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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cookie Cutters & Aunt Chick

I'm delighted to be sharing National Cookie Cutter Week with everyone. (1st week of December) It gives me a chance to explore the history of cookie cutters and also discover a few secrets about Aunt Chick. You see, I have this small unassuming red booklet titled Aunt Chick's Pies.

While I was googling around for National Cookie Cutter Week, I came across a website that sold cookie cutters just like Aunt Chick's. Hmm...I thought to myself. That name sounds familiar. I think I have a cookbook by her. So, I dug it out and there she was right on the first page. Better yet, I was pleased to find out that Aunt Chick was actually a real person. Sometimes, you just never know about these things. Here's a little of what Aunt Chick had to say about herself:

Dear Reader:
My pen name was Aunt Chick. When my four children, amused at the idea of Mom going into business asked what I was going to call it, I answered only half seriously. "If there are any profits in this you four will get them. Think I will call it "The Chicadees," and The Chickadees it has been ever since. Perhaps a silly name, but one with a very personal meaning for me...I graduated from Stout Institute a good many years ago...I taught home economics for three years. Married and have had my own home long enough to be a grandmother. Wrote a food column here in Tulsa until business of The Chickadees made it possible for me to continue. I love to cook but I hate to wash dishes, hence the keynote of the cookbook. I hate waste but can be ghastly extravagant. Perhaps I save so I can spend. But bad food is waste in time and material and in these war days, as one famous store says-Its smart to be thrifty.

Unfortunately, there are no recipes for cut out cookies in the book but it does have some wonderful pie recipes and helpful hints. For instance, did you know you can avoid weepy meringue by leaving the oven door slightly ajar. So, what does Aunt Chick have to do with cookie cutters? I went to Tulsa to find out. At Tulsa World online, I found out more about the fascinating Aunt Chick. It seems, she was quite the "Martha Stewart" of her time. Her real name was Nettie Williams McBirney and she was a nationally known culinary problem solver. A native of North Dakota, she was educated in home economics and graduated in 1913 from Stout Institute in Wisconsin. When she married her husband, she moved to Oklahoma and in 1935 began writing a cooking column for Tulsa World called The "World's Kitchen Log". I should note, her husband, didn't know about her column. He suspected something one morning when he opened the morning paper and saw the column was signed "Aunt Chick". He wasn't happy. It seems, he was a rich banker and was worried about how his wife writing a column would reflect on his business. The cooking column lasted for 20 years well into the early 1950's. Even when she retired at the age of 90, she gave cooking lectures to staff and patients in the nursing home where she moved. She also gave more than a thousand cookbooks from her collection to the Tulsa Public Library.

Tulsa World’s Aunt Chick is remembered best for her cookie cutters. Aunt Chick's cookie cutters were launched in 1948. The cookie cutters were made in Tulsa by the family firm called the Four B's. The edges were turned in a way that kept the dough from sticking. The cutters were sold by the millions all over the world making making Aunt Chick famous and gaining her international recognition. Fans included Princess Margaret, who purchased a set of the Christmas cutters for Prince Charles' fourth Christmas in 1952. Once, Wrigley's Gum purchased cutters as a premium and then sold 70,000 of them in six weeks. People often call the paper to ask how they can replace the cookie cutters that Aunt Chick made. Thank goodness, a warehouse full of old cookie cutters was discovered by Carrie Greno who not only bought them all, she also bought the molds and the copyright. Aunt Chick also invented a pastry canvas which was used by pastry cooks everywhere, a rolling pin cover that prevented noodles, cookies and pie crusts from sticking. She later developed a heavy steel pie pan and the "Crispy Crust" pie pan that promised perfect bottom crusts on pies. There's so much more about Aunt Chick if you do some searching at Tulsa World.

What good are all those wonderful cookie cutters if you don't have some new recipes to create? First, let me share this recipe poem for Ginger Snaps that I found in another unassuming booklet titled The Dunkard-Dutch Cook Book copyright 1965, fifth printing 1970.

