Friday, May 15, 2015

Food Friday: A Few 19th Century Medicinal Remedies

Earlier this week a friend remarked that she could spend all day just reading a few cookbooks. She enjoyed reading them as much as most people enjoy novels. While this may seem odd to some it's a notion that those of us who love food history can understand.

Every so often there are cookbooks I find that definitely fit the criteria for novel-like reading. Today's cookbook is one of those.

Available from Internet Archive, The Missouri Cook Book from The Ladies of the Baptist Church Fayette, Missouri (1887) has it all. Recipes for food, for the ill, for housekeeping and more. It begins with a poem that sums up 19th century thought on women's work.

For descend you must to every day life 
And enter the ranks of the housekeeper's strife

Wow! The end of that poem has that age old question, which obviously is an age old question, 'O what shall we eat?'

I love this cookbook for many reasons. Women are listed with the names of their husbands, like I would expect for this time period. Then some women are listed as Mrs. Her First Name and Surname, most likely widows; some are Miss So and So and then others are just listed with their names. A few names are even followed by a date. What it's not clear what that date is referring to, perhaps research may reveal a death or just the date for the recipe.

Here's a few recipes for medicinal purposes though I would not recommend you use them.

p. 139

 I love what the end of the recipes for the sick section says. Maybe we would all feel better if we were served food plated on good china.

p. 143

Love food history and vintage cookbooks? Take some time to read over this one.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Oh Those Wacky Foods

I don't know about you but I always love to read about the more interesting foods our families ate. Creastleaf, a genealogy service, recently posted about 10 Strangely Popular Recipes of the 1960s That Mom Used to Make.

Image used with permission.

So which of these recipes did your family enjoy? I will admit that I have ate my share of Spam and Jello but I would really like to have tried that Party Potato Salad.

Oh the good ole' days!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Food Friday: Quick Company Salad

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

We all could use a quick recipe. And with Mother's Day this weekend you might need a luncheon idea.

Today's recipe comes from Project Playpen in Pinellas County, Florida. Their cookbook, Cook's Delight has no date, though it appears it was published around 1979. One great thing about this cookbook is the list of staff found on page 2.

Now this is a salad I've featured before because it's one prominent in my own family history. I've written about Pink Stuff a few times but the recipe can be found here.

Just like other recipes, this one is known by many different names. In this version, pistachio pudding is used. I must admit I love pistachio pudding.

This recipe is attributed to Betty Simpson who, judging from the staff list, is the Training Coordinator.

Here's hoping you have a wonderful Sunday meal. Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cinco de Mayo a la 1923

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega
 For Cinco de Mayo I thought we'd dust off a 1923 recipe booklet published by Gebhardt of San Antonio, Mexican Cookery for American Homes.

Obviously, ethnic food sounded interesting and exotic to the generations before us. What may seem everyday now was a culinary adventure to our great-grandparents. Gebhardt was/is a Mexican food company based in San Antonio, Texas. (This family owned business was acquired in the 1960s.) You can still buy their Chili Powder and there are even copycat recipes.

I love looking at older American cookbooks that have "ethnic" recipes. Obviously in this one they are selling products and those products are meant to bring a "Mexican" flavor to whatever foods you add them to as noted in the introduction above.

Though I have doubts about how authentic this meal is I wouldn't mind some potato salad kicked up a little bit with chili powder. According to this page's fine print, chili peppers prolong the life of the Mexican people and aids in their "wonderful digestion."

You can learn more about Gebhardt's via an online exhibit from the University of Texas at San Antonio. You can also read more about the exhibit and the company at La Cocina Historica.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Food Friday: Salad Dressing from Mexico?

Internet Archive is a fabulous website and I'm a big fan of their cookbook collection (look for it by going to Texts > Additional Collections >Cookbooks and Home Economics). They've recently updated the site and it has more of a "Pinterest" feel. The nice part about that is instead of just a list of titles, you can see the actual cookbook covers.

Today's recipe comes from that collection. The Delta's Best Cook Book, Recommended by the Delta's Best Cooks. Compiled by The American Legion Auxiliary of BEPO Arnold Knowles Post No. 32 (Greenville, Mississippi, no date).

Today's recipe caught my eye because it is called Salad Dressing (From Mexico). I'm not sure if that is like Chop Suey from China but anything that is good with avocados can't be too bad.

Now aside from that recipe the other thing that caught my eye was this advertisement on the opposite page.

Funeral home and picture framing. Now that's a one-stop shop! But for genealogists, it could also mean a clue for the death of a Greenville ancestor.

Go check out the great collection of cookbooks on Internet Archive.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Food Friday: River Road Recipes by The Junior League

Inevitably when I present on community cookbooks and talk about the groups who produced them, someone yells out, "The Junior League!"

Yes, The Junior League is one great example of writing and publishing community cookbooks. Founded in 1901, their mission as shown on their website is "The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable."

The Junior League's Pinterest board dedicated to cookbooks lists the first cookbook as one published by the  Junior League of Dallas  in 1923. Today, there are over 200 cookbooks in print.

Surprisingly, I have very  few Junior League cookbooks. Through the continuing kindness of Lee Eltzroth*, I have a new one for my collection. River Road Recipes II. A Second Helping Published by The Junior League of Baton Rouge, Inc. (Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1976).

The Junior League of Baton Rouge was founded in 1932 and "has a history of service to children and their families in the areas of education, health, and arts and cultural enrichment." Their website include the names of past presidents and distinguished volunteer members.

This particular cookbook has some great recipes. Today I decided to take a walk on the wild side and provide an adult beverage recipe that can be made non-alcoholic if you wish.

Of course, most people now would want to forego the 20 shakes of MSG. But it's up to you. But do remember to add the vegetable garnish.

* I highly suggest following Lee on Twitter @galpix.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Food Friday: Tomato and Caviar with a Side of Crab

It is Women's History Month and over at my other blog, Gena's Genealogy I am writing about resources each day in March to help with researching female ancestors. Today's post was about the book, The Business of Charity: The Woman's Exchange Movement, 1832-1900 by Kathleen Waters Sander. This book explores the Woman's Exchange movement which helped women become self-sufficient economically.

So I thought I would feature a cookbook from one of the Woman's Exchanges. Today's recipe comes from  The Portland Woman's Exchange Cook Book (Portland, Oregon 1913). The forward to this cookbook explains:

      The Portland Woman's Exchange, for whose benefit this book has been compiled, is not a money-       making institution. It is a philanthropy sustained by its subscribers. Its sole aim is to help women       to help themselves. Only 10 per cent commission is charged upon the goods sold, so the                       restaurant and tea-room become the main source of revenue for which to pay the running                   expenses of the business, for the list of subscribers is small."

It goes on to explain that sales from the cookbook will help to wipe out the deficit they face at the end of the year.

Today's recipes are from one of the pages of appetizers featured in the cookbook. I love the one titled simply Hors D'Oeuvre from Mrs. Alford.

In the case of this cookbook, it's audience was most likely women of a higher economical status who would provide ongoing donations  (or subscriptions) to the Woman's Exchange. While most if not all community cookbooks are fundraising tools, this one most likely had a very specific audience.