The King of Chefs." It seems Escoffier had his hand in the process of tomato canning. Auguste Escoffier used quite a bit of tomatoes in his cooking and he needed a continuous supply. He couldn't convince anyone in France to can tomatoes. He eventually came up with the idea of preserving tomatoes whole, crushed, puréed, or reduced to paste in tin cans.

The source for the information about Escoffier comes from an online book titled Escoffier-The King of Chefs by Kenneth James.(page 233) If you get a chance you really should take a look at it. It takes a while for all the pages to load but you can start reading while its loading.

Around 1810, Nicolas Appert, invented Peppermint Schnapps. When he was a Paris candy maker he invented it to put on ice cream. Napolean's wife, Austrian Marie Louise Duchess of Parma, took the recipe back to Austria where it not only became very popular used on ice cream, but as a drink. I didn't know that, did you? It was also in 1810 that Appert published L'Art de conserver les substances animales et végétales (or The Art of Preserving Animal and Vegetable Substances for Many Years). This was the first cookbook of its kind on modern food preservation methods.

And I must own I really love
The smell of cinnamon and clove.
Of vinegar and spicy pears
And all the juices Mom prepares
There's charm to canning time each year
With canning's special atmosphere;
But we know Mom; and we know her mind
For she is merciful and kind,
Our shelves are loaded down today
But Mom will give about half away!

1. National Canning Day October 23
2. All About Canning
3. The Science of Canning
4. Peppermint Schnapps
5. Nicolas Appert Biography @ Tasteful Inventions
6. Nicolas Francois Appert @ wikipedia
7. Canny Cooks @ Months of Edible Celebrations

Monday, October 22, 2007

Nuts, Squirrels & Nutcrackers

Without as smooth as glass
Within a wooly mass
But hid amid the wool
There lurks a nice mouthful.

Edible nuts have been an important part of the human diet for thousands of years. Nutritionally they are high in protein and offer an assortment of vitamins and minerals. The botanical definition of a nut is actually quite strict; a nut must have a woody or stony outer wall, and the seed inside is free or partially fused. In cuisine, however, the term “nut” is much more broad, encompassing legumes like peanuts, almonds, pine nuts and sunflower seeds. Almonds, pistachios, coconuts, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, chestnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, beechnuts, and butternuts are all considered edible nuts, whether or not they are true nuts.

Excavations of early civilizations have revealed nutshells that were probably broken by stones when they were too hard for the teeth to crack. Pitted stones used for cracking nuts have been found in various parts of the United States and Europe and have been dated back to the Archaic Period, 4,000 to 8,000 years ago. source

The Greek Aristotle is most probably the inventor of the nutcracker, a pincer-like tool with two levers...The German author Jacob Grimm (1785-1865) described nutcrackers as idols that are made to exercise evil spirits. source

Henry Quackenbush is credited with inventing the first American nutcracker and nutpick in 1878. source


  1. Every squirrel carries an umbrella. The squirrel puts it up to stay dry when eating nuts in the rain or snow. The umbrella is its big, bushy tail.
  2. The average Gray squirrel is fifteen inches long and weighs about one pound. Its diet consists of nuts, seeds and fruit.
  3. Gray and Fox squirrels hide their food in many places, so if another squirrel or animal were to find it, the entire year's supply would not be lost. Sometimes they hide food temporarily, until they can move it to a more convenient location.
  4. Squirrels stash nuts in hollow trees and under fallen leaves. Gray and fox squirrels spend a lot of time digging holes and burying single nuts and acorns in the ground. Squirrels don't locate buried food from memory. They find buried food (about half an inch deep) with the use of their highly developed sense of smell. During the winter they sniff out the acorns and dig them up to eat. Naturalists have seen squirrels dig through a foot of snow to find a cache of nuts. Of course, the squirrels miss some nuts, and in this way they help plant the next forest.
  5. Squirrels need calcium in their diet. Calcium is a mineral necessary for the squirrels to keep healthy teeth to be able to bite into an acorn. Without strong teeth, they can starve to death.

National Nut Day @ Slashfood.com

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pop Rocks, Cool Whip & Tang!

Canary birds feed on sugar and seed;
Parrots have crackers to crunch;
And as for the poodles, they tell me the noodles
Have chicken and cream for their lunch. 
Charles Edward Carry The Camel's Complaint

 Today is Pop Rocks Day!!! What's that you say, there's no such day as Pop Rocks Day. Well, there should  be a day dedicated to Pop Rocks, Cool Whip and Tang. Why not today? The man who invented Pop Rocks, Cool Whip and Tang was born on this day in 1921. His name was William A. Mitchell.
Pop Rocks were developed in 1956 by General Foods research scientist William A. Mitchell and introduced to the market in 1975. Tiny air pockets of carbonation (CO2) are released when melted in your mouth and has a mild "crackling" sensation and "popping" noise. source

Orange-flavored Tang was a popular drink in the 1960s for it was at this time that the promise made by John F. Kennedy, "We will go to the moon in this decade," and the Apollo Space Program got their lift-off. We've explored Moon Day recipes on this blog before.  Today, I 'd like to leave you with a recipe for Tang Pie. I'm not sure where it originated, although the book I found it in, Fashionable Food by Sylvia Lovegren, states it may have come from Texas.