Of all the cakes one loves to eat, perhaps, none charms the palate like good ginger snaps.
Ginger Snaps
And if to make the the best you'd wish to know,
Why, study well the lines you find below:
Melt of butter half a pound; also of lard;
Then add sugar brown a half a pound.
Stir in a quart of 'lasses, not to hard,
Four tablespoons of ginger nicely ground.
Into this mixture sift two quarts of flour,
Then, to insure the cake shall not be sour,
Dissolve in milk four teaspoonfuls of soda;
(Saleratus is advised, but I like not the odor).
Mix either with milk; it surely makes no matter,
So that you pour the milk into the batter
Add more flour and roll out thin the dough;
Then cut in cakes, but this you surely know.
Bake them well in an oven cooks call "slow,"
And when they are baked they will not last long, I know.

Foreword from the book:

This booklet presents more than four hundred turn of the century dishes gathered from Dunkard and other Pennsylvania Dutch. Included are nearly a hundred and fifty which were selected from recipes collected from sisters of the Church of the Brethren earlier know as Dunkards. Some of the Dunkard dishes appeared earlier in the 1901 issue of the Inglenook Magazine Cook Book. This Brethren publication enjoyed a wide circulation among members of that denomination, and some elderly members of that group still use recipes from that source....the illustrations used throughout this publication are sketches of old hand-made cookie cutters and maple sugar molds from the collection of the publisher.

The German Baptist Brethren, known as Dunkards or Dunkers, landed in 1719. They, too, flocked to the fertile valleys in Lancaster County. Many spread westward and southward until today hardly a farming section of our country is without these master farmers.

Dunkards were a Swiss/German pietistic sect much like the Mennonites, Moravians, etc. They were called Dunkards, or Dunkers, or Tunkers--because they believed in baptism by dunking (immersion)

The Cookies

I found this unusual recipe for Tyrolean Seed Cookies in the December issue of Woman's Day dated 1949. The title of the article is The Cookie Jar by Glenna McGinnis pgs.45-52.

Tyrolean Seed Cookies
1/2 c. butter
6 tbs. sugar
1-3/4 c. sifted flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. anise seed
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. caraway seed
Cream butter; and sugar and sifted dry ingredients; blend together with fingers or pastry cutter. Add liquid to make a stiff dough. Divide dough in thirds; roll 1 portion to 1/8 inch thickness; sprinkle with anise seed, roll lightly; cut into small shapes; place on greased cookie sheet; bake in hot oven 400 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes. Roll second portion sprinkle with poppy seed. Roll third portion; sprinkle with caraway seed and proceed as above.

Tyrolean cooking is distinct from both Austrian and German in its far more emphatic reflection of the "high Alpine" lifestyle. Tyrolean cooking is fairly hearty, with bacon and cured pork in many dishes. Traditional dishes include Gröstl (pan-fried onion, meat and potato), Schlipfkrapfen (ravioli-like parcels filled with meat and/or potato) and Tiroler Knödeln (dumplings with small pieces of ham). source

Dumplings have been a mainstay of Tyrolean cuisine for approximately three thousand years. Some varieties are typical and known the world over, others are regional specialties, but they are all as variable and versatile as noodles or pizza. They are a symbol of Tyrolean cuisine. "The dumpling is a foundation of tradition, a component of the Tyrolean identity, and a little bit of home." (source)

Resources
1. Dunkard-Dutch Cookbook Online Recipes
2. Cut Out Cookie Recipes
3. Farmgirl's Molasses Ginger Spice Snaps
4. Swedish Ginger Snaps Pepparkakor (cut outs)
5. National Cookie Cutter Week

Sunday, November 25, 2007

St. Catherine Feast Day

Feast Day of St. Catherine

Rise, maidens, rise

Bake your Kattern pies,

Bake enough and bake no waste

And let the bellman have a taste.

