Monthly Archives: October 2011

CAN YOU MAKE A ROUX?

Some years ago – back in the 1990s I think – my friend Pat Stuart (who I met through Prodigy’s bulletin boards) told me about a cookbook title that sounded far-fetched – “Who’s Your Mama, Are you Catholic and can you make a Roux?” – and that may have been my first introduction to making a roux.

Well, now, lo these many years later – I have a copy of “Who’s Your Mama – et al” and I also have a booklet titled “First – You Make a Roux”. “Who’s Your Mama” was written by a Cajun Creole lady named Marcelle Bienvenu.

The second title, “First – You Make a Roux” was published by Lafayette Museum in Lafayette Louisiana. The latter title, you may be surprised to learn, was first published in 1954 and by 1960 had gone through five editions.

“Who’s Your Mama…” has an interesting explanation as to how the author came up with the title for her cookbook. Marcelle Bienvenu writes in the introduction “It’s important I the South for people to make a connection when being introduced to strangers or newcomers. It’s long been a tradition, especially in south Louisiana, to find out ‘Who are your people?’ This is not only to make conversation but also to find out about a new person’s background.
Through this line of questioning,” Marcelle continues, “one will often find long-lost cousins or some kind of family connection. It should also be noted that when the Acadians were deported from Nova Scotia in the 1750s, families were separated and many made their way to French-Catholic south Louisiana. They sought to find relatives (close or distant) in their new homeland…”

Marcelle explains that while it may seem rude to visitors and those unacquainted with the local customs, Acadians are innately curious. So, you may be asked about your mother’s maiden name, what schools you attended and what your father does for a living.

With all this in mind Marcelle says she was inspired by the dialogue in a play called “The Band Inside Your Head” produced by the Southwestern Louisiana’s Opera Theatre. The story in the play is that of a young Acadian fellow who left the area to find fame & fortune and returned with his bride-to-be. His family was anxious to know more about this young lady so there is a dialogue in the play where the young man ‘s family asks

Who’s Your mama?
Are you Catholic?
Can you make a roux?

Marcelle says these words kept going round and round in her head for days and she finally settled on them as the title for her book.

The first edition of “Who’s Your Mama..” was published in 1991 and was out of print for a number of years. It was finally reprinted in 2006 and my copy is one of these. This is an easy to read cookbook with a lot of family storytelling and photographs about Marcelle’s Cajun Creole family.
For those of us who collect cookbooks and “read them like novels” “Who’s Your Mama…” is a great addition to your collection. This will quickly become your “go-to” cookbook when you want to try your hand at Crawfish Jambalaya or a Crawfish Bisque, authentic fried catfish or crab and shrimp stew, chicken liver pate or Bouillabaisse. There are recipes for blackberry ice cream or blackberry cobbler, fig preserves (which I often made when we had 2 fig trees in Arleta), pound cake and crazy cake, fruitcake and gingerbread, pecan pie sweet potato pie, and one of my all time favorites, pecan pralines (my praline recipe came to me years ago from a penpal in Louisiana) – these and many others are in “Who’s Your Mama…” along with many stories related to the recipes.

Marcelle Bienvenu is the author of three books—“Who’s Your Mama…” and “Who’s Your Mama the sequel”, and “Cajun Cooking for Beginners”. She is the co author of several cookbooks with Chef Emeril Lagasse, including “Louisiana: Real & Rustic”, “Emeril’s Creole Christmas”, “Emeril’s TV Dinners” and “Every Day’s a Party”. Marcelle also co authored “Eula Mae’s Cajun Kitchen” with Eula Mae Dore, a longtime cook for the McIlhenny family on Avery Island, and “Stir the Pot, a History of Cajun Cusine” with Carl Braseaux and Ryan Breasseaux. Ms. Bienvenu edited the 1987 edition of the Times Picayune’s Creole Cookbook, originally published in 1901 and reissued to celebrate the newspaper’s 150 anniversary.

Since I am so partial to pralines, I will share one of Marcelle’s recipes for pecan pralines:

To make Pecan Pralines you will need

1 lb of light brown sugar (3 cups)
1/8 tsp salt
¾ cup evaporated milk
1 TBSP butter
2 cups pecan halves

Combine the sugar, salt, milk and butter in a heavy pot. Cook over low heat stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Add the pecans and cook over medium heat to soft ball stage. Remove from the heat and cool for about 5 minutes. Stir rapidly until the mixture begins to thicken and evenly coats the pecans. Drop by the tablespoonful onto aluminum foil or onto a lightly buttered baking sheet. When the candy has cooled gently lift it from the surface and store in an airtight container. Note: if candy becomes too stiff, add a few drops of hot water to the mixture. ***

“FIRST – YOU MAKE A ROUX” was compiled by the Les Vingt Quatre Club and the first edition was published in July, 1954. There were at least five editions, as my copy was one of those, published in September 1960. “FIRST – YOU MAKE A ROUX” is what I would refer to as a recipe booklet, with soft covers and only 45 pages. The cookbook was a collection of recipes by members of Les Vingt Quatre Club and their friends as part of their contribution towards the upkeep of the Lafayette Museum.

In the “History” pages, part of an introduction to the recipe booklet, we learn that the museum building itself was originally located near Pinhook Bridge on Bayou Vermilion, where the community of Lafayette was known a petit Marchae.
The original Acadian home which is part of the museum buildings was built prior to January 27, 1836. We learn, “Its unique architecture emphasizes the rich tradition so inseparably connected with this structure…”

And from Google: “The Alexandre Mouton House is a lovely house museum located in the heart of downtown Lafayette. The original structure [was] built in early 1800s by the founder of Vermilionville, Jean Mouton. [It] Later became home to Louisiana’s 12th governor, Alexandre Mouton. It is now restored to its 1850s grandeur and serves as a repository of the history and culture of Acadiana.Available for private tours, meetings and small catered events. Beautiful grounds and gardens available for small events and photo shoots.”
There is SO much information about Lafayette Museum – I would love to go to Lafayette and see it all for myself. For now we’ll focus on the cookbook that some foresighted women were clever enough to compile.

Under “Soups & Gumbos” the authors state, “It seems that many Creole recipes being with the words “first—you make a roux” and explain that this is a foundation mixture of fat and flour which should be made in a heavy pot or skillet (*a cast iron Dutch oven is wonderful for creating a roux.) The two ingredients are cooked together over low heat while stirring constantly until the mixture is a dark brown color. Equal proportions of lard and flour is used…”

I began making white gravy to go with fried chicken when I was a new bride, learning from my mother in law. I had never even SEEN white (or milk) gravy until I saw my mother in law making it. Gradually as I learned gravy making, I developed a sense of what “first you make a roux” is all about. One of the tricks I learned was mixing flour and solid Crisco shortening together – as much flour as you can incorporate into the shortening – and then mixing Kitchen Bouquet liquid seasoning in with it. I keep a jar of this in the frig ready for making a dark brown gravy. On page 5 of “First – You Make a Roux” is this introduction to soups and gumbos: “It seems that many Creole recipes begin with the words ‘First—you make a Roux.’ This is a foundation mixture of fat and flour which should be made in a heavy iron pot or skillet. The two ingredients are cooked together over low heat, being stirred constantly until the mixture is a dark brown color. Equal proportions of lard and flour are used.”

So that, friends, is what a roux (pronounced rue) is. I have often heard girlfriends complain that they can’t make gravy (it’s often the one thing I am most often asked to bring to a dinner or a party). My greatest challenge a few years ago was making enough gravy for a Thanksgiving dinner for 60 people. Maybe this is a topic we can discuss in further detail in another post.

But getting back to “First—You make a Roux” – not surprisingly, this little booklet is still in great demand. It is filled with recipes for making CourtBoullion, Chicken and Okla Gumbo, Gumbo File (fee-lay), Crawfish Bordelaise, Stuffed crabs, deviled crab, Baked stuffed fish with stuffing an sauce, sauce for baked fish*, shrimp and eggplant jambalaya, Crayfish Bisque, Baked Fryers with Mushrooms—and many, many, more. If you can find a copy of “First—You Make a Roux” – be prepared to make it one of your favorite go-to cookbooklets. One of my favorite recipes is that for making a sauce for baked fish. To make this recipe you will need:

½ cup butter or margarine
2 egg yolks
¼ tsp salt
1 TBSP lemon juice or vinegar
A few grains of cayenne pepper
½ lb shrimp, (uncooked)

Peel shrimp, remove sand vein, wash thoroughly. Boil or cook as directed as directed for shrimp rice dressing (stuffing for fish)** Divide butter or margarine into 3 pieces. Put 1 piece in a heavy bowl with egg yolks and lemon juice. Cook over hot, but never boiling water, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the butter melts. Add second piece of butter and stir until thick, and as mixture thickens, add third piece. Take immediately from heat and beat with wooden spoon until glossy. Season If mixture separates because it was cooked too rapidly, stir in 2 TBSP heavy cream or boiling water drop by drop. Cut shrimp in 4 or 5 pieces or leave whole. Add the sauce and serve over baked fish.

