Monthly Archives: June 2011

FALLING OFF THE BONE, BY JEAN ANDERSON

“FALLING OFF THE BONE” is the latest cookbook from Jean Anderson, published in 2010 by John Wiley & Sons.

Jean, you may know if you have followed her career at all, is the author of more than twenty cookbooks and has written articles for Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Gourmet and other national magazines. She is also a six-time best cookbook award winner (James Beard, IACP, and Tastemaker) and is a member of the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame. She is also a founding member of both Les Dames d’Escoffier and the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance.

Jean Anderson is a cookbook author whose work I have long admired, but with the publishing of “AMERICAN CENTURY COOKBOOK” in 1997, her status, in my eyes, increased enormously. This is a cookbook to treasure forever, and the fascinating detail is reflected in the pages that took the author ten years to write. Other cookbook authors have written books in tribute to the past century, but Jean Anderson’s “AMERICAN CENTURY COOKBOOK” easily outshines them all. It could not have been an easy task, to search out the most popular recipes of the 20th century, and to chronicle 100 years of culinary change in America. Look at the changes that have taken place in just the past twenty or thirty years!

Now we have another Jean Anderson cookbook that you will want to cherish and use forever. I’ve always been more than a little partial to “one dish” meals, probably because that’s what my mother prepared more than anything else.

“In our rush to do everything on fast-forward,” we learn on the dust jacket to ‘Falling Off The Bone’, “we forget the slow-and-low cooking methods that can turn the most common and affordable cut of meat into a supremely tender and tasty family meal. The toughest veal shank slowly simmered in broth is magically transformed into a fall-off-the-bone-tender Ossobuco. A bony beef tail stewed with vegetables becomes a deeply flavorful and nourishing Oxtail Soup. All over the world, the most satisfying and soulful meat dishes don’t cost a lot of money—they just take a little more time (make that unattended time) and a little more love.”

“FALLING OFF THE BONE” is divided into four categories of contents; Beef, Veal, Lamb and Pork—and not only does the author provide you with a wealth of falling off the bone recipes, she also provides the best ways to cook each recipe, along with nutritional profiles, grades of the meat and shopping, storage, and freezing tips. It occurs to me, as I am reading the recipes, that this cookbook would make a dandy wedding present for pair of newlyweds. (You will note, please, that I didn’t say a ‘dandy wedding present for a bride’ – more and more husbands are taking up a wooden spoon or spatula and learning how to cook. Three of my four sons enjoy cooking and retain bragging rights in the kitchen).

In the chapter for beef, you will find (in a place of honor – the first recipe – Jean’s grandmother’s hearty beef and vegetable soup. There is also a recipe for Root Soup which only uses ¾ pound of meat in the recipe. Another sure to please recipe is Oxtail Soup which brings to mind Julie & Norma, two ladies who rented rooms from my grandmother in her house on Baltimore Avenue when I was a teenager.

The ladies often made oxtail soup and the aroma drifted throughout the house on oxtail-soup-night.

There is also a recipe for Borsch and a beef shank soup with meatballs and vegetables—followed by a recipe for onion-smothered beef. OMG, I can’t wait to try this – and there are only six ingredients to the recipe.

There are also recipes for beef stew with carrots, corn & potatoes, a mulligan stew, prairie stew and sweet-sour beef stew—and oh, ragout of beef with cranberries and wild mushrooms….and did I mention, most of these recipes are accompanied by the most mouth-watering photographs of the finished product, photographed by Jason Wyche?

Another really enticing feature of “Falling-off-the-Bone” are the prefaces to each recipe, tips from the author – as an example, introducing “Sweet-sour beef stew”, Jean writes, “Such an easy stew and for me, a dinner party favorite. I make it one day, refrigerate overnight, and reheat shortly before serving. I vary the accompaniment, sometimes pairing with boiled unpeeled redskin potatoes, sometimes with steamed rounds of sweet potato or boiled brown or white rice. Note to save time, I use the bagged-in-plastic peeled baby carrots now sold at most supermarkets”

And, let me add that almost all of the ingredients to make sweet-sour beef stew are items you most likely have in your refrigerator or pantry.

The Beef section contains many more delectable-sounding recipes, “That Fiery Beef Bowl of Red” “Green Chili with pinto beans”, “Texas Beef ‘n’ Beans” and “Picadinho de Carne” which is a fancier way of describing a Brazilian influence to making chili. There is, I’m happy to say, a recipe for Beef Bourguignon and a slow ‘n’ easy Austrian Goulash (I haven’t tried this last recipe yet but reading it, I sense that it’s quite similar to my grandmother’s Goulash, so it will be interesting to do a comparison.)

However, there is also a recipe for Hungarian Goulash with sauerkraut – I grew up on Hungarian Goulash but we never had it with sauerkraut! Interesting!

Jean’s “Swiss Steak with Tomato Gravy” bears a slight resemblance to the Swiss Steak I learned to cook as a new bride – except THIS one sounds much better. Another recipe to mark with a post-it.

There are these and many more beef recipes that you will want to try—and we haven’t even reached the recipes for veal yet!

In the chapter for veal, you will find recipes such as veal stew with mushrooms and cauliflower, a Florentine classic called stufatino, veal paprikash, slow cooker blanquette de veau or veal and vegetable risotto.
Jean offers other slow-cooker recipes using veal, such as Slow ‘n’ Easy Veal Zingara, also sometimes called Gypsy’s Stew, and slow cooker Russian Goulash but there are many others to whet your appetite – Orange-and-Mustard-Glazed-Pot Roast of Veal, for instance, or Tuscan Veal Pot Roast In Lemon Sauce.

There is much to choose from in the chapter for lamb – and in its introduction, Jean reminds us to recycle leftovers, that no meat makes better curry than lamb and this includes leftovers that you can simply dice and add to a curry sauce. Jean likes to grind lamb leftovers and use them when she makes Greek classics like moussaka and pastitsio. Look for recipes such as barley, lamb, and lima soup (yum! Barley and lima beans are two of my favorite ingredients!) or Scotch Broth, mulligatawny (peppery lamb and coconut soup) or odds and ends lamb soup. There is also a recipe for Turkish Wedding Soup or Spicy Lamb Hot Pot with Juniper, an old fashioned Irish stew or a slow cooker lamb with raisins and toasted almonds.

There are so many recipes that call for pork – and I enjoy almost all of them – so I will just touch on some of my greatest favs – glazed sweet-sour spareribs, for instance, far east spareribs on sesame sauerkraut, ribs lanai-style with pineapple, slow cooker Brunswick stew with pork, pork bowl of red and gypsy goulash, pork paprika—and one you seldom see in a cookbook—pickled pig’s feet!

Much of Jean Anderson’s personality shines through on each page, and will entice you to try every single Falling off the Bone dish—as if you will need any encouragement once you take a look at all of Jason Wyche’s photographs.

This one’s a winner – but then, I believe all of Jean Anderson’s cookbooks are winners.

“FALLING OFF THE BONE” is available from Amazon com for $19.77 – or you can buy a pre-owned copy starting at $11.01.