November 25th is the feast day of St. Catherine

On the feast day of St Catherine of Alexandria, Cattern cakes were the traditional cakes baked. Saint Catherine of Alexandria is not to be confused with Catherine of Aragon (below) although, they do share the same name day. Saint Catherine of Alexandria is the patron saint of unmarried women. In English lace making villages, Catterns Day was celebrated with games and special foods, especially Cattern (or Kattern) Cakes. Jack be nimble, Jack be quick is a nursery rhyme associated with a game played on the holiday involving, oddly enough, jumping over a candlestick! Cattern Cakes are seasoned with caraway. source

Catherine lived in Alexandria, Egypt...The tradition of making special efforts to celebrate her day started in Québec with the nun, Marguerite Bourgeoys. The tradition of making taffy on this day also started with Marguerite Bourgeoys...St Catherine was a popular French saint, one of the saints that Joan of Arc frequently struck up conversations with. It's also considered a special day for single women. Taffy pulls were held in some places as an excuse for a party for single women to meet eligible bachelors, in time for a date at the Christmas parties that would soon be starting. source

St. Catherine's Day: On this day in the 17th century in Quebec, students began to make toffee in honour of St. Catherine, It's a tradition to make pulled taffy on November 25th for St.Catherine's Day. source

Catherine of Aragon

The once flourishing industry of Saffron Walden in Essex, got it's name from Catherine of Aragon. She was born on December 16, 1485. History teaches us about the trials and tribulations of her marriage to Henry VIII. What I was unable to find was any petals of her move to Bedfordshire, England. There, she taught the villagers how to grow saffon crocuses. Growers were called "crokers." Through her efforts, Bedfordshire became famous for it's saffron. In some villages, Catherine was honered on her birthday with a special dessert called Kattern Cakes. Bellmen went crying through the streets begging for a taste of the delicious cakes.

The dried stamens of the saffron or cultivated crocus, a bulb, originating in the East and introduced into Spain by the Arabs, cultivated in France, particularly in the Gatinais, since the sixteenth century. Saffron contains a volatile and a colouring substance. It is the indispensable condiment for bouillabaisse. Larousse Gastronomique by Prosper Montagne

I wanted to share a bit more from Larousse Gastronomique on the birthday of Prosper Montagne, November, 14th but, for the life of me I couldn't find my book. We just moved blah blah blah....anyway, I found it today and I am delighted! The world's most expensive spice is presently grown and harvested in countries such as Spain. Saffron has found deep roots in American history.

Saffron made its way to the Americas when thousands of Alsatian, German, and Swiss Anabaptists, Dunkards, and others fled religious persecution in Europe. They settled mainly in eastern Pennsylvania, in the Susquehanna River valley. These settlers, who became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, were by 1730 widely cultivating saffron after corms were first brought to America in a trunk owned by German adherents of a Protestant sect known as the Schwenkfelder Church. Schwenkfelders, as members were known, were great lovers of saffron, and had grown it back in Germany. Soon, Pennsylvania Dutch saffron was being successfully marketed to Spanish colonists in the Caribbean, while healthy demand elsewhere ensured that its listed price on the Philadelphia commodities exchange was set equal to that of gold. wikipedia

Saffron has always been a traditional ingredient in Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. It is the only exotic spice used by some PA Dutch cooks.

The vermillion color of saffron forms a prominent part of India culture as at least traditionally has been used to make special tilak marks on the forehead which have a rich symbolism of their own. And of course the delectable dishes of India often incorporate this wonderful and costly spice into their making. A few precious threads of Saffron can transform a nicely spiced dish into one of fine sublimity. One particular encounters it in special sweet dishes to which it imparts both color and fragrance.

I must admit, while researching for this page, I have found at least two more avenues of interest I wish to explore. 1) I would like to dig deeper into the influences of Catherine of Aragon on the Befordshire villagers. If you would like to read more about the fascinating life of Catherine, I found a few resources listed below. 2) It appears that saffron is fairly easy to grow although tedious to harvest. It has a place in the kitchen pantry for more enhancements then I ever realized and I think it would be interesting to take a stab at growing it for personal use. What do you think?