Tang Pie
1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust, baked
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8-oz) carton sour cream
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Tang powder
1 (8-oz.) tub Cool Whip
Mix the milk, sour cream, and Tang together. Fold in half of the Cool Whip. Spoon into the pie shell. Top with the rest of the Cool Whip. Chill. Makes 1 9-inch pie, 8 servings

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sweetest Day

Sweet to the sweet, and dainty delights,
This chapter presents, and your trial invites

Let's pretend for a moment that Herbert Birch Kingston, the Ohio philanthropist, proposed Sweetest Day in 1922 out of the goodness of his heart. It is possible you know.
  • Sears and Roebuck begins selling electric refrigerators
  • Stephen Poplawski invents the blender (milkshakes, malteds, yum)
  • On January 24, 1922 Christian K. Nelson patents something quite sweet, an Eskimo Pie
  • Fruit Garden & Home Magazine was founded in 1922. Later to be renamed Better Homes & Gardens Sounds like a good place to publish those "sweet" recipes.
  • Belle De Graf published "Mrs. De Graf's Cook Book" in 1922. Although this cook book was funded by a few commercial food companies, it was quite customary. Still is...Speaking about cookbooks, Fannie Farmer also prepared her Rumford Cookbook in 1922
  • On the candy front, we had peanut chews making their debut and gummi bears were born, just to mention a couple.

Let's just pretend he started this holiday because he wanted to show those who were feeling lost or forgotten that somewhere someone was thinking of a new idea to make their life a little bit happier if only for a day.
Who comes to eat with you,
Gets many a lump of sweetness too

Why not celebrate sweetness day, or everyday, with this recipe for Maple Fudge from the The Thimble Club Cookbook

Maple Fudge
1 pint maple syrup
1/2 pint cream
Boil until hairs and beat rapidly until it begins to sugar, then put into pan to cool.


  • 1. Cleveland Celebrates Sweetest Day
  • 2. Origins and Facts About Sweetest Day
  • 3. A Poem for Sweetest Day

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

World Food Day

We have been sharing World Food Day since October 16, 1981. It is the celebrated efforts of people, organizations and governments to aid in the quest against world hunger. October16, is also the anniversary of the forming of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. "Let there be bread" slices away at the need for education and efforts to recognize the malnutrition and diseases caused by the lack of food. The incorporation of bread as the motto of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations seeds the international committee of 150 nations, including the United States in a worldwide holiday designated as World FoodDay.

The full person does not understand the needs of the hungry
Irish proverb
  • Hunger: noun-discomfort caused by a need for food, starvation, a desire for food, any strong desire...
  • Hunger: noun-desire to eat, deprivation of food, strong desire
  • Hunger: noun-a craving or urgent need for food or a specific nutrient, an uneasy sensation occasioned by the lack of food, a weakened condition brought about by prolonged lack of food

World Bread Day '07
Not a deed would he do,
Not a word would he utter,
Till he's weighed its relation
To plain bread and butter.
James Russell Lowell,
American poet (1819-1891)

Why are there so many people in the world going hungry? Most of us can only imagine what it would be like to feel the pains of hunger. I once had a nibble of its effect in my own personal life. Perhaps, by choice but none the less, I have a better appreciation of eating from a diverse perspective. Since I am deathly afraid of the dentist due to a frightening experience, it took me months longer then it should have to get a very bad toothache fixed. The weeks passed as I unwillingly had to exist on mashed potatoes, oatmeal and other such soft foods in order to get nourishment. I realize this is a very trivial association but it had an effect on me as I watched others dine on steaks, chops, lobsters and other teeth grinding meals. I lost about 12 pounds which probably could be seen as a positive effect although I am about average in height and weight. I would make light of my reasons for prolonging the visit to the dentist as it was my way of dieting. Inside, I was starving! I suppose most of us have lived through times when our diets have been restricted for one reason or another, whether it be medical, religious, social or planned reasons. Frustration and impatience in the amount of time of restriction becomes unyielding. Close your mouth, then your eyes, and feel the aches of hunger. Imagine a grain by grain existence in tantalizing pain.
When I eat your bread, I sing your song
German proverb

World Food Day provides us with the window of awareness for improvement. Bread baking is such an eye opening experience in itself. The wonders of the expanding yeast, the progressiveness from grain to loaf. In the unity bread we implore all of our senses. Perhaps, World Food Day is an opportune time to get in touch with others who share in the desire to slice away at hunger one knead at a time.
All Sorrows are less with bread

Resources (will open in new window)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Silence in a Pumpkin Field

Silent Spring
Is Silent Spring by Rachel Carson still required reading in school? It was when I was in school. If it isn't, it should be. I feel like I'm "cheating" for including this brief information from wikipedia but, I wanted to participate in Blog Action Day and I forgot it was today.