**From stuffing for fish – peel shrimp, remove sand vein and wash thoroughly. Place shrimp in a pot, cover tightly. Cook for 20 or 30 minutes or until shrimp are cooked. Drain shrimp. (Sandy’s cooknote: I don’t think you ever need 20 or 30 minutes to cook shrimp – I would cook it for about 5 minutes or less so that it isn’t tough but have the water boiling before you add the shrimp.)
Sandy’s Cooknote: One of my great culinary discoveries was a caper sauce over white fish as it was served at the Smokehouse Restaurant in Toluca Lake. I have kept capers on hand ever since. When I am cooking a white fish, such as Tilapia, in lemon juice with lemon pepper, I love sprinkling capers over all of it. I think this sauce for baked fish would be greatly enhanced by some capers.
“FIRST—YOU MAKE A ROUX” from Lafayette Museum is out of print although I found numerous hits when I typed “First—you make a roux” into Google. But if you want the one from Lafayette Museum or the one published by Les Vingt Quatre Club, I found four copies available on Amazon.com starting at $5.90. Barnes & Noble has one copy @ $11.20 and Alibris.colm has two copies, starting at $6.50. Please do bear in mind that this is a softcover booklet with a pink and black cover (that looks red on my computer). And when you type in “First—You make a Roux” some other Louisiana cookbook titles pop up.

The Louisiana Classic cookbook “Who’s Your Mama Are you Catholic, and Can you Make a Roux”, by Marcelle Bienvenu is available on Amazon.com new or used, starting at $14.76 for a new copy or $13.95 for a pre owned one. Marcelle also has her own website with some of her cookbooks for sale. You can visit the website at http://www.marcellebienvenu.com.

I should add in closing, I have several bookshelves packed with Louisiana cookbooks, including the original Picayune Creole Cookbook (although mine is the 9th edition) and the following recipes for making either a brown roux or a white roux.

To make a BROWN roux you will need:

1 TBSP butter, 1 TBSP flour

In making the Roux, which is the foundation of a fancy sauce, melt the tablespoon of butter slowly and add gradually the flour, sprinkling it in and stirring constantly till every particle is a nice delicate brown. Never make it too brown because it must continue browning as the other ingredients are added in the order given in this book. It is a great mistake to pile all ingredients one after another, pell-mell, into a dish, in the course of preparation…In making a roux for cooking gravies or smothering meats the proportions are one of shortening, two of flour, butter always making a richer gravy than shortening, and sometimes being too rich for delicate stomachs. If there is the slightest indication of burnt odor or overbrowning, throw the roux away and wash the utensil before proceeding to make another. Remember that even a slightly burnt sauce will spoil the most savory dish.

To make a White Roux you will need 1 TBSP flour and 1 TBSP butter.

The White Roux is made exactly like the brown roux only that the butter and flour are put simultaneously into the saucepan and not allowed to brown. It is then moistened with a little broth or boiling water and allowed to boil for a few minutes to thicken. The White Roux is the foundation of all white sauces or those containing milk and cream. It is also used in nearly all purees…”
(*Sandy’s cooknote – the proportions of one tablespoon of flour and one tablespoon of butter should make one cup of Roux. If you want more than one cup of roux, increase the butter in the same proportion as the flour. When I am making a white sauce I usually melt about 3 tablespoons of butter and mix it with 3 tablespoons of flour—and the liquid, then, can be three cupfuls. I like making white sauce with evaporated milk –1½ cups of evaporated milk mixed with 1 ½ cups of water makes a nice rich sauce. Or, use 3 cups of milk.

If you would like additional information on sauces—please refer to my posts dated February 5, 2011, titled “Getting Sauce” – Parts one, two, and three.

Happy cooking – and Happy Cookbook Collecting!

Sandy

WHO WAS COOKBOOK AUTHOR/RECIPE COLUMNIST MARY MARTENSEN?

Sometimes it simply starts with an old recipe card or a clipping with a name on it and you aren’t always sure where on earth you found it, especially if the clipping is very old and yellowed. Well, I do collect old recipe boxes, preferably with old recipe collections intact and this is sometimes where interesting clippings, or clippings pasted onto 3×5” cards turn up. Such is the case with the first recipe I found of Mary Martensen’s. It was a clipping pasted on a 3×5” card with directions for making pea soup.

From the introduction in one of her cookbooks, we learn that Mrs. Martensen was a graduate in Home Economics and Dietetics, having studied at the Boston School of Domestic Science, Simmons College and the Teachers College of Columbia University. Her first experience was as Director of Home Economics for the schools of Concord, New Hampshire. While there she also conducted courses in dietetics at the Concord City Hospital each week, and in Home Economics at Mount St. Mary’s Academy at Hookset, New Hampshire.

Following this, Mrs. Martensen became dietitian at Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Illinois, leaving this position for the Home Economics Department of “a great packing company” (presumably Armour founded in 1867 by the Armour brothers following the Civil War). Here, in four seasons Mrs. Martensen conducted newspaper cooking schools in thirty-five states, lectured to women’s clubs in Chicago and its suburbs, and contributed to the household page edited in her department. She also prepared many recipe booklets, among them “Sixty Ways to Serve Ham” which I believe was compiled for Armour around 1935. During the last 2 years of this period Mrs. Martensen was the directing head of the department. Then followed five years as head of a Home Economics Department which she established for one of the largest baking powder companies in America. (No indication is given for the name of the baking company. Royal, Clabber Girl, and Rumford were three popular baking powder companies getting a strong foothold in the food industry in the late 1800s, early 1900s, however.)

In January, 1927, Mrs. Martensen established a Home Economics Department for “a large western newspaper” where she remained until she was selected by the Chicago Evening American for the position she was holding at the time her first cookbook was published–not counting pamphlets or booklets she may have authored prior to this. [I’m thinking that Mrs. Mary Martensen would have given Ida Bailey Allen a run for her money, as a contemporary in the 1920s writing for food manufacturers, conducting radio recipe programs and then branching out to compile cookbooks.]

Within a few months, the auditorium originally fitted for the newspaper Home Ec department of the Chicago Evening American had to be enlarged to double its size and capacity. Three courses of lessons were given in the first year of the department’s operation, with a total attendance of 6,600.

Editorially, Mrs. Martensen conducted a daily column in the Chicago Evening American, which was amplified to four columns on Mondays and Fridays, and a full page every Saturday in the American Home Journal. Her material was illustrated on Mondays and Saturdays with photographs and sketches made in her department of special dishes and table settings created in the department (The recipe page that a Sandychatter subscriber sent to me was published on a Thursday in the Chicago Herald American and along with recipes for strawberry chiffon pie and pineapple cheese pie, featured lovely illustrations – even in black and white—of a coconut wreath circling the pineapple cheese pie and another illustration of an ice cream pie.) And, apparently, at some point in time, Mrs. Martensen’s recipe columns were picked up by King Syndicate for release to other newspapers throughout the USA.

In the department’s first year, over 21,000 letters were received from readers and over 4,200 telephone calls responded to. Twenty five lectures before women’s clubs, farmers’ institutes, parent-teacher associations and high school classes were conducted. In addition to all this, Mrs. Martensen conducted weekly radio talks.

Mary Martensen was writing a column for the Herald American newspaper in 1950. I believe she was writing newspaper columns in the 1930s and 1940s as well. She also wrote “Mrs. Mary Martensen’s Recipes Cookbook/Chicago American” which I would SWEAR that I have, but to date have been unable to find. This was a newspaper-sponsored cookbook for the Chicago American.

Prior to this, the author worked for the meatpacker Armour Company* where she authored the popular, “Sixty ways to Serve Ham”

*Sandy cooknote: The information I discovered online about the Armour Company and the many different products they manufactured nearly sent me into a tailspin, wanting to read and learn more about Armour—I had to force myself to stay on track with Mary Martensen.