Note: I discovered the information about Catherine of Aragon in a cookbook titled The Royal Cookbook Favorite Court Recipes from the World's Royal Families Copyright 1971, Published by Parents Magazine Press. I'm sad to say, I know longer have access to the book but I am on a mission to find it for my collection. It's a feast of tidbits and recipes on the Monarchies of Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Iran, Morocco, Jordan, Japan, Thailand, Nepal, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Laos, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bhutan, Greece, and more.
Resources

    St Catherine of Alexandria
  • 1 Cattern Cakes
  • 2 Bedfordshire Kattern Cakes
  • 3How to Host Your Own Old-Fashioned Taffy Pull Party
  • 4 Yorkshire Toffee Recipes
  • 5 Toffee Recipes
    Catherine of Aragon
  • 6 Catherine of Aragon
  • 7 Biography of Reine Catherine D'Aragon
  • 8 Catherine Cakes
  • 9 Growing Saffron
  • 10 Saffron Yoghurt Recipe
  • 11 Name Day Celebrations

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pumpkin Pie Day Recipes

Some say National Pumpkin Pie Day, is today. Others declare December 25th as National Pumpkin Pie Day. Does it matter? Not when it comes to Pumpkin Pie. In light of the daily confusion, I thought I would share this recipe poem for Pumpkin Pie found in a vintage Baptist Cookbook. Enjoy! 

From the introduction: "Fifty cents from the sale of each cook book goes to a fund so we, as North Dakota Baptist Women, may share in the building of a cottage on our Camp Bentley grounds. Our Camp Bentley was possible through the gift of the land at Lake Bentley by Mrs. Anna Bentley of Drake, a member of the Drake Baptist Chruch. The camp grounds were first used the summer of 1947, with one session of the summer camp being held with 150 present and the camp only partially completed."

Pumpkin Pie
Grandmother Lord was a woman wise
And this is the way she made pumpkin 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 at quite.
Mix these well, stirring does no harm
Then ginger, cinnamon, butterwarm,
At 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.

The following Pumpkin Pie recipes come from Tried and True Recipes published in 1894

Dried Pumkin Mrs. J. Edd Thomas
Stew pumpkin as for pie; spread upon plates, and dry in the oven carefully. When you wish to make pie, soak over night; then proceed as you would with fresh pumpkin. Pumpkin prepared in this way will keep well until spring, and pies are as good as when made with fresh pumpkin.
Pumpkin Pie Mrs. C. C. Stoltz
Two tablespoonfuls of cooked pumpkin, one egg, one-half cup of sugar, one-half pint of milk, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, and a pinch of salt. This is enough for one pie.
Pumpkin Pie Mrs. T. H. Linsley
One coffeecup of mashed pumpkin, reduced to the proper consistency with rich milk and melted butter or cream, one tablespoonful of flour a small pinch of salt, one teaspoon of ginger, one teaspoon of cinnamon, one half nutmeg, one half teaspoon of vanilla, one half teaspoon of lemon extract, two-thirds cup of sugar.
Blue Stocking Pumpkin Pie Mrs. U. F. Seffner
Steam Hubbard Squash, or good sweet pumpkin, until soft, and put through a colander. Put one-half cup of butter into an iron frying pan over the fire. When it begins to brown, add one quart of strained pumpkin; let it cook a few moments, stirring all the time; put into a large bowl or crock; add two quarts of good rich milk, eight eggs, beaten separately, two large cups of sugar, one teaspoonful of salt, one of pepper, one of ginger, one of cinnamon, one of cloves, one grated nutmeg, and one tablespoonful of vanilla. Bake in moderate oven, with under crust only. Brush the crust with white of egg before filling. This will make five pies.

This last pumpkin pie recipe is from the advertising recipe book titled The Story of Crisco by Marion Harris Neil

Hot Pumpkin Pie: Line pie tin with Crisco Pastry. Mix 2 cups steamed and strained pumpkin, with 2 teaspoons Crisco, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, cloves, mace, allspice, and ginger, grated rind of 1 lemon, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup cream, 2 well beaten eggs, and pour into prepared pie plate. Bake till firm in moderate oven. Serve hot. As a change, place on the pumpkin pie as it comes out of the oven a layer of halved marshmallows, replace in the oven and let them brown

Resources
Pumpkin Pie 'Escoffier'
Recipes in Rhyme
Nursery Rhyme Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie Day
Pumpkin Flour
Pumpkins: The Standing Dish (previous post)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Eliza Leslie: of cookbooks & collectors

