Tuesday, July 29, 2008

American Kitchen Magazine 1899

Things have gone a bit haywire here in New York since my return from PA on a stormy Sunday drive. It doesn't look like I will be able to post anything until Saturday, August first. While I was in PA, I won the American Kitchen Magazine which I posted about on the anniversary of Mary J. Lincoln's birth at the beginning of the month. I thought I would quickly share some highlights from the magazine.

For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, I'll give you a quick breakdown. Mrs. Mary J. Lincoln was an influential teacher and cookbook author. In addition, she wrote for periodicals, published books, and devised a large amount of advertising pamphlets for food and cooking equipment companies. She is considered one the pioneers of the domestic science movement in the United States. In 1894, Mrs. Mary J. Lincoln co-founded The New England Kitchen Magazine which later became American Kitchen Magazine. As owner and culinary editor of American Kitchen Magazine, she ran a popular syndicated column, "From Day to Day" from 1889 until her death. She was an active member of the New England Woman's Press Association and helped to found a baking powder company which bore her name. The following images and text come from the August 1899 edition of the magazine. (click to enlarge)

At first glance, American Cookery Magazine and American Kitchen Magazine may look similar. In many ways they are. They're about the same size. They offer very few colorized pages and lots of vintage advertisements. In some ways, the content mirrors the other although, American Kitchen offers advertisements woven in reader articles. American Cookery depends more on its reputation. There are, of course, less recipes in The American Kitchen Magazine which contains more "scientific" articles as stated in the sub heading of the magazine, A Domestic Science Monthly published by The Home Science Publishing Company, Boston Mass.

Jamaica Can't Sell Oranges a letter to the Associated Press from Kingston, Jam, says: "Last year, from April to June inclusive, 350 packages of oranges were shipped to England experimentally and were not successful. During the same time the shipments to the United States aggregated 2,415,000 packages...Meanwhile the duty against foreign oranges has gone into operation in the United States, with the startling results that since April only 250 packages of oranges have been shipped to America and none at all to England. Canada has taken 8,050 packages and other countries 42,100, virtually leaving the crop to rot on the ground."

The main article is titled The Organization Of A Home by Dinah Sturgis. Dinah Sturgis was a pen name for Mrs. Belle Armstrong Whitney author of The Art of Dress, and What To Wear and How To Make It a column of the Ladies' Home Journal. (The pictured image for the Bliss Charcoal Stove represents a product which I think was advertised by Caroline F. Baxter who may be Mrs. A. L. Bliss)

There is a good deal of difference between the ideal home and a home that is practicable on a moderate income. The difference varies, however, according to the condition under which the income is received...The value of any income is its purchasing power, but the purchasing power of money varies according to where and by whom it is spent. In some respects, notably in the purchase of clothing, a dollar goes farther in New York city than elsewhere in the country. On the other hand, there is hardly any other place where its purchasing or renting power in real estate is so small. In food more variety is offered in New York than elsewhere in the country, but the retail price for good grades and the ideal home must be supplied with good food in variety averages as high as elsewhere. A dollar in the hands of the shrewd and experienced buyer goes farther than when the buyer is neither experienced nor shrewd...Presuming that the daily income of the family in question is confined to working days, the allowance to rent had better not exceed $3.00 a week. This sum in New York will rent only a flat or tenement in extremely undesirable neighborhoods unless the family lives several miles from the business centre of the city...
We no more live to know than we live to eat. We live to contemplate, enjoy, act, adore; and we may know all that is to be known in this world and all that Satan knows in the other, without being able to do any of these.-Ruskin-

I'm not able to go into detail about the too many more articles but I do want to mention Curious West Indian Eatables by Allan Eric.

...I remember the first time I sat down to supper in Port Antonio, Jamaica, when the pickles were passed to me; and as I was about to help myself liberally, a gentleman next to me cautioned me to partake of them sparingly as they were extremely hot. I had reason to thank my benefactor, for the fiery nature of Jamaica pickles is beyond description. This is because of a liberal use of the little red peppers that grow plentifully in that land. The native pickles are many and varied, and a bottle of mixed pickles is something to study. In them, the place of the cauliflower is supplied by bits of "mountain cabbage" as it is called, which comes from green, sword like spike at the top of the cabbage palm...

I suppose, my favorite article in American Kitchen Magazine (1899), is titled Culinary Customs of the Ancient by Elizabeth Orr Williams. I also had to include this Bayle's Horseradish Mustard ad. I actually saw this ad posted at The Mount Horeb Mustard Museum while I was researching National Mustard Day, August 2, 2008. I hope to be posting by then but, just in case, what do you think???

In all ages since civilization and Christianity began to develop the higher qualities of the human race, open-hearted and generous hospitality has always been esteemed highly honorable, whether it was the offering of couch for sleep or food to eat, or both. In the primitive ages of the world, there were no public inns or taverns. The wandering shepherds of the East received strangers among themselves, a form of hospitality of which modern people are more cautious, but they may harbor a villain disguised as a count-a complete titular humbug...From time immemorial it has been a frequent occurence with people enjoying the bounties of prosperity to give sumptuous dinners...Concerning beverages, it is said that the plebeian classes among the Mohammedans drank water; the rich and noble a beverage called sherbet; ale or beer was also used...The puff-paste of the present time possesses an antiquity by no means to be despised. We learn from the history of Joseph at Pharaoh's court it was the business of the chief of the culinary department to prepare pastry for the monarch's table, and that he did it with great care and fashioned it with a variety of elegant forms...During the Spartan government as conducted by Lycurgus, public meals were organized, so that the extravagance of an expensive cuisine should be suppressed. There had been no limit to the intricate and elaborate culinary preparation for feasts and banquets. Lycurgus ordered that all citizens should sit at the same common table, against which the wealthy classes rebelled. Each person was obliged to furnish every month a bushel of flour, eight measures of wine, five pounds of cheese, two pounds of figs, and a small sum of money for the cooking of the food...The Greeks and Romans were in the habit of taking a light lunch...Their feasts were always appointed at supper time...The hands were always washed before meals, as the food was conveyed from the dish to the mouth with the right hand, a custom which still prevails there. Knives and forks were unknown. Flesh hooks were used, and a separate portion was hooked out to each guest, and he who received two or more portions was considered highly honored. Drink was handed round in separate cups to each guest. The Egyptians, like the modern Orientals, drank after supper, while the servants stood by and obeyed every nod of their master...Throughout all the developments of culinary education in ancient and modern form we discover the same universal gastronomic creed that we must "eat to live" which, however, like many other creeds secular and sacred, is often distorted beyond its particular design by riotous living and undisciplined habits...The food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the air we breathe, make the material trinity of the physical basis of our lives.

I'll spare you the article on the "digestion of starch" which is actually quite interesting and also the article on paprika which I will probably refer to at some later date. The final section I would like to share is the column hosted by Mrs. Lincoln titled Day To Day; department notes, queries and correspondence. She includes recipes for a Gentleman's Dinner with recipes that include Turkish Soup (interesting:) Brain Sauce, and English Ice Pudding, which is made with rice. I have scanned them for you, enjoy:) The seasonable dishes for August include sword fish, spaghetti with tomato, lobster salad and mayonnaise dressing. The dressing recipe takes up to pages so here it is. I guess they made it pretty much the same then as we do now.

Mayonnaise Dressing
Put one teaspoon each of mustard, salt, and powdered sugar, one-eighth teaspoon of paprika, and two raw egg yolks in a saucepan placed in a large pan of ice water. Stir with wooden spoon until egg is thick. Tilt the pan, pour in one tablespoon olive oil, and stir it in gradually. Add oil in larger quantities as you proceed, and stir each portion in thoroughly before adding more. When thick add one teaspoon lemon juice. Use in all one pint oil and two tablespoons each lemon juice and vinegar.

I really wanted to post some carrot cake recipes for Bugs Bunny's birthday which was July 27th but, that's about the time things started going awry here. When I saw this article titled the Carrot Cure, I just couldn't resist.

