Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lizzie Black Kander

When American welfare worker Lizzie Black Kander raised enough money from local Milwaukee businesses and produced the first edition of The Settlement Cookbook on April 30, 1901, little did she know she would go down in history as publishing the most successful American Jewish charity cookbook ever! Her highly profitable fund-raising tool for the institution she served, The Way to a Man's Heart: "The Settlement" Cook Book, was born out of the needs of her students. It was as president of "the Settlement," Milwaukee's first settlement house, that Mrs. Simon Kander (she used her husband's name) made her most lasting contribution to regional, charitable, community, and fund raising cookbooks. Among the Settlement's programs was a series of cooking classes for immigrants. It offered training in vocational and domestic skills, classes in English, American history and music. In 1901, Lizzie Black Kander asked the Settlement's board for $18 to print a small booklet of recipes for her students. When the board refused, although, they were glad to "share in any profits from the venture, she raised the money herself. The Settlement Cookbook combined her recipes, instructions on cleanliness and food storage and general housekeeping tips. For countless brides, the book became standard equipment as they embarked on married life. The book had charts on grades of beef, instructions on how to care for silver and clear a table and, in the 1903 edition, how to make dandelion wine ("Pick dandelion flowers, early in the morning, taking care not to have a particle of the bitter stem attached.")

Avocation Becomes a Vocation

Today we are celebrating the birth of this extraordinary woman. She was born on May 28th in 1858. Like many middle-class women of her time, Lizzie Black Kander was deeply involved in the Progressive reform movements that sought to Americanize immigrants. Lizzie Black graduated as valedictorian from Milwaukee East Side High School in 1878. From the age of 20 she was an active member of the Ladies Relief Sewing Society. An aid society that became the foundation for her future reform work. She collected used clothes and repaired them for needy families. Through her dedication to school reform, Lizzie Black met Simon Kander and in May 1881 they were married.

"...Kander strongly believed that women who were educated in the domestic arts could keep their families out of poverty and on the road to success in America. Elizabeth "Lizzie" Black was born May 28, 1858, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to parents of English and Bavarian ancestry. Raised in the Jewish Reform tradition that emphasized the importance of reconciling religion with progressive ideas, Kander's mother instilled a strong sense of the moral and spiritual importance of the domestic home in Kander and her siblings. This strong sense of domestic womanhood did not, however, exclude education, and in 1878, Kander was named valedictorian of Milwaukee East Side High School, where she gave a speech entitled "When I Become President." Wisconsin Historical Society

Normally, I would refer to my personal reference book for more information on Mrs. Simon Kander but I am in PA and they are in New York. Thankfully, there are quite a few websites that are just brimming with information about this amazing lady. If I were you, I would begin at Feeding America. Why Feeding America you might ask? Well, I found it most helpful for brushing up on my history of the impact fund raising cookbooks have truly had on the American diet. For instance, did you know, American charitable and community cookbooks first emerged after the Civil War? Or that the first fund-raising cookbook was published in Boston in 1870? (Nantucket Receipts like most early charitable cookbooks was intended to generate income for a particular community charity the New England Hospital for Women and Children. In Mrs. Kander's case it was to benefit "The Settlement House." Others were published for religious groups. As money making was usually the main reason for their publication, they were paper covered and many didn't survive. They were also printed in small quantities and sold locally. There's an excellent article at the Food & Baker Blog titled The Settlement Cookbook: An Immigrant's Guide to Assimilation. Here's just a small excerpt. When you're done below, you may want to check The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online. They celebrated the 100th anniversary of The Settlement Cookbook back in 2001.

The Settlement Cookbook was Jewish by association only. After learning the book was written for and financed by a Jewish organization, many people automatically assumed it was a Jewish cookbook, not meant for any other group of Milwaukee residents but the Jews. From the very birth of the project, The Settlement Cookbook displayed a patent disregard for Jewish food regulations: it offered recipes for borscht, chopped herring, and paprika schnitzel in the same breath as recipes for oyster bisque and scalloped ham and potatoes for its non-Jewish readers. Just in the space of the two above-mentioned dishes, several rules of Kashrut (dietary laws, or the body of regulations in keeping Kosher) have been broken: oyster bisque contains oysters (shellfish that are prohibited) and cream; scalloped ham and potatoes is a double whammy with ham (from the pig which has a cloven hoof) and scalloped potatoes covered in cheese (milk and meat must not be consumed together). The Settlement Cookbook was a combination of Jewish, German, and other European recipes.

Before I go, I would like to drop off this recipe for Doughnut Drops and give you a bit of insight to this cute little picture. You see, this pictured Settlement Cookbook gal is from a die-cut recipe booklet I have in my die-cut cookbook collection. Unfortunately, the actual copy is also in New York and this is the only picture I have available on my computer. I know it is difficult to see but, when you unfold the leaflet, it reveals recipes from the Settlement Cookbook. My plan is to put a better scan up when I return to New York. It really is darling and quite special to me:) The recipe below is from the Twenty-second edition of the book. I chose the doughnut recipe because next month we will be celebrating Doughnut Day and I thought it time to warm up. They are also the perfect little indulgence. If I were you, I'd pop them into a small basket and leave them for munching. I know they won't last long but they have to be better than any of the store bought or stand type donuts sold at coffee stores. You can even make a variety of different doughnut drops and have a party hailing Lizzie Black Kander! Let me know how they come out. I've included a few more recipe links for you below. Like Manuela's Kuchen Roll, most of them are adapted from one of the many editions of The Settlement Cookbook. Enjoy!

Doughnut Drops
2 eggs
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tbs. melted butter
1-1/2 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/3 c. milk
Beat eggs until light, add sugar, salt and butter or any other desired shortening. Mix flour and baking powder and combine the two mixtures. Drop by tablespoons into deep, hot fat, and fry until browned. Drain on brown paper and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Add 1 ounce melted chocolate to mixture for variety.
To Fry Doughnuts: the fat must be hot enough to brown a cube of bread in one minute from 360 to 375 degrees. Place the doughnuts in a bath of hot fat, deep enough to float them. They should come quickly to the top, brown on one side, be turned and browned on the other. If the fat is too cool, the doughnuts will absorb the fat. If too hot, they will turn brown before sufficiently raised.

  • 1. @ Feeding America
  • 2. The Settlement Cookbook: An Immigrant's Guide to Assimilation
  • 3. Preface 1954 Edition
  • 4. Lizzie Black Kander (Jewish Women's Archive)
  • 5. Ezine Article
  • 6. The Settlement Cookbook @ Astray Recipes
  • 7. Lizzie Black Kander @ wikipedia
  • 1. Kuchen Roll @ Baking History
  • 2. Historical Kosher Dinner Recipes
  • 3. German Pancake Recipe (Settlement Cookbook, c 1965, 1976)
  • 4. Sour Cream Potato Latkes from The Settlement Cookbook (Applewood Books)
  • 5. The Settlement Cook Book and Apple Roly-Poly

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happy Asparagus Day!

