Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Pie Poem

...What moistens the lips, and what brightens they eye?
What calls back the past like the rich pumpkin pie?
~John Greenleaf Whittier~ "The Pumpkin"

Here's a rhyming recipe poem for pumpkin pie and my daughter Michele's recipe for Dinner in a Pumpkin. Enjoy! 

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

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

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

A full half hour, 'till they're well done
Then let them cool, and sire and son
And husband and preacher and family friend
Will praise your pumpkin pies no end. 
North Dakota Baptist Women Cookbook
Dinner In A Pumpkin
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 med. onion, finely chopped
4 oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. ground beef     
½ c. Worcestershire
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 c. cooked rice
1 med. Pumpkin (10-13 lbs.)
Cut top off pumpkin. Clean inside well. Draw a big face with permanent marker on front of pumpkin.  Lightly lubricate outside of pumpkin with vegetable oil.  In skillet, sauté celery, onions and mushrooms in butter. Set aside. Brown ground beef and drain. In bowl, combine vegetables, hamburger, soy sauce, brown sugar, soup and cooked rice. Mix well. Spoon hamburger rice mixture into pumpkin. Replace pumpkin top. Bake at 350° for 1½ hours or until pumpkin is tender. Serve hot making sure to scrap inside of pumpkin into dishes along with hamburger mixture. I like to add variations to this recipe.  I have made it adding a can of diced tomatoes, drained.  And I've also added corn since my kids like it.  So feel free to experiment with this one.

FYI: Today is also the birth date of Joy of Cooking author Irma von Starkloff Rombauer. 


Another recipe for Nursery Rhyme Pumpkin Pie this one from Libby's and Rochelle's Vintage Recipes:)

1. The Rhyming Recipe (what they are and another sample)
2. Rhyming Recipe from Macbeth
3. Peanut Brittle Rhyming Recipe

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mockery: Economically Speaking...

Then the Queen left off, quite out of breath, and said to Alice,
`Have you seen the Mock Turtle yet?'
`No,' said Alice. `I don't even know what a Mock Turtle is.'
`It's the thing Mock Turtle Soup is made from,'said the Queen.
`I never saw one, or heard of one,' said Alice.
`Come on, then,' said the Queen, `and he shall tell you his history,'
Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland

I'm okay. It would be foolish of me to try and skirt the issues at hand. After all, this blog is an online calendar, of sorts. Granted, the intention is to focus on food and how it has affected our daily lives throughout history in a fun and sometimes obscure path of venue. I'll admit, I hesitate...I digress...

1. A false, derisive, or impudent imitation: The trial was a mockery of justice.
2. Something ludicrously futile or unsuitable: The few packages of food seemed a mockery in the face of such enormous destitution.


On the anniversary day of "Black Tuesday," which in the culture of financial mythology, was the single most devastating financial day in the history of the New York Stock Exchange and the day recognized as the beginning of the Great Depression, as your servant, I request we examine imitation as pertaining to food. I mean no pernicious behavior nor do I intend to undermine the fundamental democratic principles of prosperity. I simply want to ask, "How long has deception been hiding in my kitchen? Or, has it?

Food impersonators are lurking in my pantries, my refrigerators and yes, even on my bookshelves. For instance, I know for sure I have imitation vanilla in my baking cabinet here in NY. Now, don't get all huffy about it, I also have home made vanilla extract fermenting in PA. It's really quite easy to concoct, and way less expensive. You should try it. I usually buy a few extra vanilla beans and use a similar dry method to enhance the flavor of sugar. Although, I don't like it in my coffee, it is great to use in pancake batter, french toast or baking in general. What other food clones come to mind? Tang and Cool Whip may be considered by some to be orange and cream camouflage fabrications. I don't have either of those anywhere. I do, however, have many  cookbooks. And, in many of those cookbooks, especially those from the 20s, 30's and well into the 50s, appear imitations in the form of mock recipes. Well let's see, if the essence of the phrase to deceive is to mock, what then is a mock recipe? Is it evil, harmful? Should I feel betrayed? By purchasing these books was I purposely mislead or misinformed? In the case of non-fiction cookery books, the answer is undeniable no. Mock recipes are simply, dishes incognito. 

Mock Recipes

When it comes to mock cooking, there are numerous reasons for its popularity as well as its disapproval. Some purists disagree with the notion of making something appear real when indeed it is not. Realistically, when it comes to food, there are a variety of ingredients which contribute to the appearance of mock recipes in books which record recipes. Thankfully, and I do mean thankfully, they are explored online. The author of the Old Foodie admits to being "moderately intrigued by the whole, old concept of Mock Food." And, a recent issue of Art Culinaire Magazine offers this introduction to Mock Food.

...One of humanity’s most admirable characteristics is its ability to adapt to new situations. Evolution is born of adaptation and it is one of the most fundamental markers of progress. In the kitchen, the circumstances that inspire evolution are too often than not born of times of adversity, poverty, war, and oppression. While the dire predicaments that have plagued humanity throughout history might in themselves be horrifying, the results they have inspired in the kitchen frequently find their way into the culinary repertoire of a culture’s most beloved recipes...

Yes, the wacky world of fake food, encompasses everything from revitalization to whimsy. But, today I would like to probe into the indulgence of mock recipe dishes during economic setbacks. Let's begin with waste.

Christine Terhune Herrick described a problem that still sounds familiar. Into the refrigerator, she wrote, "are too often thrust odds and ends and scraps that are suffered to remain there long enough to become malodorous, and thus taint other food." Herrick told the story of a mistress returning to her refrigerator after a two-week illness, during which she had left kitchen affairs in the hands of the cook. A "nauseating" smell emanated from "a plate of refuse fish ....A couple of chops on another dish were white with mould, while a handful of vegetables rotted in the corner. And in the midst of all stood a plate of butter-balls and a pitcher containing the baby's supply of milk."

Many mock recipes were devised as a solution to cut down on wasted food, particularly during times of limited spending. Admit it, leftovers are not always as appetizing the next day, week or heaven forbid, month. How many times have you purchased an ingredient called for in a recipe, tucked it back into the cupboard never to be utilized again? Take for instance rice flakes. This mock recipe for Mock Escalloped Oysters is disclosed in the White House Cereals die-cut recipe booklet pictured.

Mock Escalloped Oysters
1/2 lb. American cheese grated
1 med. sized eggplant
3 c. rice flakes
salt & pepper to taste
pinch of baking soda
3 tbs. butter
1 c. whole milk
1 tbs. buttered bread crumbs
To sufficient boiling water to cover the eggplant, add very small pinch of baking soda, and the whole eggplant; let cook about 15 minutes; remove eggplant and wash in cold water thoroughly. Butter casserole, chop up eggplant, putting in a layer of eggplant, and a generous sprinkling of White House Rice Flakes; dotting with butter, grated cheese, salt and pepper and proceed until dish is filled; putting buttered bread crumbs on top of dish, pour cup of whole milk over all and bake in moderate oven about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

 Mock Apricot Tarts were a result of one vegetable in "plentiful supply" in Britain. Can you guess what it was? Here's a recipe for Mock Anchovies which wouldn't be one we would want to try in this day in age but still a curious recipe from The Belgian Cookbook.

All kinds of cereals can be substituted in mock recipes. Oatmeal was used as an ingredient in Mock Pecan Pie. Fannie Farmer included a recipe for Mock Indian Pudding in The Boston Cooking School Cook Book in 1918 which didn't include cereal but other versions such as this one uses corn flakes and I have seen some which call for Wheaties.