Silent Spring is a book written by Rachel Carson and published by Houghton Mifflin in September 1962. The book is widely credited with launching the environmental movement in the West.

When Silent Spring was published, Rachel Carson was already a well-known writer on natural history, but had not previously been a social critic. The book was widely read (especially after its selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club and an endorsement by Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas), spending several weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, and inspired widespread public concerns with pesticides and pollution of the environment. Silent Spring facilitated the ban of the pesticide DDT[1] in 1972 in the United States.

The book claimed detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment, particularly on birds. Carson accused the chemical industry of spreading disinformation, and public officials of accepting industry claims uncritically. She proposed a biotic approach to pest control as an alternative to DDT, claiming that DDT had been found to cause thinner egg shells and result in reproductive problems and death. Silent Spring @ wikipedia

Personally, Silent Spring had a lasting effect on me. In the 70's, when I was a young mother, I learned all I could about organic gardening. For me, my garden was the first place to begin. I learned about companion planting. Garlic Loves Roses you know. Once when I was out in the yard in the middle of the night removing tomato horn worms off of my tomato plants, my neighbor in the back, who also happened to be a sherif, came out to investigate. There I was with my pail and flash light picking those nasty creatures off my plants. He laughed, said something to the effect of, "she's at it again" and went back in his house. We often bickered over the fence about the size and production of our gardens. His garden certainly "looked" better then mine but I always insisted mine was healthier and saved lives. I put the worms in the compost pile. What happened to them after that is anybody's guess but at least they were off my tomatoes and still alive. Making manure tea was a project in itself. I had a 50 gallon can dug into the ground where I put all my ingredients for manure tea. I know it doesn't sound appetizing but it sure did work. Oh yes indeed, it did stink up the yard and the surrounding areas but I didn't care. After all, when my neighbors were spraying their yards, whatever insects survived probably came over to my safe haven. It took about 3 years before I got a bumper crop but it was certainly worth it. Which brings me to the pumpkin picking.

Silence in a Pumpkin Field

Yesterday, we attempted to go pumpkin picking. We were going to go to the Oyster Festival over in Oyster Bay, I'm in New York this week, but when we watched the traffic report and heard there were suppose to be 200,000 people attending, we decided against it. I didn't know the Oyster Festival was the largest on the east coast. Actually, I still don't know. Publicity you know. So, we decided to go out east and pick some pumpkins or at least buy some from a local stand. There were so many people and so many kids, it was just wonderful! Now, I am originally from Long Island and have been to many local farms and have seen many local pumpkins. For some reason, something just didn't seem right. I mean there were tons and tons of pumpkins and they were HUGE! I mean HUGE! I meandered off in search of the perfect pumpkin. To my dismay, I noticed that many of the pumpkins in the fields were not attached to the vines. Okay, I thought maybe, they cut them off the vine to make it easier for picking. As I said, there were so many people and so many activities going on, no one noticed me. Over by the side of a shed, I noticed a young girl who looked like she was about to pass out. I went over to her to see if I could help. She could barely speak English but I managed to get a few words out of her. It seems, she was exhausted and needed a drink. Well, to make a long story short, I discovered that the loose pumpkins in the fields were actually imported from I don't know where (neither did anyone else, or they wouldn't say) They had brought them in on an 18 wheeler truck and rolled them into the fields for pumpkin picking. I found out later that the pumpkins were so heavy that it took about 4 or 5 people like the young girl to get them out into the fields. Needless to say, we left without any pumpkins wondering to ourselves if this is happening anywhere else with anything else? Pumpkin Pie Day is in November. Come join us to share some pumpkin recipes.