Not long ago an English mother took her daughter to see an eminent physician. Nothing seemed to be the matter with the girl, but she was pale and listless and did not care about doing anything. The doctor, after one consultation, prescribed for her a glass of claret three times a day with her meals. The mother was somewhat deaf, but apparently she heard all he said and bore off her daughter, determined to carry out the prescription to the very letter.
In ten days they were back again, and the girl looked a different creature. She was the picture of health, rosy and smiling, and the doctor congratulated himself on his keeness of insight.
"I am glad to see that your daughter is so much better," said he. "Yes," exclaimed the excited and grateful mother, "thanks to you, doctor! she has eaten carrots three times a day and sometimes oftener-once or twice uncooked-and now look at her!"

Hopefully, everything will calm down in time for Shredded Wheat Day (not really an official holiday anywhere else) but, according to my notes, Henry D. Perky and William H. Ford, of Watertown, NY, received a patent for a "Machine for the Preparation of Cereals for Food" (the economic reduction of cereals in the grain state to desirable forms of food without detracting from their natural nutritious qualities and virtue and for the better preparation of the same for more convenient and general use"); on August 1, 1893. If I don't make it in time to share a wonderful Shredded Wheat booklet, I will post for Mustard Day on Saturday. I hope you enjoyed American Kitchen Magazine. I may look for more of them but I think I would rather concentrate on finishing my American Cookery Magazine collection first.


  • 1. The Home Science Cook Book | by Mary J. Lincoln and Anna Barrows

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Peaches 'N Cream

Ice cream that is...Some sites say August is National Peach Month but this proclamation states July was designated as National Peach Month back in 1982. Oh, I don't know, here a peach there a peach everywhere a peach peach. Who cares as long as we all recognize the delights and benefits of peaches! But wait, where there may be some confusion as to when National Peach Month is, no one will argue when you mention July is National Ice Cream Month. So, dessert lovers' that we are, let's mix 'em up and see what we get.


According to the California peach growers website, Because the fresh season is so short, California Cling Peaches harvested during the summer are hand-picked at the peak of flavor and ripeness and preserved at the cannery within hours to seal in the flavor and nutrients for use all year! Well, that statement fits right in with this small recipe booklet 20 Easy New Peach Recipes because, it was published by the California Canned Peaches Association, I'm guessing probably in the 1940s. It doesn't appear they have changed their motto much as I also found this modern claim that attests to "canned fruits are fresher than you think." Honestly, I don't want to get into the politics of peaches. IMHO, fresh is usually better. When it comes to peaches though I prefer canned. I dislike peach fuzz. There are literally bushels filled with peach recipes everywhere on the net. I'm just going to include these two scanned recipes because, and I think you will agree, the drawings made me smile. Both recipes, the peach sherbet and peach velvet cream include gelatin as an ingredient. For those who would prefer a refreshing recipe using in season peaches, Kevin over at Closet Cooking has an inspiring recipe for Peach Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Canned Peach Recipes

Ice Cream

It's hard to find anyone, young or old, who doesn't like ice cream. In fact, for many of our grandparents, ice cream was the first taste experience they had in America because the commissioner of Ellis Island insisted that ice cream be part of every immigrant's first meal. Ice cream was a personal favorite of George Washington. Thomas Jefferson, who first tasted ice cream in Paris, returned home with a French version of a hand churned ice cream maker and served the frozen dessert at all of his dinner parties. And, we all know how popular ice cream was when Dolly Madison was hostess at the White House. Prior to 1843, ice cream making was a long and cumbersome process. In 1843, a woman by the name of Nancy Johnson invented the basic hand-churn machine that is sometimes still used today. The hand-cranked churn, which used ice and salt for cooling, replaced the pot-freezer method. She was issued patent number 3254 on September 9, 1843 for a Artificial Freezer. A similar device was patented in 1848 by a Mr William Young, who called his invention the "Johnson Patent Ice Cream Freezer." It seems, she sold her rights to William Young for just $200. After a few trips on the web, I must admit, ice cream has all sorts of legends. I say, let's just accept it for what it is, a creamy sweet indulgence, and save the toppings for another day. Just in case you do want to see her patent;

To all whom it may concern:

Be: it known that I, NANCY M. JOHNSON, of the city of Philadelphia; and State of Pennsylvania have invented a new and useful Improvement in the Art: of Producing Artificial Ices, and that the following is a full and exact description of the machinery for carrying into effect the said improvement. patent

I suppose the most daunting task for us, when it comes to ice cream, is finding the perfect flavor. The variety is astounding! Yes, we all scream for ice cream and other frozen desserts as well. First, I would like to offer a recipe for old fashioned ice cream from a booklet titled Old Fashioned Ice Cream Recipes published by Bear Wallow Books in 1989.

No modern commercial ice cream machine has yet been invented that can produce the superior taste and texture of old-fashioned hand churned ice cream. Our most memorable picture of old-time ice cream is that of the American farmer sawing ice from frozen ponds and creeks in dead of winter, hauling huge ice hunks by oxen to little huts built ashore. The ice was then covered with sawdust to help insulate it against the coming summer heat. And so it became traditional all over the countryside to hold ice cream suppers and socials. The women baked cakes and other pastries all day long and made tub after tub piled high with ice cream for the occasion.

Here's the Scoop! This small un-assuming booklet is worth its weight in cream. I would like to include here a recipe for Peach Custard Ice Cream. Yes, my friends the crème de la crème indulgence for the month of July. Here goes...

Fresh Peach Custard Ice Cream
Step 1 Place 3 cups freshly sliced peaches in a bowl (non metallic) and gently toss with 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Set aside.
Step 2 Scald 2 cups of milk in the top of a double boiler. (Be careful not to boil milk) In a medium bowl beat 3 egg yolks with 1 cup sugar and 1/4 tsp salt. Let scalded milk cool a few minutes, then pour it into the egg mixture and stir. Pour this combined mixture back into the double boiler and cook over medium heat until mixture will coat a spoon. Let mixture cool. Stir in 2 cups light cream and 4 teaspoons vanilla extract. Pour mixture into freezing can of your ice cream freezer and follow manufacturer's directions.
Step 3 Churn mixture until approximately half frozen, Then stir peaches into ice cream mixture. Continue with churning (freezing).

My darling grandson, Noah, can't eat ice cream so for him and others who would like to try something on the lighter side, I have scanned a few recipes. Fresh Peach Ice, Pineapple Ice and Raspberry Ice for your enjoyment.

1. Making Ice Cream Without A Machine
2. Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
3. White Mountain Ice Cream Maker
4. Homemade Peaches 'N Cream Ice Cream
5. Malt Honey Ice Cream (An unusual recipe from Manuela over @ Baking History)
6. Old-Fashioned Recipe Cookbooks (Bear Wallow Books)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Moon Day Recipes

Small bright herbs on the banks of the stream;
Moon pale primroses and tapestries of fern;
This is reality, and life is just a dream-
Iridescent bubbles that the moon tides turn.
-Helen Hay Whitney-

The Story of When We First Left Earth

On July 20Th of each year, we gather to commemorate the wondrous accomplishments achieved by the Human Beings of Planet Earth...Of all the formal holidays celebrated by the people of Earth, few, if any, recognize the peaceful and productive technological achievements accomplished by human beings as individuals, or as a species. The Story of When We First Left Earth (come back for the Moon Day recipes:)

"...I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important in the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish..." President John F. Kennedy (1961)

When President John F. Kennedy announced, "We will go to the moon in this decade," it was the beginning of the The Apollo Space program and the journey to put the first man on the moon. An estimated 600 million people from all corners of the world watched the first manned mission to land on the Moon on July 20, 1969. During their 2 hours 31 minutes outside the lunar module, the two men planted the United States flag, collected 49 lbs. of lunar rocks and soil, and deployed scientific equipment to study the solar wind and measure seismic tremors in the moon's interior and on its surface.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. The countdown, the blast off, the cheers. Hold your breath The "Eagle" has landed. (The Lunar Module was nicknamed the "Eagle") Neil Armstrong, stepped off of the Eagle's ladder, placed one foot upon the lunar surface and proclaimed: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind". There was nothing like it built before, perhaps, nothing like it ever again. As many of you may already know, I grew up on Long Island in the state of New York. Thousands of Long Islanders worked to build the lunar command module "Columbia" that carried Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin to their moon landing. (Michael Collins remained in space.) Six of the 13 lunar modules were built by Grumman. In the mid-1960's, it seemed everyone had a parent, relative or friend who worked at Grumman.