There's fun associated with mock food. Many people prepare mock recipes for April Fools Day celebrations. For a more frugal indulgence in candy bars, there's Mock Baby Ruth Bars. This recipe collection blog not only includes a recipe for Mock Baby Ruth Bars but also Mock Hollandaise Sauce and Mock Sour Cream. (I've provided a link for Mock Devonshire Cream and Mock Mayonnaise below) Not pie in your face fun but, pretty close. Speaking of pie, if you happen to desire Apple Pie, try Cakespy's recipe for Mock Apple Pie as only Cakespy can offer it.

I've grown tired of all this mockery. I have noted mock recipes within my cookbook notes and collected their links on the Internet since the inception of Months of Edible Celebrations. To my loooooong list of someday tasks, I will now add list mock recipes on their very own page but, not today. If you desire to see the incredible possibilities exploring mock recipes can create, then, I suggest you take a hop over to Culinary Types where T.W. has prepared a Cake in Imitation of a Haunch of Lamb from 1895. 

Mock Pumpkin Pie
1/4 c. boiling water
1/2 cup Grape-Nuts cereal
2 c. milk, scalded
1/4 c. sugar
4 tbs. flour
1/8 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs, well beaten
1 baked 9 inch pie shell
Pour water over Grape-Nuts. Allow to stand 10 minutes, then add milk. Mix sugar, flour, and spices. Add to milk and Grape-Nuts mixture and cook in double boiler until thickened. Pour over eggs, stirring vigorously. Return to double boiler and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Cool, Pour into pie shell. May be served with whipped cream. Makes 1 pie or 12 tarts. 75 Ways to Enjoy Famous Food (1929)

Which Would You Choose?

Wealth? It is a transient thing that brings its own cares.
Happiness? It's an elusive thing which we keep by giving away.
Health? That's the best gift. Health is riches that gold cannot buy, and surely health is cause enough for happiness. ~Lydia E. Pinkham~ Picnic Time

1. Food in the 1930s
2. Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash
3. Depression era recipes
4. Vegetarian Mock Foods
5. "Mock" Garlic Mashed Potatoes
6. Mock Cherry Pie Recipe 
7. Mock Devonshire Cream Recipes:
8. Mock Turtle Soup
9. Mock Mayonnaise
10. Mock Salmon Loaf

Monday, October 27, 2008

Correct Manners 1892

"Good manners ought more to be declared than riches,
and perfect manners more than all the power and glory of kings."

Correct Manner 1892Pardon me. I suppose, it was inevitable. One can not manage to write about food, recipes, cookbooks or culinary history without somehow approaching the subject of etiquette. Today is the day. I've chosen the birth date of Emily Price Post to finger my way through Correct Manners published in 1892. Cultural diversity is one of America's strengths. It is also a major issue in American eating. To fully understand the impact diverse cultures bestow on American cuisine, both food and culture should be explored. As much as I would truly like to embark on that journey, perhaps, today, is not the day:) As Emily Post once said, ''Etiquette must, if it is to be of more than trifling use, include ethics as well as manners. Certainly what one is, is of far greater importance than what one appears to be.''

"Etiquette requires us to admire the human race."~Mark Twain~

Emily Post

"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use."~Emily Post~

It was at the Emily Post Institute, that I discovered so many stirring facts about the life of Emily Price. Yes, that was her name before she married Edwin Post her husband-to-be. She met him at a ball in one of Fifth Avenue’s elegant mansions. How charming. And thankfully, I also found out Emily Post was born on October 27, 1872. Sometimes these things are so hard to uncover. Frankly, I was a wee bit surprised to realize that Emily Post was born so long ago. It isn't like her name is that unfamiliar to the X Y or Z generation. Certainly, most have heard the infamous line "according to Emily Post" haven't they? Just in case, Emily Post was the leading authority on social graces in the twenties, thirties and forties. What she said went!

IF the great world of society were a university which issued degrees to those whom it trains to its usages, the magna cum laude honors would be awarded without question, not to the hostess who may have given the most marvelous ball of the decade, but to her who knows best every component detail of preparation and service, no less than every inexorable rule of etiquette, in formal dinner-giving.Emily Post  Formal Dinners; Chapter XIV.

In 1922, at the age of fifty, Emily Post's first book on etiquette was published. (At the turn of the century financial circumstances compelled her to begin to write.) She produced newspaper articles on architecture and interior decoration, stories and serials for such magazines as Harper's, Scribner's, and the Century. Light novels, included Flight of the Moth (1904), Purple and Fine Linen (1906), Woven in the Tapestry (1908), The Title Market (1909), and The Eagle's Feather (1910).

Etiquette manuals had been popular in America before the publication of Emily Post's Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home. However, Ms. Post's was read like a short-story collections with recurring characters and lively presentation. It was different than previously published etiquette books. Sections of the first edition reflected the period of her own upbringing. Later retitled Etiquette—the Blue Book of Social Usage, the guide went through 10 editions and was in its 89th printing before her death in 1960. Her later editions were modified to reflect changing customs, television, telephone, and airplane etiquette were included. After 1931 Emily Post spoke on radio programs and wrote a column on good taste for the Bell Syndicate. Her syndicated columns appeared in 160 newspapers, she received 3,000 letters a week seeking advice and had a thrice-weekly radio program. In 1950 Pageant magazine named her the second most powerful woman in America, after Eleanor Roosevelt who would go on to write the Book of Common Sense Etiquette in 1962.

Too many people have forgotten good manners and their importance in smoothing and making gracious and pleasant our dealings with our fellows.
I am not referring now to rigid rules of etiquette but to the simple human kindness that is the foundation of all formal politeness.
~Eleanor Roosevelt~

Emily Post's name has become synonymous with proper etiquette and manners. Her name is still used in titles of etiquette books. In 1946, she founded the Emily Post Institute which continues her work with current spokesperson; Peggy Post.

On May 28, 1998, a postage stamp was issued by the United States Postal Service paying tribute to Emily Post. According to postal authorities, the stamp honors Post for defining "modern good manners and conduct," adding that her "books, radio programs and syndicated newspaper column set the standard for etiquette" for the 20th century. As a matter of fact, there were some complaints issued to the postal service about the "etiquette" which accompanied the illustrations on the stamps. (see below)

In 2008, Laura Claridge published Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners which is reviewed in the New York Times article below. Some of Emily Post's other books include the novel Parade (1925), How to Behave Though a Debutante(1928), The Personality of a House (1930), Children Are People (1940), The Emily Post Cook Book (1949; with Edwin M. Post, Jr.), and Motor Manners (1950).

"Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace."
~Judith Martin~Miss Manners

Correct Manners

People who ridicule etiquette as a mass of trivial and arbitrary conventions, “extremely troublesome to those who practise them and insupportable to everybody else,” seem to forget the long, slow progress of social intercourse in the upward climb of man from the primeval state. Conventions were established from the first to regulate the rights of the individual and the tribe. They were and are the rules of the game of life and must be followed if we would “play the game.” Confucius

So, how are your manners? For the most part, many people are courteous and have very good manners. However, I think that the courteous and mannerly people are a bit out numbered at times. Some people just forget their manners or perhaps, they weren't properly taught courtesy at home. "Proper etiquette" begins at an early age. I suppose there's always an excuse. People are flitting everywhere. Dinner is no longer a family affair. Gifts are sent through the mail because families are are spread out all over the country. People want things done yesterday and often forget to say please. Just do it! is first on their minds. And for some, I guess they assume, manners are just too meticulous and restricting.

Training a child is exactly like training a puppy; a little heedless inattention and it is out of hand immediately; the great thing is not to let it acquire bad habits that must afterward be broken. Any child can be taught to be beautifully behaved with no effort greater than quiet patience and perseverance, whereas to break bad habits once they are acquired is a Herculean task.Emily Post The Kindergarten of Etiquette Chapter XXXV.

The inset pictured below offers a review of the book Correct Manners.