More info:

    Although a bookseller website, this is not a link to Amazon. It is an image of the book and has information about how to identify the 1962 first edition.
  • Mansion Books

Saturday, October 13, 2007

In Search of Pickled Peppers

"One of the very nicest things about life is
the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and
devote our attention to eating"

Luciano Pavarotti & William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story

So I'm surfing around looking for a link that actually verifies it's Pickled Pepper Month or even just pickled pepper week. I have it in my notes. Doesn't anyone else know it's pickled pepper whatever? So, what do I find? Well, first I end up on this website that has a whole thread going on about pickled pepper day but nothing about pickled peppers. Unless, of course, you count the peter piper pickled pepper tongue twister. Okay, that's not what I want. Let me try the I love Pickles website it's in my bookmarks anyway. Tons of stuff about pickles, including lots of recipes, but, no pickled pepper day or month. Maybe they know of a pickled pepper festival somewhere. Nope, lots of festival stuff but no pickled peppers. There is, however, a link to a site about a sauerkraut festival in Waynesville, Ohio. I'll check that out. Maybe they know something about pickled peppers. Nope. It looks like a great festival though. It seems to be well preserved considering it's the 38th annual sauerkraut festival. Just a note for next year, it's always held the second full week in October. Oh wait, I found a pickle festival in Mt. Olive, North Carolina. Perhaps, they know about pickled pepper month/day. No, no, no, but, they do have a yearly pickle festival held the last full weekend in April. Hmm...26th-28th in 2008.

Back to searching....

I know I should have tried this first. After all, I've been searching these kinds of things since probably 1998. Much harder then. So, I went to wikipedia. Sure enough, there it was right before my eyes. October is Pickled Pepper Month! Hurray, let me harvest some recipes. Now, I can't say I have ever pickled a pepper. There are so many varieties of peppers. Which kind would I pickle? Are there certain peppers that are better to pickle than others? Well, I'll be brined. Hot, Sweet, Chilies, Pimiento, Hungarian, Banana, Jalapeno, there are just so many. If you happen to have a peck hanging around, I did manage to find a website called How to Make Your Own Pickled Peppers, complete with directions and photos. 

After visiting so many websites, I really got curious about the pickled pepper tongue twister. It isn't possible to pick a peck of pickled peppers. Or, is it? Let's say, Peter managed to pick a peck of pickled peppers. According to the Mt. Olive website, if he picked a peck of banana peppers, he'd have 20-24. Well, I'm thinking, when was Peter picking these peppers. Did they even call them banana peppers in Peter's day? Time to find out. What exactly is a peck? A peck is equalled to 8 quarts, 4 pecks equal 1 bushel. Whew! thanks to the Food Measuring Calculator for that answer. To my delight, I found the answer to all my Peter Piper questions reading this discussion of peppercorns. As the author states, "you will understand why Peter's last name is "Piper," what kind of peppers he picked, and how many." Mystery solved?

Today is the anniversary of The Happy Birthday Song. You know that melody that's sung pretty much all over the world. Rumor has it that The Guinness Book of World Records states "Happy Birthday to You" is the most popular song in the English language. The song seems to carry much controversy about copyright dates and infringement use. Too much for my little head to digest. The melody was written way back in 1893 by two kindergarten teachers, which also happen to be sisters. Patty and Mildred Hill published it as "Good Morning To All" in the book Song Stories for the Kindergarten. You can find out more about the Happy Birthday Song at the Treat A Week Recipe blog, which also happens to have an amazing recipe for Triple Layer Chocolate Coconut Cake. Or try some kindergarten cookies.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Parched Corn on a Hot Shovel?

Popcorn! Yep, October is still Popcorn Month. Popcorn has been getting some bad press these days and rightfully so, I suppose. There have been many reports about the effects of Diacetyl in microwave popcorn so I'm listing some resources later where you can read them for yourself if you choose.

When I had a cookbook store about 10 years ago, we popped popcorn in an old fashioned popcorn machine on wheels. Everyday after school, the kids would stop in and we would give out free popcorn. It was the best time of the day. The wafting aroma, the giggling children, the memories. Every now and again, I run into some of the kids in the local grocery store. It's funny, they don't call me the cookbook lady, they call me the Popcorn Lady:) They remember.

Charles Cretors of Chicago invented the popcorn popping machine, or at least the business of popping corn. (He also invented the first popcorn wagon in 1919. It was the first self-propelled popcorn wagon ever made and was built on a Model T Ford chassis. A-Maizing!) His popcorn popping machine was a small steam engine powered machine "that popped, seasoned, and kept freshly popped corn warm—uniformly—for the first time ever." Before Cretor's discovery, popcorn vendors popped corn by holding wire baskets over an open flame, which usually produced dry, burnt popcorn. Yuck, I bet there were many "old maids" too. In the good old days of theaters and popcorn wagons it wasn't until around the 1920's that popcorn became a box office hit This was partly due to the invention of first electric popcorn machine by Charles T. Manley. Enterprising popcorn sellers who had been hawking popcorn since probably the 1840's were now in competition with the local nickelodeons. Popcorn sales boomed during World War II. mainly because of sugar rationing. Unlike candy, popcorn was inexpensive, easy to conger up and pleasantly satisfying. The War Production Board even claimed it was healthy. After the war, popcorn entered the television arena. I can still remember those "frying pans" of popcorn on Sunday night watching Ed Sullivan.

