Monday, July 30, 2012

My Husband Says Old Books Follow Me Home......

           Actually they don't, but it does seem that I have a penchant for finding something to love in the most dilapidated old books at an estate sale.  This one was so worn it had been put in a ziploc bag to keep the pieces could I resist when the package said "Handwritten Cookbook 1922"!!

           This time my treasure came in the form of a three-ring binder about 6" x 9" with what had been a very nice cover.  It reminds me of the texture and embossed look of a school yearbook; this one has a lovely scripted "Recipes" and a steaming casserole on the cover.  
           The inside back cover lists the maker and a patent (?) from December of 1904.  The inside front cover is inscribed by "Blanche"  with her thought "The way to a Man's Heart" and November 8th, 1922.  Was this something that this young girl used to collect recipes for her hope chest...from an era when proper young ladies began planning their future households early?   Was this a wedding gift?
           The dividers inside are alphabetical:  Cakes, Desserts, Drinks, Eggs, Fish, Game, Ices, Leftovers, Meats, Oysters (????), Pastry, Pickles, Poultry, Preserves, Salads, Soups, Vegetables, and Misc.  Never would have thought that oysters deserved a divider of their own!!  Each and every division has handwritten recipes... except for the Leftovers, Oysters, and Pickles!

            In some places Blanche's handwriting is hard to decipher, so please take these recipes with the proverbial grain of salt...they're just too charming not to share.  If there's a question mark, it means I think that's what it says!
Ice Box Rolls
1 quart milk: scald, cool
1 cup sugar ?
1 cup lard
1 cup mashed potatoes, cold
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 cake yeast, dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
1 quart flour
          Mix like you would cake dough.  Let stand one hour and add enough flour to make stiff dough.  Let raise (sic) and use as needed.

Graham Cracker Dessert
(not a lot of measuring here!!)
1/2# marshmallows
1/2 cup thin cream
1/2# dates
1/2# graham crackers
1/2 cup nuts
           Mix thoroughly and roll and cool in ice box.  Cut and serve.

Eggless Milkless Cake 
(If memory serves me correctly, this might have come from the Depression years?)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1/2 box raisins
2 Tbls. butter or lard
1 tsp each of allspice, cinnamon and cloves.
          Boil slowly for 15 minutes.  When entirely cold, stir in 1 tsp soda dissolved in 1/3 cup water.  Add this to 2-1/2 cups flour and 1 heaping tsp flour which has been sifted three times ??   Last of all add 2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 cup nuts.  Bake slowly for one hour.

Mrs. Miller's Salad Dressing
3 eggs
1 Tbls flour
3 Tbls sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
1 small can Carnation milk.
Lump of butter.

           There's not a clue as to where to go from here......

G. Walrod's Salad Dressing
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 Tbls flour, mixed with the sugar
1/2 cup sweet milk
Pinch of salt
1 Tbls mustard
1 Tbls butter or oil

Beat together.  When good and hot, add 3/4 cup vinegar (?).  Double boiler.
One would assume that the double boiler was used from the start!

There are a couple more recipes that I'm still trying to decipher before I tuck Blanche's labor of love into my files.  

           In our hurried lifestyles today where scheduling around work, various practices for the kids, and looking for a bit of personal time in our lives is a constant headache, there's a bit of charm (and certainly nostalgia) in looking back at a time when by a certain time in the afternoon, the homemaker tied her apron around her waist, gathered her ingredients, and began creating a home-cooked meal for her family.  Children and husband came into a house filled with the aromas of home cooking and the words "Wash your hands and get ready for dinner."  

           We certainly have a lot of conveniences today that they never dreamed of...a lot of them we wouldn't want to give up!  There is a bit of wistfulness sometimes in looking old handwritten cookbook seems to share that with us!
             I found the lower three pictures in some copies of "American Cookery" from the 1920's which I have listed in my store "The Vintage Bookworm."

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