Correct Manner 1892From Godey's Magazine, November, 1892: Correct manners by J.B. About fifty million Americans need this book. It is small enough to hide in a coat, yet it contains about 200 closely printed pages, which begin with twenty-five paragraphs collectively entitled "Etiquette in a Nutshell." after these come "George Washington's Life maxims," which though old, are hard to improve upon. Following these are chapters on physical deportment, conversation, taste, memory, modesty, dress, attention, table-talk, dinners and parties - in short, almost everything at which men and women desire to appear well, though few know how. All of the author's suggestions are sensible; there is no mere fashionable nonsense in them.This work contains 186 pages. Bound in Alligator. Price 50 cts.
“Manners are made up of trivialities of deportment which can be easily learned if one does not happen to know them; manner is personality—the outward manifestation of one’s innate character and attitude toward life.” Emily Post Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home 1922

"One of the greatest victories you can gain over someone is to beat him at politeness."~Josh Billings~

There are so many chapters in Correct Manners that I would like to share. The contents are absolutely fascinating! I've chosen one more under the heading The Splendid speaker because I stumbled upon the History of the Kelley Blue Book while traveling along for links to include today and, the section on Truth caught my eye.

...And in Los Angeles, Les Kelley decided to expand the list of automobile values he had been producing since 1918 and published the first Blue Book of Motor Car Values. He showed factory list price and cash value on thousands of vehicles, from Cadillacs to Duesenbergs, from Pierce-Arrows to Hupmobiles. A 1926 Packard sedan limousine with balloon tires might fetch as much as $3,825. But a 1921 Nash touring car, even with a clock, was only worth $50. Les named the publication Blue Book after the Social Register, because it meant that you would find valuable information inside. (Emily Post had also just published her first book of etiquette, which was to later be named Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage ). And Les Kelley was to make Kelley Blue Book synonymous with the authoritative source for car values...
Truth: In the excitement and play of conversation always bear a strict adherence to truth. Honesty of fact should never be departed from, else, it will vitiate the strength and influence of what a man says. He is sure to found out sooner or later, for men are pretty good critics of the probable and the improbable. Never attempt to angle for surprise with relating prodigious incidents. Such are only fit for children and silly old men.
"A great retailer of this curious ware
Having unloaded and made many stare,
"Can this be true?" an arch observer cries;
"Yes," rather moved , "I saw it with these eyes."
"Sir," I believe it, on that ground alone,
I could not, had I seen it with my own."
Correct Manners
There is a big deposit of sympathy in the bank of love, but don’t draw out little sums every hour or so—so that by and by, when perhaps you need it badly, it is all drawn out and you yourself don’t know how or on what it was spent.
Emily Post Patience

1. Emily Post @ wikipedia
2. She Fine-Tuned the Forks of the Richan Vulgars New York Times, Oct. 2008
3. Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home (online)
4. Emily Post Stamp Garners Polite Complaints (A 1998 article in Seattle Times)
5. Dining: Service, Utensils, & Manners
6. Kids & Parents ~ Thank-you Note Tips

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Perk It Up!

My parents were big coffee drinkers. I know this for a fact because, I was the designated coffee maker. "Dee, make a pot of coffee" were words I heard often. Our method of preparing coffee was via a percolator. I can still picture the waft of the steam of the percolating coffee streaming down the hall way and gliding through the cracked doorway of my bedroom. Even then, it was the best part of waking up.

Brew a Pot of Coffee

Granted, I'm no connoisseur of coffee. My preferred method of preparing coffee is also by the percolator. Surprised? Now, I know not everyone perks coffee but surely, someone must. If you do, I really would like to know. Really...I know it may seem a bit "old-fashioned" to be discussing perked coffee in these days of quick stop coffee refills and automatic drip coffee makers, but I must tell you, "don't knock it till you try it." Try it on a Sunday morning when you have a case of the mubblefubbles or you're just plain feeling melancholy. Sure it takes a bit more time and you have to "babysit" the pot until it reaches perking stage but, I'm telling you, the next time you see one of those aluminum coffee percolators at a thrift store or yard sale, pick that baby up, give it a good cleaning, (vinegar works for me) and Perk It UP! For me, it's the essence of comfort, steeped in fragrant childhood memories. I sometimes still hear the echo of my father's voice "Dee make a pot of coffee" and, I do.
Curious as to how to make coffee with a percolator, it's really pretty easy. I found directions at a website that sells coffee percolators.

Roosevelt's Coffee?

I should tell you what day today might be. Today just might be the day the aromatically successful slogan "Good to the last drop" was uttered by none other than former President Theodore Roosevelt. According to a legend from Tennessee, it was Roosevelt's pert remark after enjoying a cup of Joel Owsley Cheek's perfected special coffee blend served at the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville. This episode is suppose to have taken place on October 21, 1907. You can read about the legend at this Tennessee website.
Theodore Roosevelt paid a short call on October 21, 1907, to pay respects and pledge federal support to the restoration of The Hermitage. While he was there he took what may be the most famous sip of coffee ever taken. While touring The Hermitage, Roosevelt said he was impressed with everything that he saw. Then, as he was entering the dining room, he asked for a cup of coffee. "I must have the privilege of saying that I have eaten at General Jackson's table," a Nashville newspaper quoted him as saying.
There seems to be much discrepancy about whether Theodore Roosevelt quaffed his java at The Hermitage, which by the way was the palatial estate of Andrew Jackson, or whether he indulged at the Maxwell House Hotel. There's also a rumor that Roosevelt drank up to a gallon of coffee a day. In either case, the Maxwell House Hotel and Maxwell House coffee are ingrained in America history. The Maxwell House Hotel opened to great grandeur on September 22, 1869. It was erected by Colonel John Overton Jr. of Traveller's Rest and named in honor of his wife, the former Harriet Maxwell Overton. It was a grand hotel visited by many notable figures in American history eagerly craving luxury. They included, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinely, William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson. Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Cornelius Vanderbilt were all guests at some time or other of the Maxwell House Hotel.
...After the war Overton resumed construction of what became Nashville's largest hotel, which local citizens initially called "Overton's Folly." Opening in the fall of 1869, the five-story, 240-room hotel cost five hundred thousand dollars. The Maxwell House Hotel advertised steam heat, gas-lighting, and a bath on every floor. Rooms were four dollars a day, meals included. The building fronted on Fourth Avenue and the infamous Men's Quarter; an entrance for women opened onto Church Street. Eight Corinthian columns flanked the main entrance; the elegant main lobby featured mahogany cabinetry, brass fixtures, gilded mirrors, and chandeliers. There were ladies' and men's parlors, billiard rooms, barrooms, shaving "saloons," and a grand staircase to the large ball or dining room. source