Bibliography
 GRASS ROOTS COOKBOOK, DOUBLEDAY DELL PUBLISHING, 1974, 75, 76, 77, 92 (*The Grass Roots Cookbook is a outgrowth of magazine pieces originally features in Family Circle magazine)

 The Doubleday Cookbook VOL 2 (with Elaine Hanna). Doubleday: 1975. R.T. French Tastemaker Cookbook-of- the-Year as well as Best Basic Cookbook

 RECIPES FROM AMERICA’S RESTORED VILLAGES, Doubleday, 1975

 THE GREEN THUMB PRESERVING GUIDE, WILLIAM MORROW & COMPANY, 1976

 JEAN ANDERSON’S PROCESSOR COOKING, WILLIAM MORROW & COMPANY, 1979

 Half a Can of Tomato Paste & Other Culinary Dilemmas (with Ruth Buchan). Harper & Row, 1980. Seagram/International Association of Culinary Professionals Award, Best Specialty Cookbook of the Year.

 JEAN ANDERSON COOKS, WILLIAM MORROW & COMPANY, 1982

 JEAN ANDERSON’S NEW PROCESSOR COOKING, WILLIAM MORROW & COMPANY, 1983

 The New Doubleday Cookbook (with Elaine Hanna). Doubleday: 1985.

 The Food of Portugal. William Morrow: 1986. Seagram/International Association of Culinary Professionals Award, Best Foreign Cookbook of the Year

 The New German Cookbook (with Hedy Würz). HarperCollins: 1993

 The American Century Cookbook. Clarkson Potter: 1997

 The Good Morning America Cut the Calories Cookbook (co-edited with Sara Moulton). Hyperion: 2000

 Dinners in a Dish or a Dash. William Morrow: 2000

 Process This! New Recipes for the New Generation of Food Processors. William Morrow: 2002. James Beard Best Cookbook, Tools & Techniques Category

 Quick Loaves. William Morrow: 2005

 A Love Affair with Southern Cooking: Recipes and Recollections. Foreword by Sara Moulton. William Morrow: 2007

Also by Jean Anderson:
THE ART OF AMERICAN INDIAN COOKING (with Yeffe Kimball)
FOOD IS MORE THAN COOKING
HENRY, THE NAVIGATOLR, PRINCE OF PORTUGAL
THE HAUNTING OF AMERICA
THE FAMILY CIRCLE COOKBOOK (with the Food Editors of Family Circle Magazine)

This list is as comprehensive as I could make it, based largely on the dozen or so Jean Anderson cookbooks in my personal collection. I also checked with Google.com and Amazon.com for titles.

Happy Cooking! And when you aren’t cooking, read a good cookbook!

–Review by Sandra Lee Smith

MORE BATTERED, TATTERED, STAINED RECIPES FROM SOME OLD CHURCH COOKBOOKS

Many of you have written to express your enjoyment reading the first “Battered, tattered, Stains in a Church Cookbook” so I have been asking myself what can I share with you that will give you all the same level of enjoyment? And the answer was…More Battered Tattered Stained Recipes from some old church cookbooks. And believe me, there are a lot of them “out there” waiting to be discovered.

How about “The Elkhart Cookbook A collection of Tried and Approved Recipes selected and compiled by THE LADIES OF THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH Elkhart Indiana, published in Elkhart, Indiana in 1891.

To tell the truth, this cookbook—sans its covers—was recently sent to me by my penpal Betsy. I have no clue what the cover might have looked like. The top page in front of me has a large ad from Mandel Bros “An Economical Center” – Mandel Bros. sold you dry goods, carpeting, draperies, furniture, boys’ clothing, ladies, Misses and children’s shoes. Just boys’ clothing? Nothing for girls? Just wondering. Maybe all the girls clothing was made at home by mama. On the next page is an ad for “Fast Writing 229 Words in 5 minutes” – and no, it isn’t a typewriter….it’s a fountain pen! The cost was $1.00 and you could send for testimonials and catalogue. There are a lot of other ads but you get the picture.
The cookbook starts with a collection of soups – but I have been more intrigued by the following chapter titled “Fish And Oysters” – the first two pages are discolored, as if a clipping had been inside the book for a long time, but we learn how to select fish and how to cook it. There are sauces ranging from an egg sauce to Allemande sauce, caper sauce (which I love on a white fish) to a Hollandaise. As for oysters, we learn how to fry, devil, steam, cream and escallop the oyster. Oysters must have been at their peak in popularity in 1891.

Moving forward to Brown Bread, Johnny Cake and Muffins, the chapter is prefaced with Bishop Williams’ recipe for Johnny Cake which is a rhymed recipe and one that I believe is in one of the Kitchen Poets posts. One of my favorite features in many of the late 1800s-early 1900s club-and-church cookbooks are the simply delicious rhymed recipes or kitchen-themed poems that pop up frequently in these old cookbooks.

You can tell how often the Elkhart Cook Book was used, judging from the yellowed and stained pages. There are pages and pages of recipes for pies including one I’ve never heard of, called Marlborough Pie, and surely two or three times as many for puddings. There is even one for Mrs. President Harrison’s (sic) fig pudding. Did First lady Harrison actually contribute the recipe or did it come to the ladies of Elkhart some other way? I speculate on this because when my PTA was compiling a cookbook in 1971 I knew that one way to generate a little extra interest in your cookbook was to write to a few famous people and request a favorite recipe. I took it upon myself to write to Mrs. Nancy Reagan, who sent us a recipe for Baja California Chicken, and Mrs. Pat Nixon sent us her recipe for an Avocado Salad. From Mrs. Ladybird Johnson we received a recipe for peach ice cream while Mayor Yorty sent us his recipe for mashed potato chocolate cake. Our cookbook, “Recipe Roundup”was a mostly amateurish attempt at publishing a cookbook (I thought I knew something about them because I collected cookbooks) but I have to say, it has pretty much stood the test of time. I’m only sorry now that I didn’t buy a bunch of cookbooks for my sons or daughters in law or even future grandchildren but I wasn’t thinking that far ahead in 1970-71. (My youngest child was only 2 at the time).

“Recipe Roundup” still contains my favorite recipes for carrot cake and my friend Rosalia’s Banana bread. I was too busy at home with two toddlers and doing home typing for extra income to participate at the school so the PTA mothers collected the recipes and brought them to me. Two of the women in that group became lifelong best friends.

Another fascinating “battered & tattered” cookbook I received from girlfriend Betsy recently is “Twentieth Century Cook Book A Feast of Good Things A Careful compilation of Tried and Approved Recipes – Ladies Aid Society of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Montgomery PA., 1913” and yes indeed, this is the ENTIRE title, on the cover, which has become dethatched from the rest of the cookbook. There were some printing problems evidence in various parts of the book, which couldn’t have made the Ladies Aid Society very happy.

On the first page is a list – Commandments That Rule Housekeepers, who are extolled* “to manage her household so that the comfort, health and well being of every member shall be insured in a difficult task for a woman, and requires much tact, as well as domestic ability, and what follows is a lengthy list of what the lady of the house must do to accomplish this—one of which reads “To see that every part of the home is kept clear always because dirt is degrading and brutalizing and leads to disease and crime”. Seriously? Dirt? What about the dirt I grow my tomatoes in?

(*As for extolled…well, I don’t use it in my everyday conversations but it seemed to fit in the Twentieth Century Cook Book)

Twentieth Century also contains some rhymed recipes which I will share with you when I compiled a Part 11 of the Kitchen Poets.

Another old cookbook sent to me recently is a slim book “Cook Book of Favorite Recipes Published By the Portia Club of North Yakima, Washington, in 1909. It has a red cover with black print that is mostly faded, but the entire title can be found inside, sprinkled amongst advertisements from various businesses of Yakima, along with a “Dedication (with apologies to Longfellow):

O ye tired and weary house-wives!
O ye never-tiring house-wives!
Here’s a solving, solving, solving
Of the daily eating problem.
Here’s an answer, answer, answer
To the oft-repeated question.
To the quite perplexing question
That confronts us, that annoys us,
What shall we eat? We shall eat what?
Here’s a book of tested cooking
Here’s a book of tried proportions,
Kingly given by our women,
Thank we them for their donation.
Thank them for this little cookbook.
Dedicate it to these women,
Take it to your home and use it.
Take it to your friends and neighbors
May it prove a blessing to you.