Wrede Smith, whose family has been making Jolly Time Pop Corn since 1914 has wonderful recollections of popcorn vendors with their popcorn wagons decorating Main Street USA. As a matter of fact, I just dug out a small promotional cook booklet from Jolly Time Popcorn. It's undated, but, I'm guessing it's from the 50's. I'd like to share their recipe for Chocolate Coated Pop Corn with you.

Chocolate Coated Pop Corn
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup corn syrup
3 tbs. butter or margarine
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 qts. popped Jolly Time Popcorn

Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook for 5 minutes; add butter and chocolate. Cook until a small portion tested in cold water stiffens and cracks. Pour over the popped corn. Stir until mixture is well distributed and turns sugary.

Although this little booklet is only 8 pages, it sure does have some interesting recipes. If I list one that makes you feel all fuzzy all over, let me know.

  • Pop corn on the Cob-cute:)
  • Chocolate popcorn pudding
  • Popcorn Brittle
  • Caramel Corn
  • Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
  • Carnival Corn-"Cracker Jack Like"
  • New England Pop Corn Treat-flavored with Vermont Maple Syrup
  • Popcorn Candy
  • Popcorn Cookies
  • Popcorn Fruit Squares
  • Popcorn Cake

A kernel for you: Use Popcorn Balls for a holder for toothpick skewers on which you've put party hors d'ouvres

Rumor Has It:
  1. The world's largest popcorn ball weighed 2,000 pounds. If you decide to make these treats for Halloween, check out your local craft store for colored plastic wrap to wrap them.
  2. Frederick William and Louis Rueckheim used Cretor's peanut roaster-popcorn machine at their Chicago World's Fair popcorn stand. They mixed popcorn with peanuts covered in molasses which they named Cracker Jack.

We don't usually make popcorn at our house anymore but, after looking through my beloved cookbooks and writing this post, I might have to change that with my next arrival of Netflix. Below I am also including some recipe links. If you don't have a popcorn popper, the Jolly Time recipe book suggests using a pressure cooker without the weigh gasket. With the holidays soon approaching, a popcorn popper may make a perfect gift. I found 227 search results for popcorn makers at epinions. My son actually has two popcorn making machines which he fires up on polka night. One of his is made by Wabash Valley Farms. They have a charming history and seem to get good reviews on their Old Fashioned Popcorn Maker.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Cookie Month Cookie Jar

Cookie Month! What a perfect time to pay tribute to "The Poet of the People" Michigan's Poet Laureate, Edgar A Guest. Cookie Month, Cookbook Month, I'm in heaven! It just so happens that I have the cutest little cookie jar cookbook titled of course The Cookie Jar filled with recipes for cookies, cakes & candies.

The Cookie Jar by Edgar A. Guest

Like the love of the mother it shines through our years,

It has soothed all our hurts and has dried away tears;

It has paid us for toiling; in sorrow or joy,

It has always shown kindness to each girl and boy;

And I'm sorry for people, whoever they are,

who live in a house where there's no cookie jar.

I suppose cookbook collectors are like any other collectors, we tend to branch off down different paths in our collections. When I first began collecting cookbooks, I would scavenge anywhere and everywhere just to get another book. I asked everyone I knew to give me a cookbook in lieu of anything else. I didn't care whether it was brand new or, tattered and loved. As my collection grew, I thought I would taper off a bit. So, I devoted my time to locating different cookbooks from every state. That was taking longer then I cared to wait so while I was collecting state cookbooks, I also discovered my first issue of American Cookery Magazine. I was in LOVE! Still am actually. I have hundreds of them now and I plan to share their signatures with you. Within my collection of cookbooks and now anything food related, I grew a fondness for advertising booklets. You know those rewards you get from companies promoting their products. Send in 2 box tops with your name and address and we'll send you our attractive little booklet with all our recipes. These days, you usually include money. I guess you could say I was on the advertising cookbooks kick for a while. I decided it was time to narrow down my paths. No, I don't want to... Let's see, I'll go through my collection (once again, I don't need an excuse) and see if I have duplicate cookbooks or food notes and magazines that I can part with? I did and I'm sorry...When I finally recuperated, I focused on die-cut cook booklets. (as I call them:)

They in themselves have an unique history. Let's see if I can remember. Something about the printing industry developing a technique (this is in the early 1900's I believe. Maybe late 1800's.) They made an outline of a product on wooden rollers. Say for instance a can of soup. Then, printers put thin blades on the outline. The outline was cut out into shapes. I think they did this for many items at the time, like, greeting cards, menus, and other advertising items. Die-cut booklets for the masses. Not only were they darling, useful, and filled with tempting recipes, people remembered the product! I don't collect them for decorating effects but, if my email is any sign of the newly found interest in them, many people use them to decorate their walls. indeed, many of them look like works of art. One more thing, and I really shouldn't be telling you this, if you're a cookbook collector or are just looking for something original and cozy to decorate your walls, search them out! They are difficult to find, but after you get your first, there's no turning back.