Published by the Cheek-Neal Coffee Company, the pictured Maxwell House booklet was authored by Ida Bailey Allen. It should come as no surprise that there is no mention of Theodore Roosevelt and the Good to the last drop proclamation. However, the statement is noted in the booklet.
Maxwell House Coffee is truly purchased, prepared and sent forth ready for countless homes according to the high standard of Maxwell House service and a service which is built upon the ideal of providing the public with the best coffee that man can grow and intelligence prepare for use. That is why Maxwell House Coffee is fragrant and mellow in flavor, clear as an amber mountain brook; why every morsel of it counts; why it is literally Good to the last drop...
The first couple of pages in the Maxwell House Coffee booklet discusses the coffee making process in the home. In essence, How To Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee.
Three methods of making coffee are in general use: the old fashioned boiled method, the drip method and the percolator method. Any one of these three will give good results if care is taken in measuring the amount of Maxwell House and water and if the coffee making utensils are kept in a truly cleanly condition. Cleanly?
I have also scanned Ms. Allen's directions for the preparation of coffee using all three of her methods. I also scanned a page of recipes which use coffee as an ingredient. The recipes are for Cuban Coffee Cream, Coffee Cream Jelly and Coffee Ribbon Bavarian.
The coffee cream tart and coffee whipped cream recipes below are not as avant-garde as the Coffee Cream Tart in a Cocoa-Espresso Crust found at epicurean.com but I have chosen to include them for their sheer simplicity. Enjoy...
Coffee Cream Tarts: Prepare flaky pie crust by the usual method (I suppose you could also buy it pre-made) then bake it over inverted muffin pans to form little tart shells. Just before serving, half fill these with apple butter, jam or sliced and sweetened strawberries and top with Coffee Whipped Cream which may be put on with a tablespoon or by means of a pastry tube and bag. Garnish each tart with a bit of currant or brightly colored jelly.
Coffee Whipped Cream: Beat a cupful of heavy cream until almost stiff, then gradually whip in a 1/4 cup of Maxwell House Coffee made according to the recipe for After Dinner Coffee (scanned above.) Add three tablespoonfuls of powdered sugar and a few drops of vanilla and finish beating. If the weather is very warm measure a half teaspoonful of gelatin into a cup, pour a little of the Maxwell House Coffee over it, let stand for five minutes, then dissolve it by setting the cup in hot water and gradually add to the cream with the remaining coffee.
I would like to take a moment to once again thank T.W. over @ Culinary Types for reminding me, although I'm not quite sure how I could forget, "Theodore Roosevelt, Oyster Bay’s most famous son, is the inspiration behind the Oyster Festival," which is held annually in Oyster Bay here on Long Island. I missed it this year but it is usually held each October around the day of his birth which is October 27th. It is said it is the biggest festival on the east coast and if you LOVE oysters, it is not to be missed!
March, 1884: Theodore Roosevelt signs a contract with the firm of Joseph Wood & Sons of Lawrence, Long Island, to build a home in Oyster Bay at the insistence of his sister Bamie, who convinced him his daughter would need a home. He had originally planned the home with his wife Alice, and was planning to name it Leeholm in honor of her family name. The house, completed in 1885, would later be named Sagamore Hill in honor of Sagamore Mohannis, the Indian chief who used the hill as a meeting place and signed his people's rights to the land over to the settlers in the 1660s. source
FYI: As usually is the case with many inventions, there is some discrepancy as to who invented the first percolator. I did post a brief history of the percolator last year for Christmas if you want to read it, the title of the post is "Present in a Perk." The post is decorated with a charming Santa Claus covered die-cut booklet. I must say, it's cute and the post is very short: Resources
1. Maxwell House Coffee History
2. Fortunes by the Coffee Grinds and the story of the coffee filter
3. Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Coffee Mascarpone Cream (from Food & Wine)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Poem for Sweetest Day

In Praise of Cocoa, Cupids, & Nightcaps
Half past nine-high time for supper;
"Cocoa Love?" Of course my dear.
Helen thinks it quite delicious,
John prefers it now to beer...

Knocking back the sepia potion,
Hubby winks, says, "Who's for bed?"
"Shant be long," says Helen softly,
Cheeks a faintly flushing red.

For they've stumbled on the secret
of a love that never wanes,
raft beneath the tumbled bedclothes,
cocoa coursing through their veins.
~Stanley J. Sharpless~

How 'bout a few prize winning chocolate recipes from Ghirardelli Chocolate. Theses recipes for New Idea Fudge, Fudge Cake Filling and Ghirardelli's Chocolate Pudding were tucked inside an undated envelope mailed from D. Ghirardelli Co. San Francisco, Calif. Printed in the USA. I have 32 of these packet recipes so you can imagine the difficulty selecting just 3 recipes to share. (click to enlarge) Enjoy Sweetest Day:)

ghirardelli recipes

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'll Take Two Snowballs & A Large Coffee!

I had a bad day yesterday. Actually, I had an absolutely HORRIBLE day yesterday. No, it didn't have anything to do with the state of the economy although, I suppose indirectly it sorta kind did. I went to the beauty parlor to get my hair cut. Now, as some of you may already know, I detest beauty salons. I'm sorry, there's just no way of putting it nicely. I don't like them and if it weren't for the fact that I have a head full of curls, I probably would never get it cut. Electric circuits excluded, I had put it off long enough! Well, I'm not going to go through the gory details of the torture which for most would probably be just another day at the hairdresser's. Thankfully, I didn't have a long wait. If you don't want to wait for the recipe for the Chocolate Snowball recipe, you can skip all this jibber jabber and skip to the recipe.

"I'll be with you in a few" Maria (the lovely girl who cuts my hair) said.

Great, I thought. I'll just go to the back of the shop and get myself a cup of coffee.

"Looking for the coffee machine?" someone whispered in my ear, as I was just about to turn the corner.

"Yes, I said quietly. "I sure could use a cup right about now."

"You should have stopped on your way" she replied. "They aren't serving free coffee here anymore. It's getting to expensive."

"Oh," I said in my normal beauty parlor voice. I don't know about your experience but for some reason, I find people talk awfully loud in beauty parlors. I was a bit taken back by this lady whispering in my ear with her aluminum foil sticking out from all points of her head. Maybe I better just sit down I thought. She followed me. Why does this always happen to me. All I want is to get my hair cut as quickly as possible and leave. I picked up a magazine. Maybe, Maria will call me soon. My appointment was for 12:30. In the mean time, I tried to unwind from my food shopping excursion earlier in the day. Oh, I should tell you, I wasn't food shopping for me. Once a week, usually on Tuesdays, I take a darling woman food shopping. She's 86 years young and gets around sometimes better than me:) It's more of a social junket. She has her list all made out, I pick her up, we go shopping, I take her home and I leave. It wasn't the case yesterday. Yesterday, which was Thursday, a few of the other ladies in her building wanted to come with us. The five of us all went food shopping together:) I'm not even going to go into the details of how that went. I will say, it took much longer than my usual shopping excursions and bagging groceries for five elderly woman (the youngest was 79) left me pooped, in need of a cup of coffee and craving instant energy as in I'll take any candy bar you have melted in your pocket, NOW! Suddenly, I was snapped out of my renewed intense urge for sweetness by the sound of Maria calling my name. I looked at the clock as I approached the chair 1:15, not bad.

Maria has been doing my hair for almost 12 years. She's quite jovial and I'm sure she knows by now that although I'm not too fond of shops like hers, it's nothing personal. I like people I just don't like beauty parlors. She also knows about this blog although, she has never visited. she really isn't much of a computer person. Actually, she has never used a computer in her life and according to her never will. However, she loves to cook and never misses an opportunity to share her enthusiasm for cooking with me. "So, she says, tomorrow is National Chocolate Cupcake Day. I heard it on the news. I really tried to listen intently while she told me a story about how she use to make cupcakes for her kids and tried to make them for her grandchildren to take to school but they aren't allowed to anymore. Something to do with food allergies and the like. I really tried to listen but all I could think of was National Chocolate Cupcake Day. Why didn't I know? Did I just forget? No way, there's no way I would have forgotten National Chocolate Cupcake Day, none none what so ever. Perhaps, she was wrong. I'll check when I get home, I thought. As Maria was grabbing for the mirror to show me how "lovely" the back of my hair came out, I spotted a little girl following her mom into the beauty shop. She appeared to be well prepared for an afternoon at the beauty parlor. Coloring book, crayons, some sort of computer game a drink and a package of orange Hostess Sno Balls! Honestly, I couldn't get out of that chair fast enough. That's what I want, NO need, I need Sno Balls and I need them NOW! Oh, what I wouldn't do for a nice cup of coffee and a package of Sno Balls. I paid as quickly as possible and I left.