When I first started compiling information for Months of Edible Celebrations, one of my goals was to include as much information about early cookbook authors as I could find. Resources were limited on the great world wide web at that time so I turned to the few books I had on collecting cookbooks in my library. One of those books was A Guide to Collecting Cookbooks by Colonel Bob Allen published in 1990. It is one of my most treasured as it is #22 and inscribed to me by the Colonel himself. Another resourceful book by Mary Anna DuSablon titled America's Collectible Cookbooks is an expanded literary view into the history, the politics and the recipes and their evolution spanning 200 years. In this book, the authors receive their recognition not only as "recipe peddlers" but also as shapers of American culture. The book describes how government and industry joined forces to gather women back into the kitchen especially after the world wars. If you enjoy "reading" cookbooks, pick up a copy of this book or buy one for a friend. It makes a cool evening read especially next to the cookstove. I make mention of these two books as the inspiration to celebrate the birthdate of Eliza Leslie often noted for her first book Seventy-five Receipts For Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats anonymously introduced in 1828.

Eliza Leslie was born almost 220 years ago (2007) in Philadelphia on November 15, 1787. She was the eldest of five children and even at an early age she loved to write. When she was young, she was privately tutored. Her father was then a prosperous watchmaker and a self-taught mathematician. He was a friend of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Her family was in London for six years while her father set up an export business. There, she was groomed in needlework classes. On their return from abroad, the family finances had been changed because of the mismanagement that had gone on while they were abroad. When her father died in 1803, it was necessary for her mother to take in boarders while Eliza went to cooking school at Mrs. Goodfellow in Philadelphia. She also taught drawing, wrote poems and sold copies of previously published masterpieces. In the mid 1820's she and her mother moved to West Point with her brother, Thomas Jefferson Leslie. It should be noted that while Miss Leslie was attending Mrs. Goodfellow's school in Philadelphia, she was recording the recipes she was learning to share with her friends. On the suggestion of her brother, she eventually published those recipes in her first book Seventy-five Receipts For Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats

The following Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats, are original, and have been used by the author and many of her friends with uniform success. They are drawn up in a style so plain and minute, as to be perfectly intelligible to servants, and persons of the most moderate capacity. All the ingredients, with their proper quantities, are enumerated in a list at the head of each receipt, a plan which will greatly facilitate the business of procuring and preparing the requisite articles.
Preface from 1832 ed. @ gutenberg.org
Note from Cookbooks Worth Collecting by Mary Barille
"Cookbooks underwent an important change when the popular novelist Eliza leslie turned her hand to writing about food. In 1828 her slim volume, Seventy-five Receipts For Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats by a Lady of Philadelphia, appeared for sale in printer's shops. Leslie's work was an easy to foloow, clear in its directions and distinctly American, an important attribute in the ambitious and proud young republic (only 11 yrs)...Whether Leslie was the first cookbook writer to organize her recipes in this manner is uncertain; but she was one of the earliest American writers to do so, and to recognize the importance of making a cookbook easy to use for all levels of cooks. Her method of recipe writing was not to become an accepted standard for nearly a century.

There are other noted "firsts" in the career of Eliza Leslie.

The first cookbook to include contributions from African Americans was Eliza Leslie's New Receipts for Cooking (Philadelphia 1854). In her preface, Leslie notes that "a large number [of the recipes] have been obtained from the South, and from ladies noted for their skill in housewifery. Many were dictated by colored cooks, of high reputation in the art, for which nature seems to have gifted that race with a peculiar capability...." source

In 1843 she edited Miss Leslie's Magazine containing literary writings, articles on domestic economy, and many illustrations. The magazine was very progressive in its content and the nature of its illustrations, but it still only lasted one year. It would include contributions by Lydia Huntley Sigourney, Park Benjamin, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The name was changed to the Ladies' Magazine (1844) and Arthur's Ladies' Magazine (1845) before the magazine merged with Godey's Lady's Book (1846). source As editor of Godey's Lady's Book, Eliza Leslie, also published Poe pieces. She edited an annual publication called The Gift for Lea and Carey and encouraged Poe by buying several stories including "The Pit and the Pendulum" and the "Purloined Letter" from him. source

Eliza Leslie lived out the last decade of her life at the United States Hotel in Philadelphia where she was treated as a celebrity. Although she was sometimes regarded as sarcastic and opinionated, she was warmly affectionate to relatives and friends and so generous to the needy that at the end of her life she had to lean on assistance from others. She was 70 years old when she died and is buried in St. Peter's Churchyard in Philadelphia. source

Resources:
1. A bowl of fresh cranberries from Miss Leslie’s Direction for Cookery
2. Thanksgiving Dinner, Civil War Style


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sadie! Sadie! Sadie Hawkins!

