Funny Recipes of Yore

ROLI had planned to make the Carrot Ring my mom served on holidays today and give you another glimpse into the food I grew up eating. The recipe was copied from my mom’s version of The Settlement Cookbook by Mrs. Simon Kander. She gave me the 27th edition published in 1945. In it she wrote:

To Paula, with love from Mother. I hope this is the same edition that Nana had. This was the 1st edition after WWII. It is also the last edition compiled by Mrs. Kander. I think it is more fun to read than cook. Love, Mother

I read that inscription today and it made me smile. Of course she would point out the history of the book and note when it was published. She spoke of the woman who compiled the recipes as if she knew her. My mother and father lived for a short time in Milwaukee where the recipes for the book were tested in the Milwaukee Public School kitchens among other places.

The recipes are quite dated and at this point, pretty amusing. So, while your scouring the web for real recipes for good food to serve on Thanksgiving, I offer you a few recipes of yore. If you want to serve them, go ahead. Don’t blame me if you get showered with the likes of Boiled Cauliflower or Wilted Lettuce. The recipes are taken verbatim from the cookbook and are italicized. My comments are after in blue.

Wilted Lettuce
3/4 lb. leaf lettuce
Bacon salad dressing (pg. 273)

Wash, drain, and shred lettuce. Pour boiling water over it. Let stand 5 minutes until slightly wilted. Drain well. Add dressing. 

I know grilled salad is popular with some people. I hate it. I like my lettuce cold and crisp. I can’t even imagine how horrific this looked, smelled and how slimy it would be. 

Curly Endive, Kale or Escarole
These are strong flavored vegetables. Cut off the roots. Use only perfect leaves. Wash in several waters to remove dirt and insects. Cook uncovered in a large amount of rapidly boiling salted water only until tender, from 15-25 minutes, or Steam Cook, page 194. Drain, chop, add seasonings desired and melted butter or cream. 

Again with the wilted lettuce. I’m trying to understand what kale was like in 1945 that it needed to be boiled for 25 minutes to be tender. And the cream. Oy vey.

Welsh Rarebit
1 tbsp butter
1/2 lb. cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp mustard

Melt the butter, break the cheese into small pieces, and add the seasoning and a speck of cayenne pepper to the butter. When the cheese melts, add the egg, beaten with the milk, and cook one minute. Serve at once on toast or wafers. 

My mom told me once that she was served this for lunch when she was in school. Cheese sauce on toast. Dear lord in heaven. 

Walnut Roll
6 yolks, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup walnuts, chopped
6 whites of eggs, beaten

Beat the yolks well with the sugar, add nuts and lastly, the stiffly beaten whites. Spread in a shallow, well greased pan, 10″ x 15″, and bake in a medium oven 15-20 minutes. Turn out on a floured towel. Roll while hot. When cold, unroll, spread with sweetened whipped cream, flavored with vanilla. Roll again and cover with Boiled Chocolate Frosting No. 1, page 410, adding 1/2 cup marshmallows to syrup before pouring on beaten eggs.

I have to be honest here. I don’t really understand this one. You make some sort of pavlova thing with nuts and fill it with whipped cream and then douse the whole thing in chocolate. I guess if you need a gluten free dessert and your friends like kitschy things, you could potentially pull this off. 

There are quite a few tips of yore in this book which are quite fascinating. Take the following from the section on Invalid Cookery.

In preparing food for an invalid the following points should be kept in mind: 
     The food should be served in the most pleasing manner possible. It should be served in small quantities, suit the digestive powers of the patient, and satisfy hunger or furnish needed strength…

Here’s a recipe for an invalid. Try it the next time someone in your house is sick.

Brown Flour Soup
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp caraway seed

Brown flour, add butter and cook until it bubbles. Add seasoning, and gradually the water. Cook, stirring constantly until smooth. Serve hot. 

Can you imagine what this tastes like? It’s thick water with nutmeg and caraway seeds. That doesn’t scream to me something that would “suit the digestive powers of the patient, and satisfy hunger or furnish needed strength”. It does sound like something someone would throw at me from across the room. 

Last tidbit and this is important as you prepare for Thanksgiving.

Proper Dress for the Kitchen:
Jewelry should not be worn in the kitchen. Wear a cotton wash dress or a cover-all apron with a pocket for a handkerchief. 
Have a small hand towel that buttons on band of dress or apron.
Have two pot holders, fastened together with tape and attach to dress or apron. Wear washable cap that covers hair. 

That’s all I’ve got for today. I hope that this post gets you chatting with family about old recipes, old pre-Keurig kitchens and all the good (and awkward) memories that come with the holidays.


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