Moon Day Recipes

Today, on this historic anniversary, I would like to share some recipes from a spiral cookbook titled the Out of This World Cook Book published for The Cocoa Beach Woman's Club; Cocoa Beach Florida in 1973. From the introduction:
The Outer of This World Cook Book is dedicated to all those who have had a part in the Space Program on the Ground, or in Outer Space, or on the Sidelines. It includes the wives who have served meals at odd hours to husbands who have worked odd hours, and all those who have served meals to the many V.I.P.s and friends who descended on the Space Coast for every launch.
"To make an apple pie from scratch,"
"you first must create the universe."
Carl Sagan

According to Dennis Sanders in his book titled Famous Firsts, "The first meal eaten on the moon by Armstrong and Aldrin before their moonwalk was 4 bacon squares, 3 sugar cookies, peaches, pineapple grapefruit drink and coffee." How's this for a taste of space? "The first American astronaut to eat in space dined on applesauce squeezed from a no-frills, aluminum toothpaste-like tube." Yep, that's directly from the NASA website. How 'bout this for a little moon dust? Do you know who gave American astronauts the first space age beverage? His name was William A. Mitchell. Although, we may not know much about him, I'm sure you all are familiar with some of his inventions. Cool Whip, quick set Jell-O, powdered egg whites for cake mix, Pop Rocks, and drum roll... Tang! John Glen was the first to experience the unappealing food paste squeeze. The toothpaste like tube had to go directly into his mouth with, get this, his helmet on. Through the years, the food experts at NASA have made dining in space much more palatable. Nutrition, packaging preparation, and planning have all benefited from the use of advanced technology.
Speaking of costs-one thing the housewife will be surprised to hear, is the fact that feeding an astronaut is becoming less expensive with each flight. On Gemini flights, it cost about $300.00 a day to feed one astronaut. Apollo crew costs came down to below $200.00 and they hope to feed Sky-Lab crews for about $75.00 a man, a day. Out of This World Cook Book (1977 ed.)

Foods flown on space missions are researched and developed at the Space Foods Systems Lab in Houston. Foods are analyzed through nutritional analysis, sensory evaluation, storage studies, packaging evaluations and many other methods. Since the Apollo flights of the early seventies, interest in growing plants in space has increased. Apollo investigations and of horticultural research, have strengthened the possibility of eventually growing crops inside space bases. source

Cosmic Cuisine has also left its imprint in history. Former NASA astronaut John Watts Young, who walked on the moon in 1972, was scolded for smuggling a corned beef sandwich onto a spacecraft during the Apollo 16 mission. His crumbs, floating posed a risk to the craft's sensitive machinery. Famous astronomer Dr. Carl Sagan (quoted above) often used apples in his analogies and explanations throughout his series Cosmos. He also had a favorite recipe which you will find the link for below.

I could only find one recipe in the Outer This Wold Cook Book that remotely sounded freeze dried, which was another popular method of providing for the space food diet. Gee, I wonder if that was the beginning of freeze dried coffee. I'll look into it. In the meantime, picking recipes to post for moon day was not easy. I made up my mind I wanted to include astronaut recipes only, but oddly enough, there weren't that many. It seems Michael Collins focuses his moonbeams on Sweet & Sour Meatballs. The recipe was contributed by his sister. Soupsong has another favorite recipe of his, Freeze Dried Potato Soup. Here's the Sweet and Sour Meatball recipe.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
2 lb. ground round steak
1/2 c. milk
1 slice day old bread
1 egg
2 tsp. salt
dash of pepper, garlic powder
1 can beef bouillon
1 can pineapple chunks, drained (reserve liquid)
1/2 c. sugar
2 tbs. soy sauce
1/4 c. wine vinegar
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Accent
Mix and make into walnut sized balls. In skillet, heat 2 tbs. peanut or safflower oil. Roll balls into hot oil, shaking pan to avoid sticking. Cook just enough to brown. Sauce: Simmer all sauce ingredients about 15 minutes. Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch into pineapple juice. Slowly stir into simmering sauce. Cook 3-5 minutes, until smooth and thickened. Add meat balls. Serve in chafing dish.

Looks like Buzz Aldrin also enjoyed his beef in those days. His wife contributed a recipe for his favorite; Pot Roast in Bourbon. Here's the introduction to the recipe with, the recipe.

Mrs. Aldrin sent this as one of her husband's (Buzz Aldrin, Astronaut and second man on the moon) favorite recipes. Joan Aldrin claims that an added bonus is that during cooking, the kitchen smells heavenly. She also notes: "This can also be a marinade for a less expensive cut of meat which you want to barbecue outdoors. Let meat set in it (any kind of barbecuing beef) in the refrigerator overnight, and use it during cooking. Just brush it on. I have never done this, but why not the basis for a good old fashioned stew!

I decided to scan the Pot Roast recipe and offer one more recipe which I thought was kinda cool. At first, I was going to include the recipe for Astronaut Fruit Cake, which I happened to whiz by online ("...a fruitcake so nutritionally complete that a 6-ounce serving provides a third of the daily nutrient and 2,500-a-day calorie requirements for each astronaut.") The book notes the recipe was scaled down by the U.S. Army Laboratories in Massachusetts. It makes about 2 pounds and like so many other fruitcakes, it can be baked in coffee cans but, it won't be Astronaut Fruit Cake unless you follow that recipe link:) Also bookmarked, was a recipe for Boston Cream Pie contributed by Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, mother of the late President John Kennedy, for whom the space center was named but, I found a version of the Kennedy Boston Cream Pie recipe also online. The recipe I finally chose is for Grits Casserole. Yes, I know there are casseroles full of grits casserole online but none plated up like this one.

Dorothy Duke wrote, "I'm sending you a recipe for a delicious grits casserole-since grits was first carried to the moon by Charlie. Being a South Carolinian, he is fond of grits and asked NASA dietitians to prepare it for him for Apollo 16." This is a favorite of Astronaut Charles Duke.

Grits Casserole
Cook 1 cup grits in 4 cups boiling water, according to package instructions. When done add 1 stick butter 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese. Mix until both are melted, add 1/2 cup milk and stir. Let mixture cool a little and add 4 egg yolks, 1 at a time. Mix. In a separate dish, beat 4 egg whites until foamy, but not stiff. Fold into grits. Bake in shallow (2 inches high) well greased baking dish at 325 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until puffed high and lightly browned.

It was the Astronaut who told me,
The moon is not made of green cheese
So pass me some Swiss, Edam, or Brie
From our good planet Earth, if you please.

Another southern favorite is the Moon Pie. Don't know what a Moon Pie is, well, it's sorta like a Scooter Pie but, not really, maybe it's more like a Whoopie Pie, no, anyway, there's a link with the history below. (I've bought Moon Pies in Cracker Barrel Restaurants) Okay, I need to provide one more recipe from the book and also the above poem. I couldn't scan it because it appeared on two pages so, here goes the recipe for Saturn Eggs (with satellites!) I would also like to bring your attention to another novel recipe I found over by Jenn, the Leftover Queen. (she also is mistress of the Foodie Blog Roll) Her recipe for Spaceship Squash Fritters would make a wonderful addition to a Moon Day celebration. For Moon Day entertainment, may I suggest you take a leap over to Kitchen Retro. Lidian shares her Moon Day memories with an added 44 calorie bonus treat.
Saturn Eggs
4 large eggs
4 slices bread
1 tbs. Parmesan cheese
4 tbs. butter
salt and pepper
Lay the bread slices flat on a hard surface, and using a 10 ounce highball glass as a cookie cutter, remove the centers, saving, saving them (your satellites) to be used later. In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons butter (approx. 350 degrees) and then place the bread in the pan until the down side is brown. (At this point, put satellites into the toaster to serve with your planets, either butter them or serve with Parmesan.) flip the slices over and put 1/4 of the remaining butter in each crater (hole). Next, crack an egg into each crater, and dash a little salt and pepper on each egg. Cover the skillet and reduce heat slightly. When yolks are still slightly "quivery", sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon Parmesan cheese on each planet. Cover again until cheese melts. Remove and serve immediately. Ed Note: I always thought eggs prepared like this were called Toads in the Hole:)

Apollo Space Program Memories

Not Everyone over the age of fifty remembers where they were in July, 1969. Where Were You? It dawned on me that some visitors may have been too young or dare I say, not of this Earth yet. So, I've gather a few memory links for the new generations. I thought it might be more enticing to include their introductions.