"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)

Traditionally, Sadie Hawkins Day is an occasion when women take the initiative in inviting the men of their choice on a date, typically to a dance attended by other bachelors. Sometimes, Sadie Hawkins' Day is also celebrated in a Leap Day. It all began with the "Li'l Abner" comic strip, created by Al Capp on November 15, 1937. Sadie Hawkins is one of Al Capp's most memorable characters. Until the mid-50s, November was known as Sadie Hawkins Month and became an unofficial collegiate holiday. Life Magazine reported over 200 colleges holding Sadie Hawkins Day events in 1939. When Al Capp created the Sadie Hawkins event, it was not his intention to have the event occur annually on a specific date because it inhibited his freewheeling plotting. However, due to its enormous popularity and the numerous fan letters Capp received, the event became an annual event in the strip during the month of November, lasting four decades.

Whenever I get ready for Sadie Hawkins Day, I can't help listening to that little voice in my head. "Sadie, Sadie, married lady." According to some of the baby naming websites, the name Sadie is derived from the Hebrew name Sarah, meaning lady or princess. Some websites say the name originates from the bible and means princess who laughs. Now besides thinking about Barbra singing "Sadie Sadie married lady," I'm remembering Shirley Temple in the Little Princess. "Sarah, Sarah where's my little girl?" Okay, on to the real purpose of this page.

I wanted to share a menu from Al Capp which I found in the Cartoonist Cookbook. Published by the Newspaper Council in 1966, The Cartoonist Cookbook offers a collection of menus and recipes from cartoonist such as Neal Adams (Ben Casey), Dik Browne (Hi & Lois), Tony Di Preta (Joe Palooka), Chester Gould (Dick Tracy), Fred Johnson (Moon Mullins), Lank Leonard (Mickey Finn) and many more. Most of the cartoonist in this cookbook, I am not familiar with but, I do have some recollection of Al Capp's Li'l Abner. I thought it might be fun to include his menu and recipes with a few additions. I would also like to note the introduction by James Beard,

...One of the reasons I'm happy to write a word about this book is that I have always felt that a cartoon strip cookery column would be quite successful. As a matter of fact, Alfred Andriola has taken such an idea and incorporated it in the present volume...

As I was digging out this book once again, I came across another bunch of characters found in Mammy Yokum's Fav'rite Cream of Wheat Recipes. This little advertising booklet was published in 1946. It also appears to be illustrated by Al Capp and offers Cream of Wheat Recipes including one for Sadie Hawkins Fried Cream of Wheat.  It also has a recipe for Available Jones' Barbecued Hamburgers. Other recipes in this booklet include Earthquake McGoon's Orange Tea Muffins, Grandma Scraggs' Cream of Wheat Dumplings and a few more. Below, I have included Li'l Abners Cream of Wheat Apple Pudding.

Li'l Abners Cream of Wheat Apple Pudding
1-1/2 cups cooked Cream of Wheat
1/2 tea. vanilla
1-1/2 cups scalded milk
1 cup sliced apples
3 eggs, beaten
2 tbs. sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tea nutmeg
1 tbs. butter
Combine cooked Cream of Wheat, scalded milk, beaten eggs and 1/4 cup sugar. Add vanilla. Place sliced apples in a well greased baking dish (1-1/2 quarts). Pour Cream of Wheat mixture over apples. Combine nutmeg and 2 tbs. sugar and sprinkle over the top. Dot with butter. Bake in moderate slow oven (350) for 40 to 50 minutes. Serve hot or cold with cream if desired. Serves 6.