In 1933, Mrs. Martensen wrote “Century of Progress Cookbook*” – so far I have not been able to lay my hands on any of Mary’s cookbooks. However, any number of her newspaper columns have survived over the decades. In fact, a Sandychatter subscriber bought some perfume bottles and found a 1950 sheet of newspaper with Mary Martensen’s Strawberry Chiffon Pie and Pineapple Cheese Pie featured on that date, June 22, 1950 – and sent a copy of it to me.

In addition to its widely syndicated Sunday magazine “The American Weekly”, the Journal-American had a Saturday supplement called Home Magazine, as well. Mary’s columns appeared in this newspaper supplement as well.

Zirta Green, who balanced a career with motherhood and home long before it became fashionable was a test kitchen chef for the Chicago Herald American and Chicago Tribune newspapers for their cooking and recipe columns from 1953-1966, and later for the Mary Martensen TV cooking show, broadcasted on WBKB Chicago, ABC-TV, around 1954. (*This short paragraph about Mrs. Green was the only indication I discovered about Mary Martensen having a TV cooking s how –back in the day, long before TV cooking shows were so popular!

An illustration/portrait of Mary Martensen was published in her first cookbook; it shows a very pretty blonde haired woman, nicely dressed, with a sweet smile.

Not much more is known about Mary Martensen – although if anyone reading this knows more, I would love to hear from you. However, some of her recipes crop up if you take the time to surf Google patiently. The first one I am offering is the recipe I originally found on a recipe card.

To make MARY’S SPLIT PEA SOUP you will need:

1 cup dried split peas
2 ½ quarts cold water
1 pint milk
½ onion
2” cube fat salt pork
3 TBSP butter or margarine
2 TBSP flour
1 ½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Pick over peas and soak several hours in cold water to cover. Drain, add cold water, pork and onion. Simmer 3 or 4 hours or until soft. Put through a sieve*. Add butter and flour and seasonings blended together. Dilute with the milk, adding more milk if necessary. Note the water in which a ham has been cooked may be used. Omit the salt.

Sandy’s cooknote: If you don’t have a sieve, you can blend the peas in your blender but I would suggest cooling it down somewhat, first, and only do half a blender-full at a time so it doesn’t splash. When I make pea soup I like to cook the peas and whatever other ingredients (carrots, onion) -except meat – and blend it in my blender to make it smooth. Then add some leftover ham if you want it in your soup. We like very thick soups, more like chowders. What I usually do is cook a hambone and then set it aside. Use the stock from the hambone then to cook the peas. (And if you take the time to chill the stock, you can easily remove the fat that rises to the top and solidifies). While the peas are cooking, cool the hambone and remove all the bits of meat to put back into the pot later. Ok, it’s a little more work this way–but you will have a fine pot of soup. (Some things do take longer – but I guarantee, if you cook a hambone and use those scraps of meat – you will have a delicious stock AND most flavorful meat. It will beat a package of pre-diced ham bits from the supermarket hands down!)

Here is Mary’s recipe for SUNSHINE CAKE, 1946

1 cup sifted cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks, beaten
7 egg whites, beaten
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 teaspoon any desired flavoring (I recommend lemon extract)
Preparation Instructions

Sift the flour once, measure and resift twice with the salt. Beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Beat the egg whites until foamy, add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff, but not dry. Add the sugar gradually and beat until the mixture holds in soft peaks. Fold in the beaten egg yolks and flavoring. Fold in the flour gently but thoroughly to avoid breaking air cells in the egg mixture. Pour batter into an ungreased ten-inch tube pan and bake in a moderate oven, 350 degrees, for about 50 minutes, or until done. Remove from oven and invert for one hour, or until cool. When cool, frost with a thin coating of confectioners’ sugar, or sprinkle with sifted confectioners’ sugar.

MARY MARTENSEN’S POPCORN BALLS, 1946

1 cup molasses
1 tablespoon vinegar
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup dark corn syrup
3 quarts salted popped corn

Combine molasses, corn syrup and vinegar in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until a small amount of syrup will form a hard ball when dropped into cold water. This is about 270 degrees if tested with a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat, add the butter and pour over the popped corn, stirring only enough to mix. Form into balls with the hands, using as little pressure as possible. Makes 16 to 18 balls.

(Sandy’s Cooknote *I can’t wait to make this. I buy a big bottle of molasses from a warehouse-type of supermarket in Palmdale, called Smart & Final because I love to make molasses cookies—and I like adding a small amount to the white Karo syrup when I am making caramel corn).

From a Sandychatter reader: “I have my grandmother’s collection of recipes and cookbook. In there I found 2 pages of dumpling recipes from the Chicago Herald American, Home Economics Department, Mary Martensen, Director. They are hand typed and the photo copied from some sort of note book then mailed to my grandmother. I was interested so I did a little research. The Newspaper was the Chicago Evening American from 1914-1939 then it became the Chicago Herald-American 1939-1953 then the Chicago American from 1953-1969.” Tina Aiello Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

(*Sandy’s Cooknote: Tina, if you happen to read this, would you share some of your grandmother’s recipes with me?. When Mary’s first cookbook was published some pages were deliberately left blank just so someone could add their own recipes or clippings.)

MARY MARTENSEN’S CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

½ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk or soured milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preparation Instructions

Cream the shortening, add sugar and cream together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the chocolate which has been melted and cooled, and blend well.

Sift the flour once, measure and resift twice with the soda and salt. Add to the batter alternately with the buttermilk, beating until smooth after each addition. Add vanilla. Fill twelve cupcake pans which have been greased, two thirds full with the batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven, for about 20 minutes or until done.

When cupcakes are cool, with a small sharp pointed knife cut a cone-shape from the top of each. Remove and fill hollowed out portion with slightly sweetened whipped cream. If desired, a larger hollow can be made in the cupcake. Also, ice cream can be used in place of whipped cream to fill the hollow centers. Place top (which was removed from cupcake) on top of whipped cream and pour chocolate sauce over the top.

To make the chocolate sauce: Combine in a saucepan, one square unsweetened chocolate, cut in pieces, one cup sugar, two tablespoons corn syrup, one tablespoon butter and one-third cup hot water. Blend well and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to boiling point, then cook for five minutes. Cool slightly and add a few grains of salt and one half teaspoon vanilla. Serve warm or cold. Contributed by MARY MARTENSEN, 1946

From another Sandychatter reader, Rebecca Christian “I was interested in the Mary Martensen recipe. I worked as a test kitchen home economist in the test kitchen of Chicago’s American newspaper from 1967-1970. Mary Martensen was the nom de plume of the food editor who at that time was Dorothy Thompson. We had about 35,000 recipes in our files and they are still some of my best ones. Wish I had those files now!

Rebecca also wrote “Chicago’s American was eliminated as the afternoon paper of the Chicago Tribune around 1970 or 71. Don’t know if the Tribune kept the recipes or not. There are Chicago Tribune cookbooks but I don’t think they had any American recipes. Each paper owned by the Tribune as well as the Chicago Daily News had test kitchens at the time. We tested every recipe that went in the American. Those days are long gone! Becky.

(*Sandy’s cooknote – Oh, Rebecca – what wouldn’t we all give to have Mary’s recipes today! I’m pea-green with envy that you had the opportunity to work in the test kitchen of Chicago’s American newspaper from 1967-1970—I was busy giving birth during most of those years. Lol).

*Sandy’s cooknote – there are a lot of gaps in my story about Mary Martensen. I don’t know where she grew up or where she spent most of her life. I don’t know how long she lived even though we DO know that Zirta Green was a test kitchen chef of Mrs. Martensen’s who lived to the age of 97! On previous occasions when I mentioned Mary Martensen, readers responded with comments I have included in this post.

The best I can hope to achieve is more details becoming available to us – I am reminded of writing about Myra Waldo, first years ago (around 1990) when I was unable to learn ANYthing about Myra’s later life – and then years later, when I was rewriting my manuscript about Myra, I found obituary details on Google, not previously available to me. I like the idea “if you build it, they will come”

Cookbooks by Mary Martensen:

Home Canning and Freezing Book- or The Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking of Meat fish game – date unknown, possibly 1935

CENTURY OF PROGRESS COOKBOOK 1932

Mrs. Mary Martensen’s Recipes Cookbook Chicago American”

SIXTY WAYS TO SERVE HAM, Armour Ham, 1935

RECIPES FOR WILD GAME 1935?