Happy Asparagus Day! A member of the lily family along with onions and garlic, people have been enjoying Asparagus for ages. Egyptians cultivated asparagus as an offerings to the gods. The green gifts from the Mediterranean wereoften called the Food of Kings. Thanks to master vegetable gardener Jean-Baptiste La Quintinie, Louis XIV of France, was able to eat asparagus well into December. This was no easy task. La Quintinie had detailed ideas on how he wanted to lay out the King's garden but the "Sun King" had other ideas. The major discrepancy was in where the garden would be planted. La Quintine wanted it planned around nice fertile ground but Louis wanted the garden planted within his reach. In the marshland chosen by Louis, La Quintine mastered the art of producing early, out of season fruits and vegetables. Thanks to very creative and inventive techniques such as cold frames, bell-glasses and layers of warm manure to protect the productions, the gardeners were able to supply Louis XIV with all his fruitful desires. "These wonders contributed to Le Potager du Roi (the King's Vegetable Garden's) reputation throughout Europe. Louis XIV often invited his court for a walk in the kitchen garden: from the height of the terraces, he would observe the work of the gardeners and would not refuse to take a few lessons with this gardener, whom he thought so highly of." source

Prized by the Romans and the Greeks, asparagus were considered a delicacy. As a matter of fact, the Greek word for stalk or shoot is asparagus. In a recipe from Apicius, the Roman gourmet and cookbook writer, the spelling of the word asapragus is asparagos, although sometimes we also find it termed sparagrass or sparrowgrass. All through history, there have been great tributes to asparagus. Perhaps with good reason, asparagus is a very healthy vegetable, and a good source of minerals and vitamins. It is also contains no fat or cholesterol. A true food hero, it is only recently that its health benefits have been clearly understood by modern science. It is rich in Vitamin C, folic acid, iron and potassium. It is also rich in antioxidants and is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables in existence. It provides more nutrients, in greater quantities, than most any of the vegetables found in the produce section of the supermarket. It’s a dieter’s dream, having only 4 calories per spear. Early Greeks believed asparagus could prevent bee stings and stop toothaches. Asparagus has been considered a food delicacy not only for its prized flavor, but for its root also which were believed to be a diuretic, laxative, and even a sedative. Today the elegant spear is sometimes known as a natural remedy to help relieve indigestion and has also been recommended as a mild sedative. In medieval times, the roots were boiled in wine and drunk several days in a row while fasting. This was believed to build up sexual desire in men and women. Madame Pompadour considered asparagus one of her prized aphrodisiacs.

As early as 200 B.C. the Romans had how-to-grow directions for asparagus. They enjoyed it in season and were the first to preserve it by freezing. In the 1st Century fast chariots and runners took asparagus from the Tiber River area to the snowline of the Alps where it was kept for six months until the Feast of Epicurus. Roman emperors maintained special asparagus fleets to gather and carry the choicest spears to the empire. The characteristics of asparagus were so well-known to the ancients that Emperor Caesar Augustus described "haste" to his underlings as being "quicker than you can cook asparagus." (source link broken)

Asparagus is America's favorite spring vegetable. According to some historians, the first settlers found wild asparagus in America along sandy coastlines and riverbanks. The first domesticated asparagus were brought to the New World in 1672. Dutch cultivation began sometime in the 1700s in Massachusetts. One of Thomas Jefferson's gardens in Monticello was reserved for asparagus which he planted from seed in the late 1700s. Asparagus parties were part of the social fabric of New England during the late 1800's. On Long Island, where I grew up, these parties were quite popular. Here is an excerpt from the book Manners and Social Usages by Mrs. John M.E. Sherwood (1887.)

The asparagus party is a sort of a long picnic, in which a party of friends join, and drive or ride out to some convenient inn where a good dinner can be served, with the advantage of the early vegetable cut directly from the ground. As Long Island is famous for its asparagus, these parties from New York generally select some convenient locality there, near enough to the city to be not too fatiguing a drive. source

The asparagus trade on Long Island was quite lucrative. It is hard to imagine that wild asparagus once ran rampant along the roadsides of Long Island. It was in such abundance, it was difficult to control the Asparagus Beetle which like the potato beetle attacked Long Island's asparagus crop. The growers did get control of the damaging insect and by the late 1860's the asparagus beetle was pretty much under control. In 1875, there was such an abundance of asparagus grown on Long Island that the Long Island Railroad added night train service to get them into New York city. (source PDF) Here's a little "tip" for you. Did you know, Asparagus made history in the United States during WWII when they were used in a highly unusual way to attract fish for food.

Asparagus is not just a succulent veggie, it played a role in WWII spying. The presence of powerful chemical attractants called mercaptants convinced the United States to include sprigs in spy kits, with instructions to eat the delicacy (which is high in Vitamin A) and urinate into the ocean, thereby allowing the mercaptants to attract fish, making them easier to catch. source

Larousse Gastronomique states there are more than 100 species of asparagus. The most familiar being those that come in green, purple, and white. In Europe, the most popular is the white variant which is grown in the dark, with earth piled up over the spears to prevent it from developing a green color. Often with a purple point, the white asparagus is grown and enjoyed in Belgium, Holland, Germany and France. The green is favored in England and Italy, while the US grows and enjoys the green variety, although, the white is now often found in our grocery stores. The Germans are so fond of asparagus that during the arrival of asparagus season (Spargelsaison) agricultural towns dream up asparagus-themed events. During the Asparagus Days the Asparagus Gala begins the festivities. Restaurants that will have "spargil" festivals featuring sweet white asparagus prepared as many as twenty or more ways.

As of 2000, Michigan ranked third in the nation for Asparagus. Only the states of California and Washington produce more asparagus than Michigan. The long green stalks are one of Michigan's first crops to appear in the spring. Its growing season is brief, beginning in late April and ending in June. I don't really want to get into the politics but I would like to mention that the vegetable is the subject of a documentary film, Asparagus! Stalking the American Life. The film is set in Michigan and Filmmaker Magazine writes:

Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly's feature-length film Asparagus! "takes viewers to the small town of Oceana, Michigan, the self-proclaimed asparagus capital of the world. After 30 years, Oceana is facing the destruction of its farming base because of a little known provision in a trade bill resulting from the 'war on drugs' [which has inadvertently created a a strong Peruvian asparagus competitor]. Faced with economic ruin and the loss of their beloved vegetable, the community decides to fight back.

According to the website Eating Liberally, there is only one source for American asparagus, besides a local farm stand who has grown them and not had them shipped in from "who knows where, and that they say it is "good ol' Bird's Eye. They may not be organic as you may find in Whole Foods or your local grocery market but, "if it weren’t for Bird’s Eye, these Michigan farmers might be out of business altogether."

In the resource section below, I have also provided recipes gathered around the internet. The California Asparagus Commission has many inspiring recipes as does the Michigan Michigan Advisory Board. You will also notice, many of the recipes links are for the canning or pickling of asparagus. I myself am wrestling with the notion of preserving so much of the American Bounty this year. Although, I have cooked for many years, baked for far less, I haven't "preserved" with the exception of freezing, I really want to give it a try this year. We'll see...

