Monday, July 26, 2010

Part II: Sugar girl and her Anthropomorphic Zoo Animals

Sugar Girl is not much in evidence today, but some of her odd pals are. Once again, feel free to add captions and tell me your thoughts on these odd, odd pictures.

Are the fish and chicken also anthropomorphic? Unsettling.

The devil, he is a moose.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Stewed prunes, shirred eggs Mornay, bread

Good morning, you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed thing you! It is breakfast time once again. This time, with the Hotel St. Francis Cookbook [1919]. Glorious. Breakfast is all you're getting from me from this book, and even that is iffy.

Most of the menus involve things like truffles and lobsters and cow brains and lamb kidneys. In short: either expensive, organ-related, or both. Seriously, I was only able to find a handful of menus I was willing to do. This is more impressive than it sounds at first, because this book includes a different breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipe for every day of the year. Except February 29. I guess the kitchen staff got a vacation once every four years.

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Shirred Eggs Mornay
Put on a buttered shirred egg dish one spoonful of cream sauce, break two fresh eggs on top, season with salt and pepper, cover the eggs with sauce Mornay, sprinkle with grated cheese and bake in oven. [about 10-12 minutes at 325 degrees F.]

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Mornay Sauce [not from the book, from the internet]

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup whole or 2% reduced-fat milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
1/4 cup each coarsely grated Gruyère and Parmesan cheese [I used Monterey Jack instead of Gruyere. Do not judge me.]

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in flour, and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. (Do not let mixture brown.) Add milk, whisking constantly. Bring to a low boil, and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese. Use immediately.

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Stewed prunes.
Wash well one pound of prunes, and soak in cold water for two hours. Put on fire in same water, add a small piece of cinnamon stick, the peel of a quarter of a lemon, and two ounces of sugar, and cook on slow fire until soft. It will require about one hour. If an earthern pot with cover is used, put in bake oven for about two hours. The flavor will be better.


Shirred eggs Mornay: Oh my golly. Eggs baked in cheese sauce with cheese on top. Really good. It would have been better if the yolk was runny, but that is my own fault. Yum. Really, yum. It was pretty rich to handle on its own, but spoonfuls of this on sourdough toast were fantastic. Smooth, creamy, cheesy goodness. I ate two because I made more sauce than I needed and I felt I had to use it up, but one egg like this is enough for anybody.

Stewed prunes: Yeahhhhhh not so much. I tried to overcome my foolish modern prejudices against prunes, and it worked pretty well on the one I tried straight up. But stewed and mushified... no. The flavor was actually really good, the cinnamon stick and lemon really added something. I just couldn't get over the texture. With the super mushy inside and the skin holding it together, they were like little sacks of goosh. On the other hand, this is a meal for travelers. I think we'd all be happier if we ate meals like this on vacation instead of Taco Bell, ifyouknowwhatImeanandIthinkyoudo.

Lemon Vinegar

I mentioned lemon vinegar once before, but the more I think about it, the more I think it deserves its own page. There are a ton of recipes in historical cookbooks for vinegars flavored with berries, but I really really love this citrus variation.

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Here is my baseline recipe (from, but the one pictured above uses one lemon, 4 limes, 3 bay leaves, and 4 cups of vinegar. The bay is really unnecessary, it just adds the tiniest bit of depth to the flavor. Not enough that most people can notice, but enough to be delicious without them knowing why.

Lemon Vinegar
35 oz. white vinegar
2 lemons
4 bay leaves

1. Pour the vinegar into a stainless steel pan.
2. Wash the lemons and pare the rind from them with a potato peeler.
3. Add the peel to the pan with the bay leaves and boil for 5 minutes.
4. Cover and leave to go cold.
5. Bottle, including the peel and the bay.
6. Leave for 4 weeks.
7. The vinegar can then either be strained and bottled or used as it is, depending on the strength you require.

I find it is ready to use almost immediately. It gets stronger over time, sure, but it's also darn good right away. I highly recommend the limes, too. They are FAB.

But what do I do with this?

1. Make a shrub. Splash about a tablespoon in a glass, add a couple spoonfuls of the sweetener of your choice, and fill up with ice water. I know, the vinegar sounds weird, but it is really really good. It sparkles in your mouth like a mild soda, and the taste is really similar to lemonade or limeade. It's like having lemonade infinitely on tap in the fridge! I have told you before and I will tell you again: try it. Just try it.