Even if you didn’t use the cookbook for its recipes, now a hundred years later, I think anyone interested in old cookbooks, kitchens, kitchen utensils—would love the ads. There is a full page ad for a McDougall Cabinet (a kitchen cabinet) with prices starting at $24.75 and up. (some years ago my sisters & I spent a couple of weeks at our brother Bill’s home in Xenia, Ohio—and one of those days was spent at the nearby town of Waynesville, which was filled with antique stores. I love kitchen cabinets – and even had one when I was first married; it was left behind when we moved to California. I don’t know who has it now. The multitude of kitchen cabinets we oohed and ahhed over in those antique stores had me sighing all over the place. It wasn’t something I could buy and ship to California—shipping would have been as expensive as the cabinets. But I can still salivate over the ads. And I do. That is one of the greatest charms of very old cookbooks –the ads.

Another charming old cookbook, another recent acquisition, is a small hard-covered little book titled “Wehman’s Cook Book, published by Henry J. Wehman—and it even features an 1890 lady of the house preparing something – a cake perhaps – with an old-fashioned cooking range in the background. Henry, it appears, was a publisher who offered “The Complete Letter Writer” for twenty-five cents or Wehman’s Irish Song Book No.3, also for 25 cents. The Complete Letter Writer is exactly what it sounds like – a book to guide someone through the intricacies of writing every kind of letter- from a business letter to something along the lines of love, courtship or marriage. Wehman’s Complete Dancing Master was also available for 25 cents and offered “All the figures of the German and every new and fashionable waltz…along with many other dance instructions. I am more interested in “Wehman’s Cook Book A Valuable Collection of Valuable Recipes suited to EVERY HOUSEHOLD and ALL TASTES”—which appears to have been unused; none of the pages are battered, tattered or stained – and on a back page is an ad for “THE WITCHES DREAM BOOK AND FORTUNE TELLER” for 25 cents as well. That alone might have been offputting for some 1890’s housewives.

One last old cookbook to pique your curiosity today is not so battered, tattered or stained..is a small black cookbook, titled “A Collection of TESTED RECIPES compiled and arranged for the benefit of THE LADIES AID SOCIETY of the FIRST M.E. CHURH from Albion, Michigan, also dated 1890. The first 13 pages are filled with ads (everything from corsets to hardwood floors) while the 14th page is graced with a lovely drawing of the first M.E. Church of Albion, Michigan. Elsewhere in the book is a full page ad with illustration of a Remington typewriter which fascinate me. I think I was about twelve when my parents bought a used Royal or Underwood standard (not portable) typewriter that I taught myself to type on, two-fingers..until I took typing lessons in high school and had to un-learn the two-finger method for lessons using all ten fingers.

However, since I embarked about a year ago on finding as many green tomato recipes as possible, a recipe for this vegetable caught my attention:
To Make Great Tomato Pie, you will need:

1 pint (2 cups) green tomatoes, chopped fine
6 large apples, chopped fine
3 cups of sugar or molasses
3 TBSP flour
½ cup vinegar
a Dash of Salt and
“all kinds of spices” (suggest cinnamon, perhaps some nutmeg

Cook the tomatoes and apples before adding the remaining ingredients. Bake with two crusts. Suggest 350 degrees 30-40 minutes or until done.

The EXACT recipe reads as follows: One pint of tomatoes chopped fine, six large apples, chopped fine, three cups of sugar or molasses, three tablespoons flour, one-half cup vinegar, a little salt and a teaspoon of all kinds of spices. Cook the tomatoes and apples before adding the other ingredients. Bake with two crusts. Mrs. S.V Hill

Old cookbooks proceeded with the assumption that all cooks knew how to get their stove or range going and what temperature would be needed for baking. Mrs. Hill doesn’t say so but I’d also assume that green baking sour apples, something like a Granny Smith, would be ideal for this recipe.

Happy Cooking & Happy Cookbook Collecting!
Sandy

MARGUERITE PATTEN’S STICKY GINGERBREAD RECIPE

Several readers have written to inqire about finding a recipe of Marguerite Patten’s that was printed on a recipe card as part of a set of recipe cards. I do have many of Marguerite Patten’s cookbooks but haven’t found this particular recipe in any of my cookbooks. I began googling it–and immediately found a reference to sticky gingerbread in MP’s cookbook “We’ll Eat Again” – a tribute to recipes eaten during World War II when all of the British suffered so much from intense food rationing (far more than we in the USA did). I do have ” We’ll Eat Again” but was more intrigued by a Google reference to Sticky Pudding ON the elusive recipe cards..However, while a photograph of the card itself is printed & on display on Google – I couldn’t seem to access the other side of the card for the recipe. That being said, here IS a recipe for Sticky Pudding from Marguerite Patten’s files “from We’ll Eat Again”:

Dark Sticky Gingerbread
6oz S/R flour (or plain flour with 3 tsp baking powder) pinch salt 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground cinnamon or mixed spice 1 tbsp dried egg, dry 2oz cooking fat 2oz sugar 2 good tbsp golden syrup or black treacle 1½ tbsp milk 6 tbsp water Line a 7 x 4 inch tin with greased greaseproof paper. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Put the fat and syrup into a saucepan and heat until melted. Pour onto dry ingredients, add the milk and beat well. Put the water into the pan in which the fat and syrup were melted and heat to boiling point. Add to the other ingredients and mix well. Pour into the tin and bake in the centre of a very moderate oven (140ºC) for 50 minutes or until just firm. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes then turn out. Taken from: We’ll Eat Again by Marguerite Patten

Meanwhile I will go back to searching for the recipe on the elusive recipe card collection! – Sandy@ Sandychatter

MORE JAMMING SESSIONS

It crossed my mind, as I was re-reading my post “Jam Sessions” that I really should share my winning recipes from entries in the Los Angeles County Fair, submitted in the 80s and 90s.

I would have continued submitting entries into the annual fair but the logistics got the best of us. First you obtain the form and fill it out, indicating the entries you will be submitting to the fair (that was the easy part and could be done by mail). There was also a fee of about 50 cents per entry. Then on the date listed (just before the actual opening of the Fair which starts in early September) you took your entries – two of each – to the fairgrounds and turned them in. One of each jar was a tasting jar. If you wanted your jars back, you had to return to the fair grounds on the appointed day to pick up the tasting jars. If you submitted many items, these could add up to a lot of canning jars.

THEN we would go to the fair – and for the last five years or so that we attended, I would get us a room at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel that is located right on the fair grounds. Hotel guests could get settled into their room and then go back and forth through a special entrance—it was less tiring this way. We’d spend a day, that night, and the following morning at the fair – and then head for home, usually detouring in Covina to visit our special friends Pat and Stan.

THEN after the fair closed, Bob would return to the fairgrounds to pick up our entries, any ribbons I had won, and our prize money. He was the one making the trip to submit the entries and then picking up the tasting jars. In all, for him it meant making four trips to Pomona. I was still working full time. It became just too much to do.

When we were at the Fair, and spending most of our time in Home Arts – I would buy the cookbooks from the previous year’s winning recipes. I fell in love with the cookbooks* and enjoyed having my recipes in some of them so we would buy a dozen or so cookbooks, for $10.00 each (it was such a bargain)—so I could give them to family and friends as Christmas presents.