(Sandy’s final cooknote: If anyone knows more about Mary’s cookbooks, such as dates of publication, or any other food editors writing under Mary Martensen’s name—or her other book titles please write!)

Happy Cooking & Happy Cookbook collecting!
Sandy

THE FOLLOWING MAY BE INTERESTED IN ALL THE READERS WHO WERE SEARCHING FOR PINEAPPLE CHEESE PIE. I THINK I’VE FOUND IT AND AM SENDING SEVERAL VERSIONS:

COOL and delicious pineapple cheese pie with cream cheese.
Ingredients:
• 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese ,room temperature
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
• 1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, well drained
• 1 9-inch graham cracker pie shell
Preparation:
Beat cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy. Fold in the whipped cream, then the drained crushed pineapple. Spoon mixture into the pie shell. Chill thoroughly until filling is set, about 2 to 3 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
**
NO BAKE PINEAPPLE CHEESE PIE

Ingredients:
• 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese ,room temperature
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
• 1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, well drained
• 1 9-inch graham cracker pie shell
Preparation:
Beat cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy. Fold in the whipped cream, then the drained crushed pineapple. Spoon mixture into the pie shell. Chill thoroughly until filling is set, about 2 to 3 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Apparently, this recipe goes back decades—I think it was popular in the 1930s or earlier. The following recipe is more detailed and may be closer to what my subscribers (at Sandychatter) were looking for:

Ingredients Edit and Save
Original recipe makes 2 pies
2 (9 inch) pie shell

1/3 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped walnuts(optional)
Check All Add to Shopping List
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. To Make Pineapple Layer: In a medium saucepan combine 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, and pineapple with juice. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is the consistency of jelly.
3. To Make Cream Cheese Layer: In a medium mixing bowl, whip cream cheese until fluffy. Whip in sugar and salt until mixture is smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, and milk. Beat mixture until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Mixture will be liquidy.
4. Pour half of pineapple mixture into each pastry shell. Pour half of cream cheese mixture over each pineapple layer. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts if desired.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and bake an additional 50 minutes, until tops of pies begin to brown. Chill before serving. Top with whipped cream if desired.
Kitchen-Friendly View

When I got to thinking about the name of the recipe, I thought it couldn’t be much different from a cheesecake pie that uses 4 8-oz packages of cream cheese – plus some other ingredients, including a graham cracker crust. I used to make one that had cream cheese, cool whip and Jello – but I can’t remember if the jello was made up – or left dry. My son Steve loved this dessert.
– Sandy @ sandychatter.

JANE BUTEL’S COOKBOOKS & GREMLINS IN MY COMPUTER

I was working for several days to complete a list of Jane Butel’s cookbooks and trying to get them all in date order. SOMEHOW I lost the original list which should have ben included in Part 2 of Three Quite Unrelated Cookbooks and Seventy Years. I couldnt come up with 20 titles no matter how much I searched so I wrote to the author who graciously wrote back to me. The list now contains 22 titles! You will find this list useful if you decide to visit Amazon or Alibris and shop for some of Jane’s cookbooks.

She wanted me to let you all know what you can go to http://www.janebutelcooking.com and subscribe to Butels Bytes. I did some surfing around on Jane’s website over the weekend and was quite impressed. You might want to give this site a visit and perhaps become a subscriber (I am going to sign up). MEANTIME for my readers who like to know these things, here is a ist of Jane Butel’s cookbooks- and hopefully this is a complete list.(Thanks, Jane!) Sandy@sandychatter:

COCINAS DE NEW MEXICO, 1961
JANE BUTEL’S COOKBOOKS FAVORITE MEXCAN FOODS, 1968
JANE BUTEL’S FREEZER COOKBOOK 1977
JANE BUTEL’S TEX-MEX COOKBOOK, 1979
CHILI MADNESS, 1980
FINGER LICKIN’ RIB STICKIN’ GREAT TASTIN’ HOT N SPICY BARBECUE 1982
TACOS, TORTILLAS AND TOSTADOS 1982
WOMAN’S DAY BOOK OF NEW MEXCAN COOKING 1984
THE BEST OF MEXICAN COOKING 1984
HOTTER THAN HELL, 1987
FIESTA 1987
JANE BUTEL’S TEX-MEX COOKBOOK, 1993
HOTTER THAN HELL 1994 (REVISED AND EXPANDED)
JANE BUTEL’S SOUTHWESTERN KITCHEN 1994
JANE BUTEL’S SOUTHWESTERN GRILL (with Gordon McMeen) 1996
FIESTAS FOR FOUR SEASONS, 1997
JANE BUTEL’S QUICK & EASY SOUTHWESTERN COOKBOOK 1999
HOTTER THAN HELL, REVISED AND EXPANDED AND REWORKED WITH PHOTOGRAPHY, etc. 2005
REAL WOMEN EAT CHILES 2006
CHILI MADNESS, 2ND EDITION, REVISED AND EXPANDED, 2008
THE BEST OF MEXICAN COOKING 2009
REGIONAL MEXICAN COOKING FROM THE SCOTTSDALE FAIRMONT PRINCESS COOKING SCHOOL, 2009

THREE QUITE UNRELATED COOKBOOKS AND SEVENTY YEARS – PART THREE “FORGOTTEN SKILLS OF COOKING” BY DARINA ALLEN

My apologies for turning this into three posts instead of just one, but I suffer from a kind of verbal addiction—I can never tell a story in a thousand words or less. And the thing about writing something like a cookbook review is that you can continuously find more material to include in the article.

The third book in the three quite unrelated cookbooks published over a period of seventy years is one I heard or read about and went to Amazon.com to find a copy, which I did – at some ridiculously low price. Isn’t that the greatest aspect of cookbook searching online? Finding something fantastic for a few dollars and even with a $3.99 shipping charge, you end up paying far less than you would if you bought the book new.

“Forgotten Skills of Cooking”, subtitled “The Time-Honored Ways are the Best – over 700 recipes show you why” published in 2009, by Darina Allen was originally published at $40.00. And come to think of it, I think I saw something about the author on the Food Network.

Darina Allen runs a world-known cooking school at Ballymaloe in County Cork, Ireland which she founded with her husband in 1983. On the back cover of the book we read, “She [Darina Allen] runs the highly regard three-month diploma course as well as various short courses, including the Forgotten Skills series which is the inspiration for this book.

Darina is the award-winning author of “Irish Traditional Cooking”, “Ballymaloe Cookery Course”, “A Year at Ballymaloe”, “Healthy Gluten-free Eating” (with Rosemary Kearney) and “Easy Entertaining”. She is Ireland’s most famous TV cook having presented nine series of her cooking program, “Simply Delicious” on television around the world…”

Also on the book, which has a well designed washable cover, is the comment “…this book reveals the lost art of making creamy butter and yogurt, keeping a few hens in the backyard, home-curing and smoking bacon and even foraging for food in the wild…” as well as “…Rediscover the flavors of all time favorites such as traditional stuffed chicken, figgy toffy pudding and freshly baked scones and strawberry jam..”

As you may know, if you have been reading “Sandychatter” for any length of time, I am a great proponent of being able to make things “from scratch”, of being able to mix your own taco or chili spice mixes, and I make a lot of different jellies, jams, preserves, relishes, chutneys and have even made my own sauerkraut. (The latter only needs to be made every few years as making one big batch will fill a lot of quart jars and keep you in sauerkraut for months to come.)

Years ago, when my sons were growing up, we “kept” chickens for a few years – until they all got killed by dogs that managed to get into the yard during the night. I loved being able to go into the back yard and find freshly laid eggs waiting to be brought into the house and have often thought I’d like to keep some chickens again.