As a new blogger, I'm still stumbling my way through the amazing maze of blogging websites related to food. Each day, I try to visit at least one new blog in Google. Someday, I hope to make one of those Favorite Blog headings in my sidebar. Kathy's blog at Food Company Cookbooks will certainly be in that list. As a matter of fact, I'm going to leave my very first ever comment at her blog. Her blog is filled with advertising cookbooks, from what I did get to see, many times she includes recipes. The best part though is her knowledgeable insight and her enthusiasm for sharing. She even has a website where she sells them. I went right over to see if she had any die-cut cookbooks but all I could find was a Wesson Oil one which I already have. I will be watching though. She does have a wonderful assortment of advertising booklets though and I will be going back. Here are a few more resources:

Monday, October 8, 2007

Of Sailors & Discoveries

Yes, yes, yes, I know today is Columbus Day and perhaps, (and that's a big P in perhaps) you expect the holiday to be reflected in this post. But, I wasn't around in 1492 so I'm not really sure about Columbus and the whole discovery thing that we Americans celebrate. One thing I am kinda of sure of is, he may have made it to the Caribbean.

Well, as I was preparing for this post today, I discovered I have a wonderful Caribbean cookbook titled Maverick Sea Fare, a Caribbean Cook Book by Dee Carstarphen. It really is quite a treasure. Dee takes us on a virtual tour of the Caribbean Islands. Through her eyes and tiny ship we meander through the islands sharing meals, discussions and native secrets. Maverick Sea Fare is delightfully illustrated and darned with the kind of island trivia that only a seafaring wife and chef could plate. Or as Dee shares, "A Little Book Dedicated to the Good Years with Captain Jack."

Trying to pick out a recipe to include today is no easy task. Dee shares with the reader the early morning ritual of preparing the passengers or Mavericks as she calls them for their voyage. So, should I include her recipe for Maverick French Toast? It sounds intoxicating. Lunchtime is informal on board as is the hidden picnic "if the gods of the sea and wind are kind" it will be presented in a "rocky shady cave." Should I include Fernando's Macaroni Salad for 20? Decide. Menus vary according to availability but one staple that seems to always be available is of course, rum. Who could resist a recipe for Pina Colada Souffle'?

Separate 2 eggs. Beat yolks in saucepan. Add 1/8 tsp. salt and 1-1/4 cups pineapple juice, 1/2 cup coconut cream and 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin. Heat and stir-simmer about 5 minutes till spoon coats and the gelatin is dissolved. Take from heat and add 1/4 cup rum. Stir and chill. When mixture mounds add the 2 egg whites which have been beaten stiff with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Chill until set. Serve with whipped cream or grated nutmeg over the top. Serves 6.
Long list of recipes @ Caribbean Choice

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Yankee Doodle Noodle

What's this you say? Ever since Thursday, I've been nagging at myself; "You should have done more to help celebrate National Pasta Month." So, I did some surfing and found In Mamma's Kitchen. In Mamma's Kitchen has an interesting approach to the layers of romance that salt the history of macaroni, especially in the US. Below is an excerpt:

"Yankee" was a mispronunciation of the word "English" in the Dutch language, and "doodle" came from a German word meaning 'simpleton.' In the pre-Revolutionary era, the dandified British macaronis scoffed at the colonialists, and called them Yankee Doodles. In derision, they laughed at the unfashionable colonialists who might stick a feather in their hat and consider themselves in style. Not to be scoffed at, the colonialists picked up the song as a rallying cry for independence, and Yankee Doodle entered the history of the United States. After the success of the Battle of Bunker Hill, verses were added lauding George Washington and his valiant fighting men. The song became part of the the quest for freedom with choruses that changed as the war for independence went on.
Note: There are those who suggest that in 18th century England, macaroni was a synonym for perfection and excellence. Ala magnificent! which would almost explain why the feather in Yankee Doodle's cap was called macaroni.

So, after looking up noodle in the dictionary, I came up with the title for this post and decided to celebrate National Noodle Day. Okay, I'll briefly explain my deduction. Noodle is slang for the human head, noodle is slang for a weak or foolish person (simpleton), noodle is a ribbon-shaped pasta. (sorta like a feather) and the word German word nudel (which entered the English language in the 18th century) are all relative. I told you it would be brief:) All right, I'll take it one step further. Today, is also German-American Day! We all know that noodles are a favorite food in Germany. I suppose this is a good time to mention that a 4,000-year-old bowl of noodles was unearthed in China and is the earliest example ever found of one of the world's most popular foods...more.

