The following recipe for making candy came to me by a circuitous route –
From Louise, who now has several blogs of her own, to Becky Mercuri who used to write for the Cookbook Collectors Exchange and now has had several cookbooks published—and who, in turn, sent the email with the recipe to me. We were all subscribers and/or writers for the CCE, back in the day. The following recipe, Louise said, was from a fundraiser cookbook titled “POLISH TOWN FAIR & FESTIVAL, 1984”
CHRISTMAS PEANUT BRITTLE
When it is Christmas candy time
Or any time of year,
This peanut brittle recipe
Becomes especially dear.
You add to one large cooking pan
A cup of each of these —
White syrup, sugar, water too
And blend with gentle ease.
A teaspoonful of table salt,
When it is added too,
Will mean that you have reached the point
When you must cook the brew.
So cook it to the soft ball stage
And then it’s time to add
A tablespoon of butter
And the peanuts to your pan.
It takes one pound of peanuts
That you’ve purchased in the shell,
And shucked yourself ahead of time
To make this turn out well.
With all ingredients in the pan
You cook until it’s brown,
And take your pan from off the stove
Your candy’s almost done.
Stir in one teaspoon soda,
Pour on a buttered sheet,
And let it harden as it will,
Then break in chunks your treat
The rest comes very naturally
Just eat to suit your will,
And have a happy holiday
That’s peanut brittle filled.
From Hasbrouck Heights Cookbook, New Jersey, 1948:
HOW TO MAKE A CUP OF TEA
First you take and warm your teapot,
For some minutes two or three;
‘Tis a most important secret,
But you do not spare the tea.
Pour some water in to draw it,
Let the water boiling be;
Then fill up and shake and pour it.
This is from a page someone sent to me about Watershed Books:
Sugar, butter, flour spice.
Plus this little rhyme,
Lots of love, a smile or two.
For sure success each time.
3 teaspoons make 1 tablespoon;
4 tablespoons – 1 quarter cup;
3/8 cup with 6 tablespoons,
8 fills it halfway up.
1 cup is 16 tablespoons,
And 2 cups, as you know,
Make 1 full pint; 2 pints – 1 quart
All ready? Get set – go!
I thought I wrote the following when I was compiling “Eve’s Pudding” for the Cookbook Collectors Exchange – but here’s a newsflash…I was typing from the original copy of this rhymed recipe, which I recognize has having been typed on a typewriter that I had in the 1960s – and turning the paper over, I found the header for Cory Coffee Service—my ex-husband, Jim, worked for Cory Coffee in the mid 1960s. He made a career change when I was expecting Chris, who was born in 1968. So, I was curious about rhymed recipes many years before ever writing about them for the CCE. Amazing!
For a dish delicious
And really made to order,
The best you’ll find on
This side of the border,
Rice Mexicana will really
Help you score—
With your family
Just watch them ask for more!
Take one cup of rice and wash
And sauté with a little
Minced garlic and one onion,
As fine as you can whittle,
Brown in hot fat,
Add half of a green pepper,
With two teaspoons of salt
And oh! But never, never
Forget the chili powder—
Two teaspoons will quite do.
With one cup of canned tomatoes
Then you’ll find that you
Need only add two cups of
(Bouillon broth is fine),
Cover, simmer, thirty minutes
But in your haste to dine
Don’t forget to take the lid off
For the last five minutes,
After that you’ll proudly serve
And you’ll say that it is
To your palate
Not too hard to fix—
P.s. in case you’re wondering
This dish will serve just six.
— Sandra Lee Smith
Earlier in Kitchen Poets, I mentioned researching Tartelettes Amandines on Google. The original, I believe, was in French and it may have lost a little in the translation but it’s still a pretty little rhymed recipe, which is taken from Edmond Rostand’s play about Cyrano de Bergerac. According to Google, there really was a Cyrano de Bergerac but the play was very dissimilar from the life of the real Cyrano:
Beat your eggs, the yolk and the white,
Mingle with their creamy fluff
Drops of lime juice, cool and green;
]then pour in
Milk of almonds, just enough,
Dainty patty pans, embrace
In puff paste—
Have these ready within reach;
With your thumb and finger, pinch
Half an inch
Up around the edge of each-
Into these, a score or more,
All your store of custard; so
Take them, bake them golden brown—
Now sit down!….