Next stop, the deli. My deli. No, I don't actually own a deli but living on Long Island, I've grown accustomed to the convenience of a deli on almost every corner. Well, that's the way it always seemed to be. Run to the deli for milk. Run down to the deli for bread. Run to the deli for and egg sandwich. We Long Islanders use to run to the deli quite a bit. There aren't as many delicatessens as there use to be but everyone seems to still have their favorite so I suppose there are enough. My deli is about 5 minutes away from where I live in Westhampton. As a matter of fact, when I'm really feeling "guilty" about not doing my whole 20 minutes of exercise in the morning, I compensate by walking to "my deli." Of course, I usually wind up with an egg sandwich, a large cup of coffee (caffeinated which I'm not suppose to drink:) and an afternoon snack. I decided I would stop at "my deli" for the coffee I was craving and the urgently need Sno Ball my soul was crying out for. By this time, it was about 2:30. "Hey lady, Mark said as I walked in. We missed you this morning." "Hi Mark, I replied. I left early this morning it was shopping day." He smiled. He knows about my shopping days. I usually tell him the funny tales of taking Marion shopping. I just came in for a coffee and a package of Sno Balls I said heading right to the coffee machine. Coffee we have he said, Sno Balls we don't. I stopped dead. "What" I said no Sno Balls? Nope he answered. "They didn't drop any off this week." Well, let me tell you, it came pretty darn close to Mark seeing a grown woman cry, hysterically. I gotta go I said as I headed for the door. "What about...I'll see you tomorrow" I continued as I ran straight for my car never letting him finish asking me about the coffee. As I said, there are delis everywhere around here. Maybe not as close as 5 minutes away but I went to three additional delicatessens in probably as much as a mile radius and not one, not one, not one, had Sno Balls. I went home.

Well, it seems my quest got the best of me for the rest of the day until I just decided to let it go. I was home now, the urge would pass and I really didn't need the calories anyway. I figured I would think about dinner and I actually wasn't feeling as bad as I had in the afternoon. I had made in through. Notice, I had also forgotten about National Chocolate Cupcake Day. I know why though. I had been planning to post for Sweetest Day which is tomorrow, October 18. My thought was to uncover the mystery of Sweetest Day while celebrating another sweet treat, chocolate. Since I didn't intend to post on Sunday, the 19th also the last day of Chocolate Week in the UK, I would combine Sweetest Day with chocolate and all would be fine with the world. That was my plan and I was sticking to it. I chose some candy recipes to share for Sweetest Day and I would write up the post today and have it post first thing Saturday morning. Well, as you can see, because you're reading this which means I wrote this today instead of writing for tomorrow, oh you know what I mean. Sweetest Day may just have to go on hold. I'm still trying to get through National Chocolate Cupcake Day. Anyway, last night as I was "relaxing" for another night of I really don't want to watch TV, especially the news, but I don't want to do anything that is going to cause me to think, I decided to thumb through some past issues of food magazines. Slowly, I have been transferring some of the items I have accumulated in New York to PA but, I'm not quite sure what I want to do with the magazines. Thumb, thumb, thumb, Stop! recipe.

Chocolate Snowball

Now, you tell me. Is that not the most decadent, irresistible thing of beauty you have seen since the beginning of this post? I just couldn't believe it. There before my eyes in the September 1989 issue of Chocolatier magazine was this huge Chocolate SnowBall! And, this is what it read:

Nostalgic Chocolate Snowballs are just the ticket for a sentimental journey back to childhood bliss. Each tender mound of chocolate cake, capped with a drift of gooey marshmallow icing and a sprinkle of coconut, conceals a pocket of luscious whipped cream. Be forewarned, you're in for an avalanche of lip smacking.

So much for listening to presidential candidates quippering back and forth in New York City last night. What a GREAT recipe that would be for the grand finale of Chocolate Week. I had to see if the recipe for Chocolate Snowballs was online. I also had to see if Chocolatier had a website. I could hardly contain myself. I hopped online and proceeded on my journey. Well, it seems that Chocolatier has recently combined with "Pastry Art & Design, and Frozen Desserts magazines to create Dessert Professional magazine." To my chagrin the Chocolate Snowball recipe was no where to be found at the website. Not only couldn't I find it on the website, the quick searches I did for any kind of snowball recipe turned up recipes for snowball cookies. I didn't even know there were cookies called snowballs and probably at any other time, I would have been quite happy to indulge but as you know by now, there was no way in the world these snowballs were getting away from me twice in the same day! It isn't like Chocolate Snowballs don't absolutely deserve to be honored today even if it is National Chocolate Cup Cake Day. Weren't Hostess Sno Balls originally chocolate cupcakes hidden under a canopy of marshmallow and coconut? Sure, they weren't "born" on May 10, 1919 with that tasty cream filling but they were indeed cupcakes and only got better by the 1950s when the filling was added. Granted, there's no shortage of cupcakes on the internet. Perhaps, you have noticed my amazing banner above filled with adorable "cuppies." I'll check over at Cakespy to see if she has any Snowballs ideas. Although, she didn't have any Snowballs today, she sure does have tons of other goodies worth every bit of attention as my quest for Sno Balls. And, I don't mind thanking Crazy About Cupcakes for her cupcake history. One less thing for me to do today although, I would like to dig deeper into the history of cup cakes someday especially since I have quite a few vintage recipes which would make great "paints" for the cupcake canvas. Peggy's Antiquated Recipes often has hard to find recipes so I thought I would take a trip over to her site and see if she had any Snowball recipes like the one in Chocolatier. She didn't but, she had a picture and recipes from a recipe leaflet put out by Crinkles Cup Cakes in the 1920s. I also have those recipe leaflets, in PA:( You really should check out the recipes. They are cake recipes but as you know, most cake recipes can be coaxed into cup cake tins. It doesn't appear I'm going to have enough time to search anymore for a Chocolate Snowball recipe like the one found in the magazine so, I guess I will just have to leave you with a few recipe resources below and the recipe from Chocolatier. It is a very long recipe with detailed instructions so I think the best thing to do is include it scanned. (just click to enlarge)

1. National Cupcake Day (notice minus the chocolate:)
2. Pudding Cupcakes @ The Cupcake Project
3. Night and Day Cupcakes (Nigella Lawson)
4. Tollhouse Cupcakes
5. Candy Corn Cupcakes from I Heart Cupcakes (made with a mix but oh so "corny! & colorful")
6. Ice Cream Cone Cupcake Dessert

Monday, October 13, 2008

Exploring the book: Columbus Menu

Although some information about the Italian sailor, Christopher Columbus, who claimed the New World for Spain, is presently in doubt, his voyages and what happened afterwards is generally accepted as a melding of culinary influences which revolutionized the eating habits across oceans.

...Raymond Sokolov (1991) suggests that the explorer Christopher Columbus is the most important figure in the history of food. Responsible for opening up the New World beginning the trans-Atlantic exchange of foods and culinary practice. This bringing together of two hemispheres to the one table was a period of substantial change to eating practice. The extent of this cross fertilization is generally portrayed in the statement "Imagine Italy without the tomato". Dramatic as this particular change may have been, it is worth remembering exploration and trade has longer histories as a major influence of food habits...Why We Eat What We Eat: How Columbus Changed the Way the World Eats.