Asparagus Soldiers
Asperges A La Fontenelle
An attractive way of economizing on asparagus comes from Belgium. Fontenelle is in Hainault, to the south of Charleroi, and close to the French border.
Serve everybody with a boiled egg and a small bundle of cold or barely warm asparagus. Put on the table a large pat of butter and a half loaf of brown bread, with salt and the pepper mill. Each person removes the top of his egg, seasons the nicely runny yolk with salt, pepper and a little knob of butter and dips the asparagus into it, nursery style. More bits of butter, more seasoning, may be added as the yolk goes down. Finish off the egg in the usual way with a spoon, eating it with bread and butter.
Note: If the asparagus is cold, it will be easier to manage; if it is tepid, it will taste even better. Provide napkins of cloth, not paper. Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book...Penguin Books, 1981

1. The Perfect Tips To Celebrate Asparagus Month
2. Asparagus Etymology
3. Madame Pompadour's Asparagus Recipe
4. Le Potager du Roi
5. How the King's vegetable Garden was made out of marshland
6. A Kitchen Garden Fit for a King
7. Manners and Social Usages by Mrs. John M. E. W. Sherwood
8. All about Asparagus @ The World Wide Gourmet
9. Aloof, Elusive and Elegant
10. Asparagus in the Home Garden @ Michigan Asparagus Advisory
11. Filmmaker Magazine
12. Asparagus the Movie
13. The Movie & Trailer
14. Rooting For America's Asparagus Farmers
15. Asparagus Update (Farm Bill) (2008)
1. Stockton Asparagus Festival
2. California Asparagus Commission (recipes)
3. Asparagus Recipes (Michigan Advisory Board)
4. Asparagus Soup & Peony Revealed
5. Canning Asparagus
6. Canning Asparagus
7. Canning Asparagus @ Canning USA blog
8. Pickled Asparagus
9. Pickled Asparagus @ Seasonal Chef
10. Asparagus Recipe Round-Up, 2010
11. Asparagus and Musings
12. Asparagus Tart and Rites of Spring
13. Victorian Recipes Asparagus and Eggs

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dolley Madison's Birthday

On May 20, 1772, there was born to the prominent Payne Quaker family of Virginia a daughter whom they named Dolly, Dolly Payne was destined to become one of the sweetest and most gracious ladies ever to occupy the White House.

Note: For the correct spelling of Dolley Madison's name, please see The Dolley Madison Project.

The above excerpt was harvested from a promotional recipe book titled Beloved and Beautiful Dolly Madison Whose Name Honors America's Outstanding Quality Ice Cream, Deliciously Different. As is the case with most of these promotional cookbooks, there is no publisher per se or publication date. I'm guessing by the small numbers on the inside back cover, 9-55, it was probably published sometime in 1955. There's a wonderful selection of Dolley Madison ephemera at The Dolley Madison Project website. I have provided a link below in the resource section. You really should visit the site if you want to know more about Dolley Madison's place in American History. It is filled with unusual information about her which encompasses her "life, letters and legacy." Here is what it is written about Dolley Madison's place in Pop Culture:

Pop Culture & Dolley Madison

A famous hostess, her name and portrait were suggestive of good food and fine entertaining. Food companies and advertisers used her image to suggest that any woman could entertain, as did Dolley Madison. There were companies named after her: the Dolly Madison Bakery, the Dolly Madison Diary, and the Dolly Madison Ice Cream. There was even Dolly Madison popcorn and Dolly Madison wine. These companies not only put her name on their own wares, they produced advertising collectibles that carried her name -- such as clocks and thermometers. There are still Dolly Madison snacking cakes and Dolly Madison Ice Cream. In one of the odder combinations that you will see on this site, Charles Schultz agreed in the late 1950s to let Dolly Madison cakes use Peanuts as a new advertising logo. We presume that the cake company was reluctant to change its name, but wanted a new "look" that would appeal to the youngsters of post-war America.

The booklet continues with its version of the Dolly Madison story. I mean to say, it sounds a bit like a fairy tale.

Until she was 14, Dolly lived in Virginia on a large plantation where there were many slaves to look after her and love her...Dolly is described as a bright gay and spirited youngster with blue eyes, black curly hair and a most ingratiating disposition.

I know there are many places aboard the world wide web which are just overflowing with biographical information about Dolley Madison but quite frankly, I didn't really find any that offered any less than wikipedia plus, I got to "pick" this image of her there also.

Dolley MadisonShe was born in New Garden, a Quaker community located in the area now known as Guilford County, North Carolina, on May 20, 1768. There is now a street in Greensboro, NC named after her. Her father was John Payne, a not-too-successful farmer and erstwhile starch manufacturer, and her mother was Mary Coles. Other accounts suggest she was born in the village of Payne's Tavern in Person County, North Carolina. Dolley Madison was born while her parents were in North Carolina, visiting her maternal grandparents. She had four brothers and three younger sisters. The Payne family lived in Hanover County, Virginia, where they were planters...
...Dolley Madison was influenced by momentous events during her childhood, including the Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, Declaration of Independence, and suffering at Valley Forge. In July 1783, John Payne freed his slaves and moved the family to Philadelphia to allow better educational opportunities for the children and to be more closely associated with their Quaker roots. Dolley spent her teenage years in Philadelphia, and attended Salem Academy in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (source)

I suppose the above version wouldn't sell as much ice cream. The booklet:

In 1787, the family moved to Philadelphia, and soon Dolly was one of a gay group of young belles. Her remarkable beauty, grace of manner, modesty, and goodness attracted many of Philadelphia's eligible bachelors, among them John Todd, a prominent and wealthy lawyer. Early in 1791 Mr. Todd and Dolly, then only 19, were married. Mr. Todd died in 1793, only two years after his marriage to the beautiful Dolly Payne...
For today's' celebration, I'm going to continue with the booklet version as it leans in the direction of how Dolly Madison contributed to ice cream fashionability in American history.
At 21, Dolly was a rich and charming widow. After a year of mourning, Dolly took her place again in Philadelphia society. There, surrounded by numerous suitors, she devoted herself to many charitable activities. Among the young men who courted her was James Madison, a brilliant member of Congress from Virginia. Dolly fell in love with him and in December, 1794, they were married...The young couple made their home in Montpelier, Orange County, Virginia, with the senior Madisons. "Jemmy," as the younger Madison was called by his bride, continued to serve in Congress, which was still holding its sessions in Philadelphia, until 1797. During the sober dress and manner of the Quakeress for attire better suited to the part she was destined to take as leader in society. No contact with the world ever robbed her of that softness of manner and gentle dignity, which she inherited from her parents...After Madison's election as President to succeed Thomas Jefferson, the presidential mansion became more than ever the center of gay and brilliant society. The stiff formality and rigid ceremonials which had marked the reign of Martha Washington, were exchanged for ease, freedom, and lively conversation, all unnecessary etiquette being banished. Mrs. Madison's own manner was distinguished by a sweet and amiable courtliness that adorned her high station admirably...The summer home of President and Mrs. Madison was a beautiful place, less than a day's journey from Monticello where Jefferson lived. Their house was large and commodious, arranged more with a view to comfort than ornament, and stood at the front of a lofty and densely wooded hill, commanding a view of scenery remarkable for its picturesque beauty. One wing of the building was appropriated entirely to the use of mother Madison. The aged matron was attended by her old family servants, and surrounded by children and grandchildren...Never was Dolly Madison so lovely as in her loving attendance on this venerable woman. She also took delight in the society of the young, and participated in their pleasure to which she always contributed by her presence. A more affectionate and devoted wife never existed; and tenderly did she nurse and comfort her husband in his long illness...Ever since Dolly Madison gave it her gracious sanction at the White House, Ice Cream has been known as the most popular of all refreshments. She knew the importance of serving unusual, interesting refreshments in a day when there was no ways of getting Ice Cream in every conceivable form-large or small- appropriate for all occasions and seasons.

Well, I suppose we're still under a veil when it comes to just How Dolly Madison Made Ice Cream Fashionable in America? However, I did find more clues at the What's Cooking America website.