In the introduction to “Forgotten Skills of Cooking”, Darina Allen writes “During the 25 years I’ve been running the Ballymaloe Cookery School, I’ve noticed an alarming loss of skills in many students. The art of thrifty housekeeping has gradually petered out and became strangely unfashionable.
Our mothers and grandmothers knew how to eke out a small budget to feed a family, and how to make a delicious meal from meager leftovers. Given a chicken or fish, they would have simply rolled up their sleeves and got on with eviscerating or filleting. It mightn’t have been perfect but they just did it in their pragmatic way. The loss of these and other such skills over subsequent generations is partly a consequence of the availability of convenience foods. Every time we go to the supermarket, an increasing number of items are oven-ready or ready to eat: cheese is grated, mushrooms sliced, fruit segmented—I swear if they sold toast we’d buy it…”

Allen says that the actual incident that prompted her to start the Forgotten Skills courses happened in the cookery school some years prior when she came across a student who was about to dump her over-whipped cream into the hens’ bucket. She was totally unaware that she had inadvertently made butter. Allen rescued it just in time and in a matter of minutes made it into butter pats to the delight of the class, most of whom didn’t realize that butter is made from cream. She says it reinforced her belief that even made country dwellers have lost the connection with how their food is produced. I say amen to all of this.

My actual incident that prompted me to start searching for recipes and writing articles about making things such as spice mixes from scratch started with my sister calling one day to say she was making tacos and was out of taco seasoning mix. Could I tell her how to make it from scratch? I could and did and later she told me she never bought packaged taco seasoning mix anymore. When I find myself out of something such as taco seasoning mix, generally I look through my own recipes and if I don’t find what I am looking for there, I do a Google search which is the most fantastic research tool. I find a recipe, print it and then go about doubling or tripling the ingredients before getting out the various spices to mix up a batch.

Foraging isn’t something we can do here in the high desert although I have no doubt that some of the many wildflowers and weeds that grow in this region could be edible, but I do believe in eating food in season – and I am hoping that, with my son Kelly’s help, we will have a big vegetable garden next spring. I have planted five fruit trees since moving to the desert and Kelly transplanted a pomegranate tree for me yesterday, a gift from my manicurist. He bought 4 fruit trees that same year and between us, I hope to eventually harvest enough fruit to can most of it and get back to making my own applesauce. We had 26 fruit trees where I used to live but many of them were citrus, which doesn’t grow well in the high desert. For one thing, we usually have a freeze in the winter. I still have hopes of putting up a greenhouse, eventually.

Allen also writes about thrifty cooking—how people are lured into throwing out perfectly good food if they haven’t used it by the “best before” date (I’ve been trying to get this across to my grandchildren who live in a household where anything with an expired date is thrown out. Over the weekend I tried to impress upon my grandson that “expired” milk may not be BAD – if it seems to be slightly off, you can make a chocolate pudding or tapioca and have a perfectly good dessert). Sour milk, of course, can be used in any number of bread or cake recipes.

“Forgotten Skills of Cooking” is quite obviously a labor of love replete with tantalizing photographs to tempt any would-be cook.

The book begins with a chapter on “Foraging” which focuses on wild greens that grow in Ireland where, when the author was a child foraging was a way of life a part of every year (Although I have never been to Ireland and know nothing about foraging for fruit and greens, oddly enough I have written several poems on the subject in a series I wrote a couple of years ago about “An American Childhood” – I must have drawn on some universal consciousness to do that). The only green I know anything about foraging is dandelions. Comfrey is listed in Allen’s book—I always thought of it as an herb. When we first moved into the Arleta house in 1974 (when my sons were little boys) there was a comfrey patch in the front yard and my friend Connie identified it and said it was good for healing. Sure enough, Allen comments that comfrey was known was “knitbone” in the past as it draws out infections and multiplies healing cells when bones are broken. I think I would love to visit Ireland just to go foraging. Recipes for blackberries and crabapples make my mouth water- and I do remember collecting wild crabapples in the woods just a short distance from my parents’ home on Sutter Street. What did we do with them? I don’t remember. I would be a teenager before I began experimenting with making jellies or jams.
Allen provides a recipe for making pickling mushrooms*; her recipe is made with wild mushrooms but those of us on this side of the pond without access to wild mushrooms might want to try this recipe when the small button mushrooms are in the supermarket and fresh – you only need a little over 2 lbs of mushrooms and that’s quite a few mushrooms to a pound when they are small.
Allen’s book is huge – more like an encyclopedia of forgotten skills of cooking with chapters on chickens, turkey, duck, pigs, and photographs to whet your appetite. I am inspired by a chapter on sausages, something Bob & I always planned to do. My grandparents made sausages – when we were very young children, they killed a pig and participation of all the family – my father, uncle, aunt and their respective spouses, was a requirement if they all expected to get some of the sausages to eat after they had smoked in my grandfather’s garage/smokehouse. Allen’s paprika sausages make me think of Hungarian Kolbasz—and who doesn’t love Bratwurst?

I am also charmed by a chapter on Chutneys – I have been making chutneys and collecting chutney recipes for about 20 years. There I found a recipe for Green Tomato Chutney that I will have to share with a girlfriend with whom I share green tomato recipes. So, to finish this off, let me share Allen’s recipe for Ballymaloe Green Tomato Chutney. I will also provide you with the recipe for pickling mushrooms—which, you know, is one of those great things you can keep in the frig and have on hand when needed.

To make Ballymaloe Green Tomato Chutney you will need

2¼ lb cooking apples, peeled and diced (i.e., Granny Smith)
1 lb onions, chopped
2¼ lb green tomatoes, chopped (no need to peel)
1½ cups white sugar
1 ¾ cups turbinado* sugar (*Turbinado sugar is a natural brown sugar. Use any brown sugar if you can’t obtain Turbinado)
1 lb golden raisins
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 garlic cloves, coarsely crushed
1 TBSP salt
3 cups white wine vinegar

Put the onions and apples into a wide stainless steel saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Stir well, bring to a boil and simmer gently, for about 45 minutes or until reduced by more than half. Stir regularly, particularly towards the end of cooking. Pot into sterilized jars and cover immediately with non-reactive lids. Store in a dark airy place and leave to mellow for at least 2 weeks before using.

And here is Allen’s Pickled Mushroom recipe. To make pickled mushrooms you will need

2¼ lb wild mushrooms (or small fresh button mushrooms from the supermarket)
4 cups best white vinegar OR 2½ cups best white vinegar and 1 cup verjuice*
4 fresh bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 sprigs thyme
3 tsp salt
Extra virgin olive oil

Trim the mushrooms carefully and only if really necessary; rinse quickly under cold water. Dry on paper towels or a kitchen towel. Put the vinegar and verjuice, if using, into a stainless steel sauce pan with the bay leaves and garlic. Bring to a boil, add the mushrooms and continue to simmer for 4-5 minutes—lay a clean saucer or butter plate on top of the mushrooms to keep them immersed in the liquid. Drain the pickling liquid—this can be saved for another batch. Put a little olive oil into sterilized jars, divide the mushrooms, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and salt between them, press down well to remove air bubbles. Cover with extra virgin olive oil to a depth of 3/4 inch. Cover and seal; store in a cool dry place. (for me the only cool dry place is my second refrigerator. Serve as part of an antipasto or crostini.

*Verjuice is a very acidic grape juice. You may be able to substitute lemon juice. Personally, I would stick with all good white vinegar. And I have to admit, I hesitate to pack the mushrooms in olive oil. Personally – whenever I have made pickled mushrooms – I’ve left them in the brine with the herbs.

Happy Cooking and Happy cookbook collecting!

Sandy

Three Quite Unrelated Cookbooks and Seventy Years – Part Two

The second book of the three quite unrelated cookbooks was Jane Butel’s Southwestern Grill published in 1996. I like Mexican food (most of it anyway) and I like Southwestern cuisine too – I think most Southern Californians are familiar with both and enjoy either or almost anytime.

I hope the name Jane Butel is familiar to you. She is credited with starting the Tex-Mex mania. Jane Butel published her first cookbook on New Mexican and American Mexican food in the 1960’s. Eighteen cookbooks later*, her latest cookbook, “Real Women Eat Chiles” features the healthy aspects of chiles, and profiles some of the real women who eat them.

Jane Butel is an internationally recognized authority on the regional cooking of the American Southwest. She is a cookbook author, teacher and television personality whose most recent television project, “Jane Butel’s Southwestern Kitchen”, is being presented to public television stations nationwide by KUHT-TV, Houston PBS.

Having consulted with such major chains as Del Taco, El Torrito and Zona Rosa, and with Luxury Hotels, she is now in her 25th year of operating her own Cooking Schools in various locations in New Mexico and Scottsdale, AZ., which have been recognized far and wide for the quality of instruction. Jane’s Cooking School specializes in week long and weekend full-participation classes on New Mexican and Southwestern cooking. BON APPETIT magazine credits her Cooking School as the “BEST IN THE U.S.” VACATION SCHOOL.