Apollo: A Look Back
The Apollo Program is already in the books as a historic event of the last century, and is starting to fade from the memories even of those who lived through it. I was one of those, and better yet, was a participant, though only an Earth-bound one. My memories are still vivid, and I would like to share them with the new generations...read
Steven Brockerman
One million people were there that day. They were camped out in tents on the beaches, strewn along the banks of the Indian River, gathered along highways US 1 and AIA. Every motel and private residence overflowed with visitors who had come from every state in the Union and from every continent on the planet... read
Reminiscing About July 20, 1969
So many of us remember right where we were when certain historic events took place: such as the assassination of President Kennedy, the resignation of Richard Nixon, or the landing of the first person on the Moon. But wait a minute. People under 20 weren't even alive when that momentous occurrence took place...
1969 marked an entire generation
In July of 1969, I was 8 years old. My parents, younger sister, and I were spending our first summer in our new house, which we had moved into the previous April. Though I lack any specific memories, I suppose I was enjoying a typical child's summer filled with swings and bicycles, lemonade and watermelon, fireflies and hide-and-seek. And there was the moon, which was why this was no typical child's summer...read
  • 1. Milestones of Flight (read more at the Smithsonian images also)
  • 2. Apollo 11...39 years and counting...
  • 3. When the Island Took the Ride to the Moon (New York Times 2004)
  • 4. Space History
  • 5. Dining in Space
  • 6. Dr. Sagan's Apple Pie Recipe (on flickr)
  • 7. Forty Years Ago (7-20-09)
  • 1. What is a Moon Pie?
  • 2. Moon Rock Cookies (No Bake)
  • 3. The History of the Great American MoonPie
  • 4. Divided Sky Pie
  • 5. White Moon Cake
  • 6. Hungarian Moon Cookies
A few books I found.
The First Men on the Moon; The Story of Apollo 11 by David M. Harland
In the evening, Lew Hartzell served a dinner of broiled sirloin steak and buttered asparagus for the crew, their backups, the members of their support crew, and Deke Slayton. The three astronauts then chatted with their wives by telephone, and retired at 10 pm...
First ManThe Life of Neil A. Armstrong By James R. Hansen
No tailgate party at any Southeastern Conference football game could match the summer festival preceding the first launch for a Moon landing. Sunglassed spectators dressed in Bermuda shorts or undressed in bikinis, even at this early hour firing up barbecue grills, opening coolers of beer and soda pop, peering through binoculars and telescopes, testing camera angles and lenses -- people filled every strand of sand, every oil-streaked pier, every fish-smelling jetty...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

'Honey Bearing Reeds'

Cookies, cakes, and pies remain the most popular treats among most Americans. As a matter of fact, a recent survey suggests, few Americans regularly skip dessert. They enjoy dessert at least once a week with most indulging two or three times a week. Favorites include chocolate chip cookies, vanilla ice cream, and apple pie. Why? Simple...Sugar. Fact is, we like foods that give us that sweet taste sensation that only sugar can satisfy. Bakeries, chocolatiers, ice cream makers and countless other businesses are thrilled that we are born with a preference for sweetness. Even in difficult times, individuals prefer sweet over any of the five basic tastes. To what degree depends on various circumstances. Genetic differences in sweet taste perception, age, culture, social and economic status are just a few. Other compounds such as sugar substitutes may alter perception for those with a sweet tooth but, who can deny the pleasure felt with that first bite of a candy bar? Yes, life is sweet. Foods rich in simple carbohydrates such as sugar are most commonly associated with sweetness. Wars have been fought over sugar, people have been enslaved over sugar and sugar has played a large role in many national economies.

The U.S. sweetener market is the largest and most diverse in the world. The United States is the largest consumer of sweeteners, including high fructose corn syrup, and is one of the largest global sugar importers. The United States ranks among the top sugar producers, and is one of the few countries with significant production of both sugarbeets and sugarcane. USDA

Imagine, if you can, a day without sugar. No bread, rolls, muffins, cookies, pies, cakes, jellies, ready to eat cereals, sauces, flavorings, dressings, syrups, most beverages and most other desserts. Sugar plays such an important part in our daily lives and yet, few of us have ever considered how it all began. Does sugar have a nectareous history? There are references to sugar cane in the Old Testament as "honey bearing reeds," but little else was known. Honey was the most generally used sweetening agent but even honey was so scarce that ancient races longed for "The Promised Land" as "a land flowing with milk and honey." Historically, sugar was first sold with drugs and herbs at apothecary shops. Sugar had multiple roles. Not only was it used as a rare a and prized spice but also as a preservative, a luxury, a medicine, an ingredient for pastry and confections and even as an art form. (Edible sugar sculptures, often made of sugar paste, have been featured at elaborate banquets since the Middle Ages.)

The origin of sugar has been lost in the annals of mythology; however, sugar has been held in such high regard by man that it found a place in his earliest written records. Sugar cane or 'honey bearing reeds' are mentioned in many parts of the Old Testament of the Bible. The Prophet Jeremiah mentions an article of great value as 'sweet cane from a far country'. (interesting source)

The art of making sugar from sugar cane is accredited to the Bengalese in about 400 A.D and information regarding "Indian Salt," as it was called, was brought back to Europe by those few adventurous travelers who had journeyed that far successfully. The knowledge of sugar making spread westward into Arabia, Persia and Egypt. The Crusaders encountered it here during the Middle Ages and small quantities were brought back to European countries as a curiosity for Royalty. Cultivation of sugar cane spread rapidly throughout the world following the explorations and discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The Spanish, the French and the Portuguese all introduced this highly desirable commodity into tropical countries under their control, where humidity and fertility permitted its cultivation. It was introduced into Cuba as early as the sixteenth century, but was not introduced into Louisiana until 1751 by Jesuit priests who carried it from San Domingo. As the practice of taking sugar spread east, it set the stage for the sugar revolution of the seventeenth century.

Sugar became the luxury of kings and queens in the 18th century. As late as 1842, sugar was far to expensive to be considered in any other class than a luxury. An old hand bill printed at the time, listing the prices of food commodities in London, gives the market price of sugar at $2.75 per pound.

Industry Bengal had been a center of trade and commerce, arts and crafts from ancient times. tamralipti, the largest port town of 5th century Bengal is known to have had trade connections with South India, Ceylone (Sri Lanka), Burma (Myanmar), Malaya (Malayasia), Persian Gulf, and the Far East. Main industries developed in the period included textiles, sugar, salt, ivory, and metal work. Arab traders played an important role in establishing trading links between chittagong and the outside world in the 8th century. boat building activities developed in Bengal before the start of the Christian era. The muslin of dhaka earned global fame as early as 325 BC. Bengal has a history of exporting textiles, sugar, salt, and jewelry even before 500 AD. handicrafts also flourished around 600 AD. The manufactures, however, were limited to only a selected group of items for long and their expansion and diversification were slow until the 17th century. source

Sweet Taste of Success

I suppose it's probably a good time to reveal why, all of a sudden, I have this craving to post about sugar. Well, anyone who has ever visited before knows there must be an ulterior motive. There is. You see that little die-cut Dixie Crystals booklet at the top of the page? Yes, the one that reads, The Sweetest Sugar Ever Sold. Well, today, July 17, its company is celebrating an anniversary. Imperial Sugar (Dixie Crystals) first produced refined sugar on July 17, 1917. Although the booklet doesn't inform us of this historical milestone (but it sure does have some sweet recipes) the Dixie Crystal website offers a canister full of information about the history of the Savannah Sugar Refining Corporation which was formed in June of 1916 by Benjamin A. Oxnard. When the company began operation it had 19 million pounds of raw sugar at 5 cents a pound.