2. Mix it half-and-half with water, pour in a spray bottle, and use as cleanser. You can use it on pretty much everything, and you'll be amazed how well it works. The citrusy scent is just a delightful bonus. Real citrus, too, not lemon-flavored Pledge.

3. Wash your hair. I'm trying the no-poo thing.

4. Salad dressing.

5. Fresh cucumber pickles

5. Marinades

6. Make your kitchen smell fabulous. Boiling vinegar or vinegar and water will take nasty cooking smells out of the air. Try making a batch of this next time your kitchen smells awful. Claim you let it get awful on purpose, FOR SCIENCE.

7. Unclog your nose. Stick your head over this while it is boiling. Man.

8. Try a historical recipe using vinegar. Report back.

9. Finally, attach this list and some lovely decorative dried lemon slices and give as gifts! I know what my neighbors will be getting for Christmas this year....

Which of these are you most tempted by? Can you think of any other good ideas?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sugar girl and her anthropomorphic zoo animals

These guys are from a children's cookbook put out by a sugar company. For the moment, I can't find it. :( They're cool though, huh? If you've got any captions for me, share!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Cracker-ball Soup, Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, Creamed Potatoes, Celery, Mince Pie, Apricot Ice Cream, Cheese

The Presbyterian ladies of Recipes Tried and True, [1894], they certainly knew how to put on a spread. Lands! This is the second meal outline of theirs that I have followed, and I am again over-full and satisfied.

I felt like Husband deserved a cracking good meal for putting up with some of the things I have put on the table recently *cough*chicken Jello*cough*, and every time we pass the meat bins in the grocery store, he tries to get roast beef and Yorkshire pudding on the menu. I felt like a super virtuous wife when he came home and exclaimed, "Wow! It smells great in here! Like... like..." "Beef?" "YES." "I'm making Yorkshire pudding." "Really? Sweet! But it also smells like something else... something desserty..." "I also made a pie." "....!!!!"

Then I nudged the laptop upon which I had been watching for the last three hours under the couch with my foot. Shhhh.

IMG_3056.jpg picture by seshet27

A Ms. Ozella Seffner gives us a list of "Plain Family Dinners for a Week in Winter", one of which is as follows:

Cracker-ball Soup
Roast Beef
Yorkshire Pudding
Creamed Potatoes
Celery [didn't have any, used a green apple instead]
Mince Pie
Apricot Ice Cream
Coffee or chocolate [We don't drink coffee, drew the line at hot chocolate today. You know. In July.]

Please keep the word "plain" at the forefront of your mind while you peruse the rest of this post.

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A FINE SOUP. MRS. W. H. ECKHART. [Cracker-ball soup, presumably]

Take good soup stock and strain it. When it boils add cracker balls, made thus: To one pint of cracker crumbs [I used saltines] add a pinch of salt [omitted because of the SALTines] and pepper, one teaspoonful parsley, cut fine, one teaspoonful baking powder, mixed with the crumbs, one small dessert spoon of butter, one egg; stir all together;
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make into balls size of a marble; place on platter to dry for about two hours; when ready to serve your soup put them into the stock; boil five minutes.
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Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
The cookbook with the menu did not provide recipes for all the foods listed, so here is one from my family. For the rest, I used The Boston Cooking School Cook Book [1896].

4 eggs
3 C. milk
1 1/2 t. salt
2 C. flour

Partially cook roast in large dripper pan. A 9x13 also works fine. Standing rib roast is traditional, but other roasts are good too. Beat eggs really well. They should be lemon-colored and foamy. Pour in milk and salt and mix together. Add in flour gradually until it is a smooth batter. Refrigerate until the roast is as partially cooked as you want it to be. Pour pudding mixture over roast. Right over, not around the sides. Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. and then 50 minutes at 350 degrees F. Serve with beef broth. You can either pour the broth over the pudding and beef, or put it in a little cup and dip bites in for maximum broth absorption.

IMG_3055.jpg picture by seshet27

Creamed Potatoes.
Reheat two cups cold boiled potatoes, cut in dice, in one and one-fourth cups White Sauce I.

White Sauce I.
2 tablespoons butter.
2 tablespoons flour.
1 cup milk.
1/4 teaspoon salt.
Few grains pepper.