New World: Old World

Let's try to imagine what it must have been like for the indigenous peoples of the United States of America (the New World) as they watched the "floating islands" of the European explorers (Old World) approach the America's. Long before the adventurous explorations of Christopher Columbus, Native Americans had watched in amazement as strangers from other lands or perhaps to their minds, other universes, set foot upon their shores. Were they curious, were they frightened, were they angry? Were they pleased? As most of us have learned in our history books, Christopher Columbus was not the first to surprise the Native Americans. Others had arrived before him. What was Columbus to encounter in the New World he believed to be the Indies? (Columbus mistakingly referred to the Native Americans as Indians because he thought he had sailed upon India) It wasn't to difficult to discover the reactions of the sailors which are documented on October 11 in the Log of Columbus translated in 1903. Although, it was a much more difficult to find any stories related to the then population of the America's, I did find impressions from the 16th and 17th century.
On the fertile land of the New World, Christopher Columbus and his crews encountered many important crops domesticated by the Native American inhabitants. Native Americans, the true first farmers, had been cultivating potatoes, beans, squash and corn long before the arrival of the European explorers. In return, the explorers brought with them foods and other unknowns to the people of the Americas. This swapping of cultivated cultures was later to be called the Columbian Exchange by historian Alfred Crosby in his book of the same title.
...When Europeans first touched the shores of the Americas, Old World crops such as wheat, barley, rice, and turnips had not traveled west across the Atlantic, and New World crops such as maize, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and manioc had not traveled east to Europe. In the Americas, there were no horses, cattle, sheep, or goats, all animals of Old World origin. Except for the llama, alpaca, dog, a few fowl, and guinea pig, the New World had no equivalents to the domesticated animals associated with the Old World...source

A New Cuisine

With the essence of Columbus Day in mind, I would like to explore a recipe book titled Columbus Menu: Italian Cuisine after the First Voyage of Christopher Columbus by Stefano Milioni which was published by the Italian Trade Commission in 1992 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus's first voyage. This book contains both the first Italian recipes and modern recipes using such New World foods as tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, corn, beans, squash, turkey and cacao (chocolate). The book is not only a collection of recipes, it also includes a short history of each of these ingredients. There are descriptions of how each food was first introduced, reactions to it, and its importance especially in the Italian diet.

Squashes: The introduction of the New World's zucche and zucchini created less of a stir in Europe than other types of unfamiliar vegetables from the Americas, because some of their relatives had already been cultivated and regularly consumed in Europe for centuries. However, the newcomers were more attractive and much tastier...It should be noted, however, that the exact origin of the pumpkin and some other squashes is much disputed. Some experts say Europe acquired them millennia ago from an Asian homeland, while others insist that they originated in the New World... Pumpkin and zucchini only entered Italian cuisine after the seeds of Cucurbitaceae( the gourds) were brought to Europe from the New World and the plants began to be cultivated in Italian gardens. In the 16th century, Sienese botanist Pietro Andrea Mattioli observed, in discussing the cooking of pumpkin, that "it is the practice to eat it either boiled or fried in the pan or roasted. Boiled, it has little appeal in itself. When roasted, or fried in the pan, it releases a great deal of its moisture. Nonetheless, because of its natural water, it should be eaten with oregano." (Columbus Menu Pg.79)
There are other interesting notes on squash and its various cooking methods in this book. Rather than type them all up, I have scanned two pages for you to see. click the image to enlarge As I said, Columbus Menu offers two renditions of the recipes. An "older" method and a "modern" method. The third will be a Native American method.
Method #1 Soup: Minestra di Cime di Zucca, Bartolomeo Stefani, 1620
Take the vine tips of the zucca; if they are those of zucchetti, it would be best to blanch them first in broth. Once blanched, put them in a small pot with capon broth and two cheeses cut in small pieces and previously blanched. Add verjuice that is made three times a year from grapes that are large and have a great deal of pulp and, once the skins have been removed, are crushed, the seeds then being taken out afterward. Put in two ounces of grated Parmesan and two eggs so that the soup will be thickened.
Method #2: Omelet with Squash Flowers
2 bunches squash flowers
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
6 eggs
2 tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tbs. chopped parsley
Remove the flowers from the stems and the stamens and pistils from the blossoms. spread open flowers and wash them by dipping them in a basin of cold water. Drain them and dry with a towel. Heat the oil in an omelet pan and add the flowers. Cook over moderate heat until they have shrunk somewhat and are tender. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Beat the eggs with a pinch pof salt and another pf pepper, the grated Parmesan and chopped parsley. Put the pan back on the heat, pour in the eggs and cook the omelet. Serve hot. Serves 6
Native American Method Pumpkin (I-Ya)
Cut ripe pumpkin in rings, remove the peelings, hang on a stick before the fire near enough to dry slowly. This may be stored until ready for use. to prepare it should be washed and cooked any way you like pumpkin. The Indians often ate it dried.

Grant that I may never find fault with my neighbor
Until I have walked three moons in his moccasins.

Native American saying

1. Christopher Columbus: Man and Myth (@ Library of Congress)
2. The Columbian Exchange by Alfred Crosby (notes from the book)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fetching Sugar Spoon Recipes

I, for one, don't need an excuse to celebrate sugar. Today, we're not celebrating any old sweetener though. We're celebrating the company known as Domino Sugar which was officially "recognized by the US patent office on October 8, 1901. Actually, Domino had it's canes planted way before 1901. It's the dear offspring of a company called the American Sugar Refining Company. Yes, it's true, I am pulling at threads here but hey, I think you will agree, a little bit of sugarcoating is a good thing. Don't you think? As long as it has to do with all things gilded in pure unadulterated sugar!
Domino Sugar @ wikipedia
In 1799, William Frederick Havemeyer, who had been an apprentice of a London sugar refiner, began running Mr. Seaman's refinery in New York City. His brother joined him in 1802. On January 1, 1807, a new plant was opened as Wm. and F.C. Havemaker. Another plant superseded this one in 1859. It was known as Havemayer, Townsend & Co Refinery. By 1864, the refinery was the most modern of its time. After the Sugar Trust was ruled illicit in 1891, Henry Osborne Havemeyer and Theodore A. Havemeyer were elected as chairman and president, respectively, of the American Sugar Refining Company. This allowed the company to acquire five additional refineries. The company became known as Domino Sugar in 1900 and was officially recognized by the patent office on October 8, 1901. In 1916, it became the first company to offer individually wrapped sugar tablets. The company invented the transparent window carton in 1920. source
Domino Sugar Corporation traces its roots back to William Havemeyer, an enterprising English immigrant who had worked as a supervisor in a cane sugar refinery and arrived in New York in 1799. When his brother Frederick, a former sugar boiler, joined him three years later, the two young men saved their money from a baking business they operated together, and then established a sugar refinery on Vandam Street in 1807. The land on which the firm was situated had been leased from Trinity Church and, over the next few years, the Havemeyer brothers were able to purchase the land and expand their business. Named W. & F.C. Havemeyer Company, William and Frederick boiled and refined raw sugar cane in a small one-room building. Yet by 1816, the Havemeyer Company had expanded its operations to such an extent that it was able to produce nearly nine million pounds of sugar annually. source
How New York Ate 100 Years Ago
"The first sugar refinery in New York City was opened on Liberty Street in 1730 by Nicholas Bayard. Most raw sugar was imported to the colonies from overseas and the city was soon a center of sugar refining largely because of the port and the high local demand for sugar. The industry attracted such prominent families as the Livingstons, the Bayards, the Cuylers, the Roosevelts, the Stewarts, and the Van Cortlandts... William Havemeyer, and Frederick C. Havemeyer... opened the refinery...in 1805 on Vandam Street. source
Who comes to eat with you,
Gets many a lump of sweetness too

Bewitching Sugar Recipes

I'm thrilled to be sharing a few recipes from a sweet cookbook titled Sugar Spoon Recipes from the Domino Sugar Bowl Kitchen, copyright 1962. Do I begin by chuckling at the adorable pictures I know I will be uploading? Do I try to make the case on why I believe pop artist Peter Max is responsible for all the enchanting pictures? Or, do I just leave you the recipes and the pictures with perhaps, a bit of commentary on the side? Yes! so, what I'm going to do, is share the enticing pictures which introduce the sugary recipes. Now, let me warn you, most of these recipes are pretty "ordinary" recipes. Many of them at one time or another probably found on the back of a 5lb. bag of sugar. The way I see it, sweet and ordinary are just fine with me...