During 1915 and 1916, Benjamin Oxnard wanted to set up a sugar refinery on the South Atlantic Coast as his company Adeline saw a series of setbacks. But, gathering funds was not easy for him and when Jim Imbrie agreed to finance his company, he proposed that it be based in Savannah. After consulting his partner, Richard Sprague, he set up Savannah Sugar Refining Corporation in 1916 in Savannah, Georgia. encyclocentral.com

Bitter Sweet

Farinaceous and vegetable foods are fattening, and saccharine matters are especially so….In sugar-growing countries the negroes and cattle employed on the plantations grow remarkably stout while the cane is being gathered and the sugar extracted. During this harvest the saccharine juices are freely consumed; but when the season is over, the superabundant adipose tissue is gradually lost.–Thomas Hawkes Tanner, The Practice of Medicine, 1869

The history of the sugar trade industry, whether it be from the landscapes of foreign lands or right here in our own backyards, is often filled with bitter consequences. Former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass described Louisiana's sugar country as a "life of living death." Sugar was immensely profitable to produce but required large tracts of land and a large labor force for production. For these two reasons, the sugar and slave trade became intimately entwined in the European exploitation of the Atlantic Islands. This exploitation of land, capital, and labor was central to business success and would eventually spread onwards to the Americas. Because so much of the slave trade was done illegally it is difficult to estimate the actual numbers of Africans who were shipped as slaves on European vessels. Some estimate the figures to range in the millions. One source states, "Between 1505 and 1888, approximately 12 million Africans were enslaved and transported to the New World for profit." source

Sugar planting, harvesting, and processing is tiring, hot, dangerous work and requires a large number of workers whose work habits must be intensely coordinated and controlled. From the very beginning of sugar cultivation in the New World, there were not enough European settlers to satisfy the labor requirements for profitable sugar plantations. Native Americans were enslaved to work on the earliest sugar plantations, especially in Brazil. Those who could, escaped from the fields, but many more died due to European diseases, such as smallpox and scarlet fever, and the harsh working conditions on the sugar plantations. A Catholic priest named Bartolomé de las Casas asked King Ferdinand of Spain to protect the Taino Indians of the Caribbean by importing African slaves instead. So, around 1505, enslaved Africans were first brought to the New World. For the next three and a half centuries, slaves of African origin provided most of the labor for the sugar industry in the Americas...

As usual, this post has gone on far longer than I had anticipated. I didn't even get a chance to to tell you a little bit about this wonderful die-cut booklet that's a sugar bowl full of recipes. Although it is undated, I'm thinking that it was probably published sometime during the 1930's. I actually have two die-cut recipe booklets published by Dixie Crystals. I shared a few recipes from the other one way back at the beginning of my "blogging career" for National Cookie Month in October 2007. It too is titled The Cookie Jar. I left a link below if you would like to check it out. The scanned recipes are at the bottom of post. The dessert recipe I have chosen today is called Candy Crisp.

Candy Crisp
1/2 c. Dixie Crystals Light Brown Sugar
2 tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. drained sour pitted cherries
1/8 tsp. salt
Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt with cherries. Place in 8 inch pie plate. Prepare topping by mixing 1 cup Dixie Crystals light brown sugar with 1/2 cup flour, and 4 tablespoons of butter or margarine. Mix until crumbly and put on top of cherry mixture. Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) about 40 minutes. Note: Canned apples may be substituted for cherries if preferred.

I wouldn't say The Cookie Jar has any "new" or inspiring recipes but it is quite novel and is darned with colorful pictures. The following scanned recipes for uncooked fudge, pulled candy mints and peanut brittle appear on the last page of the book and are accompanied by a simple image. (click to enlarge) And, before I forget, the picture at the top of the page is actually the back of this cookie jar shaped booklet. Enjoy!


  • 1. Shaping Food Preference and Taste of Young Children
  • 2. How Sugar Changed the World
  • 3. History of Dixie Crystals
  • 4. Sugar and Slavery: Molasses to Rum to Slaves
  • 5. How Sugar is Made - the History
  • 6. 124 Ways Sugar Can Ruin Your Health
  • 7. Sugar substitutes—Stevia, Honey, Rapadura, Maple Syrup
  • 8. The Bittersweet History of Sugar Substitutes (New York Times 1987)
  • 9. The Edible Monument
  • 10. History of Sugar Cream Pie
  • 11. Food Network with Sugar Rush
  • 12. Cookie Month (cookie jar cookbook)

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Nathan, Nathan, Why you Waitin

Nathan's Hot Dog Cookbook

Grab yourself a red hot and let's get ready to celebrate National Hot Dog Month! That's right folks. July is National Hot Dog Month! I know, I probably should have mentioned it at the before, but frankly, I thought everyone knew. It wasn't until Manuela over at Baking History left a comment that she didn't know July was National Blueberry Month, that I realized maybe all these monthly food holidays aren't known to everyone. I can certainly understand why, there are just so many of them especially in July. Today, however, we are celebrating Nathan's Hot Dogs.


Nathan'a Hot Dog Cookbook ©1968

Although Nathan Handwerker and his historic hot dog stand snuggle quite comfortably in the history of hot dogs in America, Nathan Handwerker did not invent the hot dog. No, the formal introduction of the frankfurter in America is another debatable food legend that this girl does not want to touch with a ten foot hot dog roll. I'm going to leave that discussion up to the expert over at What's Cooking America. What I would like to share is my Nathan's Hot Dog Cookbook because, July 14 marks the day that Nathan Handwerker was born in 1882. (Ed Note: some websites list June 14th as his date of birth but the Nathan's website says July 14th so I'm going with it.) Published in 1968, Nathan's Hot Dog Cookbook allows us a glimpse into the history of Nathan's Famous of Coney Island, New York. The book is written by Murry Handwerker who was the son of Ida and Nathan Handwerker the founders of Nathan's Famous, Inc. As of the writing of this book, "Nathan's is the world's largest and most renowned "Hot Dog" mart. It sells eight million franks a year and was the first to use the noble frankfurter in gourmet food treats."

There may be a cast of doubt on who actually "invented" the hot dog, but there is no doubt that Coney Island pioneer Charles Feltman and his Feltman's Restaurant brought the frankfurter to new heights. Here's a little excerpt from the Nathan's Hot Dog Cookbook.

When we speak of the modern hot dog, we refer to the frankfurter wrapped in a bun or roll. Its birth place was Coney Island and its inventor was Charles Feltman, who came to our Cote D'Azur for the masses from his native Frankfurt (hence the name "frankfurter"). Feltman sold pies from a little wagon which he drove up and down Coney Island's rustic trails. In 1867, two nearby inns began to serve hot sandwiches for lunch and Feltman became alarmed at the competition. He decided he'd better serve hot sandwiches too...Feltman's wagon was small and there was no room for elaborate cooking. Furthermore, he did not want to cook anything that would require long preparation or delicate seasoning. He finally hit on the idea of rigging up a small charcoal stove to boil frankfurters and then wrap them in toasted rolls.

As the story goes, Nathan Handwerker visited Coney Island in 1915. Although he was already a manager of a modest restaurant in downtown Manhattan, he decided to take a job at Feltman's Coney Island Stand shortly before WWI. In his new position, Handwerker was assigned the duties of roll slicer and part time delivery boy. I think it is important to realize, Coney Island was then a popular resort for all types of people. It was one of the world's largest and finest amusement areas. It had three amusement parks, beaches, arcades, sideshows, shooting galleries, restaurants, and saloons.