I wish I had my copy of the White House Cook Book readily available. Actually, I have 2 editions. One which is in German. I would have posted a few of the recipes for translation. I'll have to dig it out. Instead, I offer you a few websites to help you celebrate National Noodle Day & German American Day.

Want to really have a celebration event? Drink ale with your meal. Canada Dry Ginger Ale is 100 years old in 2007. It says so at The Golden Age of Advertising. A very cool website.

  • 1. Germany's second largest noodle manufacturer may be coming to America.
  • 2. Abigail's German Food Recipes
  • 3. Cheese Spaetzle
  • 4. Prohibition, Gin & Ginger-Ale @ Months of Edible Celebrations
  • 5. Yankee Doodle Sweet Potato Pie

Friday, October 5, 2007

Thimble Club Cookbook

By now, you must know, I LOVE cookbooks! I especially like cookbooks that offer a bit more than recipes. The Thimble Club Cookbook is one of those books. This little gem was compiled by The Thimble Club of North Adams, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, like many fund raising organizational cookbooks, this edition is undated. The only glimpse into its past is the caligraphy ink inscription to Annie L. Snyder Fish April 21, 1911.

I simply adore the headings for each chapter in this book. I know it may sound silly, but, I just think they are so cute. For instance, under the heading chapter for vegetables, we find this little diddy.

The onion strong, the parsnip sweet
The twining bean, the ruddy beet;
Yea, all the garden brings to light,
Speak it landscape of delight.
Here's one for salads:
A Man's Reason
I love her for her pretty face,
Her eyes seductive splendor,
I love her for her winsome grace,
Her heart so true and tender.
I love her for her manners gay,
The way she sings a ballad;
I love her best, though, for the way
She makes a lobster salad.

There are a few more chapter headings dolloped with sweet sayings that I will probably use to decorate other entries someday. But for now, I leave you to ponder this:
Rhymes To Remember
Veal cutlet dip in egg and bread crumbs:
Fry till you see a brownish red come.
In dressing salad mind this law.
With two hard yolks use one that's raw.
Your mutton chops with paper cover.
And make them amber brown all over.
Broil lightly your beef steak, to fry it
Argues contempt of Christian diet.
To roast spring chicken is to spoil them;
Just split them down the back and broil them.
The cook deserves a hearty cuffing
Who serves roast fowl with tasteless stuffing.
Egg sauce-few make it right alas!
Is good with blue fish, or with bass.
Nice oyster sauce gives zest to cod-
A fish, when fresh, to feast a God.
But one might rhyme for weeks this way,
And still have lots of things to say.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Eat More Cranberries!

When I popped out of bed this morning I had all intentions of writing about National Pasta Month. Oh goody! I thought pasta is universal. Everyone LOVES pasta. Not me. Now don't get me wrong, I don't detest it. I just don't like it. I think it has something to do with my childhood. I was raised in an Italian household. We had spaghetti & meatballs every Sunday. On Fridays, we either had broccoli & macaroni, peas & macaroni, or beans & macaroni. Wednesday was also Spaghetti Day thanks to Prince. Pasta! Pasta! Pasta! During the 1980s, macaroni, which was traditionally considered a "blue-collar" down-home meal, was transformed into the more upscale "pasta." For all you pasta lovers' out there, who exclaim I Love Pasta! enjoy pasta all month, every month. Me, I'm gonna eat more cranberries.

This little booklet has a copyright date of 1936. It was published by The American Cranberry Exchange. I thought since October is also National Cranberry Month, as proclaimed by the United States Department of Agriculture, why not talk about craneberries. (that's not a typo) Cranberries, according to legend, were once called craneberries because their blossoms are shaped like a crane's neck and head. Here's another little tidbit from the booklet:
It is recorded in the history of Massachusetts that the early colonists sent ten barrels of cranberries across the seas as a gift to their sovereign, Charles the Second. Thus, nearly 300 years ago, our forefathers gave testimony of their high regard for the vivacious berry that grew in the lowlands of Cape Cod.
There are many websites that pay tribute to the bouncing berry. So for now, I'm just going to include a recipe from this booklet and a list of resources for you to explore.
  1. The Cranberry Lady
  2. Bouncing Berries
  3. Professorshouse Food
  4. Bogged Down in Cranberries
  5. Cranberry Museum
  6. Eat a Cranberry Day is Nov. 23rd!
  7. Cranberry Spice Cake from Famous Cranberry Dishes over @ Rochelle's Vintage Recipes blog.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Popeye, Spinach & Cartoonists

"I am certain that as we come more and more to depend on visual aids in our daily lives cartoon strips will promote the concepts of good food and good living in a fashion hitherto undreamed of."
James Beard, The Cartoonist Cookbook 1966

First, I need to apologize for scurrying off yesterday. I spent so much time trying to figure out how to tweak this blog that I just plum ran out of time. It isn't like I'm not familiar with posting on the internet. I've had a website on AOL since probably 1998. It's called Months of Edible Celebrations. I taught myself html basics (with much help from books and internet websites) and offered it for the world to view. Through the years, it got more and more difficult to update. You see, it was a calendar and I thought it needed to be updated all the time. Sadly, I finally had to let it go:( But now, I can Blog about it...