Put butter in saucepan, stir until melted and bubbling; add flour mixed with seasonings, and stir until thoroughly blended. Pour on gradually the milk, adding about one-third at a time, stirring until well mixed, then beating until smooth and glossy. If a wire whisk is used, all the milk may be added at once; and although more quickly made if milk is scalded, it is not necessary.

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Mock Mince Pie.
4 common crackers rolled. [I used 8 saltines]
1 1/2 cups sugar.
1 cup molasses.
1/3 cup lemon juice or vinegar.
1 cup raisins seeded and chopped.
1/2 cup butter.
2 eggs well beaten.
Spices. [cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. A little clove would be nice.]

Mix ingredients in order given, adding spices to taste. Bake between crusts. This quantity will make two pies. [Wrong, it will make one. Unless you have one of those really petite antique pie pans that actually hold exactly one can of pie filling.]

Lattice-top leaf-wreathed sparkle-top pie crust close up!
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I like making pie crusts.


Cracker-ball soup: Really nice! Like a lovely dumpling/noodle type thing, with good flavor and texture. I liked these a lot.

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding: Not my best Yorkshire pudding, but I have picky standards regarding Yorkshire pudding. Maybe by the time I'm 80, I'll have accomplished Yorkshire pudding as crusty and delicious as my grandma's. Still tasty though! Yorkshire pudding is, for most people in my experience, much like bagpipes or cats. They either love it or hate it. Most imports to my family think it is nasty. When Husband and I were dating, I was worried the first time it appeared at a family dinner. I was pretty sure he'd hate it. He ate about half of a pan of it in one go, claiming it was the perfect combination of two of his favorite foods: beef and bread. And I knew it was meant to be.

Creamed Potatoes: A darn sight better than the Spry ones! Mainly because they were a.) made with butter and b.) did not involve the curious addition of horseradish. They begged for some shredded cheddar added to the sauce, but I resisted. I did eat them with the pieces of Monterey Jack that filled the "cheese" slot in the menu though.

Mince Pie: Surprisingly good! I was worried it would be overwhelming, but the lemon juice cut the sweetness pretty well. I also used sorghum molasses, which is much smoother than sugar cane molasses. I talked about sorghum back here. I liked it better than any mince pie I've ever had. It was kind of like a liquid melty gooey gingersnap.

Apricot Ice Cream: I used leftover Apricot Ice.

Note about mincemeat pie: Some people will tell you that mincemeat does not have meat in it, despite the name. Traditional mincemeat pies really do have meat and/or suet chopped up alongside the dried fruit. And it is fine. Honestly.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Apricot Ice and Cocoanut Cream Cookies

IMG_3044.jpg picture by seshet27

Sometimes, just sometimes, this hobby of mine rewards me with new and delicious treasures. Today, I have two recipes that are fantastic! Hurray!

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Apricot Ice
Ice Creams, Water Ices, Frozen Puddings Together With Refreshments for All Social Affairs [1900's?]

1 quart can of apricots
1/2 cupful of sugar
1 pint of water
Juice of one lemon

Press the apricots through a sieve [or, you know, a blender.], add all the other ingredients, and
serve. This is nice served in lemonade glasses for afternoon tea. Pass sweet wafers. [Freeze like ice cream. All the other recipes for fruit ices in this book state this step, this one does not for some reason.]

This will serve eight persons.

Important Note:: When I say here "freeze like ice cream", I mean "freeze in an ice cream maker", not "put it into the freezer as if it were a carton of Haagen Daaz." Not that anyone made that mistake. You know who you are.


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Cocoanut Cream Cookies
The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book [1896]

2 eggs.
1 cup sugar.
1 cup thick cream.
1/2 cup shredded cocoanut.
3 1/2 cups flour.
3 teaspoons baking powder.
1 teaspoon salt.
[extra coconut for sprinkling on top of the dough]

Beat eggs until light, add sugar gradually, cocoanut, cream, and flour mixed and sifted with baking powder. Chill, toss on a floured board, pat and roll one-half inch thick. Sprinkle with cocoanut, roll one-fourth inch thick, and shape with a small round cutter, first dipped in flour. Bake on a buttered sheet. [app. 325 degrees for 10 minutes]


Apricot Ice: Yum. The apricot ice has a clean, crisp, refreshing flavor, perfect for a hot summer day. It also makes use of one of my least favorite fruit applications, canned apricots. I'm not a fan of apricots to begin with, but when they are canned they are like dollops of slimy fur. Here, however, they are transformed into something cloying and slithering to something pure and good.