Let's begin with a recipe for Blondies...How cute is this? There's another delicious Blondie recipe over at Cookie Madness.

Who doesn't desire a slice of Devil's Food Cake every now and again and again...
Now for some frosting. How's Velvet Fudge Frosting sound?
Sugarcoated Lollipops
October is also Cranberry Month! Here's a way to Eat More Cranberries (previous post)
Naughty me, I didn't include the recipe for hard sauce for the Steamed Date Pudding
This recipe for Sugartop Blueberry Muffins is often requested form Domino. I think it was once on the back of the Domino Sugar bag.
Ever heard of Nesselrode Pie? What about Gateaux Jos Louis. A sweet indulgence opposite May West.
Craving more sweets? Jesse over at Cakespy has The Sweet 100 list for you to devour...

1. Domino Sugar Website
2. History of Sugar
3. Gateaux Jos Louis
4. Domino Sugar Joe Louis Cakes

Monday, October 6, 2008

National Apple Month

"Experience has shown that science frequently develops most fruitfully once we learn to examine the things that seem the simplest, instead of those that seem the most mysterious." Marvin Minsky

Perhaps, it is human nature to accept the obvious and then take it for granted. Take for instance the apple.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Apple in the morning - Doctor's warning
Roast apple at night - starves the doctor outright
Eat an apple going to bed - knock the doctor on the head

Three each day, seven days a week - ruddy apple, ruddy cheek
To eat an apple before going to bed, will make the doctor beg his bread

As with many old wives' tales it seems we just never listen.

One of the most popular quotations of the 19th Century was "An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Before the 20th century there was no food pyramid or someone to announce the importance of five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. People simply recognized the healthy attributes of the apple. Some people were also well aware of the apple's relationship to the history of the world. Author-naturalist Henry David Thoreau wrote, It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man. source

It's National Apple Month!

Let's get cracking. It's National Apple Month! Now really, can you think of a better month to celebrate National Apple Month? Golden, Gala, Red Delicious, McIntosh, heck even Jonathan (does the name Johnny Apple seed ring a bell:) all speak to the colors of autumn. Autumn, Autumn, we've arrived. And, we're bringing more than 2,500 other colorful varieties with us darned in all their Octoberfest shades of reds, greens, and yellows the bobbing apples fall.

Luckily for ghosts and globlins who bob for apples on Halloween, 20 to 25 percent of an apple's volume is air- much more than in most fruits. The cells in apple tissue fit imperfectly together. Air sits in the spaces between the cells, not only making apples buoyant, but making a just-picked apple "crack" as you take that first bite. source

Sitting before me on my desk, I have the icon of the computer industry, the Apple. American as apple pie...or is it? The crabapple is the only apple native to North America. Now, I don't know about you but, I've never baked anything with crabapples. I've considered trying my hand at making crabapple wine but, probably never will. It's pretty much on the bottom of my "someday" list right along with Crabapple schnapps. Spiced Crabapples tickle my fancy. I may have to try them soon. I found a recipe over at Olde Time Cooking with Chef Brad. I had never stumbled upon the site before. I think I may go back. It's my "kinda" place. It has a growing list of recipes, cooking trivia, cooking definitions, a monthly food question, spice of the month (which includes history and uses,) and to top it off, a monthly blue plate special with a real "old time meal" menu.

"English to the core," well ever since Roman times anyway, apple seeds arrived in America with the English colonists in 1620. The early orchards produced very few apples. You can find out why within the History and Legends of apples at the What's Cooking America website. There's bushels of pippins there. Oh alright, I'll give you a hint, the dilemma involves bees, or lack of...

Take a bite out of this. Almost one out of every four apples harvested in the United States is exported. In The Fruit Cultivator's Manual this is what gardener, seedsman and New York florist, Thomas Bridgeman wrote in 1917.

The Apple being so closely connected with our wants and enjoyments, is entitled to the first notice in the catalogue of our fruits. The Apple Orchard is, in truth, the vineyard of our country; and the delicious beverage that can be obtained from some of the varieties of this excellent fruit being calculated to cheer the invalid, as well as to strengthen the healthy, entitles it to high consideration. It is one of our oldest and best fruits, and has become completely naturalized to our soil; none can be brought to so high a degree of perfection with so little trouble; and of no other are there so many excellent varieties in general cultivation, calculated for almost every soil, situation, and climate, which our country affords. source

One could go on an on about the virtues of the apple; as a food, medicine, preservative, mouth cleanser, etc...Without question, the apple is king of fruits. This from The Housekeeper's Apple Book published in 1917.

The apple and its relative value have been described in the following manner by Professor McAlpine of Tasmania: "Suppose an apple to be the size of a large breakfast cup and into this cup you put nearly half a pint of water and stir into it a half teaspoonful of concentrated food like that contained in an egg; of fatty stuff like butter, a little less than half a teaspoonful; of both cane and grape sugar, two tablespoonfuls; of mineral matter, as much as will lie on a sixpence; of acids, a little more than a teaspoonful; of skin and core a little more than two thirds of a teaspoonful." By this analysis you will see that the apple is not a luxury but a product of great food value. The mineral salts in the apple, such as iron, lime, magnesia, and phosphorus, are easily assimilated and aid greatly in maintaining a healthy equilibrium in the physical life of man. Doctor Hobart of Tasmania says: "The sailor who lives for a long time on salt pork and biscuit alone will rot with scurvy, and if he takes the sugars, acids, etc., contained in an apple every day separately, he will still die, but if he takes an apple a day his blood will keep perfectly right. This shows there is life in the apple aside from its chemical composition.

"A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned"

There's a bounty of apple recipes to be harvested from the web especially at this time of year. Apple-picking is a beloved fall tradition and the apple's rich culinary heritage reminds us of the days when it was considered appropriate to bring an apple to the teacher. In the Housekeeper's Apple Book, the author, Lucy Gertrude Mackay asserts the need to incorporate apples into our daily meals. She states, "It is claimed by many that if apples were substituted for potatoes occasionally in bills of fare, better health would result. If one meal a day could be made of the apple and some one of the dairy products, better health conditions would soon be manifest among our people." So, you can imagine my delight when I found this post titled Chicken Apple Curry - Potatoes for me, please..

But what of preservation? Apples are convenient year-round fruits. But to preserve the goodness of the American bounty, and perhaps save a little money, let's not fritter away the fruits of our labor. Besides the usual manner of "putting up" jellies, butters and ciders, apples can be frozen or dried. How much fun would it be to return from apple picking day and begin stringing apples for drying. Did you know, dried apple rings were popular in the 16th century as a way of storing fruit over the winter. Here is a colonial recipe for dried apples which still can be used today. Hey, they were good enough for Paul Revere! Check out how A New Old-Fashioned Gal dries her apples. You see, you can dry apples without a dehydrator. Are you a crafter? Dried apples are sometimes even used in crafts. Dried apples are also a healthy snack filled with dietary fiber, vitamin C, some A and several B complex vitamins, potassium and iron. Thin slices of air dried apples induce a subtle flavor which works quite nicely in such dishes as compotes and stuffing. Dried apple rings are great for granola mixes as well as cookies and even as a quick snack dipped in your favorite honey. Apples dried at this time of year can be stored and refreshed for use in pies, applesauce and cakes. A remembrance of a autumn afternoon. (Note: 1 cup dried apples yields about 1 1/4 c. cooked apples.) They can be re-hydrated for use in most recipes only limited by the imagination. I sometimes use apple cider vinegar or cider to re-hydrate them before adding to a dish. Below, I have included recipes for dried apple butter and dried apple fruit cake which I found in the The Housekkeeper's Apple Book. I also found a recipe for Dried Apple Roly-Poly another old fashioned recipe over at the Apple Journal.

