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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fooling Around with Mother Nature

I'm breaking ground today. I'm embedding my first you tube video. Why? I just couldn't help myself. I found it, I reminisced about it and I decided to share it. How could I not. Mother Nature and Goldilocks all on the same screen. Who knows if that will ever happen again. Oh Okay, you're probably saying, "and who cares:) I do. I could use a bit of Mother Nature smiling on me today. There's a storm a brewing here in New York. The sky is getting dark, the wind is churning so much I expect a tennis ball to come flying through my front window at any moment. (I have a tenniscourt right out my front window:) Did I mention its going to pour? And, what about Goldilocks? Porridge is sounding good about now. It's chilly in the house and all in the name of shedding my carbon footprint, I've lowered the thermostat two degrees. I'll admit, I don't like it one tiny bit. I'm a Baby Boomer. I remember this commercial and, I chill easily. There, I admit it. So why a post with Mother Nature and Goldilocks embedded with a You Tube "commercial." Because, today is the day Mother Nature was born. Oh you know, I know, Mother Nature wasn't actually born today but, the actress who portrayed her in the following Chiffon Margarine commercial was and, I just happen to have a Chiffon Margarine cookbook. Oh no, not any ol' cookbook; The Chiffon Margarine Tailgate Party Cookbook. First, the commercial. Gee, I hope this works.

Now the words. (just in case it doesn't:)
Mother Nature: Then Goldilocks said, "Who's been eating my porridge?"
A male voiceover, cheery and affectionate, interrupts her.
Voiceover: Mother Nature, was this on the porridge?
Mother Nature:Yes, lots of my delicious butter.
Voiceover: That's Chiffon margarine, not butter.
Mother Nature: Margarine! Oh, no! It's too sweet, too creamy!
Voiceover: Chiffon's so delicious, it fooled even you, Mother Nature.
Mother Nature: Oh, it's not nice to fool Mother Nature! (Thundering clap of what else, Thunder:)

In 1948 Betty Crocker introduced the chiffon cake, hailed as "the cake discovery of the century!" With the help of a mystery ingredient, chiffon cakes combined the lightness of angel food with the richness of butter cake. How was it done--with the addition of salad or vegetable oil. The recipe was the brainchild of Harry Baker, a California insurance salesman, who invented the cake in 1927. He became famous for his cakes in the Los Angeles area and baked them for famous Hollywood restaurants, but would give the recipe to no one.
Harry had listened to Betty Crocker's radio program over the years and decided that she should be the one to share his special cake recipe with other cooks. He traveled to Minneapolis and revealed his secret to Betty Crocker home economists. With his help they added other flavor variations, introducing a new cake idea across the country. recipe circus:Lemon Chiffon Cake

Now that you enjoyed your nibble of chiffon cake, I would really like to get back to the heavenly Dena Dietrich. It seems the matriarch of those successful Chiffon Margarine commercials had an illustrious career. I'm assuming she buttered (or in this case margarinized) her very first English Muffin where she was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (mother nature is definitely smiling on me, I hear it's snowing in PA:) Of course it wasn't on the day she was born which was December 4, 1928. Oh, that's today's date she writes, as if she didn't know:) In fact, she was quite the celebrity in her day. If you don't want to scroll down, this is what Celebrity Almanac writes.

Most of us will probably remember Dena by this familiar line ";It's not nice to fool Mother Nature". She was born on December 4, 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her first career break was playing Juno in Cole Porter's play"; "Out of This World" in New York City in 1962. Dena agrees that playing"; "Mother Nature" for 10 years and appearing in 5 different TV series at the same time in the 70's was her most memorable career event. "Children of Paradise" is her favorite movie and Jean-Louis Barrault is her favorite actor. Her favorite music is listening to any Jacques Brel song and Star Trek is her favorite TV series. Dena loves sushi and her favorite sporting activity is watching ice-skating championships. In her leisure time she enjoys going to the movies and her hobby is the stock market. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is her most respected historical figure. She borrows a phrase from Ruth Gordon as her legacy quote: "Never, Never, Never face the facts."source

How's this gem of a tidbit? Dena Dietrich made a couple of guest appearances playing Dorothy's sister Gloria on The Golden Girls. (I still watch that show once in a while, usually when I'm not feeling well:) Now that you're all buttered up for some Chiffon Margarine recipes, the journey has ended. It still isn't raining outside, the wind is still howling, yes, Virginia, there's a storm a brewing.

Chiffon Margarine Recipes

The first recipe I would like to share with you is for Shredded Wheat Bread. Oh, don't make faces. I wanted to include this recipe because December also happens to be the birth month of Henry Drushel Perky. Perky invented Shredded Wheat! Yes, Shredded Wheat is an invention and although Perky's birthdate is December 7, 1843, I posted about him and his invention in August, on the anniversary of his patent. The name of the post is Perky Shredded Wheat. It's a bit long (and you thought I wrote a lot here:) It has colorful vintage Shredded Wheat booklets and recipes. (pretty good info too:)

BTW, the Culinary Cafe also offers a version of Shredded Wheat Bread that uses butter rather than Chiffon Margarine. There's also a bread machine version included. This is what they have to say about Shredded Wheat Bread.

Shredded Wheat cereal gives this rich, brown, molasses-scented bread just a hint of whole wheat flavor and texture. We think it originated in the '50s, because many of us Baby Boomers remember our moms making it, but our moms don't recall having it when they were young. At any rate, it's a staple of every New England community cookbook.

Shredded Wheat Bread
3 large shredded wheat biscuits, crumbled
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup molasses
1-1/2 tsp. salt
5 cups all purpose flour
1 pkg. dry yeast
1/4 cup Chiffon Margarine
Pour boiling water over shredded wheat. Add molasses and salt. Let cool to lukewarm (120-130 degrees). In a large mixer bowl mix 1-1/2 cups flour and undissolved yeast. Add Chiffon and shredded wheat mixture. Beat until mixed, then beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Add 1 cup flour and beat 1 minute longer on high speed. Stir in remaining flour to make stiff dough. Knead for a few minutes. Place in a bowl brushed with Chiffon. Turn dough to grease top. Cover. Let rise in warm place until double in bulk about 1 hour. Punch dough down. divide in half. Shape into two loaves. Place each in greased 8-1/2x4-1/2 inch loaf pan. Cover. Let rise in warm place until double. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Makes 2 loaves.

The next scanned recipe for Apple 'N Spice Cake is a recipe post tribute to Moses Coates. I picked out this recipe so you get the full appreciation of Moses Coates and his invention of the apple parer on his birth anniversary which is also today. BTW, he was born December 4, 1756 and he received his patent in 1803. Wow! apple peelers sure have been around a while. They say the basic design is pretty much the same now as is was then. Amazing!

Just because, I'm also including the following scanned recipe for Corn Muffins Plus. I'm sure butter or your favorite margarine can be substitued for the Chiffon.

Nature, the gentlest mother,
Impatient of no child,
The feeblest or the waywardest,
Her admonition mild...
Emily Dickinson
Nature-the Gentlest Mother is,
Resources
  • 1. TV.com
  • 2. When Harry Met Betty (an interesting magazine article)
  • 3. All-American Desserts By Judith M. Fertig @ google books
  • 4. Chiffon cakes made their mark By Newsday's Sylvia Carter
  • 5. Fresh Lime Chiffon Cake
  • 6. Margarita Chiffon Cake @ epicurious
  • 7. Database of slogans. Margarine & Spreads.