Nathan Handwerker was a Polish immigrant who had arrived penniless in New York only four years earlier when Jimmy Durante and Eddie Cantor implored him to start his own hot dog business. He was working part-time as a delivery boy for the Max's Busy Bee eatery making $4.50 a week. On Sunday afternoons he moonlighted at Coney Island dishing out Charles Feltman's famed 10-cent franks. He decided to take the advice of his show-business friends...Handwerker took his life savings of $300 and with his new bride, Ida, opened a small open-front stand on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues. He laced his hot dogs with Ida's secret spice recipe...(source)

Nathan Handwerker and his wife Ida opened their new storefront in a weathered clapboard 8-foot by 25-foot building at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues, one block from the beach, where they installed a basic 20 foot walk-up counter and a large red sign proclaiming five cent hot dogs. Ida developed a spicy recipe that used all beef and lots of garlic. Frankly, the high quality which Nathan's has always been famous for, didn't mean a thing to the board walkers. They were skeptic. How could one stand be selling hot dogs for 10 cents while another is selling for 5 cents. "There must be something wrong with the cheaper hot dogs" they thought. But, that was only part of the problem. You see, Coney Island was a mass of attractions and food stands. How would one notice a red sign that merely said Five Cent Hot Dogs. First, Nathan hired a bunch of men to be portrayed as doctors complete with lab coats and stethoscopes. (some say they were derelicts who he first sat at the counter eating hot dogs.) They made a great show of eating the five-cent franks. People started to think the hot dogs must be good. After all, the "doctors" were eating them and Nathan had erected a sign that said"If doctors eat our hot dogs, you know they're good! Now, it was time to come up with a name.

Nathan toyed with the idea of calling it "Handwerker's Hot Dogs" but that was too long for his sign. Providence in the form of "Tin Pan Alley" then provided a bright idea. At that time, a song called "Nathan, Nathan, Why you Waitin'?" became enormously popular. Dad decided that since Nathan was his real first name and the song was popularizing that name, he would call his place "Nathans" (The Famous came a bit later.)

Last Stop Coney Island!

Nathan'a Hot Dog Cookbook ©1968

The secret of Nathan's success is probably no more complex than the quality of his product. Naturally, one must take in to account the promotional tactics used by Nathan Handwerker. Take for instance the Famous Nathan's 12 minute hot dog eating contest which debuted in 1916 the very year Nathan's opened. It quickly became a crowd pleaser and a catchy newspaper headline. As a matter of fact, I read this year's winner was Joey Chestnut. It's likely, one of the most influential events that added to the success of Nathan's was the extension of the New York subway system in early 1920s. Up until then, the crowds were mainly middle and upper class visitors. The five cent subway brought access to many poor residents and newly arrived immigrants who could now leave the sweltering hot city for the seaside resort. Location, location, location, the subway station was right across the street from Nathan's. (Because the subway ride to the resort cost only five cents, the Island came to be called the "Nickel Empire.")

Every weekend, thousands of visitors disembarked right in front of Nathan's counter. Soon, there were 50 employees and lines of hungry Coney Island hot dog eating customers. "Nathan's sold an average of 75,000 hot dogs every summer weekend. In addition, the restaurant sold hundreds of gallons of root beer, Coca-Cola, and malted milk shakes." During the 1920s and 1930s, Nathan's Famous became truly famous. Politicians, sports figures, and celebrities often were photographed eating Nathan's hot dogs. Nathan's famous hot dogs became a Mecca for any visitor to the city. The Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Cook Book lists quite a few of them by name.

...From its main base in Coney Island or from its units in Oceanside, LI and Yonkers, NY Nathan's air expresses its products to hot dog and salami lovers the world over. These overseas Nathan's fans include U.S. servicemen stationed abroad, but they also include such world figures as Princess Grace of Monaco and Britain's Queen Mother Elizabeth, who first came into contact with a Nathan's hot dog at the memorable Hyde Park picnic of 1939, hosted for her and the late King George by President and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt...When Barbra Streisand held her closing night party in London following her triumphant run in funny Girl, she had it catered by Nathan's from 3,000 miles away...

The Recipes

Perhaps, you thought I was joking when I wrote "Grab yourself a red hot peanut butter hot dog and get ready to celebrate National Hot Dog Month! I wasn't. It seems that there was a peanut butter hot dog craze recently sweeping a town in Pennsylvania. Now, I'm quite a few miles away from Du Bois so I don't know this for fact but if you would like to read the article, the link is below. It just happened to catch my eye because oddly enough, there is a recipe in the cookbook for Peanut Butter Hot Dogs. Granted, it is in the chapter labeled Hot Dogs for Children but, you should know by now, I just couldn't resist including it especially since I didn't find a similar recipe online.

Boil 8 hot dogs in a cup of water for 5 minutes. Cover and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, spread 8 tablespoons of peanut butter on cut surface of 8 hot dog rolls toasted. Place a hot dog on each peanut-buttered roll. Serves 4-8

If you are planning a Moon Day celebration on July 20th, you may find this recipe useful. I thought it was rather interesting especially since this book was written before the first humans landed on the moon in 1969. It's called, Astronauts' Delight.

Astronauts' Delight
8 hot dogs
3 dill pickles
1 onion, chopped
1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted
1 c. canned tomato sauce
1 c. water
2 tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tbs. vinegar
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 head cabbage
Cut hot dogs in 2 pieces and pickles into 1 inch chunks. Thread a piece of hot dog lengthwise on a skewer, then a pickle chunk, then another chunk of hot dog. Broil over hot coals. Mix together all the other ingredients except the head of cabbage. Brush the skewers with this sauce as they cook. To serve, stick skewers into cabbage head. Pass remaining sauce. Serves 4
Nathan'a Hot Dog Cookbook ©1968

Have FUN! and ENJOY! Hot Dog Month!

1. National Hot Dog Month Trivia Quiz
2. Nathan's Famous Facts
3. Nathan's Comes to Long Island
4. "Everybody comes to Nathan's."
5. Nathan's the man behind the brand
6. Peanut butter hot dog craze sweeping Du Bois

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blueberry Heights

Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!
And all ripe together, not some of them green
And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!

Robert Frost

Mark your calendar, July is National Blueberry Month! Before we begin today's post, I would like to share just a small portion of a story I discovered in American Cookery Magazine; June/July 1918. The title of the article is Blueberry Heights by Mary L. Gordon.
Sometime in July, after the excitement of the Fourth has passed, you will meet, on our country roads, teams of various description, suggesting, by sundry baskets, pails, and bags of hay, a mobilization of some sort, industrial or pleasure seeking. A team, it should be explained, means in New England anything from a 'one-horse buggy to a four-in-hand, and in this connection will, more often than not, consist of one horse and a two-seated surrey, or beach wagon...Passing these leisurely travelers with friendly nods and greeting, come automobiles frequently "manned" entirely by women, but bound apparently on similar errands, or possibly pursuing the same business on more extended lines. For our remotest wilds are no longer safe from the ubiquitous motor car that brings distant mountain summits within the limit of a day's excursion. However diverse their points of destination, the object of all these parties is the same. They are going blueberrying.

Picking wild blueberries is a delightful experience. Blueberries are native to North America. As a matter of fact, North America is the world's leading blueberry producer. The blueberry harvest runs from mid-April through early October. Blueberry season reaches its peak harvest time in July which is also known as National Blueberry Month. National Blueberry Month was proclaimed by the Secretary of of Agriculture in July 1999.
There appears to be much confusion about the difference between blueberries and huckleberries since the words are used interchangeably. Generally speaking, the lighter berries are called blueberries while the darker, blackish ones are called huckleberries. Outside of New England, they are often lumped together as huckleberries. Another physical difference lies in the seeds. Blueberries have tiny, unnoticeable seeds whereas huckleberries have ten hard seed like "nutlets." Huckleberries are wild but blueberries are also cultivated for commercial use.