All this being said, I want to talk to you today about Jane Butel’s Southwestern Grill. Here in Southern California, we love anything that can be tossed on the grill. And, two of my two grandchildren love tacos, Burritos, quesadillas– anything easy to pick up and eat with their fingers. You will love Jane’s recipes for Grilled Chicken Adobo, Grilled Rosemary Garlic Chicken Breasts, or for a special dinner how about sake-marinated grilled pork tenderloin with mushrooms?

Grilled Pork Steaks with Apples and Onions is a new take on “pork chops and applesauce” while Mystery Marinated Chuck Roast has mostly ingredients you will find on your pantry shelves and is at the top of my list of new recipes to try.
I am especially tantalized by the recipes for fresh cranberry salsa or dried cherry salsa but you will want to try Jane’s Grilled Corn & Red Bell Pepper Salsa too. (I tried this one on my family last year). There are recipes for barbecue sauces and herb marinades, in addition to salsas, and recipes for side dishes—and a lovely selection of homemade breads that includes a sourdough starter. But I think the recipe I want to try NEXT is one for a low fat Banana Zucchini Cake! Yowza! This CAKE is baked on the grill too!

To make Jane’s Low Fat Banana Zucchini Cake you will need:

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (1 large or 2 small)
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
3 ½ cups shredded zucchini
½ cup (8 oz can drained) crushed pineapple
1 tsp Mexican vanilla
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
Fresh ground nutmeg
Powdered sugar for dusting top (optional)

Preheat grill to medium or 350 degrees if not already hot. Butter a 9×14” baking pan that will not get damaged on the grill or cover the bottom with foil, or use a foil pan.

Combine bananas, oil and sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until sugar dissolves. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in zucchini, pineapple and vanilla. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients and stir until blended. Then add the dry ingredients one-quarter at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix only until all ingredients are well combined. Turn batter into prepared baking pan. Place on grill rack and cover grill. Bake about 45 mins or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and cake springs back when gently pressed. Cool on cake rack. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Makes 12 servings

*Substitute carrots for zucchini if desired
**

I found a most interesting recipe for using inexpensive chicken parts on Jane Butel’s website—which you may want to visit. She also has a newsletter, which I signed up for.

The following will knock our socks off (and what a great dish for company!)

COQ au VIN

(CHICKEN IN WINE SAUCE)

Writes Jane: This is my all-time favorite coq recipe, developed during my early New Mexico years. Fired with caribe and flamed with cognac, it’s a fabulous dish with a perfect marriage of flavors, certain to be a hit with family and guests—though you may want to hoard it all for yourself! Since this stew is so robust, accompany it with a soothing side dish. And, never, ever waste a drop of the savory sauce; if you have any leftover, freeze it for later use. It’s wonderful in all kinds of stews.

Yield: 6 servings

½ cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons caribe (crushed Northern New Mexico red chile)
1 teaspoon salt
1 (3 ½ to 4 pound) broiler-fryer chicken, cut for frying
½ cup unsalted butter
6 Tablespoons cognac
1 clove garlic, minced
1 fresh bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
6 small white boiling onions, peeled
½ pound fresh mushrooms, any kind, sliced
6 slices thick bacon, heavily smoked country style sliced into ½ inch pieces
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup Burgundy or other good quality dry red wine
Fried Croutons–
French bread, cut in 1 inch cubes
Olive oil
Unsalted butter

1. In a paper bag or large shallow bowl, mix flour, caribe and salt. Dredge chicken in flour mixture. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large deep, heavy skillet (or in a chicken fryer) over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and cook until browned on all sides, turning as needed; adjust heat as necessary to prevent over-browning.

2. Add cognac to hot skillet and flame carefully, keeping a lid nearby to extinguish flames should they rise too high. When flames die, stir in garlic, bay leaf, thyme, 3 Tablespoons of the parsley, onions, mushrooms, bacon, and a generous grinding of black pepper. Pour wine over all. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 45 minutes, or until chicken is tender and sauce is thickened.

3.Meanwhile, prepare Fried Croutons. In a skillet, toast French bread cubes in a mixture of half oil and half melted butter until light golden on all sides, stirring as needed. Cool.

4. To serve, place chicken on a large warmed platter and cover with sauce, arranging onions decoratively around chicken. Sprinkle croutons over the top, and then sprinkle with remaining 1 Tablespoon parsley.

Reprinted from the book “Hotter Then Hell”

Many of Jane Butel’s cookbooks are available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Alibris has some of her titles for 99c each. I saw one on Amazon.com listed at $1.26. Of course, you will pay $3.99 shipping on books purchased from private vendors but in the neighborhood of $5.00 for one of her cookbooks is not a bad price. I ordered three of Jane’s cookbooks from private vendors, via Amazon.com and the total including shipping charges was under $15.00.

This completes part two of “Three Quit Unrelated Cookbooks and Seventy Years Apart” – I never intended to be so wordy, so the third cookbook
Forgotten Skills of Cooking” will be in my next post.

Happy cooking and Happy cookbook collecting!
Sandy

THREE QUITE UNRELATED COOKBOOKS AND SEVENTY YEARS – PART ONE

Quite unintentionally, three cookbooks ended up in a short stack together as I was engaged in my perpetual endeavor to find places for all the cookbooks on my bookshelves. Yes, there are a good many nice solid oak bookshelves throughout the house – many of them hold my collection of cookie jars and recipe boxes (you can’t imagine how much space cookie jars take up when you have a lot of them) – periodically I go on rampages with the cookbooks, thinning out their ranks a little—to make room for more. Anyway, I was sitting on the floor reflecting on how much of my life is spent trying to find space for books, when my line of vision fell on these three particular books. The oldest was first published in 1939, reprinted in 1940. The newest was published in 2009and the one in the middle, in 1996—a span of seventy years from the oldest to the youngest.

Not by any means are these three cookbooks representative of cookbooks in general—and we could spend days discussing all the different types of cookbooks. But I think they do provide some indication of the evolution of cookbooks in the past 70 years.

First then, is a book titled “WORLD FAMOUS CHEFS’ COOKBOOK/RARE OLD RECIPES, ARRANGE FOR THE HOMEMAKER.” This book opens with recipes from Grand Hotel, Stockholm. You may know that our word “smorgasbord” comes from the Swedish, famous for hors d’oeuvres and buffet foods. In the introduction to Smorgasbord, the author writes…While the American buffet table may sometimes be set with one side close to the wall, Swedish smorgasbord is always set so that guests may walk all around it. At one end is placed an assortment of sliced bread, including rye and slabs of Swedish bread; butter molded in fancy shapes and arranged on a bed of ice is found nearby, with suitable service utensil. As the fundamental meaning of the word “smorgas” is sandwich (I didn’t know that!) so the foundation idea of the “smorgasbord” is a “sandwich table”, therefore all kinds of pickled, smoked, dried and salted fish, as well as platters of cold meat cuts and cheese, always appear near the bread and butter supply. The guest helps himself to bread, butter, and an assortment of delicacies from which he may make his own “sandwiches”; however, neither sandwiches nor canapés, as such, ever appear on the authentic smorgasbord.

Then, around the table, are arranged an amazing array of colorful salads of which the Swedish herring salad is a ‘must’. Many clear aspic salads are included too. If the smorgasbord is to serve as a main meal, such as dinner or supper, and there are too many guests to seat at the tale, several hot dishes are also included as part of the menu.

The mistake that most American diners make, when they first see a smorgasbord, is over-emphasis on the appetizer angle. The epicure, however, soon learns that these delicacies are not meant to satisfy his appetite but to stimulate it, and he therefore deftly and delicately serves himself what might perhaps seem but tidbits to the gourmand—for he realizes that the smorgasbord either offers and entire meal or precedes a full-course one…”

What follows in this chapter is a tantalizing assortment of cold sauce recipes, chilled or jellied fish dishes—recipes for herring, crawfish, boiled crabs in Remoulade Sauce, Salmon Mousse with eggs and many others.

I am partial to recipes for relishes and “World Famous Chefs” offers a great selection—from Grape Catchup (which I’d love to try) to a standard tomato catchup, recipes for chutneys and pickled fruits and vegetables. I found a recipe for Spiced Grapes which made me chuckle – I thought I had discovered something new a year or so ago with an Internet recipe for pickled grapes – and here they are, in a 1939 cookbook!