Also a plus, this recipe just requires things from your pantry, and could be easily adapted to other fruits. Other, similar fruit ice recipes are even in the cookbook, but it isn't that hard. No ice cream? Have a need for ice cream but no dollars? Blend up that mysterious can of fruit in the back of your pantry with water, sugar, and possibly lemon juice. Nice.

Cocoanut cream cookies: Also delicious. They are not heavily sweet like a lot of modern cookies that make your teeth hurt biting into them, they are just exactly sweet enough. No more, no less. Perfect. You can eat them with lemonade or apricot ice without wincing as you go back and forth between teeth-aching frosting and sharp citrus. The texture is sort of like a soft sugar cookie, like a much better version of those pink-frosting sugar cookies you get in grocery stores. I imagine these would work really well at a wedding reception, baby/bridal shower, etc.

As a bonus, by convenient happenstance they are low fat! "But Jana!" you say. "They clearly have cream in them! And cream is fattening!" Well, yes, yes it is. But less fattening then butter. Butter is all the fat and a few of the milk solids from cream. Ninety-eight percent of the cookie recipes I can think of off the top of my head use some sort of solid fat, be it butter or shortening (Spry shortening, of course!). This one, however, uses only cream. Therefore, it is low fat. Go. Make. Eat. Feel not thou guilty.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Happy 50's Ice Cream Time

And now, just because I love you, three delightful ice cream pictures from the booklet that came with my mom's ice cream maker that she got in Ye Olden Times. Look at these guys!

I scream! You scream!

Kids scream! Mom screams!
Bow ties are cool.

Well-dressed debonair husband politely smiles for!

Everybody screams for ice cream! Rah rah rah!

Next time: Apricot Ice. Because now I'm in the mood for ice cream.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spry!Salmon Casserole, Spry!Oven-Creamed Potatoes, green salad, and Spry!Pineapple Upiside-Down Cake

Yes, the day has finally come. Spry. Glorious Spry. Sweet, creamy, digestible Spry.

IMG_2942.jpg picture by seshet27

Salmon Casserole
Unusual seasonings make this dish so savory! Yet it costs so little.

1 pound can salmon
1/4 cup Spry
1 teaspoon onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Salmon liquor
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten

Remove bones and skin from salmon and separate into flakes. . . . Melt Spry in frying pan. Add onion and cook until yellow. Add bread crumbs, salt, and pepper and brown lightly. . . . Put salmon liquor into a cup and pour in enough milk to make 1 cup. Combine salmon, crumbs, and liquid. . . . Add lemon juice, lemon rind, parsley, and egg, and blend, being careful not to mash salmon. . . . Pour into 8-inch Sprycoated. . . . Bake in moderately hot oven (375 degrees F.) for 30 minutes. Serves 6.

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Friday Supper Special. Serve Salmon Casserole with Oven-creamed Potatoes (page 30) and a crisp green salad. For dessert, remember Pineapple Upside-down Cake (page 45).

White or Cream Sauce
A nice smooth sauce or creamed vegetables, fish, and meats. Dandy for scalloped dishes, too.

2 tablespoons Spry
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 cup milk or thin cream

Melt Spry in saucepan; add flour, salt, and pepper, and blend well. . . . Add milk gradually, stirring constantly, and continue stirring and cooking until thickened. . . . Makes 1 cup sauce.

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Vegetable Casserole
Seasoned just enough and browned to a turn with a toppin' of melted cheese.

2 cups White Sauce (above)
1 teaspoon onion juice
1 cup cooked potatoes, diced
1 cup cooked green peas
1 cup cooked carrots, cut lengthwise
1/4 pound cheese, sliced

Combine white sauce and onion juice. . . . Add potatoes, peas, and carrots, and mix lightly. Turn into Sprycoated casserole. . . . Lay slices of cheese over top. . . . Bake in moderately hot oven (375 degrees F.) 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly browned. . . . Serves 6.

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Oven-creamed Potatoes. Omit onion and add 2 tablespoons horse-radish to white sauce. Use 3 cups cooked diced potatoes; omit peas and carrots.