Not just canned food recipes were in the cookbooks – there were also the first, second and third prize winners for cakes, cookies, pies, quick breads, cookies, confections as well. There were also the winning recipes for contests such as the Weber BBQ cook off and whatever other food contests were being held that year. In 1992, 13 different food contests were held at the fair, and the winning recipes are in the 1993 cookbook—there was everything from the Land O Lakes Quick Breads contest to the casserole or meatloaf contest. Fun!

*I then began collecting the L.A. County Fair for all of the earlier years, since they first began publishing the annual cookbooks in 1979. THAT led, in turn, to collecting fair cookbooks from other states and counties. The LA County cookbooks are amongst my favorite books, though.

I always thought if we just lived closer, it would have been fun to enter other things as well, such as the Christmas dollhouse we worked on for so many years. However Pomona was an hour’s drive from where we lived before—and now we are more than two hours away from the Pomona Fairgrounds. It was nice while it lasted.

All of this being said, I was going through one of my notebooks and thought maybe some readers would be interested in trying some of the prize winning recipes.

Before getting started, you need a large canner (black speckled – we bought our last one at Ace Hardware). You need canning jars and these are sold in hardware stores or at Walmart. (For Walmart, I discovered that, for California at least, it’s a seasonal item on their shelves). When canning supplies appear in the springtime on the store shelves, I stock up. I buy as much Ball low sugar powdered pectin as I can afford. I stock up on sugar and if I need jars, I buy new jars. If I have plenty of jars, I stock up on boxes of the lids and rings, which you can buy together or just the flat lids alone. When I know I am going to do some pickling or canning, the first thing I do is get out the jars and start washing them in hot soapy water.

Then I put them into the canner and fill I with water, to bring them to a boil. Let them boil about ten minutes so they are completely sterilized. If you find any chips or cracks, discard the jar.

You can also look for jars at yard sales & flea markets but don’t buy jars that are chipped and don’t buy any that really aren’t canning jars (It should have a Ball or Kerr logo on the jar). Years ago, at yard sales people would sell mayonnaise jars with canning jars (now mayonnaise comes in plastic containers) – but the old mayonnaise jars aren’t safe to use. Once, at my mother’s home I was canning blue berries and using old mayonnaise jars she had saved. Some of the jars cracked around the bottom in the boiling water bath and I can tell you, it was a huge mess to clean up, not to mention the loss of all those blueberries we had picked in Michigan. The worst thing about it is, I KNEW better and used them anyway.

BLUE RIBBON HOT HAWAIIAN PINEAPPLE PICKLES

1 whole fresh pineapple, peeled and cut into cubes, 6 cups*
2 cups white vinegar
1½ cups of granulated sugar
2 TBSP pickling spice
1 TBSP whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks, broken
Small dried whole red peppers

Put spices in a cheesecloth bag and tie. Heat sugar and vinegar until sugar dissolves. Add spice bag and pineapple. Cook over low flame 1 hour. Pack pineapple in hot sterilized pint jars and add 1 red pepper to each jar (discard spices). Fill jar with liquid and seal. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Allow at least 2 weeks for the pineapple to “cure” before serving.

*I discovered a little trick after years of struggling with fresh pineapple. If you have a grocery warehouse nearby, go get one of the really large cans of pineapple chunks (restaurant size). Drain off the juice and use that for something else (or drink it). Then proceed with the recipe. When I am finally in the mood for Hot Hawaiian Pineapple Pickles or friends are asking for them, I double the recipe. One batch makes about 6 pints. These make a great holiday gift—we also discovered that the pickles are great on Shish-kabob skewers. I won 2 blue ribbons for this recipe – and then also won $100 from a Daily News holiday recipe contest as well.

BLUE RIBBON PICKLED CHERRIES

4 lbs large sweet Bing cherries—stemmed, do not pit.
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground mace
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Combine sugar, vinegar and spices in large pot; bring to a boil; add washed cherries. Simmer 1-2 minutes or until skins begin to crack. Pour into a 4 quart glass bowl; cover and let stand at room temperature 4 hours.
Drain cherries, reserving liquid. Pack cherries into 4 hot pint jars. Bring liquid to a boil and pour over cherries filling to ¼” of the top. Seal with lids that have been kept hot in a pan on the stove, and screw on bands. Process in a boiling water bath 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

BLUE RIBBON KUMQUAT CHUTNEY

At our old house, we had a dwarf kumquat tree that had been given to us. Kumquats may be an acquired taste but this chutney recipe won a blue ribbon at the fair.

1¼ lbs kumquats
1 TBSP baking soda
Boiling water
1 lb chopped dates
1 lb raisins
2 pounds brown sugar, packed
2 pounds granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cups vinegar
2 onions, chopped
1 green (bell) pepper seeded and chopped
4 oz crystallized ginger, chopped
4 oz garlic, minced
¼ lb pecan halves
¼ cup mustard seeds
1 TBSP celery seeds
1 TBSP ground ginger
1 TBSP chili powder
2 TBSP salt
12 oz pineapple juice
1 tsp dried red pepper flakes

Cut an X ¼” deep at the end of each kumquat. Pick out the seeds. Sprinkle kumquats with baking soda. Cover with boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain.
Combine all remaining ingredients along with the kumquats. Bring to a boil. Simmer until thick, about 45 minutes. Put chutney in hot, sterilized jars; adjust lids. Seal. Process in boiling water bath 20 minutes for pint jars. Makes 7 pints.

BLUE RIBBON KUMQUAT MARMALADE

I have a theory about what does the best (1st or 2nd place ribbons) at the Fair. I think my best submissions were generally for something no one else had thought to make. But if you won first, second, or third place you were invited to submit the recipes for the next cookbook (available the following year) and if you submitted something really original and submitted the recipe, by the next year there were sure to be copycats. Of course, I could have declined to submit the recipes – but I don’t believe in “secret recipes”. I think everything should be shared. Anyway, Kumquat Marmalade won a blue ribbon in the 1990 Los Angeles County Fair.

To make kumquat marmalade

4 cups thinly sliced kumquats, seeds removed
Peel from 1 orange, shredded very thin
Peel from 1 lemon, shredded very thin
4 cups orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
2 cups water
4 cups sugar
1 box low sugar powdered pectin
¾ cup orange liqueur (i.e., something like Grand Marnier or Triple Sec*)

Begin by preparing the kumquats; wash them well and remove any stems. Us only nice plump kumquats.
Place the sliced kumquats, orange and lemon peel orange and lemon juices and water in a large bowl and let stand in a cool place overnight or for 12 hours.

Pour into a large stainless pot, add orange liqueur and bring to a boil. Boil 15 minutes. Add powdered pectin and return to a boil. Add sugar all at once and return to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove any foam. Stir a few minutes to evenly distribute the bits of fruit and peel. Pour the marmalade into sterilized half-pint jars, wipe rims, adjust lids. Seal. Process in a boiling water bath 10 minutes.

*You don’t need an expensive orange liqueur, like Triple Sec, to use in a recipe. I can usually find a fairly inexpensive orange liqueur at a store like Trader Joe’s.

BLUE RIBBON PICKLED CANTALOUPE

4 LARGE firm cantaloupe melons (under ripe are best)
½ cup coarse salt
2 quarts water
2 TBSP whole allspices
1 TBSP whole cloves
5 4” stick cinnamon
5 cups granulated sugar
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water

Peel and seed cantaloupes. Cut into cubes or balls. Dissolve salt in 2 quarts water; add melon and let stand 2 hours. Drain and rinse.