There are approximately 30 different species of blueberries with different ones growing throughout various regions. For example, the Highbush variety can be found throughout the Eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida, the Lowbush variety throughout the Northeast and Eastern Canada, and the Evergreen variety throughout states in the Pacific Northwest...While blueberries played an important role in North American Indian food culture, being an ingredient in pemmican, a traditional dish composed of the fruit and dried meat, they were not consumed in great amounts by the colonists until the mid-19th century. This seems to be related to the fact that people did not appreciate their tart flavor, and only when sugar became more widely available as a sweetener at this time, did they become more popular...Blueberries were not cultivated until the beginning of the 20th century, becoming commercially available in 1916. Cultivation of blueberries was spearheaded by a botanist at the United States Department of Agriculture who pioneered research into blueberry production. His work was forwarded by Elizabeth White, whose family established the first commercial blueberry fields. source
There's much ado about the nutritional value of blueberries which I find rather fascinating. The fact that they have recently been labeled "superfruits" is rather amusing to me since there is numerous documentation attesting to their vast nutritional "powers" through the ages. Since there is so much information available online, I'd rather explore blueberries as an old Native American food. I did leave some resources below. The story of cultivated blueberries in the United States begins with the southern New Jersey village of Whitesbog and a woman by the name of Elizabeth Coleman White.
She grew up on her father's cranberry farm in the New Jersey Pine Barrens and developed her interest in commercial agriculture as a girl. In 1911, White became interested in blueberry propagation and, using the resources of her family farm in Whitesbog, collaborated with Federick Coville to develop a commercial blueberry from wild varieties, a goal that was achieved in 1916.

Native American Blueberries

Wild Blueberries were a major food supply for many Native American tribes for centuries before the colonists arrived. They used the tiny blue berries, both fresh and dried, for their flavor, their nutrition and their healing qualities. They also sun dried them in large amounts which offered a valuable food source used in stews, soups, cooked with ground corn and sweetened with maple syrup or honey, and made into a type of jerky with deer meat, which helped many survive the long, cold winters. The blossom end or calyx of each berry forms the shape of a perfect five pointed star. Native Americans called it the 'star berry', and the elders of the tribe often told stories of how the Great Spirit brought the 'star berries' so that the children could relieve their hunger during a famine. Back to our story from American Cookery.
...the blueberry is a pioneer, loving the wild, free places on earth, bleak hillsides, lonely mountain tops, cold bogs and swampy levels, rocky pastures, clearings, burned districts of the plain. Wherever fire and the axe have laid waste, there you will find the blueberry following, as the Red Cross follows the smoke of the battle, laboring with sweet fern, and scrub oak to redeem the land until maple and oak, and birch and poplar, can replace the pines that went up in smoke. It is the natural agent of reclamation; a repairer of the breach; a binder up of wounds; spreading over the fields of ruin a delicate mantle of protection, veiling their desolation from sight, healing burns and bruises, dressing battle scars with aseptic covering. At the same time, from those very scars, the shrub itself draws new vigor, putting forth leaf and blossom and fruit in fresh luxuriance. For three seasons after a fire one usually finds an abundant crop of berries, provided frosts have not killed the blossoms...
A favorite dish of the Native Americans during colonial times was Sautauthig (pronounced saw'-taw-teeg), a simple pudding made with dried, crushed blueberries, dried, cracked corn (or samp), and water. It was a type of blueberry cornmeal mush. The Pilgrims loved Sautauthig and many historians believe that it was part of the first Thanksgiving feast.
Native Americans have always used many species of berry. The Hopi called blueberries 'moqui' a term which meant spirits of the ancestors. Many tribes used dried berries to make puddings or smoked them to preserve them for use in the months of cold and scarcity. Pemmican was a combination of dried buffalo meat, fat and wild berries which the Native Americans used to barter with the fur trading companies. Explorers Lewis and Clark shared a meal of meat pounded with blueberries with Native Americans while in the Northwest Territory. Pemmican was a brilliant source of nutrition - protein from the meat, vitamins from the berries, and calories (energy) from the fat. source

Blueberry Recipes

Although there are recipes available online for Sautauthig, I thought I would also include a recipe found in The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American by Jeff Smith. He calls his recipe Indian Blueberry Pudding.

Indian Blueberry Pudding
1 lb. blueberries fresh or frozen
4 cups water
1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar or honey to taste
Boil the berries in the water. Drain the juice and set aside. Mash the berries and mix with flour. Combine the sugar or honey with the juice and add to the berry/flour mix. Stir well. If lumps are present add a little more water and continue to stir. Bring to simmer and stir constantly until thick. check for sweetness. Cool and Serve.
Many of the recipes appearing in the pictured book are abundantly available online. I do want to mention one recipe which I know to be quite refreshing which is not included in the booklet. In Sweden, chilled blueberry soup is a popular summer treat that's equally welcome as an appetizer or dessert. Try this recipe for Blueberry Mango Soup from Executive Chef/ Co-Owner Marcus Samuelsson, Aquavit, New York City. I also found a recipe for Norwegian Blueberry Soup here. I also found a recipe for Blueberry Soup with Yogurt which can be made in a blender. Wouldn't it make a wonderful way to start a day? Here it is from The Natural Healing Cookbook (1981; Rodale Press) This recipe makes 4 servings but I'm sure you could make less or more.
Mix 2 cups blueberries, 1/4 cup orange juice, dash of allspice and nutmeg in a blender on low speed. Chill in refrigerator. (maybe do this the night before) To serve, ladle soup into individual blowls and spoon 1/2 cup yogurt into the center of each. Garnish with half a slice of fresh orange.
Another recipe that I wanted to include is for Blueberry Pudding Cake. Although there are quite a few recipes for Blueberry Pudding Cake from one using a pressure cooker to one called Florentine Manor Blueberry Pudding Cake, the one I want to include is from the Maine Jubilee Cookbook (1970) can you tell I'm in PA with all my books:) First because it is a Maine recipe and second because the recipe in this book doesn't contain eggs. Now, almost every recipe I saw online contained at least one egg, perhaps, this is a type, (I don't think so) or perhaps, it just doesn't need an egg. a few of the other recipes I came across had additional spices and most had lemon juice. This one does not.

Blueberry Pudding Cake
2 cups blueberries
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tbs. shortening, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 tbs. cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
Put 2 cups blueberries in the bottom of an 8x8 cake tin. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, shortening, 3/4 cup sugar and milk together and spread over berries. Now mix the 1 cup sugar and cornstarch together and sprinkle over batter in pan. Pour the cup of boiling water over this. Bake at about 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Other fruits such as rhubarb, raspberries, or sliced apples can be deliciously substituted for blueberries. Submitted by Mrs. James McGrath, East Waterboro, Maine
Who says the kids have to go to one of those expensive theme parks this summer. Why shouldn't the whole family have an earthly experience right in their own back yards. I think a great way to celebrate National Blueberry Month would be to go blueberrying or to visit a local blueberry festival or fair. The east coast is certainly filled with its share of festivals and fairs and it isn't to late to celebrate Blueberry Season. I've added a few blueberry festival recipes below. Most of them link to a blueberry festival that is has not passed yet as of this post. I also found a quick and easy  healthy cookie recipe baked by Anna over at Cookie Madness which uses dried blueberries. Bake some up and go blueberrying real soon.
  • 1. Blueberrying (online memory)
  • 2. July is National Blueberry Month
  • 3. It's Blueberry Time Again!
  • 4. Blueberries Facts & Triva @ Food Reference.com
  • 5. Blueberries: Nutrition, Facts, Growth, History
  • 6. Blueberries: A Vital Part of a Healthy Diet
  • Recipes
  • 1. Blueberry Pudding Cake @ Taste of Home
  • 2. How to Make Homemade Blueberry Jelly
  • 3. Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
  • 4. Blueberry Festival Recipes
  • 5. Michigan Blueberry Festival Winning Recipes (PDF)
  • 6. Bake-Off :: Blueberry Recipes
  • 7. Montrose Blueberry Festival Recipes
  • 8. Virginia Blueberry Festival Recipes
  • 9. Pressure Cooker Blueberry Pudding Cake Recipe
  • 10. Florentine Manor Blueberry Pudding
  • 11.Blueberry-Walnut Pesto