“World Famous Chefs” offers recipes from the Netherland Plaza—I gasped to see it; this was a famous restaurant in downtown Cincinnati when I was growing up. Included in the book are many of the meat entrees served at the Netherland Plaza back in the day—including – be still my heart – a quite authentic recipe for Hungarian Goulash! (see recipe below). This section is followed by recipes from the Pennsylvania Hotel, New York—you must bear in mind, these were the top notch restaurants 70 years ago. If I were to choose one from the Pennsylvania Hotel, I think it would be the Chopped Cowboy Tenderloin Steak.*

Next is Hotel Adolphus, in Dallas, which opened its doors in 1912 and was still going strong in 1939. Chicken legs can often be purchased inexpensively, so I will include the Adolphus recipe for Deviled Chicken Legs.*

There are also recipes and chapters dedicated to Canadian Hotels as well as many others – but this is a book well conceived and curiously compiled. It was compiled by Ford Naylor and arranged and edited by Irene Hume Taylor, a home economics lecturer and writer/consultant. “Every recipe in this book,” writes Ford Naylor, with few exceptions, is a secret recipe which has been jealously guarded…” Well, the secret’s out. FYI, you know I generally try to find out through Google if a book I am writing about is available. Amazon.com has one used copy of “World Famous Chefs” listed at $29.95.

TO MAKE SPICED GRAPES YOU WILL NEED

4 LBS grapes
2 lbs sugar
1 tsp mixed spices
¼ up cider vinegar

Crush grapes in a preserving kettle; cook over gentle heat until seeds separate. Rub through fine colander. Add sugar, spice sand vinegar to pulp; cook 30 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour into scalded jelly jars and seal.

TO MAKE THE HOTEL ADOLPHUS DEVILED CHICKEN LEGS YOU WILL NEED

12 cooked chicken legs
6 TBSP butter
1 tsp prepared mustard
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp paprika
1 tsp vinegar
1 egg, beaten
¾ cup bread crumbs
3 cups hot seasoned mashed potatoes
1 ½ cups Bearnaise suace**

Put chicken legs under broiler for 10 minutes. Cream the butter, mustard, pepper, salt, paprika and vinegar together. Remove legs from heat, dip in beaten egg, then rub each with the butter mixture. Place in baking pan, cover with the bread crumbs and bake in a moderate oven until browned. Serve 2 deviled legs with a scoop of mashed potatoes and 4 TBSP Bearnaise sauce.

To make a simple Bearnaise Sauce you will need
1 shallot
½ tsp ground white pepper
Little chopped tarragon
Chervil
2 soupspoons white wine
5 egg yolks
1 lb sweet butter, melted
1 little chopped tarragon chervil
Cook shallot, cook with ground white pepper, tarragon chervil and w hite wine until no liquid is left. Cool it then add the egg yolks stirring well. Cook in double boiler until it starts to thicken, add the melted sweet butter very slowly. Strain, season, add the second chopped chervil. Serve with broiled meat or chicken. Serves 5.

Sandy’s cooknote: I know, I almost fainted over a pound of butter going into the recipe. But I THINK the leftover Bearnaise would keep a long time in the frig and would be available to go on other recipes for steaks or chicken.

From the Pennsylvania, here is their recipe for Chopped Cowboy Tenderloin Steak:

1 lb chopped steak
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp minced onion

Mix ingredients, then shape into small flat 4-oz cakes. Fry or pan broil in clear fat. Serves 6. Easy, yes?

And from the Netherlands Plaza, here is their recipe for Hungarian Goulash:

4 lbs beef from the neck or shoulder
2 onions minced,
Garlic, chopped
Salt, pepper, paprika,
2 tbsp flour
1 qt stock
2 TBSP tomato puree or paste
2 fresh tomatoes
2 carrots, diced
2 large potatoes, diced
1 tsp chopped parsley

Cut the meat into 2” cubes. Place in a frying pan with 1 TBSP of lard (or cooking oil) and brown for a few minutes. Remove the meat and place a stew pan. Add the onions, little garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and flour. Mix this well together. Add stock, tomato puree, chopped fresh tomatoes and bring to a boil. Then add carrots and cook for about 1 hour. Next add the potatoes and cook until tender. Place the stew in a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve, Serves 6.

(Sandy’s cooknote: Judy, if you are reading this, this one’s for you.)

Well, it wasn’t my intention to make this a two or three part post but I really got carried away with World Famous Chefs and OMG, I could spend another week rhapsodizing about it. I am trying to think where my copy came from – I THINK the book may have originally been one of my sister Becky’s.

End of Part One

Happy Cooking and Happy Cookbook Collecting!

Sandy

GRANDMA BECKMAN’S COOKBOOK

Recently, I flew to my hometown of Cincinnati to spend a few days with relatives and friends. Originally, the “plan” was for me to fly to Ohio in August, when my son Steve & his wife were driving to Cincinnati for their vacation. Steve had not been to Cincinnati since he was ten years old and for Lori it was a first. I was to be the ‘in-between’ introducing them to all the relatives on both sides of Steve’s family – although I have been divorced for over 25 years, I have maintained a warm and loving relationship with my in-laws.

However, the health of my significant other, Bob, took a turn in August and I was unable to find anyone willing to check on him every day. We had misjudged when my daughter in law would be returning to the high school where she teaches. So, my son decided to book a flight for himself to California and the new “plan” was for him to be Bob’s caregiver for a week, while I took a short vacation. (Perhaps I should note, I had been Bob’s caregiver 24/7 for the past year without any kind of a break). My daughter in law rebooked my flight and I was scheduled to fly to Cincinnati on my birthday in September.

Even the best laid plans, etc etc – and Bob passed away September 22nd. Steve cancelled HIS flight and to make a long story even longer, I did fly to Cincinnati on September 28 after several hectic days of making arrangements with a mortuary to have Bob cremated. (Steve has rebooked HIS flight and will be arriving October 22nd – my granddaughter is thrilled; Steve is her favorite uncle).

I was reluctant to go, after all the stops and starts and worried constantly about my little Jack Russell terrier, Jackie, that she would be lonely and confused – first Bob’s departure, then mine. But, going to my hometown was healing and one of the greatest rewards was a reunion with two Beckman cousins I had not seen for over 50 years. A third Beckman relative is my cousin Irene with whom I have had a warm relationship throughout our lives. We even made our first communions together, and were partners walking up to the church.

The day after my arrival, the three cousins arrived at my nephew’s house (where I stay when I am in town) and we spent 7 hours talking non-stop and sharing photographs and memories. And Irene – who the family calls Renee—presented me with a birthday present – Grandma Beckman’s cookbook.

Now, a word about Grandma Beckman’s cookbook – I didn’t know it existed until a few years ago, when searching for a particular family recipe. Renee told me that she had Grandma Beckman’s cookbook, into which Grandma had written many of her favorite recipes. I was astonished when I first learned about the cookbook –I had NO idea it even existed. As for my paternal grandmother having a cookbook – that grandmother barely wrote English and all of her recipes were in her head. The wise one in the family was my Aunt Evelyn (whom we all call Aunt Dolly, a family pet name) who learned Grandma Schmidt’s recipes by standing by her side, watching every step of making strudels and noodles and Hungarian goulash. We finally published a family cookbook in 2004 and called it “Grandma’s Favorite” in honor of that grandmother.

But back to Grandma Beckman’s cookbook! The book itself is in a truly battered, tattered condition with the covers falling off and held together with old tape. Published in 1889, “OUR HOME CYCLOPEDIA COOKERY AND HOUSEKEEPING” was published by the Mercantile Publishing Company in Detroit, Michigan. There is no byline but the inside page offers a copyright by Frank S. Burton, 1889. (That being said, my favorite research resource, Google, offers a listing of this cookbook by the Library of Congress and indicates the author as Edgar S. Darling).

It would have been a contemporary cookbook when Grandma B. was a young woman and my copy shows a great deal of wear and tear, with some of the most stained pages are under the Dessert section. Did Grandma B. make a lot of pies? I don’t know. The only thing I clearly remember her making for us were some corn pancakes or fritters, once when she was visiting us. I admit, I am appalled by recipes for collared eels and cods’ head but a recipe for cooking beef kidneys rang a bell in my mother’s long forgotten recipe repertoire. Kidney stew with noodles appeared frequently on the dinner table. (Also bearing in mind, before and during World War II, “organ meats” or “offal” were cheap and unrationed. While browsing through the pages of Our Home Cookery, I also noticed a recipe for “mock duck” that is exactly the way a mock turkey recipe was made by my sister in law years ago. Interesting!