Legends and Myths of Ices & Ice Cream
-1813 - Mrs. Jeremiah Shadd (known as Aunt Sallie Shadd), a freed black slave, achieved legendary status among Wilmington's free black population as the inventor of ice cream. She'd opened a catering business with family members and created a new dessert sensation made from frozen cream, sugar, and fruit.
Dolly Madison wife of President James Madison who was the fourth President of the United State, heard about the new dessert, went to Wilmington to try it. Mrs. Madison enjoyed Sallie's ice cream so much it became part of the menu at her husband's Second Inauguration Ball in 1813, as well as the official dessert of White House dinners. Her White House dinners became renowned for their strawberry "bombe glacee" centerpiece desserts.
1832 - African-American, Augustus Jackson, is credited for the modern method of manufacturing, (not discovering) ice cream, and the multiple ice cream recipes he developed around 1832. He uniquely used ice mixed with salt to lower and control the temperature of his special mix of ingredients. Unfortunately he never applied for a patent. He left his position as a cook/chef at the White House, moved to Philadelphia and created several popular ice cream flavors and methods of manufacturing ice cream. He distributed it in tin cans to Philadelphia’s many ice cream parlors. Today Jackson is called the "father of ice cream."

There isn't much information freely available about Augustus Jackson except to suggest that he may have been born in Shreveport, Louisiana possibly on April 16, 1808. However, it is well documented that he was a cook at the White House well into the late 1820s and then moved to Philadelphia where he started his own catering business. According to Chilly Philly, "He made ice cream for his own customers as well as two other African American owned ice cream parlors on South Street. He ran a successful business for at least the next 30 years and became one of Philadelphia's wealthiest African American citizens. One source claims that African Americans had a monopoly on the ice cream trade in the mid nineteenth century. The following quote may help to explain their success..." Sorry to leave you hanging but, if you like, you really should read it yourself...
Augustus Jackson never applied for any patents. His method of manufacturing ice cream which involved the use of salt is still used today. He never patented any of his ice cream recipes either. Without a doubt, Augustus Jackson has his place in the history of Philadelphia Ice Cream right up there with Benjamin Franklin.

A Treatise on the History of Ice Cream in Philadelphia
Franklin invented ice cream in Philadelphia during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. And we've all heard of Dolley Madison, doyenne of the American hostess and famous first lady who made a splash in the social scene by offering up ice cream at the White House. Before marrying James Madison, however, Dolley Payne Todd resided at 4th & Walnut in Philadelphia and is thought to have first served ice cream to guests here!...By the turn-of-the-nineteenth-century, ice cream was to be had regularly in Philadelphia, although only if one had money. In the 1820s, an African American chef named Augustus Jackson moved to Philadelphia and set up catering and selling ice cream. Jackson had been previously employed as a cook at the White House. A hard worker and savvy businessman, Jackson devised recipes and innovated manufacturing techniques which led to a large clientele for his ice cream. In fact, many free blacks in Philadelphia made a decent trade in ice cream well into the nineteenth century when racial prejudice led to their decline. source

I was delightfully surprised to discover a microcreamery in Boston, MA. where their mission is to make "the best vegan ice creams you've ever tasted."Now, as most of my visitors probably know by now, I'm not a vegetarian but, according to the Wheeler's Frozen Dessert Co. website,they use the same method to manufacture their ice cream which was mastered by Augustus Jackson. Naturally, I would like to share a few recipes from the booklet with you. I have scanned a few below.

During her husband's political life, Dolly Madison was noted as a gracious hostess, whose sassy, ebullient personality, love of feathered turbans, and passion for snuff (tobacco) seemed at odds with her Quaker upbringing. However, probably her most lasting achievement was her rescue of valuable treasures, including state papers and a Gilbert Stuart painting of President George Washington, from the White House before it was burned by the British army in 1814 during the War of 1812. She could not simply pull it off the wall; the frame was screwed onto the wall and she had a caretaker cut the painting out of the frame.

According to Margaret Truman's book, "First Ladies," Dolley Madison was enraged at how American soldiers fled rather than fought the oncoming British, and even slept with a sabre near her bedside should a British soldier show up in the middle of the night. Dolley Madison remained a popular figure in Washington, D.C. long after her husband's presidency ended, and was the only private citizen (much less a woman) to be allowed to sit in on Congress, on the congressional floor, while it was in session. Resources

  • 1. The Dolley Madison Project (A website devoted to the life, letters, and legacy of Dolley Madison.)
  • 2. Pop Culture & Dolley Madison
  • 3. First Lady Biography: Dolley Madison
  • 4. Dolly Madison Notable Women of North America
  • 5. How Dolly Made Ice Cream Fashionable In America
  • 6. Homemade Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker (scroll down)
  • 7. Augustus Jackson @ wiki
  • 8. Augustus Jackson @ Souther Foods Connection
  • 9. Why is George Washington considered the Father of this nation?
  • 10. Wheeler's Black Label @ The Conscious Kitchen Blog
  • 11. Banana Gelato Recipe
  • 12. Spaghetti Ice Cream?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Philip D. Armour Born Today

"It is after business hours, not in them, that men break down. Men must, like Philip Armour, turn the key on business when they leave it, and at once unlock the doors of some wholesome recreation."
Orison Swett Marden; Cheerfulness as a Life Power

Today, I would like to share some recipes with you from an undated vintage promotional cookbook published by Armour and Company. The reason for this is simply because today is the birth date of Philip Danforth Armour. An American industrialist and pioneer in the use of refrigeration and meat canning, Philip Danforth Armour was born May 16, on his family's farm in Stockbridge, New York. Now, I'm not a big fan of canned meat products. As a matter of fact, I can't think of any time I have actually purchased a can of Armour Treet or Spam. I do have to wonder though, what would possess a young man of 19 to walk clear across the United States of America, from New York to California, and back to eventually begin one of the largest meat packing empires in the world?

It is said, GOLD was his inspiration. Blinded by the California gold rush, the New York butcher set out to make his fortune. Not everyone, including Armour, made their fortune mining for gold. Take John Studebaker for instance, he spun his hard earned profits into his family's wagon-making business which eventually became the family's automobile business; Studebaker. Armour had a different angle. Although he didn't like the idea of digging for gold, (to much work) He did like the idea of offering merchandise to the miners. He supplied them with meat carved from hogs and cattle. In then sold it to them at a butcher shop in Placerville, California. He also supplied the miners with digging equipment for their mining expeditions.

California gold-rush history tells of a crude camp of Missourians at Placerville (Hangtown), Calif., where a young fellow, Phillip B. Armour, a butcher, had persuaded the small grocery store's owner to let him operate a meat department in the store. A novelty, but it did bring in business. Armour predicted that some day all stores would have meat departments and that if he could make enough money, he planned to butcher and sell meat wholesale to grocery stores. 

With the money he earned in California, (about $8,000) Philip D. Armour decided to go back to New York. On route to New York, he stopped in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he decided to invest in a meat processing plant and a wholesale grocery business. While in Milwaukee, Armour formed business partnerships with Frederick Miles in the grain business and with John Plankinton in the meatpacking industry. With his brother, Herman, he entered the grain business and built several meat packing plants in the Menomonee River Valley. Together they formed Armour and Company in 1867.