Tie spices in cheesecloth bag; add to remaining ingredients in large pot. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Add melon; return to boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand 8 hours. Next day, drain syrup from melons and discard spice bag. Return syrup to a boil and bring to a boil. Pack melon in hot sterilized pint jars; cover with boiling syrup. Process in a boiling water bath 15 minutes. Maks 4 pints.

BLUE RIBON DILLY BEANS

3 ½ CUPS water
3 ½ cups white vinegar
5 TBSP pickling salt
4 pounds green beans, washed and cut into pieces to fit jars
18-21 black peppercorns
6-7 dried red hot peppers
Fresh dill sprigs
Garlic cloves, peeled

Mix water, vinegar, & salt in a 3 quart pot; bring to a boil. Pack clean washed beans into hot sterilized jars. Add garlic clove, 1 peppercorn and 1 sprig of dill in each jar. Pour boiling water/liquid over all, leaving ½” headspace. Seal. Process in boiling water bath 20 minutes.

Nice hors d’oeuvre. Use wide mouth pint jars—it takes a lot to fill quart jars—and wide mouth pint jars are easier to pack the beans in neatly, standing up.

BLUE RIBBON SPICY PUMPKIN BUTTER

4 CUPS mashed cooked pumpkin
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 pkg powdered pectin
4 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice mix.

Measure pumpkin. Stir in powdered pectin. Bring to a boil over high heat stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Add sugar and spice and bring to a boil again. Boil hard 4 minutes. Pack in hot sterilized half pint (8 oz) jars and seal. Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks away from drafts.

Sandy’s Cooknote: This makes a great gift to give with a small loaf of pumpkin bread or any other tea bread that you like. You can make this with canned pumpkin but I always liked the challenge of finding recipes for fresh pumpkin in the fall.

BLUE RIBBON FIG ALMOND RELISH

We had two fig trees at our old home in Arleta and they produced prodigious amounts of figs, despite the efforts of all the local wild birds to eat most of them. I think I tried every fig recipe I could find and then began creating my own. This one won a blue ribbon at the fair in 1992.

2 ½ lbs fresh figs, washed, stems removed and cut into ¼” pieces
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup orange juice and zest from one orange
1 cinnamon stick broken into small pieces
2 whole cloves
2 whole allspice
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup slivered almonds

In a 4-quart stainless pot, mix figs, sugar, orange juice & zest. Allow to stand at room temperature 3-4 hours. Put spices into a piece of cheesecloth* and tie. Bring fruit to a boil. Reduce heat, add spice bag and vinegar. Simmer gently 30 minutes. Add almonds. Remove spice bag and pour into hot, sterilized ½ pint jars. Seal. Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes. Makes 5 half-pint jars.

*When the spices are small enough to fit, I put them into a tea caddy which is much easier to use. Sometimes the pieces are too large to fit into a tea caddy and then you have to use cheesecloth.

The following recipe also won a blue ribbon at the Los Angeles County Fair in 1992.

FIGGY ORANGE JAM

6 cups ground black mission figs
¼ cup orange or lemon juice
1 package (3 ½ oz) orange Jello*
3 cups sugar
Grated peel from 1 orange (optional)

Wash, stem, chop the figs. (I used a food chopper or the blender to grind u the figs). Put the figs into a stainless steel pot with the powdered orange Jello, lemon or orange juice and the grated orange peel. Bring to a boil, cooking and stirring to prevent sticking. Add sugar all at once; return to a boil and cook, stirring, until thick, about 15 minutes. Pour into hot, sterilized half pint jars. Seal, process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.

*You can use almost any flavor Jello for this recipe. The strawberry is also very popular and is often called “Mock Strawberry Jam”.

Sandy’s Cooknote: I have also won blue ribbons for our homemade sauerkraut—which no one else was thinking of submitting at the time—but I have omitted this recipe because it is so long and time consuming to make. We made 30 quarts of sauerkraut last year, using our new ‘toy’, a big fermenting crock pot. It’s so much work – we’re not inclined to attempt making it every year.

I didn’t include in this article any of the recipes that won 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th or 5th place ribbons—although at the time, the L.A. County Fair had bragging rights of being the largest county fair in the country. Their home arts submissions ran to about 10,000 entries when we were submitting our pickles, jellies and jams.

If you are thinking you would like to make your own fruit pickles or try your hand at canning, it’s wise to get a cookbook on the subject first (Walmart sells the latest Ball canning instruction booklets) and determine what equipment you need. One of the large speckled canners is a must. I don’t do any canning that requires a pressure cooker so I don’t can any low-acid vegetables.

There are also a LOT of pickling cookbooks on the market. “The Joy of Pickling” by Linda Ziedrich is a good one to have on hand.

Others I have on my shelves and like:

BLUE RIBBON PRESERVES by Linda J. Amendt
THE BIG BOOK OF PRESERVING THE HARVEST by Carol W. Costenbader
WELL PRESERVED by Mary Anne Dragan and
GOURMET PRESERVES BY Madelaine Bullwinkel
And one more that’s great fun to read is
THE GOOD STUFF COOKBOOK By Helen Witty (over 300 delicacies to make at home). Helen goes far beyond just pickling.

And look around you—what fruits are plentiful where you live? That’s always a good place to start (if you don’t have fruit trees of your own), with whatever is available and inexpensive. Sometimes a neighbor who has more than he/she can use may be willing to share some of the bounty with you. It would kill me sometimes, when we’d be driving around the San Fernando Valley and see oranges, lemons, and grapefruits lying all over the ground underneath the trees. (We had too many of our own citrus trees to go soliciting more from the neighbors—but believe me, I thought about it!).

Happy cooking!
Sandy

“SONGS OF A HOUSEWIFE” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

When I was collecting, for many years, rhymed recipes—or any kind of poem relating in any way to the kitchen—I had absolutely no clue that Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings had ever written poetry! Not ONLY did she write poetry, she wrote a good many on topics I adore – recipes, the kitchen, pie.

From the dust jacket of “Songs of a Housewife” we learn that “more than a decade before writing ‘The Yearling’ and ‘Cross Creek’, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was a young housewife-journalist living in Rochester, New York. In 1926, the Rochester-Times-Union did a trial run of her column-in-verse, “Songs of a Housewife”. To the editor’s surprise, the column proved immensely popular; over the next two years, Rawlings published a poem a day six days a week, and gained a wide syndication. When she moved to Florida in 1928, however, the poems were forgotten and—until this collection of roughly half of them—never reprinted.

In the 250 poems collected here, Rawlings presents homespun advice on such subjects as the trials and tribulations of being a cook, mother, friend, relative, and neighbor. She dedicates many to her favorite subjects: gardening, cooking, pets, and nature. Throughout, her goal is to entertain, to educate, and to give a voice to the housewife who sees her role as a creative and important one. In the process, of course, she invariably reveals a great deal about herself, and devoted readers will be curious to see how the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings they know and love is evident here, in these early and spirited poems”.

Rodger L. Tarr is University Distinguished Professor of English at Illinois State University. He compiled and edited “Short Stories of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings” published by the University Press of Florida in 1994, and “Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a Descriptive Bibliography” published in 1996.