As I mentioned yesterday, October is Cookbook Month. Well, it is also National Spinach Lovers' Month. I was going to write about all the benefits of spinach and allude to the French proverb spinach is the broom of the stomach and thought to myself, heck why not mention Popeye, Spinach & Cartoonists. Better yet, why not just link to the page I did that puts all the salad in the same bowl. Here's a little tidbit to wet your appetite.
The list of contributors in The Cartoonist Cookbook ranges from Neal Adams creator of Ben Casey to Bill Yates creator of Professor Phumble. Lank Leonard responsible for Mickey Finn, created in 1936, is also one of the recipe contributors.

When Popeye made his debut on January 17, 1929, spinach became the third most popular children's food after turkey and ice cream. It wasn't long before states and cities began to claim they were "the Spinach Capital of the world." Popeye became the "patron saint" of Crystal City, Texas. In a years time, a statue of Popeye was erected across from city hall and the yearly spinach festival bolted. Crystal City isn't the only place to claim to be "Spinach Capital of the World." Kansas and Arkansas also have their share of spinach festivals and claims.

I did a little googling to see if I could find the words to a song I remember from my childhood. I think it may have been called The Spinach Song but I'm not real sure. This is what comes to mind, Baby Snooks (in her high pitched whining little voice,) "but Daddy I don't want to eat my spinach. I can picture the record in my head. Red & White, maybe a 78, Fanny Brice. That's all I can remember. Anyway, I did stumble across an Indian recipe on Manjula's blog called Spinach Song which is a Spicy Spinach Curry. It sounds nourishingly tantalizing. I think I'll go back to try it. See ya...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

October is Cookbook Month

Have I mentioned I LOVE! cookbooks? Not that I need much of an excuse to celebrate cookbooks, but, October is National Cookbook Month! I found this little poem in a cookbook titled Granny's Kitchen by Theone Lefel Neel (Granny:)

I am a lonely cookbook
a sittin on the shelf
Although I'm full of goodies
I'm no good there by myself
I need someone to pick me up
and look inside my cover
And if you do, I promise you
A new world you will discover.

Today is National Fried Scallops Day. The scallop is perhaps best known for its beautiful and distinctive shell. The beauty of the shell has inspired many works of ornamental art dating back thousands of years.

I prefer my scallops simply fried in a little bit of butter and lots of garlic. However, I am more than intrigued by this recipe from the Fall issue of Art Culinaire. Its title; Catfish and Scallops with Lobster Foam. Enjoy:)

1. Online Cookbooks
2. Thimble Club Cookbook
3. Catfish, Scallops & Lobster foam

Monday, October 1, 2007

Come To A Kettledrum

Community Pudding

  • First secure at small expense a little kindly feeling among your neighbors.
  • Second, season with milk of human kindness and sprinkle some enthusiasm over it.
  • Third, add a dash of tolerance and don't roast to much. Do it up brown; overlook fancied wrongs; remember only the kinds things. It costs little, and is very satisfying.
~Mrs. Rose Hoagland~

Curious as to what a Kettledrum? is?

During the 1800's and early 1900's an afternoon tea party was quite popular in England. It was often referred to as a kettledrum. The word, is actually a pun. Kettle, refers to the tea kettle or teapot. Drum was a term used for a party. A reference to a Kettledrum is noted in the book titled Manners and Social Usages by Mrs. John Sherwood. An online reference can be found at the Library of Congress website.

A true kettledrum was a party where tea was served, usually in a private home, it was always an afternoon tea. Finger sandwiches, cakes, pastries and perhaps some fruit would be served along with pots of tea. American society literally borrowed the term from the English and sometimes delighted their guests by serving the tea on a drumhead. At times, a hostess would even go as far as having a tiny drum handy to beat at intervals.
The progenitor of the cocktail party, a relatively inexpensive method of paying off a great many social debts all at once, was the afternoon tea party, which was called in the 1870's and for several decades after that a kettledrum. All one needed to provide one's guests was sandwiches as thin as tissue paper and as dainty as lace doilie and tea. (The American Heritage Cookbook p.290)
The Ladies Lunch and afternoon Kettle-Drum are social and graceful modern improvements. Marion Harland Common Sense In The Household revised ed. 1880 p. 146
At Months of Edible Celebrations, a Kettledrum is a place where we will mingle, share daily delectables, tasteful inventions, delicacies and morsels sans souci. So grab yourself a cup of tea and enjoy...