Philip D. Armour, a native of New York State, began to work in the pork-packing business in Milwaukee, where he made a substantial fortune in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. ("Gail Borden, Gilbert C. Van Camp, Philip Armour, and Gustavus Swift all got their start in the food industry by securing government contracts to provide items such as dressed pork and beef, evaporated milk, canned pork and beans, sausage, bologna, and a wide variety of canned fruits and vegetables to Union troops. Not only were their fortunes built on the idea of improving the gastronomic habits of soldiers, but all four companies survive today...source") In 1875, he moved to Chicago to take charge of Armour & Co. (a firm owned by Philip and his brothers), which had started its move to Chicago in 1867. During the late nineteenth century, when Chicago and its Union Stock Yard stood at the center of the meatpacking industry, Armour became a national operation and one of the country's largest businesses. By 1880, with an average of over 1,500 men on the payroll at any given time and as many as 4,000 during the peak season to process $17.5 million worth of meat, Armour was Chicago's leading industrial enterprise and employer. By the late 1880s, Armour slaughtered more than 1.5 million animals each year and reached about $60 million in annual sales. Many of those sales derived from the processing of all the parts of the animal—“everything but the squeal”—making such products as glue, lard, gelatin, and fertilizer. When Philip died in 1901, the company employed about 7,000 Chicago residents and had a total workforce of 50,000 nationwide. source

After the arrival of Philip Armour and other meat packing barons, Chicago developed into a leading market place for the meat packing industrty. Armour’s Chicago meatpacking plants introduced new principles of large-scale organization, as well as refrigeration, to the industry. He encouraged the use of refrigerated cars to bring produce to Northern cities. He is said to have been one of the first to notice the tremendous waste in the slaughtering of hogs and to take advantage of the resale value of waste products. Armour pioneered the use of all parts of the slaughtered animal for commercial purposes. He later expanded his firm's operations to include household products and food processing. He also gained control of private railroad-car lines and banks. His innovative techniques and enormous success helped make Chicago the meat packing capital of the world. (among Armour's marketing ideas was his suggestion that ministers would preach better "If they included more of Armour's sausages in their diet.") In his later years, the wealthy Armour became quite charitable. He contributed to the Armour Mission, established by his brother which had a kindergarten, library, and free medical care. He also founded the Armour Institute of Technology, which later merged with the Lewis Institute to form the Illinois Institute of Technology. Below is a piece of history about Armour & Company from the company website...

Armour and Company was an American meatpacking company founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1867 by Philip Danforth Armour (1832–1901), By 1880, Armour and was Chicago's most important business and helped make the city and its Union Stock Yards the center of the American meatpacking industry. Armour and Company was the first company to produce canned meat and also one of the first to employ an "assembly-line" technique in its factories. In 1948, Armour, which made soap for years as a by-product of the meatpacking process, introduced the first deodorant soap, Dial, which became as strong a seller as its meat products, and eventually the company renamed itself the Armour-Dial Corporation.

Thanks to bottle collector's all over the world, many of Armour's "medicine chest" products are well documented. Here is just one excerpt I discovered while researching this post.

Philip Danford Armour, founded Armour and Company in Chicago, in 1867. It soon became one of the worlds largest food processing and chemical manufacturing companies. Armour Chemical Industries included drugs, soaps, fertilizers and other chemical products. Armour also gained control of several private railroad car lines and banks. In 1892, he donated money to establish the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago, which in 1940, became the Illinois Institute of Technology, a privately endowed coeducational college. A branch, the Illinois Institute of Technical Research, does scientific research for business, industry and government.
Food processing by-products were the primary source for their medicines. Earlier ones included wine of beef and iron, fluid and extracts of beef, nutritive wine beef peptone, digestive ferments, desiccated thyroids, pituitary body, beef tea and elixir of enzymes. source

I really want to get to the part where I share the recipes with you. I feel it quite necessary to mention a few things I learned while researching this post. The meat packing industry as a whole during the time of Armour, Swift, and others was ridden with serious problems. There are tales of tainted meat being sent to soldiers serving our country, poor working conditions, poverty level wages and atrocities that would probably not make you too interested in the following recipes. Thank goodness, with the help of Upton Sinclair's exposé, The Jungle (1906) and Teddy Roosevelt, the Pure Food and Drug Act was established. (You will find more links below for further details)

"Five thousand people, men and women all working together under practically one roof and all directed by one man! It is men and the system, humanity and the machine, that makes an enormous business like that of the Armours move like clockwork. excellent source

There are quite a few Armour recipe pamphlets in the Chef Louis Szathmary Collection of Culinary Arts. There, I also learned that the chef was Manager of new product development at Armour & Company from 1959 to 1964. I have also provided a few more recipe links below for those who are interested in Armour Treet or Spam. Below, I have scanned a few recipes from the booklet Double Quick Menus using Armour Star Canned Meats. (click to enlarge) The recipes include, Corned Beef Hash Peaks, Baked Star Corned Beef Hash, Coddled Eggs & Hash and Hashburgers. Enjoy??
I didn't want to be accused of leaving out those fans of Treet canned meat so I have also included a few scanned recipes using Treet. They include, Barbecued Treet on Buns, Baked Treet with Fruit Dressing, Treet Potato Puffs and Treet with Mushroom Sauce. (click to enlarge) Enjoy??

  • 1. Philip Danforth Armour @ wikipedia
  • 2. Philip Danforth Armour (1833-1901) (best bio)
  • 3. Orison Swett Marden; Cheerfulness as a Life Power
  • 4. Google Book Armour and His Times by Harper Leech & John Charles Carroll
  • 5. Treet Reuben Sandwiches @ Armour website
  • 6. Broiled Meat 'n Cheese Sandwich Recipe (Armour Treet or Spam)
  • 7. Philip Armour and Packing House Working Conditions
  • 8. Culinary Wrinkles, Or How to use Armour's Extract of Beef (image)
  • 9. Louis I. Szathmary 1959-1964 Manager, New Product Development, Armour and Company, Chicago

Monday, May 5, 2008

Introductions: James Beard

Hailed as "The Father of American Gastronomy" James Beard was born today, May 5, 1903, in Portland, Oregon. Normally, I would be posting a bit of biographical information and links for you to further explore. Perhaps, I would include a few recipes. I probably would go on and on not even realizing until the end of the post that it went on much longer than I had originally planned. Not today! Instead, I have decided to list a few resources for you to go off on your own. As for me, I am taking a different path.

As many of you already know, I have quite an assortment of cookbooks. At the moment, I can't announce how many of my books have been endorsed with an introduction by James Beard. There must be many. As a matter of fact, if you know of any, please let me know. The notion of exploring James Beard introductions struck me while I was preparing for Free Comic Book Day this past Saturday. The focus of that post was the Cartoonist Cookbook. (1966) In fact, the cartoon at the top, is from that book. The Cartoonist Cookbook is scented with a welcome by James Beard.

"I have often remarked that the small cookbooks published by various ethnic and professional groups have done more to stimulate our food traditions in this country than most of the major collections of carefully tested, very often emasculated, recipes by fine cooks and food scientists that appear on the market each year. There is character and a feeling of adventure in such a book as this, produced by an assemblage of cartoonist, of whom evidence a genuine flair for food and a few of whom show all the signs of being true gastronomes...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. And in England, the well know writer of spy fiction, Len Deighton, who is also a serious cook, has been running a similar column in the Observer for some time..."

Sadly, I don't have my copy of Hors d'Oeuvres & Canapés by my side. But, since it is the first cookbook by James Beard, I did want to include a few recipes. Thank goodness, I do have a scan of it on my computer here in New York and also a few recipes. These are from the 10th edition, published in 1958 by M. Barrow & Co.