Resources
1. The differences between Leap Year Day & Sadie Hawkins Day
2. Sadie Hawkins Day, an American folk event
3. What's the origin of the Sadie Hawkins dance?
4. More from the Cartoonist Cookbook

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Charlie the Star-Kist Tuna


Wow! I can't believe it's already November 10th. I've been in the blogsphere now for more than a month. Very cool. I wanted to take a moment to tell you about my calendar. It too is titled Months of Edible Celebrations. It actually is much older than this blog. It all began in 1999 on Aol. I've been trying to transfer from Aol to another domain but alas, Aol has many issues and I'm just not ready to deal with them or them. If you would like to visit the calendar, I have put a link on the top of this blog. Have fun! Now, let's talk tuna.

Oh no, not just any tuna, Star-Kist Tuna. Actually, let's talk Charlie the Tuna. You see, on November 10, 1953, the French Sardine Company of California registered the "Star-Kist" trademark. But, it wasn't until 1961, that Charlie the Tuna got reeled in.

Charlie The Tuna's Guide To Perfect Salads & Sandwiches

Here's a small advertising cookbook put out for Star-Kist in 1985. Gee, I wonder if Star-Kist is still at 1 Tuna Square? (just a random though:) Anyway, the booklet is about 17 pages and it is as the title says, a melody of Charlie's Salads with Style & Charlie's Sensational Sandwiches. You might be thinking, "oh no more outdated recipes" but, they really aren't. For instance, the recipe for Tuna Taco Salad calls for a can of Star-Kist tuna, a large tossed green salad including lettuce, tomatoes, and any other relished ingredients. 1 avocado peeled and cubed, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, some black olives, crumbled tortilla chips and bottled french dressing. It doesn't get much easier than that. Maybe, you will like this one. Not exactly the kind of tuna antipasto of my Italian heritage but, quick, easy and gotta get those omega's flowing.

In closing, I would just like to say that we had a bit of a fish tale going around the house for the last couple of days. It seems that a friend of a friend caught a huge yellow fin tuna off Long Island. The person who caught the fish was a first timer. (so the story goes) He was so thankful to be able to join all the experienced fishermen and decided to "donate" the fish to the one of the members on board who immediately contacted someone, who knew someone, who knew someone, of Japanese heritage, who would be delighted to purchase the yellow fin tuna for $6,000. Fishtale? Not.



Resources
1. Rochelle's Weird Recipe Finds Fresh Fruit Salad with a bonus!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Peanut Butter by the Monthful

November is Peanut Butter Lovers' Month, an entire month dedicated to all things peanut butter! Look what I found in a vintage Peter Pan Peanut Butter recipe booklet!

Peter Pan is a brand of peanut butter produced by ConAgra Foods and named after the J.M. Barrie character. The product was introduced by Swift & Company in 1920 under the name "E. K. Pond". The product was renamed in 1928. Originally packaged in a tin can with a turn key and re-closable lid, packaging was changed to glass jars during World War II because of metal shortages, and later to plastic jars. (wiki)
The history of peanut butter is well documented all over the internet, although,  it's quite possible you have never run into a person who is afraid of peanut butter sticking to the roof of their mouth. If you should, don't you dare laugh,  arachibutyrophobia  can be quite distressing. 

I was reading this article in The American Food Journal, dated March 1923. The article, on page 149, is sort of a summary of the month's happenings. Anyway, there is no author and it is pretty long, but I would like to note some items of interest.

  1. 6-8 million bushels of peanuts were used in the production of peanut butter in 1919. (at least 5x the quantity used in 1907)
  2. Only the best grade of peanuts should be used in the manufacturing of the butter...most manufacturers buy their peanuts from cleaning and selling factories. Virginia Bunch, Virginia Runner and Spanish are the varieties most commonly used for these purposes.
  3. The equipment of the factories consists of roasters, blanchers, picking tables, grinders, bottle-filling, capping and labeling machines and the necessary boilers to run the machinery, and suitable facilities for storing, packing and shipping the raw material and finished product.
  4. Many persons have the idea that peanut butter consists of peanuts mixed with oil. As shelled peanuts contain from 13 to 50 percent of oil depending on the variety, it would be unnecessary to add oil.
  5. A cheap and wholesome peanut butter may be made at home by means of an ordinary meat grinder...if bought unshelled, the peanuts should be roasted in the shell and cooled. after cooling and shelling, they may be bleached by rubbing over a wire bottom screen to remove the red skins and loosen the germ. The meats may then be cleaned by pouring from one vessel to another in the open air, where the wind will blow out the skins.