In the introduction, we learn “Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’s poems, published under the title ‘Songs of a Housewife’ belong to that special genre called newspaper poetry. They were addressed, in spirit at least, to the growing working-class readership of the late 1920s…when she stopped writing the column and moved to Florida in 1928, she had written 495 poems on the subject of being a housewife, an achievement unto itself…”

“At its zenith, it was syndicated in more than fifty newspapers, and thus reached literally thousands of readers each day. The poems were, if one measures the response of Rawlings’ readers, a cultural phenomenon. The success of the column stemmed from her ability to identify and then to relate to her audience…Newspapers needed to…increase circulation…in response, large city newspapers went so far as to employ their own poets, some well known, to write about the contemporary scene…”

“Songs of a Housewife” grew out of Rawlings’ early commitment to poetry. She began writing poetry as a teenager. (As did I. And I began submitting some of my poetry to the local newspapers in the 1960s, in which they were published. It’s something else of Rawlings’ that I can relate to).

At the age of 11, Marjorie published her first story in the Washington Post and this was followed by many poems and stories, some of which were awarded prizes, usually $2.00, by the newspaper’s children’s editor.

Professor Tarr continues, throughout the introduction, to relate Rawlings’ early beginnings and the various successes she enjoyed, as a writer, even as a child. What is most remarkable is that the collection of poetry went unnoticed and unremarked for decades, and that someone – Rodger Tarr—was able to research and bring it all together in a book. You may also want to read his publication “Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, A Descriptive Biography” published in 1996.

My favorites among all of the poems are those food or recipe or kitchen related and I wish I could have had some of these when I was compiling the Kitchen Poets for my blog. I think my long-lasting admiration for Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings can only be explained by knowing she was a kindred spirit. I wish I could have known her. Next time I am in Florida, I’ll be heading for Cross Creek to visit her home.

Prize Jelly
June 2, 1926

Yes, that’s my apple jelly,
And that’s the currant there.
They took first prizes, both of them,
Up at the County Fair.

Why no, I don’t mind telling
What makes them sparkle so—
Nothing on earth but sunshine,
Before they “jell”, you know.

Make them the same as always
Then put them in the sun.
They drink it in and hold it,
Sun won’t fail anyone.

You know, I think some folks need
The self-same thing as well –
A long, deep draught of sunshine
To make their spirits “jell”.

–Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

“Songs of a Housewife”, Poems by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and edited by Rodger L. Tarr (to whom I apologize for misspelling his first name previously in my blog) was published by the University Press of Florida, in 1997.

You can purchase it from Amazon.com, new, for $24.95, or “new” from a private vendor for $17.95 (you will always pay $3.99 shipping when you purchase books from Amazon through a private vendor. Amazon also has used copies starting a $12.92. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent this much on a book of poetry—but this was one I just had to have…and now I am delighted with my purchase.

–Sandra Lee Smith

“AMERICA’S COLLECTIBLE COOKBOOKS” BY MARY ANNA DU SABLON

“America’s Collectible Cookbooks” subtitled “The History, the Politics, the Recipes” by Mary Anna Du Sablon was published in 1994 by Ohio University Press. In the Preface, the author tells us “Compiling this first cohesive study of North American cookbooks was a heartbreaking task in one way, but only one way—that is, deciding what not to include…”

“Limited time and finances” she explains, “provide some excuse when one fails in the pursuit of comprehensiveness, but instead of concentrating on exacting the publishing history of old cookbooks, addressing trendy cookbook critiques, or inventing my own reviews, my aim was to encourage collectors and help librarians decide which cookbooks were keepers…”

More importantly, Du Sablon wanted to write a compelling but concise true-life drama about the evolution of the American basic cookbook and honor its rightful place in history. She writes, “I wanted to breathe new life into the women and men who excelled at their craft and had the extra talent to express their expertise to inspire others. I wanted to bring them together…not just as recipe peddlers but as shapers of the American life-style…”

Du Sablon also wanted this to be an entertaining and practical everyday cookbook so she selected culinary rather than home-maintenance recipes to illustrate what the text can only hint at, always with a bias towards the constantly changing and improving national palate.

Du Sablon handled thousands of books as her interest transmigrated from casual pastime to intense study during the past thirty years. She writes, “Judging which books, authors, and publishers would be called upon to furnish the dialog and set the scene for this performance finally boiled down to one word: significant…”

To verify the significance of the books then chosen, she says, she consulted cookbook collectors, “that body of specialists whose often-ridiculed efforts have results in the existence of a history in the first place, librarians who cherish these artifacts, and booksellers…”

Finally she considered her own personal preferences, noting “however risky this decision may have been”

“Locating these treasures was another matter altogether” Du Sablon writes. “A massive correspondence was initiated, and soon my rural mailbox was welcoming envelopes containing beautiful letterheads from our country’s most prestigious libraries and historical societies…”

Guided by the bibliographies at the end of this book and Lee Ash’s “Subject Collections”, Mary Anna and her husband drove to the repositories suggested and became as adept at thumb-and-index fingering their way through a card file drawer as their town librarian. They hand-wrote hundreds of recipes because machine copying was out of the question for fragile old volumes.

“Because some readers” she notes “may yearn for more information on the complete works of specific authors,” she compiled a selected list of collections and bibliographies that she thought would be of great benefit.

Du Sablon says she hopes this history will stimulate local cookbook lovers to be aggressive in protecting and promoting regional treasures in private collections as well as in libraries, because this anthology is only representative of the heritage that remains to be discovered. “All too often” she says, “books turned up missing in our search, and in one Chicago North Shore library hundreds of recipes had been slashed from the pages of several cookbooks..” (I know that many cookbook collectors reading this are feeling the same kind of shock I experienced.

Additionally, she notes, “In conjunction with the back-to-earth movement of the 1960s and in preparation for the celebration of the National Bicentennial, many old cookbooks were reproduced during the 1970s, particularly by Dover Publications (on acid free paper) and Arno Press.

Unfortunately, many are out of print and can only be obtained at used bookstores where the good ones disappear quickly*…”

*This may explain how I managed to obtain so many of Louis De Gouy’s books recently, published by Dover Publications, through Amazon.com and Alibris.com.

Du Sablon continues, “University presses* got on the bandwagon in the 1980s by reissuing local favorites, usually including historical data—and in the case of ‘The Carolina Housewife’ (South) with memoirs by a descendant of the author. These books are currently available in most cases…”

*Sandy’s note: I have been applauding University Press books for several decades. Some of my favorite books have been found by ordering them from University presses. Most recently are the books I’ve found by or about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings through the University Press of Florida.

“Finally,” writes Du Sablon, “some recipes have been edited, punctuation changed, or otherwise rearranged to make them easier to follow—but only minimally and where I thought it absolutely necessary to compile a modern cookery book…”

She also says that cooks must call upon their own expertise to adjust the old recipes to fit modern culinary life-styles and nutritional needs, but felt it wouldn’t take too much effort. “Besides,” she says, “most good cooks don’t follow a recipe to the letter anyway*”

*Sandy’s cooknote: I was delighted to read this last line of Mary Anna Du Sablon’s – because I rarely follow a recipe to the letter—even my own creations are constantly undergoing changes. And when I DO follow a recipe—not one of my own –to the letter, and am disappointed with the results, I can usually pinpoint what I could do to make the recipe better next time.

Chapter 1 of America’s Collectible Cookbooks is titled “A genuine American Cookbook” and delves deep into what is known about Amelia Simmons, acknowledged author of the first AMERICAN cookbook. Notes Du Sablon, “It was welcomed by other American cooks and homemakers and enjoyed eleven reprints by various publishers—and at least two plagiarisms—throughout New England during the next 40 years. A third edition,” she notes, “was auctioned in 1991 for $22,000 and some facsimiles are scarce and variously valuable…”

Taking recipes from various editions of “American Cookery” Du Sablon presents a Thanksgiving menu noting that these recipes present a series of firsts – it was the first use of pearl ash for leavening and the first recipes for pumpkin pie, Indian pudding and cookies. It was the first time in print that turkey was served with ‘cranberry sauce’.