Almond tartlets, Raguneau!
–Cyrano de Bergerac
And for now, that’s all of the rhymed recipes I have available to share with you—but there are plenty of food-related poems from the kitchen poets; The first of these is one about cakes, that appeared in the Rio Brave Farm Home Department Cook Book.
And though you can’t such trifles as fair, face and form impart,
It is ever in your power to mold the character and heart;
For those who cannot, gracefully, a kindly moral take,
I embody also in the tale a recipe for cake.
THE CAKE WALK
Said the butter to the sugar, “Will you dance tonight with me
At the cake-walk to be given in the Yellow Bowl? ‘Twill be
The smoothest thing you e’er were in before the evening’s end,
And the swellest, for the Eggs and Rumford Baking Powder will attend
Spring Wheat Flour will come also, and the Sweet Milk too, will be there—
She’s the cream of all the gathering and as rich as she is fair
And both Nutmeg and Vanilla may come as a special favor;
I hope they will—their presence to the whole thing will add flavor,
Tall Granite spoon will lead us through the dance’s mystic maze,
He will take us ‘round and ‘round in a sort of polonaise,
It’s sure to be exclusive, and a very fine affair,
For only the most proper of ingredients will be there,
Yet it’s whispered low that later, after the cake-walk turn,
The party all together to the Oven will adjourn;
And if that’s true I’ll wager a dollar to a dime,
The whole affair will wind up with a very hot old time!
–Carolina Mischka Roberts in “Good Housekeeping”
One of the first poems I ever found, about pies, was originally published in the Cincinnati, Ohio Sunday Enquirer, November 10, 1907. Author unknown and I no longer remember where or how I found it, only that I copied it to keep.
In spring men sigh
For cherry pie
To soothe their taste capricious,
‘tis with delight
they surely bite
and say that it’s delicious.
But later on
‘ere spring is gone,
they want a change from cherries,
and then they cry
for fragrant pie
that’s stuffed with luscious berries.
In summer days
The same old craze
For pie a new trick teaches,
With strong desire
Men then inquire
For pastry filled with peaches.
In chilly fall
For pie they call
But this time it is noted,
They want the kind
In which they find
Sweet pumpkin thickly coated.
In winter drear
For pie they still are scheming
But when it’s brought
They want it hot
And packed with mincemeat steaming.
Thus all year ‘round
Can pie be found
And men are quick to grab it—
Advice they spurn
For pie they yearn,
And won’t give up the habit.
No idea where or when I acquired the following Kitchen Poem – but it’s sure cute!
THE BACHELOR’S LEMON PIE
I thought I’d make a lemon pie;
The cookbook told me how,
I gathered it was just a cinch—
But I am wiser now.
I sifted flour, but though I brushed
My handsome tweed suit off,
I still am looking far more like
A snowman than a Prof!
I rolled the pastry just as thin
As any human can
And neatly and with special care
I placed it in the pan.
I baked it like the cookbook said,
Alas! To my surprise,
When it was done, that hateful crust
Had drawn up cookie size!
In wrath I mixed the filling next,
There must have been a trick,
It sounded easy as could be
To “cook till it was thick.”
I stewed the stuff a mortal hour;
It still was pale and thin,
At last I took that silly crust
And poured the filling in.
Well, next I tackled the meringue,
And after seven tries,
I segregated whites from yolks—
But spoiled two good neckties.
And from those egg whites then I beat
The living daylights out;
I added sugar, flavoring—
My masterpiece, no doubt.
In mountain peaks, quite lavishly;
I spread it on the pie,
And placed it on the oven shelf
Beneath a watchful eye.
It did not fall! It did not scorch!
It didn’t let me down!
I took it from that oven shelf
A gooey-golden brown!
Oh, yes! The filling and the crust,
They were not worth a hang;
But folks, I’ll have you know
A ringer for meringue!
END OF PART 6