I'm a huge fan of peanut butter fudge. The following recipe is from The Citizen Cook Book (1966) It is the recipe of Mrs. Clarence Heitzman. The Citizen Cook Book is a compiled recipe book from readers in the Shamokin, PA area. Each recipe has a picture of the person who "donated" the recipe and the address of where they live. It is also filled with local advertisers.

Peanut Butter Fudge
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup marshmallow (I'm thinking this is creme)
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 tbsp. butter
Method:
Mix peanut butter and marshmallow together in a large bowl and set aside. Boil remaining ingredients together until mixture forms a soft ball. Pour over peanut butter-marshmallow mixture. Mix well until creamy and pour into a buttered pan.
note: To Test for Soft Ball Stage: A small amount of syrup dropped into chilled water forms a ball, but is soft enough to flatten when picked up with fingers (234° to 240°) I thin an appropriate pan size would be an 8x8 inch pan.

The following recipe for peanut butter soup, is from A Friendship Cook Book published by Mary Hammond Shaw, South Paris, Maine 2nd ed. April 1939.

Peanut Butter Soup
One quart milk, one heaping teaspoon butter, two large tablespoons peanut butter, salt. Put butter and milk in double boiler, just before it boils add peanut butter, when melted beat mik with egg beater, strain, whip one-half cup cream and add just before serving. Keep hot for serving.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sandwich Day Scandinavian Style

Life is a sandwich: many joys, with some sorrow between

Let the sorrows fly way up to the sky, down to the ground and all around the world. Instead, indulge yourself the way the Scandinavians do, with an open faced sandwich. Open faced sandwiches are very popular in Scandinavia but Denmark claims to have elevated them into a fine art.  

Although there are many traditional variations associated with the Danish open sandwich, the sandwich usually consists of one piece of buttered rugbrød — the Danish hard, whole-grain rye bread, topped with any of a variety of meats, including various cold cuts, bacon, herring, fish fillets, eggs and certain kinds of paté (Danish, leverpostej), a vegetable layer is neatly pack on top (for example, thinly sliced cucumber, tomato wedges or pickled beets) and topped with a dressing  or condiment, such as mayonnaise, or toasted onion bits. A woman who is trained in making traditional combinations is called a smørrebrødsjomfru (literally, "smørrebrød maid").

Smørrebrød actually means "butter and bread" Smørrebrød dates back to the 19th century when, for many agricultural workers, lunch was the main meal of the day. It began when bread was used to wipe the plates clean of any remaining food, eventually, the food was placed on the bread in stead as topping. Open-faced sandwiches are also a staple of the Norwegian diet, stemming from when Denmark ruled Norway in the 19th Century. In the United States, an open faced sandwich generally refers to a slice of bread topped with warm slices of roasted meat and gravy, or bread topped with Welsh rarebit. Although, technically a half bagel with cream cheese and lox is an open sandwich. Usually served as snacks for cocktail parties, canapes may also be considered open-faced sandwiches.

A Little history: Before the Renaissance and the invention of the fork, any object that moved between plate and mouth, lifting cooked food and its sauce without spills was a necessary utensil. From the Dark Ages to the Renaissance, bread was an integral part of a table setting. Thick slices of bread, called trenchers, were set on wooden plates (also called trenchers) to soak up the sauces accompanying pieces of meat. (source)

While there's an endless variety of good breads used to make open-faced sandwiches, the Danes usually make them with dark Rye Bread. Chefs prefer wholegrain breads for their firmness so that they can cut the slices as thin as possible. When they use white bread, they usually toast it.

Resources: 
1. Smørrebrød
2. wikipedia
3. Norwegian Smorbrod
4. Recipes
5. Sandwiches from Copenhagen
6. Danish Sushi?
7. New Wave Designs
8. A List
9. Norwegian Suggestions
10. "The King"
11.Canapé Party Menu