With regard to “cookies”, Du Sablon also notes that the word cookie is a uniquely American borrowing of the Dutch koekje and first appears in print in Amelia Simmon’s “American Cookery”.

Chapter 2 is devoted to Manuscript Cookbooks and is a topic near and dear to my heart. When I began collecting cookbooks in 1965, I thought it was an impossible dream to ever hope to find any manuscript cookbooks. Then, a manuscript cookbook I called “Helen’s Cookbook” fell into my hands and for a most reasonable price. Since then, a penpal in England has helped me identify Helen, and sent me another manuscript cookbook that she had obtained. Over the years, perhaps fifteen or twenty manuscript cookbooks have found their way into my hands. I can’t imagine ever obtaining any that are really old or valuable.

Says Du Sablon, in the introduction to Chapter 2, “…Proud and enterprising women were already developing and refining their own favorite ‘receipts’ and writing them out, one by one, in blank-page handbooks destined in most cases to be hand down from mother to daughter.

America, during the Colonial Period, was a strange mixture of European sophistication and primitive backwoods survival, and the manuscript cookbooks that have survived were almost exclusively the products of upper-class English families…before marriage a daughter would copy from her mother’s manual, adding or deleting at her own discretion cherished bits of information that enabled her to supervise the preparation of delicious meals, preserve foods and libations, keep a sanitary domicile, ease pain and perhaps even save a life…”

The Supper Menu that Du Sablon provides was taken from manuscript cookbooks from 1700-1800 and two recipes are from the family of William Penn. She notes that the cooking recipes occupy 61 pages transcribed by a family friend in 1702.

The reason for compiling the copy was the younger Penn’s scheduled departure for America for the 40,000 square miles that King Charles II had granted his father in payment for a debt.

The Penn Family Recipes was published in York, Pennsylvania, by George Shumway in 1966 and I think this is the copy with which I am most familiar; the dust jacket of my “Penn Family Recipes” credits “William Penn’s first wife, Gulielma, with having kept a hand-written book of family recipes handed down from her mother and grandmother and states that in 1702 a manuscript copy of them was made and brought to America for us in the Penn household”

Du Sablon notes, in Chapter 2, the hand-titled, by William Penn, “My mother’s Recaipts (sic) for Cookerys Presarving and Chyrurgery [surgery]—William Penn” from the manuscript pages held by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia. It was the YOUNGER William Penn who came to America, and the copy of the recipes were those of his mother and grandmother. From the Penn family recipes, Du Sablon offers a recipe for Stewed Oysters and how to make French Bread.

Another recipe presented by Du Sablon was from a large leather-covered paperbound manual written in England and brought to America by its author, Elizabeth Mead in 1697 and contains 51 entries. An additional 13 recipes were written in two more hands. It is followed by a recipe for Pickled Mushrooms.

Next is a paragraph about the origin of the “Martha Washington” cookbook in which Du Sablon writes, “although the origin of the ‘Martha Washington’ cookbook is in question, there are two undisputed facts concerning this beguiling document: Martha Washington used it while she was First Lady (1789-97) and her family brought the cookbook from England to America. It is a small volume bound in brown leather and divided in two parts: ‘A Booke of Cookery’ with 205 recipes and “A booke (sic) of Sweetmeats’ containing 326 recipes…” Du Sablon says the handwritten pages have been studied by many but never so assiduously until historian Karen Hess commenced her research…”

Well, this came as a surprise to me; I am familiar with the name Karen Hess from her co-written book “The Taste of America” by John and Karen Hess, and “Carolina Rice Kitchen” which I read and used for reference when writing “Our African Heritage” for the Cookbook Collectors Exchange years ago. (I was unaware that Ms. Hess has 17 other titles under her belt). It was also a shock to read that Karen Hess had passed away in 2007.

Du Sablon provides Martha Washington’s recipe for fritters.

A dessert recipe for Carrot Pudding comes from the receipt book of Harriott Pinckney Horry, used in her home in Charleston and on the Hampton Plantation in South Carolina where she and her first cousin, Sarah Rutledge, who wrote ‘The Carolina Housewife’ grew up. The manuscript is owned by the South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston. Du Sablon notes that an excellent transcript, with history, was published in 1984 by the University of South Carolina Press under the title ‘A Colonial Plantation Cookbook: The Receipt Book of Harriot Pinckney Horry, 1770 by Richard J. Hooker. The Hampton Plantation State Park is 40 miles north of Charleston and the mansion is still there.

Chapter 3 is dedicated to “Early New England Classics” while Chapter 4 is titled “The Great Western Expansion” in which Du Sablon offers extensive details about the Beecher family, in particularly Catharine Beecher, who would go on to compile “A Treatise on Domestic Economy”—what I didn’t know is that in time, this book would be sold in every state in the Union, and Ralph Waldo Emerson endorsed it, using it as a text in his private school in Boston. Du Sablon wrote a lengthy tribute to Catharine Beecher’s life and I would like to write more about Catharine another time.

Du Sablon includes, in Chapter 4, recipes for Yankee Pork and Beans, directions for Roasting a Sparerib of Pork, Beef Tournedos and others.

Chapter 5 is titled “Teaching the American Tradition” and addresses, at length, the cooking schools that began to flourish after the Civil War. Du Sablon notes that there were, in 1900 cooking schools in every major city in America.

Chapter 6 is titled “Little Cookbooks with Motives: Ulterior and Avowed” and focuses on the hundreds (thousands?) of little cookbooklets published by manufacturers back in the day. Yes, there are some still being published but nothing like they were in the early 1900s. It was how I first began collecting cookbooklets in 1949 or thereabouts. You could find an ad on the box or tin of almost any things in your mother’s pantry – from Baking Soda to Hershey’s cocoa…and the booklets were FREE. I would get 10 penny post cards from the post office and send for ten free booklets.

Chapter 7 is titled “The Joy and the Myth” and is about, of course, Irma Rombauer’s “Joy of Cooking” but also featured in this chapter is Betty Crocker (“the myth”).

Chapter 8 is titled “Imported Influences: Great Chefs” – one of those featured is Henri Chapentier, who I have written about before on my blog. (See “Remembering Henri Chapentier, January, 2011) but there are other chefs I’m not familiar with. Du Sablon also provides some background information n Fanny Lemira Gillette and Hugo Ziemann, steward at the White House, who paired to compile the first White House Cookbook. I was unsuccessful in ever learning what happened to Ms. Gillette after she and Ziemann published the White House Cookbook; Du Sablon provides this clue in a single sentence: in 1899 the author published “Mrs. Gillette’s Cook Book: 50 years of Practical Cooking”.

Chapter 9 is titled “How to Compile a Best-Selling Homemade Cookbook” and is packed with valuable tips and information for anyone contemplating traveling down this road.

Chapter 10 is dedicated to “Celebrity Cooks” while Chapter 11 is titled “The Big, Beautiful Cookbook” in which Du Sablon dwells at length on the Time Life Series published in 1966 (has it REALLY been that long ago?) – and I imagine almost anyone who collects cookbooks has this series. What I DIDN’T know, and appreciate so much that Du Sablon included this in her book – it’s a page long list of the many contemporary authors who participated in writing for the Time Life Series. (i.e., M.F.K. Fisher wrote something for The Cooking of Provincial France, while Waverly Root wrote about The Cooking of Italy).