Danish Ham Rolls: Trim the excess fat from six paper-thin slices of Parma ham or Prosciutto, the delicately flavored Italian ham one may buy in almost any Italian grocery carrying smoked meats. Spread thin slices of smoked salmon over this till the ham is completely covered. Roll very tightly and cut into rolls about one onch long. Spear with a toothpick and chill before serving. This recipe will make twelve rolls. A little freshly grund, black pepper will do a lot to flavor the ham.
Curried Eggs: Melt one tablespoonful of finely chopped onion in one tablespoon of butter over a very low flame. Add one-andone half teaspoonfuls of fine Bombay curry powder and two tablespoons of thick cream and stir vigorously till it becomes a paste. Cool, and add to the yolks of 6 eggs which have been forced through a sieve. Add one teaspoonful of salt and two teaspoonfuls of finely chopped chutney and cream to a paste. Fill the egg whites with this mixture and top with grated fresh coconut.
Allumettes: "Allumettes are literally tiny fingers of puff paste baked with various toppings. while, according to the title, they should be the size of a match, they are about one-by-three inches."
Cut puff paste into strips about one-by-three inches. On each strip place a little fines herbes butter that has been well flavored with anchovy. Place one or two anchovy fillets on each allumette and bake in hot oven for ten or fifteen minutes or until well browned. Barquettes These are tiny boat-shaped pastries made from a semi puff paste and baked in tiny boat shaped pans. Clam Barquettes Heat one can of minced razor clams in double boiler. Add one-half teaspoonful of salt and one-half teaspoonful of freshly ground pepper. Add one cupful of heavy cream mixed with the yolks of two eggs and one-and-one-half teaspoonfulls of arrowroot powder. Stir gently till well thickened. Add one tablespoon of Maderia or Sherry. Fill barquettes with this mixture and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and place under the broiler to brown.

Next, I would like to share a recipe with you from a book titled Cool Entertaining. The author of this cookbook is Irma Rhode. Before Irma Rhode came to this country in 1928, she had been educated abroad at the cooking school of the Grand Duchess of Baden. When James Beard realized he wasn't going to make an awful lot of money as an aspiring actor, he began a catering business which revolutionized the way New Yorkers perceived cocktail food. In 1937, he opened a small food shop called Hors d'oeuvre Incorporated with Irma Rhode and her brother William Rhode. I would first like to share his introduction in Cool Entertaining.

I've known Irma Rhode for almost forty years. The day we met was very significant for me; in fact it changed my life completely. I had been invited to a cocktail party to meet Irma and her brother Bill at a time when I was looking for an idea to get into the food business, as were they. We discovered we were kindred spirits, and planned and finally opened our late-lamented shop, which we called Hors d'oeuvre Incorporated. Irma not only knew food, she had great scientific ability. Bill understood good living and had enough charm to win anyone's heart. I had ambition and a knowledge of food and personality. The three of us made a bold move and opened on East 66th Street, right next to the Cosmopolitan Club. It was a success! When war came we were forced to close. Bill Rhode went on to be one of the first editors of Gourmet magazine, I went to the wars and Irma did a great variety of things and our paths never crossed professionally again...This latest volume of hers is a very personal book; it's filled with Irma. There are recipes for a variety of cold dishes-a great many of which I enjoyed in Irma's home. It's a book for good entertaining-one that will be in the front line of my collection of cookbooks."

The pictured first edition of Cool Entertaining was published in 1976. I'm happy to say it is in excellent condition and it will probably stay that way as, I don't refer to it often. The main reason why I don't is because many of the recipes include the use of unflavored gelatin. Quite frankly, I'm not much of a gelatin cook. If I were to prepare a recipe from this book, it would have to be the Fish Pudding with Morning Glory Sauce. Although it too has gelatin as an ingredient, it sounds absolutely exciting. Another fine example is the Bloody Mary Meatloaf. The aspic which includes 12 ounces of V-8 juice, water, 2 envelopes of plain gelatin and 4 ounces of gin or vodka just doesn't appeal to me. I'm sure it will to others though. On page 11 of Cool Entertaining, Irma Rhode explains the legend embracing her recipe for Onion Rings.

Onion rings are one of the most popular hors d'oeuvres. The following recipe has been written up many times and is listed in the New York Times Cookbook as "Irma's Onion Sandwiches," but I cannot claim credit. The true story of the evolution of this recipe is as follows:
In the twenties, in a Parisian establishment described by Polly Alder as "a house that's not a home," two slices of onion, were served with the aperitifs to my brother Bill.
When in the thirties we started Hors d'Oeuvres Inc., he remembered the combination and we started testing. How thick the brioche slice, how thin the onion? What size cookie cutter? Two bites or a bite and a half? When my brother Bill, Jim Beard, and I finally had decided on these questions, there arose another one. How to dress them up? There always was a big bowl of chopped parsley around and, of course mayonnaise. I can still see Jim rolling the edges in mayonnaise and then he chopped parsley, and the new onion rings were born. But it all goes back to the thrifty madam of that establishment in Paris.

Onion Rings
6 slices of firm white bread, or 12 slices of challah
12 slices onion, very thin
approx. 1/2 c. mayonnaise
approx. 3/4 c. very finely chopped parsley
With a 1-1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut 4 rounds from a slice of bread or 2 rounds from the challah slices. Arrange them in 12 pairs. Spread each round with mayonnaise. Using a slicer or potato peeler, cut the slices of onions and put one on a bread round. Salt lightly, then top with the second round, sandwich fashion. When all 12 are assembled, spread some mayonnaise on a piece of waxed paper and have the chopped parsley ready in a blow. Take a sandwich between thumb and forefinger and roll the edges first in the thinly spread mayonnaise, then in the chopped parsley. Make sure there are no bare spots; if so, dab a bit of mayonnaise on the spot and dip again in parsley. Place on waxed paper or a flat tray or cookies sheet and cover with waxed paper. Chill well.
Note: If it's to hard to get very thin slices of onion perfectly round, part slices will do, too; use two parts. The thinness is important.

In closing, I have sifted through a cookbook published by the California Beef Council in 1984. Dear James Beard Recipes & Reminiscing From Your Friends and the Beef Industry. It is a soft cover book which pays tribute to James Beard. I wish I could show you the captivating pictures and flavorful recipes which the contributors have offered. Most of all, I wish I could share with you all of the wonderful stories and dedications his friends have so graciously written but, alas, they would lose flavor in translation. I did a quick look on the internet and it appears to be available for as little as $1.00! Here a few with their recipes.

...In these reminiscences and recipes from friends and associates, we hope to give a more intimate glimpse of this generous man and his world. We are proud to dedicate this book to Mr. Beard and trust he will forgive this bit of hero worship with his usual modest charm.-The Beef Industry Council
Julia Child (Mignons De Filet De Boeuf, Sautes Madere) "...he has done more for cooking in America than any one person in our history..."
M.F.K. Fisher (The 15-Minute Meatloaf (Plus 5) "...He is an historical fact gastronomically..."
Seppi Renggll (Stuffed Monterey Jack) "...For twenty years he has been a constant inspiration to me..."
Marcella Hazen (II Tapolon Di Borgomanero) "...he is the living embodiment of...the universally civilized force of good food..."
Cecilla Chiang (Mandarin Salon De Cuisine) "...he is the perfect guest..."
Alice Waters (Cold Grilled Fillet of Beef with Rocket Salad) "...Talking with James always confirms for me the rishness and variation possible in American cooking..."
Jean D. Hewitt (New England Pot Roast) "...Whenever, and wherever, we meet I look forward to...the latest gossip from the world of food..."


  • 1. James Beard Biography
  • 2. James Beard's Books (list spanning from 1940-1982)
  • 3. James Beard Trivia Quiz (kinda cute, I won 8 out of 10 what did you get?)
  • Recipes
  • 1. James Beard’s Raspberry Chicken
  • 2. James Beard's Favorite Roast Turkey
  • 3. James Beard's Cuban Bread
  • 4. James Beard's Pumpkin Pie With Candied Ginger
  • 5. James Beard's Chess Pie
  • 6. Cartoonist Cookbook (post)
  • 7. James Beard's Favorite Burger

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Comic Book Day Recipes

Happy Free Comic Book Day! Yes, it's true, today is Free Comic Book Day. I'm not exactly sure as to why today is Free Comic Book Day but I know it to be true because my son, who lives in Pennsylvania is celebrating Free Comic Book Day today at his comic book store. I had planned on getting more information from him before posting today but alas, he's been much to busy. Maybe, next year:) How 'bout we share some Comic Book day recipes. Sounds good to me...