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Pineapple Upside-down Cake
Easy to make and looks real dressy with pineapple and cherries glistenin' on top.

1/3 cup Spry
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups sifted flour
1/2 cup canned pineapple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
5 slices canned pineapple
5 maraschino cherries (optional)

Combine Spry, salt, and vanilla; add sugar gradually and cream well. . . . Add egg and beat thoroughly. . . . Add baking powder to flour and sift 3 times. Add small amounts of flour to creamed mixture, alternately with pineapple juice, mixing after each addition until smooth. . . . Sprinkle brown sugar on bottom of 8 x 8-inch pan rubbed liberally with Spry. . . . Arrange pineapple on sugar, put cherries in centers of slices, and pour batter over all. . . . Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F.) 50 to 60 minutes. . . . Serve upside down with whipped cream. . . . Serves 8 to 10.


DISCLAIMER: Spry is no longer sold, so if Aunt Jenny asks, any negative feelings I have about this food are a direct result of using Shur-Saving shortening instead of smooth, creamy, digestible Spry. Please, Aunt Jenny. Forgive me.

Salmon Casserole: This is a LOT of crumbs for this amount of salmon. Seriously, a lot. And I'm not sure which "unusual" seasonings Aunt Jenny is talking about. The parsley? The salt and pepper? Maybe she forgot to include them. It would've been a lot better with some good tartar sauce, but I didn't have any. Lame. Mainly, it was a bready fish-flavored loaf. Loaves, again. This cookbook has got to be from the 1940's-60's, what with the love of loaves of stuff. Bread should come in loaves. Meat can come in loaves, in the form of meatloaf. Other things, shaky ground, Aunt Jenny, shaky ground.

Oven-Creamed Potatoes: Sooooo bland! Usually this sort of thing would be made with butter instead of shortening, and butter has a lot more flavor. Shortening is designed to be tasteless. The horseradish... yeah. It was horseradishy. Now that was an unusual flavor! I think it ate the cheese, because I couldn't find it or taste it once it melted. That is too bad, because I love me some cheese. At least the potatoes didn't come in a loaf.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake: Mmmmmm. Cake. Not the best pineapple upside-down cake I've ever had, it's a lot better with butter, but still good. I ate one piece. An hour later, the rest of the cake had disappeared and husband looked really contented.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Spry! Receipts so digestible, even a child can eat 'em.

Why it has taken me so long to post the cover of Aunt Jenny's cookbook, I cannot say. Calvin seems really, really happy here. Perhaps Aunt Jenny let him lick the frostin' bowl last time she was makin' frostin'. Or perhaps he's just thrilled that every meal involves shortening. (Shortenin'?) But I have questions.

1. Why is he so skinny?

2. And wearin' lipstick?

3. If Aunt Jenny has written the cookbook that Calvin is readin' right now that he himself is on, and that picture is holding a cookbook with himself on it, how is space/time not fracturin'? Remember, the back of the cookbook also has an infinite time loop.

4. Has Aunt Jenny constructed a Paradox Machine, or is she a witch?

5. If option one, is it powered by Spry?

6. If option two, is she powered by Spry?

Also: " digestible a child can eat 'em." Discuss.

Next time: A Spry meal. Oh yes.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Brown Bread Ice Cream

I took a challenge to recreate a historical ice cream recipe. Of course I couldn't do something like vanilla or strawberry! No.

IMG_2949.jpg picture by seshet27

Brown Bread Ice Cream.
3 pints cream.
1 1/4 cups dried brown bread crumbs.
7/8 cup sugar.
1/4 teaspoon salt.

Soak crumbs in one quart cream, let stand fifteen minutes, rub through sieve, add sugar, salt, and remaining cream; then freeze.

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Fannie Farmer again! She is weird.

This was reeeeeeaaaally creamy. Really, really, really creamy. It takes forever to melt! Usually ice cream recipes cut the cream with half-and-half or milk. Not this one, man, not this one. In the U.S., ice cream must have no less than 10% milkfat to be labelled ice cream. Some really super premium kinds have 20% milkfat. Heavy cream, which is what I used, must have no less than 36% milkfat.


The creaminess of it was actually the most remarkable part, rather than the bread crumbs. The bread crumbs dissolved into almost nothing. Pointless!

It tasted of very little. Like really bland, solid whipped cream. I may or may not even finish the rest of the batch. I know! Tossing ice cream!