Chapter 12 is titled “Guru versus Gourmet: a Media Battleground” and is a presentation of some of the most notable contemporary chefs—James Beard, for one, Adelle Davis for another.

“By 1962,” Du Sablon writes, “an estimated 850 cookbooks were in print in the United States. By 1984, the estimate was closer to six thousand with an average of two cookbooks a day being published. (Du Sablon’s book was published in 1994. I would speculate that those 1984 totals would have more than doubled by 1994, and perhaps tripled by 2004. Take, for example, the numerous cookbooks being published constantly by the Food Network culinary stars alone. I myself have two shelves-full of Sandra Lee (no relation) and Rachel Ray cookbooks

Nor do these statistics take into consideration the hundreds and thousands of community cookbooks being published every year. In an article published in the website “Beneath the Covers” by Andrew Grabois, he writes, “According to the Simba information annual report…the cooking category generated $519 million dollars in 2006 place it sixth among the nineteen categories being tracked…”

In another website, lifeintheusa.com, it was noted, “Sales or production records are not available for community or organization cookbooks (since these are rarely sold in bookstores), but the market is vast…”

I think even Mary Anna Du Sablon would have been impressed how much the cookbook market has increased just since her death in 2005. She left us much too soon. Thank goodness we have “America’s Collectible Cookbooks” – she made a lasting impression on the world of cookbooks and its cookbook collectors.

“America’s Collectible Cookbooks” can be purchased new from Amazon.com for $19.95. They also have 24 pre-owned copies, starting a $5.14.

Alibris.com has new copies starting at $21.49 and pre-owned copies starting a $5.59.

Happy cooking & Happy cookbook collecting!
–Sandy

NATIONAL DOUGHNUT DAY, JUNE 3, 2011

One often wonders how certain “days” came about. Today is National Doughnut Day which started in 1938 as a fund raiser for the Chicago Salvation Army.

Their goal was to help the needy during the Great Depression, and to honor the Salvation Army “Lassies” of World War I, who served doughnuts to soldiers.

Soon after the US entered World War I in 1917, the Salvation Army sent a fact-finding mission to France. The mission concluded that “huts” that could serve baked goods, provide writing supplies and stamps, and provide a clothes-mending service, would serve the needs of US enlisted men. Six staff members per hut should include four female volunteers who could “mother” the boys. The centers that were established by the Salvation Army in the United States near army training centers were called “huts”.

About 250 Salvation Army volunteers went to France. Because of the difficulties of providing freshly baked goods from huts established in abandoned buildings near to the front lines, two Salvation Army volunteers came up with the idea of providing doughnuts. These are reported to have been an “instant hit”, and “soon many soldiers were visiting Salvation Army huts”. One volunteer wrote of one busy day “Today I made 22 pies, 300 doughnuts, 700 cups of coffee.” A legend has spread that the provision of doughnuts to US enlisted men in World War I is the origin of the term doughboy to describe US infantry, but the term was in use as early as the Mexican-American War of 1846-47. It is still a fund raiser run by The Salvation Army.
So, today, in honor of the Salvation Army and its volunteers in World War I, buy a doughnut today! Make mine glazed!

–Sandra Lee Smith

GROWING UP POOR

It’s one thing to grow up poor
And know that you are poor
But it’s quite another to
Grow up poor
Without realizing it.
I didn’t realize it until many years later.
We didn’t have much,
But we had breakfast every morning,
Sometimes cereal and sometimes pancakes
Sometimes cream of wheat,
Which I did not like
Or
Oatmeal which I did.
We didn’t go to school hungry
Although I often got sick in church
(Services held before school started)
Because having eaten anything sweet,
Like pancakes
Made me nauseous.
We often went to my grandmother’s
For lunch and she fed us well,
And my mother usually made
Some kind of one-dish meal
Such as beef stew or
A vegetable soup
Or a favorite of
Green beans with bits of ham
Cooked with carrots and potatoes.
We rarely had dessert
And to this day
I seldom want dessert
After dinner,
Nor have I ever gotten in the habit
Of drinking milk with a meal
Because we were not allowed to eat it
With dinner
Because Billy always spilled his.
We invariably had holes in our shoes
Which were patched with cardboard
Or a piece of linoleum;
You had to make do
Until it was time to get new shoes,
For Easter or Christmas.
I wore a lot of hand-me-downs
But didn’t think anything of it
Because the dresses that were given to me
Were so nice, and when I outgrew them
A younger child would inherit them,
Sometimes my friend Patti
Or my mother may have given to someone else.
I don’t know.
She was in charge of things.
If some thing disappeared, it was generally
Because she had done something with it.
I mourned the loss of my dollhouse
For years after
My mother gave it away
Without my knowledge.
But my mother was like
The Lord who giveth and
The Lord who taketh away.
Nothing was really your own,
I suppose.
I think I was often hungry
As I think back on it,
And I sometimes stole candy
Or potato chips
From local grocery stores
If we could not find
Enough soda pop bottles
To cash in for 2 cents each.
One time I found a dollar
On the floor in church
As I was waiting for the confessional.
I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
I spent it all on candy.
Surely it was a sign from God?
He wanted me to have that dollar!
Now when I return to Fairmount
I see it as a poverty-stricken neighborhood,
Much poorer than it was when I was
Growing up.
Many buildings are closed down
And the windows boarded over.
Perhaps it never was much more
Than a poor neighborhood
With many poor residents.
Those who escaped live in better
Neighborhoods or perhaps
They, like myself,
Moved far, far away.
–Sandra Lee Smith

THE COWBOY

He’s a ropin’ ridin’ cowboy,
And he rides the range all day,
Watching out for rustlers—
He will chase them all away;

He wears his boots and spurs that
Jingle when he walks,
With chaps and old felt cowboy hat,
He ‘yes mams’ when he talks;

There’s an old red kerchief on his neck,
His plaid shirt is worn and frayed,
But he won’t give up his outfit,
For that’s the cowboy’s way.

He’s got a gun and holster and
He wears it all the time,
He’s ready to go at it if
The crooks get out of line;

His faithful horse is waiting,
Right outside the kitchen door,
He swaggers as he climbs it,
Keen to ride the range once more;

So, the pistol is a cap gun,
And his ride’s a hobby horse,
And the cattle he is roping
Are the cats and dogs, of course—

But he’s the hero of the wild west,
Always brave and strong and bold –
He’s a ropin’ ridin’ cowboy
Although he’s only four years old.

–Sandra Lee Smith

WILDFLOWERS IN THE DESERT

There’s Blue Sage and
Comet Blazing Star,
Forget-me-nots and
Desert Candle;
Owl’s Clover, and
Dune Primrose.
There is the Scarlet Bugler
And Rattlesnake Weed,
Prince’s Plume and
Linear-leaf Goldenbush;
Tidy Tips and Rock Cress,
Globe Gilia, and Adonis Lupine;
Pineapple Weed, and
Wooly Paintbrush,
Baby Blue Eyes, Fremont Pincushion,
And Sun Cups,
Bright yellow Coreopsis,
Thistle Sage and Desert Calico,
Dandelion, Apricot Mallow, and
Fiddleneck. There is,
Of course, also a landscape of
Millions of golden poppies.
The desert is in bloom
And it’s all here,
Clamoring for attention,
Demanding admiration.

–Sandra Lee Smith
April, 2010