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mary J. Lincoln

I took a slight detour on route to this post in celebration of the birth anniversary of Mary J. Lincoln. I stopped off at eBay. I haven't been over to eBay in ages. Let me tell you how I wound up there. Well, you see, as I already mentioned, July 8 is the birth anniversary of one of the most influential nineteenth century teaches and cookbook authors; Mrs. David A. Lincoln (D. A.) Mary Johnson Bailey Lincoln was born on July 8, 1844 in South Attleboro, Massachusetts. You may be more familiar with her as the cited first principal of the Boston Cooking School and the author of Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cook Book: What To Do and What Not To Do in Cooking published in 1883. Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cook Book is said to have "revolutionized cooking in the 19th century." I am the very proud owner of Mrs. Lincoln's Cook Book so, I wasn't dropping by the auction site for that reason. No, I went there in search of another publication edited by Mary J. Lincoln. It's called, American Kitchen Magazine. You see what happened was, as soon as it sunk into this sometimes feeble mind of mine that today was Mrs. Lincoln's birth date, I immediately remembered that I wanted to find an issue of that magazine. As most of my regular visitors know, I am a HUGE fan of American Cookery Magazine, which was previously published as The Boston Cooking School Magazine and I thought it would be interesting to have at least one issue of American Kitchen Magazine. (which was also published as the New England Kitchen Magazine and various other names I think; possibly Home Science Magazine) As one of the true pioneers of household economics there is a wealth of information about her and her infamous cookbook at the Feeding America website which I have included in resources below. Below is a teeny taste:

Mary Lincoln was born in South Attleboro, Massachusetts, the second daughter and one of three children of Sarah Morgan (Johnson) Bailey and the Reverend John Milton Burnham Bailey, who died when Lincoln was seven. She contributed to the family income from an early age, sewing hooks and eyes on cards, setting stones, and helping with the household work. "Although it was often hard to 'help mother' when other children were at play," Lincoln recalled in her Boston Cook Book, she prized the early training which served her so well her whole life.

As luck would have it, there was one issue of American Kitchen Magazine offered at the auction site and I'm happy to report, I WON it!.  Why the sudden interest in this particular magazine? Actually, it isn't sudden at all. In an issue of The Boston Cooking School Magazine published in March of 1903, there is a review about another book authored by Mary J. Lincoln and Anna Barrows titled The Home Science Cook Book. Hmmm...In the review, which you can see pictured if you click, there is a statement that got me to thinking the very first time I ever read it. (which was many years ago) I had made a note to myself to find an issue and I suppose, today is as good day as any! I know I won't be able to share it today but at least I will have it for next time. This is part of what the review had to say: (you can also click it:)

...The book on a whole may be considered to be a "condensation of the many recipes and suggestions which have appeared in the "American Kitchen Magazine since it was started in 1894...Reliable in authority, excellent in contents, attractive in arrangement and style, this handbook of how to prepare and cook dishes will be acceptable to many a household.

Published by the Home Science Publishing Corporation, American Kitchen Magazine was a domestic science magazine published monthly. There is a little confusion about the title of the magazine because before it remained titled American Kitchen Magazine the first five issues may have had the title "The New England Kitchen Magazine," and were possibly published by the New England Kitchen Publication Company. To add to the confusion, the word magazine may have been totally omitted from the first two issues. Mrs. Lincoln offers the following piece of advice from Confucius in the Preface to her Boston Cooking School Cook Book which added to the urgency to heed the advice and get that magazine!

"To know what you do know, and not to know what you do not know, is true knowledge."

Much like Fannie Farmer, Mrs. D. A. Lincoln was devoted to bringing a curriculum for ladies from the cooking school into the home. She may have indeed been the first to use an element of scientific method in home cooking, although, Fannie Farmer is more associated with science in home economics then she was. In fact, she was so dedicated to the culinary education of American women and the culinary movement as a whole, she is often cited as "one of the most influential leaders of the Home Economics movement." Many of her textbooks, especially The Boston Cooking School Cook Book, were used in cooking schools and referred to by women who wanted to bring professional cooking into the home and treat it as a serious, scientific, domestic profession. As you may have discovered at Feeding America, in 1946, the Grolier Club held an exhibition of the One Hundred Influential American Books Printed Before 1900 which included only one cookbook. Which do you suppose that was?

Here was a women who took her beliefs, talents, and curious nature which were the foundations of her writings and lectures and created a true American Feast. It is difficult to find any other cookbook of the time that went into as much detail as Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cook Book. When digested, one has to reflect upon the culinary history and American history composed within it's pages. In the words of the late James Beard,

"The written record of our cuisine is in many ways more complete than that of any other country. Beginning with Amelia Simmons we have the wisdom of such notables as Eliza Leslie, Catherine Beecher, Mrs. T. J. Crowen, Marion Harland {Mary Virginia (Hawes) Terhune}, Maria Parloa, Mrs. Sarah Tyson Rorer, Mrs. Mary Lincoln, and Fannie Merritt Farmer."

Many women who graduated from Mrs. Lincoln's School went on to spread her teachings in various ways. Most are familiar with Fannie Farmer's contributions after her graduation in 1889. I often write about reference books that I have as part of my collection. If you have a hankering to really dig deep into the "delectable past," I strongly suggest you take a look at the post I did on The Delectable Past (The Joys of the Table from Rome to the Renaissance, From Queen Elizabeth I to Mrs. Beeton. The Menus, The manners, and Most Delectable Recipes of the Past, Masterfully re-Created For Cooking and Enjoying Today) by Esther B. Aresty. It's easy reading with pages of information and recipes which Mrs. Aresty has carefully chosen. I would also suggest you visit the online Exhibition from the Esther B. Aresty Collection at the University of Pennsylvania. I have provided the link below. Plan on spending some time...Below is just a fragment of what Mrs. Aresty writes about Mrs. Lincoln.

By 1887 Mrs. Lincoln's influence had extended into the Boston public schools where students followed a text book prepared by her. In it, she lectured. "it is as really a part of education to be able to blacken a stove, to scour a tin, or to prepare a tempting meal of wholesome food, as it is to be able to solve a problem of geometry." At least she approved of geometry, which is more than can be said for the foremost champion of cooking education, Catherine Beecher...One of Mrs. Lincoln's recipes for school girls was a Cracker Brewis, almost identical with the medieval bread and milk gruel called by the same name in ancient English Forme of Cury described in Chapter 1 of this book. Mrs. Lincoln's Cracker Brewis, along with Miss Parloa's Darioles-Richmond Maids of Honor-had been traveling through cookbooks for more than five hundred years...some of Mrs. Lincoln's recipes did not fare well as the ancient Brewis and were fated for quick oblivion, though her Boston Cook Book continued to be reissued. (In 1896 it was taken over by Fannie Farmer, whose name is now the only one associated with it.) Orange Cake and Gateau a la Princess Louise vanished from the later editions, but I've resurrected them for the kitchen. You may wish to do the same.

Unfortunately, my copy of Mrs. Lincoln's Cook Book is in PA. Thankfully, I do have a few scans on my Mac. The picture of Mrs. Lincoln I believe is from that book. There are numerous books attributed to Mary J. Lincoln. I do happen to have a copy of Home Helps: A Pure Food Cook Book (1907) here with me in New York but, at this moment, I've decided to scan the recipe for Orange Cake and Gateau a la Princess Louise in Mrs. Aresty's book. As such a notable lecturer and author of the 19th century, an endorsement for a product by Mrs. Lincoln was much like a like the celebrity endorsements we are inundated with today. She offered her expertise in a variety of advertising recipe booklets such as Cottolene, Jell-O (1912), and the White Mountain Freezer Company to name a few. Other titles attributed to Mrs. D. A. Lincoln include:

  • Boston School Kitchen Text Book
  • The Peerless Cook Book (1886)
  • New England Cook Book (1894 w/ Maria Parloa)
  • Carving and Serving (1886)
  • What To Have for Luncheon (1904)
  • Diet For Infants and Young Children

  • 1. Mary J. Lincoln @ Feeding America
  • 2. Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cook Book: What To Do and What Not To Do in Cooking (online 1883 ed. @ google books)
  • 3. A Curriculum for Ladies
  • 4. Exhibition from the Esther B. Aresty Collection
  • 5. White Women's Rights: The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States By Louise Michele Newman P.72
  • 6. Fannie Farmer Tales
  • 7. The Delectable Past (Previous Post)