But it isn’t the printed pages of “Our Home Cookery” that captures my attention; it is, at the back of the book, recipes written in Grandma B’s own handwriting. This is really the piece de resistance in this copy of “Our Home Cookery”.

First there is a recipe for Blackberry Wine, followed by recipes for mustard pickles – there are some pages of recipes clipped from newspapers or magazines – a recipe for “stuffed and baked mangoes” (but the mangoes in this recipe are bell peppers…in Grandma B’s time—as well as my mother’s –bell peppers were called “mangoes” and I don’t think that was common anywhere else in the USA (write to me if you know otherwise!). Grandma’s stuffed and baked mangoes appear to be the same recipe my mother used. This is followed by a recipe for Upside Down cake, then one for Apple Sauce cake and a third for Angel Food cake—both of these pages are heavily stained . The following page contains recipes for “Hungry Cake”, one for cookies and another for cream puffs. (my mother made cream puffs; they may have been the same recipe—I will do my best to type up some of these recipes.) Next page contains recipes written in pencil for lemon snaps and “Churngold Dutch Apple Cake” – Churngold was and still is a brand-name for margarine. Margarine has been around since 1869.

Some of the pages are missing, ending on page 395 with directions for “keeping apples fresh all winter” and “curing ham or other meat for smoking”. Per Google and an entry for the cookbook by the Library of Congress, the book should have had 400 pages.

Here is the recipe for stewed kidneys, as directed in “Our Home Cyclopedia”:

Split the kidneys and peel off the outer skin as before (in a previous recipe titled Kidneys, Broiled or Roasted); slice them thin on a plate, dust them with flour, pepper and salt; brown some flour in butter in a stewpan; dilute with a little water; mix smooth and in it cook the sliced kidneys. Let them simmer but do not boil. They will cook in a very short time. Butter some slices of toast and lay on a hot dish and pour over it the stewed kidneys, gravy and all.

*Sandy’s cooknote: my mother cooked noodles to place the cooked kidneys onto. And I may be mistaken but I think my mother soaked the kidneys, like liver, in a bowl of vinegar before cooking it).

GRANDMA BECKMAN’S BLACKBERRY WINE

To every gallon of berries take one gallon of water; let stand 2 days and 2 nights covered with mosquito bar [netting] then strain.

To every gallon put 3 lbs of crushed sugar [before granulated was invented—you had to do your own crushing of the sugar) and dissolve & stir well; bottle and let stand open 2 days, then put the corks on loosely until fermentation ceases then put corks on tight but not too tight for fear of bursting bottles.

STUFFED AND BAKED MANGOES*

½ lb each ground pork and beef
½ cup of rice
1 onion, chopped fine
2 tomatoes
Cayenne pepper
1 egg

Mix with cracker crumbs and fill mangoes* put into pan and cover with tomatoes or pureed tomatoes.

(*Sandy’s cooknote: I have written about bell peppers being called “mangoes” in several of my earlier posts. As far as I know, bell peppers were called mangoes only in the Midwest or around Cincinnati. I remembered seeing bell peppers advertised as “mangoes” in supermarkets when I was 18 or 19 years old. In 1961 when Jim & I first moved to California, we met a wonderful couple named Teresa and Jim Keith. Teresa was a seasoned cook from Louisiana. When she asked me what I cooked, I mentioned “stuffed mangoes” (not KNOWING that mangoes are a fruit and well known in California). “Oh?” she said. “How do you make those?” and I proceeded to describe mixing together ground meat, rice, tomato sauce and egg and “putting that into the mangoes and cooking it in tomato sauce”. I don’t know how we ever figured out that MY mangoes were not HER mangoes. But this begged the question, in my mind, HOW bell peppers came to be called “mangoes” in the Midwest. I finally found an explanation in one of my canning cook books. See footnote below.) Meanwhile, here is Grandma
Beckman’s Applesauce Cake recipe:

GRANDMA B’S APPLESAUCE CAKE

1 ½ CUPS sugar
¾ cup shortening
1/8 tsp allspice
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg
1½ cups unsweetened apple sauce
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup water
1 cup raisins
2 cups flour
Bake ¾ hour. Makes 1 large loaf

(*Sandy’s cooknote: Grandma doesn’t offer any directions. SHE knew how to make her applesauce cake and the cookbook wasn’t intended for other eyes.

So, what I suggest is this: cream together sugar and shortening. Sift together the flour, baking soda and spices. Add it the shortening and sugar mixture. Mix well. Stir in the raisins, applesauce and ¼ cup water. Mix well. Place into a large greased and floured loaf pan (or two smaller ones) and bake at 350 degrees.)

I had a second thought – maybe you should plump up the raisins with the ¼ cup water and then let it cool before adding to the cake.

Grandma’s Churngold Dutch Apple Cake

2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
2 TBSP sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
3 TBSP melted churngold (*use margarine or butter)

Beat egg until light and add milk alternately with dry ingredients. Add churngold and beat light. Spread dough ½” thick in greased tins. Arrange with apple slices in rows sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. (presumably, then bake @ 350 degrees until the cake is done.)

Sandy’s footnote: *In Jeanne Lesem’s cookbook “Preserving Today” she writes,[about Mock Mangoes] “Mangoes were a popular nineteenth century pickle in the United States—not the aromatic tropical fruit we savor today, but stuffed fruits and vegetables in a sweet-and-sour sauce, somewhat similar to authentic Indian mango pickles. William Woys Weaver writes in A Quaker Woman’s Cookbook (1982)’They became popular in England during the eighteenth century, mostly as a less expensive substitute for the real imported article…the pickle was popularized in this country through English cookbooks…Green bell peppers were generally used for ‘mangoes’ in Pennsylvania and western Maryland, and muskmelons in Tidewater Maryland. Other cooks used tomatoes, peaches or cucumbers.”
**

Coincidentally, “Our Home Cyclopedia” was reprinted in 2010 and is available on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. Barnes & Noble prices start at $23.26 while Amazon offers the book for $26.41 new or $19.95 used.

Happy Cooking and Happy Cookbook Collecting!
Sandy

THE BUCKET LIST

THE BUCKET LIST

I’ve never been to New Orleans,
Or eaten jambalaya,
I’ve never climbed a mountain top,
Or ever even tried to;
I’ve never traveled on a cruise,
Though the Panama invites me;
I’ve never longed for jungle trips;
I fear the bugs will bite me—
(Not to mention lions, tigers
And big wild things that fright me).
I’ve never eaten rattlesnake
And doubt I ever will,
And riding on a roller coaster
Won’t give me a thrill—
I’d be afraid I’d lose my teeth,
So it’s hardly worth the risk,
And never mind the greater threat
Of rupturing a disk.
I haven’t gone to New York town
And so I haven’t seen
The Lady in the Harbor—
I’m sure you think I’m green.
I’d love to travel to Alaska,
And take the train ride inland—
I hear it goes five hundred miles
In, and then back out again.
I yearn now to go far up north,
To see polar bears in Churchill—
But it’s so very far away,
I doubt now I ever will.
I’d like to visit all the states
On the eastern coast,
And go to see all the light houses
So I could surely boast.
But here I sit this autumn night,
And gaze at stars above me,
And I thank my lucky stars
To be close to folks who love me.

–Sandra Lee Smith
Rewritten 5-29-11

YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE GOT TIL IT’S GONE

You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone
(They paved paradise and put in a parking lot)

To all of my blog followers who may have been wondering ‘what’s new’ I apologize for not writing much throughout September. My significant other of 25 years passed away on September 22. He was not involved with my writing—and hardly knew a thing about computers—but I miss his presence. And if you’ve read the posts in my archive files, you would have found occasional references to Bob. Many of our projects over the decades were joint endeavors – when I canned jellies and jams, pickles and relishes, – it was Bob who hauled all of our entries to the Los Angeles County Fair. When we created a gingerbread house, he drew the blueprint for it. When we made sauerkraut, Bob was the person doing most of the shredding (I tend to cut my fingernails off).

And, I do have something new to write about; I went to Ohio for 6 days to regroup amongst family and friends and a cousin gave me a cookbook that belonged to our maternal grandmother. I’m looking forward to sharing that book with you.

Thank you for your continued interest in Sandy’s Chatter.
Sandy
October 5, 2011