Dried Apple Butter:
Wash one pound of dried or evaporated apples thoroughly, soak overnight; in the morning cook with plenty of water. When well done, rub through a sieve or colander ; add sugar and cinnamon to taste, the juice of one lemon, juice of two oranges, and butter the size of an egg. Cook slowly until it will drop heavily from a spoon.
Dried Apple Fruit Cake:
Boil two cups of dried apples in two cups of molasses. Cream one cup of butter with two cups of brown sugar, add four beaten eggs, and two cups of sour milk; sift together five cups of flour, two teaspoons of baking powder, one teaspoon of cinnamon, and one-half teaspoon of cloves. Stir into the dry ingredients ; add two pounds of raisins and one pound of currants, well floured, and one pound of English walnut meats broken into small pieces. Bake for three hours in a moderate oven.
Dried Apple Roly-Poly
Sift a pint of flour, two tablespoons of baking powder, and one-half teaspoon of salt. Rub in one tablespoon of shortening. Add two-thirds cup of water, knead quickly and roll out into a very thin sheet. Brush with melted better. Chop dried apples fine. The apples should have been soaked overnight. Sprinkle over the dough the apples and four tablespoons of sugar. Roll up and place in a buttered baking pan, brush with water, and bake in a moderately hot oven for three-quarters of an hour. After the roll has been baking for half an hour, baste with a tablespoon of sugar dissolved in two tablespoons of water; return to the oven to glaze. Serve hot with cream and sugar.

Apples most often bring to mind sweet desserts, such as pies and cakes, but by grating, cubing or by the addition of applesauce, any variety of dishes can be enhanced with the addition of apples. Dried fruit can also be soaked and used in puddings and sauces. With its instant flavor, nutrition and ease of digesting, applesauce is also an important component of the Brat Diet.

Cider Apple Sauce:
Reduce four quarts of new cider to two by boiling; add enough pared, cored, and quartered apples to fill the kettle. Let cook slowly for four hours. This is very nice when served with roast pork. Hmmm...pork chops & apple sauce:)

Dried Apple Sauce:
Wash apples thoroughly and soak for fifteen minutes in warm water; drain, cover with water, and let boil slowly for four hours ; mash, add cinnamon and sugar to taste. Add the sugar just before removing from the stove or the apples will be toughened and darkened.

Frozen Apple Sauce:
Pare, core, and cut ten apples into quarters. Cook with a few grains of salt, half a cup of sugar, and two cups of water. Rub through a sieve, add two thirds of a cup of cider and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Freeze to a mush and serve in cups made of bright red apples.

I discovered the following recipe in a cooking magazine titled The Cooking Club published in 1902. Now, it may appear that this vintage recipe, quite frankly, may be considered "out of style" and difficult to digest. Nay! like chicken and waffles it may seem a somewhat confusing concept. Not necessarily as discovered by Mr. Breakfast or as Michelle likes to call it, "How to Eat Apple Pie for Breakfast Without Feeling Guilty" in her recipe for Sweet Apple Omelet. Here's another from The National Cook Book by Marion Harland and her daughter Christine Terhune Herrick.

Apple Omelet:
Into a cupful of strained apple sauce stir, while it is hot, a tablespoonful of butter, half a cupful of powdered sugar, and half a teaspoonful of mace or nutmeg. Let it get cold and add the beaten yolks of five eggs. Beat hard and high for two minutes, and put in the stiffened whites very gently with a good pinch of soda dissolved in a teaspoonful of cream. Turn the mixture into a buttered and heated bake-dish and bake in a steady oven until puffy and delicately browned. Send at once to the table.

If you're not quite ready for an apple omelet or Rosa's  Apple & Cheddar Quiche, perhaps, I can tempt you with the Belgium Pancake recipe below found in Mrs. Wilson's Cookbook (1920.)

1902 Apple Omelet:
Peel, core and quarter six apples. Stew them until tender and add two tablespoonfuls of butter, two tablespoonfuls of sugar and three eggs well beaten. Beat the whole well and fry as an omelet. Sprinkle with powdered sugar when done and serve immediately.

Belgium Pancakes
Two cupfuls of unsweetened thin applesauce,
One well−beaten egg,
Three tablespoonfuls syrup,
Two and one−half cupfuls flour,
Three teaspoonfuls baking powder,
One tablespoonful shortening,
One−half teaspoonful cinnamon.
Beat to mix and then bake in the usual manner. Serve with butter and syrup.

"When the early explorers returned from their travels and introduced new fruits and vegetables into Europe, the Europeans often didn't know what to call them. To them, the name "apple" symbolized all fruits and was at one time bestowed upon melons, avocados, cashews, cherimoyas, dates, eggplants, lemons, oranges, peaches, pineapples, pine nuts, pomegranates, potatoes, quinces, and tomatoes. Poet Robert Frost found this rather amusing and penned this poem: source"

And was always a rose.
But the theory now goes
That the apple's a rose,
And the pear is, and so's
The plum, I suppose.
The dear only know
What will next prove a rose.
You, of course, are a rose--
But were always a rose.
Robert Frost
The world's largest apple peel was created by Kathy Wafler Madison on October 16, 1976, in Rochester, NY. It was 172 feet, 4 inches long. (She was 16 years old at the time and grew up to be a sales manager for an apple tree nursery.) source
American mechanical apple peelers date to the late 18th century. It has become lore, in fact, that a 13-year-old Eli Whitney, later inventor of the cotton gin, began his career by designing an apple peeler in 1778. But the first U.S. patent for an apple peeler was filed by Moses Coates, of Downing's Field, Pa., in 1803. All of this is according to a scholarly article, "Apple Parers: A Slice of American History" by Don Thornton. source
1737 - Robert Prince in 1737 established the first commercial apple tree nursery in America called William Prince Nursery in Flushing, New York. The nursery survived under four generations of the Prince family until just after the Civil War. Prince's Nursery gathered trees and plants from around the world for resale, and became renowned through the American colony for its exotic wares. source below

Update: As soon as my daughter, Michele, heard about this National Apple Month post, she emailed me her recipe for Apple Butter which she suggests is good for freezing. You may remember Michele's Banana Pudding Pie.  Here goes...

Old-Fashioned Apple Butter
4 lbs. Apples (12 c., pared and sliced)        ½ tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cloves                    2 tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Allspice                    2 c. Apple cider 
Juice and grated peel of 1 lemon        ½ c. Sugar per cup of pulp

Place apples in a large kettle with apple cider. Bring to boil and simmer over low heat about 15 to 20 minutes until apples are tender. Put through sieve and measure pulp. Add 1/2 cup sugar per cup pulp and remaining ingredients. Simmer over low heat 1 to 2 hours or until butter is thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  Ladle into pint jars.  Cover and place in freezer.  This is an easy alternative to canning.

1. History and Legends of Apples
2. Recommended Uses for Selected Apple Varieties
3. Chef John Zehnder’s Heirloom Applesauce Cake
4. Chicken and Apple Curry 
5. Ritz Mock Apple Pie over @ cakespy
6. Apple Pie & Cheese
7. What is a Custard Apple?
8. Applesauce Custard Pie (also has recipe for making applesauce)
9. Fried Apples 'n' Onions
10. gâteau express aux pommes (applicious) Is that my buréka?
11. Mom's Apple Cake @ Smitten Kitchen
12. The Surreal Life & a Boiled Cider Pie (@ Coco Cooks)
13. Freezer Recipe- Apple Cinnamon Crumb (Rochelle's Vintage Recipes)
14. Apple Custard Pie with Cinnamon Streusel
15. Great Apple Activity Ideas