It isn't like we haven't "spoken" of comic books @ Months of Edible Celebrations before. Why just last November I posted a few recipes for Sadie Hawkins Day and more recipes in February for Leap Year. As a matter of fact, if you would rather not visit those previous pages, you can view them in my Cartoonist Cookbook photo album. There are recipes from Al Capp and Mammy Yokum. The Mammy Yokum recipes are from a vintage Cream of Wheat recipe booklet. And, we can't forget about Popeye! We posted a James Beard cartoon when we celebrated Popeye's debut in January. BTW, James Beard's birthdate is May 5th. Good Lord willing and the creek don't freeze, I'll be posting recipes and another cartoon to celebrate. Okay, back to Comic Book Day.

The Cartoonist Cookbook

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. Quite honestly, the edition in my collection appears rather unassuming. I often forget I have it. I wonder what the dust jacket looked like? We all know that expression about books and covers and certainly, it applies here. The book, published in 1966 by Gramercy Publishing Co. is described as "A gathering by the Newspaper Comics Council," It was edited by Theodora Illenberger and Avonne Eyre Keller, with a foreword by Stephen Becker, and an introduction by James Beard. With the exception of James Beard, Al Capp, and Charles Schultz, none of the contributors are familar to me. While researching Charles Schultz for his birthday page, I learned that as a boy, Charles Schultz (Schulz) was quite interested in comics, especially Popeye. The madcap adventures of the struggling artist are not only reflected in this book by their recipes but, also in their comic interpretations. Al Vermeer, creator of Priscilla's Pop reveals one if his favorite stops on Highway 49 near Placerville. During his visit, he states, "Nothing seemed more inviting than fresh oysters and fresh eggs." He also adds, "At one time, for reasons that Placerville would now happily forget, the town was called Hangtown." Below is his recipe for Hangtown Fry.

Hangtown Fry
12 fresh oysters
1/2 tbs. flour
2 tbs. bacon drippings
1 cup cream
6 eggs, well beaten
salt & pepper
Mince oysters. Mix flour, fat and cream into a sauce. Add eggs, season with salt and pepper and stir in the oysters. Fry very slowly. "If the business is done too dry, you will immediately be banished from California. To preface such a feast you are on your own. As for me, I'll take a shrimp cocktail for dessert, well, there is always some oddball who looks upon oysters with horror. His portion of the Hangtown Fry becomes my dessert." Serves 4

I got the biggest kick out of the cartoon offered by Vernon Greene. As you can see, it's about one of my favorite things. Cookbooks! So without further ado, I present Vernon Greene's recipe for cornmeal dumplings. Here's a little "clip" first from the book.

Vernon Green was born in 1908 on a ranch at Battle Ground, Washington. His first job was doing sports cartoons and commercial art in Portland, Oregon. During the depression, he worked at the Toledo Blade until two thirds of the staff were laid off in 1932. After that he tried editorial cartooning; ghosted Polly And Her Pals; created The Shadow comic strip and spent three years in the Air Force, where he created Mac the Medic and Charlie Conscript. Greene's big break came when he met George McManus, creator of Bringing Up Father...When McManus became ill, he remembered Greene and called on him for help and when McManus died, Green took over the strip...
Corn Meal Dumplings
1 cup corn meal
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tbs. melted butter
5 or 6 cups corned beef stock
Sift dry ingredients together. Beat eggs with milk and combine with dry ingredients. Stir in melted butter. Drop batter by tablespoons into simmering stock. Coverpan closely. Simmer 15 minutes. Remove from liquid at once. Makes apprximately 16 dumplings. Ed Note: I'm sure you could use any good stock for these dumplings.

The final offering for Free Comic Book Day comes from DC Comics Super Heros, Super Healthy Cookbook by Mark Saltzman, Judy Garlan, & Michele Grodner copyright, 1981, this ed. 1993.

Superman's Frozen Fortress Pops

Well, this does it! It's now clear that my generation was sold a bill of good. They convinced us that good nutrition was dull, that eating healthy food meant giving up whatever tasted good and that cooking was sexist, life denying drudgery-to be avoided at all costs. Now DC Comics comes along with a cookbook like this one and shows it all up as a pack of lies...And while it isn't exactly accidnetal that the food this book is about is healthy and delicious, that's not the only reason to give Super Heros Super Healthy Cookbook houseroom...

Enjoy Free Comic Book Day!


  • 1. Cartoon Kitchen
  • 2. Comic Books and I
  • 3. When were Comic Books invented?
  • 4. Comics @ wiki
  • 5. Charles M. Schultz celebrates!
  • 6. The Cartoon Art Museum 

Friday, May 2, 2008

Huckins Tomato Soup

“Only the pure of heart can make good soup.” Ludwig Van Beethoven

Well, it looks like we are celebrating Tomato Soup today. Why you may want to ask. Well, it seems that on May 2, 1865, James H. W. Huckins of Boston, Massachusetts applied for his patent titled "Improved Tomato Soup." His invention was registered with the United States Patent Office as patent number 47,545.

Be it known that I, JAMES H. W. HUCKINS, of Boston, in the county of Suffolk and State of Massachusetts, have invented a new and useful or improved composition of matters, which may be termed "Tomato Soup," and I do hereby declare the same, or the materials' of which it is composed and the mode of compounding them, to be described as follows: source

It seems rather odd to me that tomato soup was "invented" and that there is actually a patent for it. It seems stranger that the patent would be awarded to someone who had nothing to do with Campbell's. But, so it goes. Campbell's wouldn't be founded for another 4 years. 1869 to be exact. What would possess someone to "invent" tomato soup, I wonder? I'm waiting for one of those legendary stories. You know, the ones we often come across when seeking the truth, why we eat what we eat, and when did it all begin? Thank goodness for writers like Andrew F. Smith. Andrew F. Smith is a writer and lecturer on food and culinary history. I was delighted to visit his website which lists many of his accomplishments and his long list of exceptional books. I haven't gotten my hands on his well received book The Tomato in America: Early History, Culture, and Cookery yet so I thought I would find some information at his website. Unfortunately, there wasn't any per se. There is a short review of his book which I still want to get someday but, I found a more in depth review here.

Mmmm....how do I delve into the history of tomato soup without that darn book? Well, it seems that Mr. Smith has another book titled Souper Tomatoes: The Story of America's Favorite Food which happens to be sold at Amazon. This book summarizes the history of said soup and a whole lot more. Okay, before we go on, I must say this. I am not a food critic or a book reviewer and I don't point you in the direction of buying books about food for money. I never want this blog to be a commercial for anything. That's why you don't see ads and such. I just figure, if I find something I think may be of use to anyone, anywhere, why not offer the information. Do with it what you like:) Anyway, the above site does have editorial reviews about the book and was probably the place I first discovered the name of the man who invented tomato soup. The resource is below if you would like to review the reviews. Back to tomato soup.

Tomato Soup Recipe

Interestingly, in James Huckins patent request he lists the ingredients and method for preparing his soup invention. Basically, the formula consisted of 50 pounds of beef-shin, water and, one and a half bushels of mashed tomatoes. Onions, turnips, carrots, beets, butter three and a half pounds! flour, black pepper, and brown sugar were added to the beef and tomato stock. The mixture was boiled and strained. "Huckins believed that this composition had inherent preservative qualities preventing decomposition "for a great length of time." The Patent Office thought this was so good that they issued a patent on the recipe a few weeks after they received the application. Sometime after this date, Huckins began canning his soup, making him the first known soup canner. He first launched his advertised canned tomato soup in 1876. As Huckins's soups were extremely successful, other canners entered the field, including the Campbell Soup Company." If you viewed the link provided above, you could see his recipe. If you didn't and want to, once again, here is the patent at google patents which also lists the recipe.


Heinz Tomato Soup Die-cut

Everything in the soup or, is it the other way around? Like many, I associate soup, or for today's purpose, tomato soup, as the perfect accompaniment to a grilled cheese sandwich, personally, I enjoy a nice hot bowl of tomato soup with a tuna fish sandwich. I don't know what it is, I just think they are a "perfect marriage." It must have something to do with the fact that I LOVE fresh garden tomatoes and a nice slice of red globule perfection sliced on a tuna sandwich is, shall I say, to die for! Okay, I'm getting a bit dramatic here. The fact is, tomato soup is also sometimes used as a main ingredient in recipes. There's the infamous tomato soup cake which I have had the pleasure of experiencing first hand. I don't want to get into the whole story right now so I'll sum it up. A few years ago, I was invited to a Mystery Dinner in honor of Rex Stout. Everything on the menu had to be "mysterious." A few of the recipes were harvested from the Nero Wolfe Cookbook by Rex Stout. A few were not. The Mystery Cake was not. Now, mystery cake by any other name may be called Tomato Soup Cake. Yes, indeed, tomato soup cake certainly got those taste buds "a-wondering." You'd be surprised though. The taste is ever so subtle, more like a colorful spice cake dotted with raisins. It's easy for me to imagine the evolution of tomato soup cake. Actually, its right up my alley. I'm one of those people who cooks with total disregard to how it has been done before. Granted, I'm not always proud of it and granted, I have had more then my share of flops but, as T.W. reminds us, tomatoes are a fruit. It doesn't seem odd to offer "Love Apple Cake" for dessert does it. What about Love Apple Pancakes or Love Apple Bread?

From The Epicurean Table...there were those who believed this enticing, bright red fruit had aphrodisiac powers, as did the French, who called it pomme d'amour or love apple though this is believed to be an alteration from the Spanish pome dei moro or apple of the moors. source

Below I have provided a few recipe links so you can explore other uses for tomato soup. I have a few contributions I would like to include also. First, I think it best to begin with a recipe for tomato soup. Now, I know there are dozens of recipes for tomato soup available in the stockpot of the internet so I thought I would offer one that may be a bit unusual or perhaps just lost...It comes from The Delineator Cook Book. (1928) If I were you, I would save this recipe for the end of the summer when you have tomatoes abounding in your garden or when your neighbors offers them for FREE! The recipe doesn't tell what kind of tomatoes to use but in my opinion, I think the best tomatoes for this recipe would be plum tomatoes. A plum tomato or paste tomato is a type of tomato used for sauce. They also make a beautiful roasted plum tomato soup. The sun dried tomato recipe below calls for tomato puree. I would imagine you could try store bought tomato puree or make you own.

Tomato Paste
Spread thick tomato puree on dry plates or flat granite pans which have been brushed with unsalted fat. As soon as a film forms over the top, loosen the paste with a spatula, and turn it on to a screen covered with cheese cloth. Dry in in the sun or a very slow oven. When it is so dry that it can be handled without sticking, roll it in paraffin paper, fold under the ends of the paper, and store it in a tin box or glass jar.
The paste may be used for soups, sauces, scalloped dishes, etc. Soak it in cold water until it is soft, before adding it to any hot mixture. One teaspoon of the paste makes one cup of soup.
Ed. Note: If you decide to dry them in the sun, make sure to cover them with some sort of netting such as used for shielding mosquitos. Waxed paper is a good substitute for paraffin paper, which by the way, was invented by Thomas Edison. It was first used for wrapping candies:)
This next recipe for Savannah Tomato Soup comes from the Savannah Sampler Cookbook (fifth printing 1981) by Margaret Wayt DeBolt. The recipe was contributed to Favorite Recipes From Savannah Home, 1904 by Mrs. L. M. Le Hardy.
Savannah Tomato Soup
One quart canned tomatoes, 1 pint hot water, 1 tablespoonful sugar, 1 teasponnful salt, 4 cloves, 4 peppercorns (or 1 salt spoon white pepper), 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoonful chopped onion, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, 1 tablespoonful cornstarch. Put tomatoes water, sugar, salt, cloves peppercorns on to boil. Put butter in a small saucepan, and when it bubbles, put in the onion and parsley. Fry five minutes being careful not to burn it. Add the cornstarch, and when it is well mixed, stir it into the tomatoes. Let it simmer 10 minutes. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Strain, and serve with croutons.

While I was researching for today, I came across a website that suggests the origin of the tomato soup cake recipe may have come from the south. I wish I would have saved the link, didn't. It said something to the effect that people who had little money experimented with what they had. Some of these recipes resulted in desserts such as tomato soup cake and perhaps, mayonnaise cake, which we will explore another day:)

Tomato Soup Cake Recipe

I couldn't go off without offering a recipe from this Heinz Tomato Soup die-cut cookbook which is pictured. It is dated 1953 and was published by the Heinz Corporation in Canada. I consider myself quite lucky to have 2 of these die-cuts. The other booklet is pretty much the same except that is is titled Cream of Tomato Soup. It was also published in Canada. The scanned recipe is of course for Tomato Soup Cake:

The final recipe offering I have for today is from The Boston Cooking School Magazine December, 1902. I thought it would be interesting to see a recipe from this time because as we have discovered, tomato soup was still fairly new to the market. James Huckins first offered his canned soup in 1876 and In 1897, Dr. John T. Dorrance, began working for the Joseph Campbell & Co. Dorrance is credited with developing a commercial method for condensing soup by halving the quantity of its heaviest ingredient; water.

Dr. Dorrance made his mark on history with the invention of condensed soup in 1897. By eliminating the water in canned soup, he lowered the costs for packaging, shipping, and storage. This made it possible to offer a 10-ounce can of Campbell’s condensed soup for a dime, versus more than 30 cents for a typical 32-ounce can of soup. The idea became so hot with Americans that in 1922, the company formally adopted "Soup" as its middle name. source

While I was preparing to add the following recipe, I got a phone call from my daughter Michele. When I told her I was posting about tomato soup and also including a recipe for Tomato Soup Cake, her first response was, YUK! We got to talking and after a while she told me a few of her tricks to add "mystery" ingredients to the meals she prepares for her kids. Somehow, we wound up talking about Beet Cake. Her kids are pretty fussy eaters so I guess she figured if she made Chocolate Beet Cake she could get more vitamins into their little bellies. So, if you're wondering why I have included Beet Cake recipes in the resources, she is the reason why:)

Cream Of Tomato Soup: Cook a quart of tomatoes, a tablespoonful of sugar, and a slice of onion with a clove fifteen or twenty minutes. If the tomatoes are very ripe or have been long canned, thus increasing the latent acidity, add 1/4 teaspoonful of soda. Strain and reheat. Make a white sauce of half a cup of butter, 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoonful of salt, a dash of pepper, and 1 quart of milk. Gradually stir one mixture into the other, and serve at once with bread croutons. The acid of the tomato sometimes causes the milk in the white sauce to curdle. When this is feared, add the soda as above.