January 19, 2006

Chex Cereal Recipe Books

There are at least six recipe booklets published by the Ralston Puriana Company from the mid-1970's through the early 1980's. The Checkerboard Kitchens weren't very good about dating their advertising cookbooks during that time period, and only a couple of those listed below have a date.

The Create-A-Recipe booklet contains winning recipes from a nationwide contest sponsored by Ralston Puriana during the American Bicentennial in 1976. Although the booklet is not dated, it was probably published sometime during 1976 or 1977.

Chex Create-A-Recipe Book, not dated, 24 pages
Chex Cooking the Microwave Way, 1979, 24 pages
Chex The Partymakers, not dated, 24 pages
Chex The Natural Way to Good Cooking, not dated, 25 pages
The Bran Chex Plan for Good Cooking, not dated, 25 pages
Chex Party Mixes, Snacks and Candies, 1980, 16 pages

I'm not a great fan of the pre-packaged Chex Mix snacks. Although they are convenient, I find that you get a much better flavor when you mix up your own. The recipe below is not for a snack mix, but for candy. It's from the Chex Party Mixes, Snacks & Candies booklet.


1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cocktail peanuts
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
5 cups Corn Chex cereal

Butter large baking sheet. Set aside. In heavy 4-quart saucepan cook brown sugar, syrup, water and salt to 250 degrees (hard ball) over medium heat. Add nuts. Continue cooking over low heat to 285 degrees (soft crack). Stir constantly. Remove from heat. Mix in soda and butter. Working quickly, stir in Chex to coat all pieces. Spread on baking sheet. Separate into thin layer with two buttered forks. Cool. Break into bite-size pieces.

Makes about 1 pound.

January 13, 2006

Vintage Advertising DVD

Surrounded by shelves and shelves of vintage advertising cookbooks that have been saved, loved and passed on by various folks since the late 1800s, I have to wonder what the food companies might be thinking when they offer recipes for their products on electronic storage media instead of paper. They're not considering packrats or nostalgia, that's for sure.

Surely they intend for their product to be around awhile. And if the product does have a long, successful run, judging from the volume of requests the food companies receive for old recipes, they should know that there will most likely be interest in the future. So what's up?

Sargento Foods currently has a promotional offer on their website for a DVD called Entertaining at Home with Michael Chiarello. He's the TV chef and author of the full-length cookbook At Home With Michael Chiarello: Easy Entertaining, Recipes, Ideas, Inspiration.

In the promotional DVD, Chiarello uses Sargento Bistro Blends Cheeses in the recipes plus provides you with lots of entertaining tips.

The DVD is free with an original UPC bar code from any Sargento Bistro Blends Shredded Cheese and $1.95 S/H. You can go to the Sargento website to print out the order form that's needed. While you're there, you might find it more useful to send away for the 2006 12-month 32 page calendar instead ($1.95 S/H). It has coupons and recipes and will still be readable in a few years.

It's great that the food companies are using modern technology to keep their customers informed through websites, electronic newsletters and such. But how long before the media that these promotional recipes are on is obsolete?

In 1993 the Thomas J. Lipton Co. issued a promotional 3.5-inch floppy disk called Building a Better Salad: Good News at the Top, which was promoting Wish-Bone salad dressings.

As this was something I acquired secondhand and at least ten years after the fact, I have never been willing to put it in my computer, even though I do have a floppy drive. Most new computers these days don't even have that option anymore. It needs to be installed and I'm not installing anything that I don't know about. I have no idea what information the diskette contains. So, as far as I'm concerned, it's kind of useless.

Had Building a Better Salad been a printed paper recipe booklet, I would still have it on the shelf, but I might be actually using the recipes instead of keeping the thing as merely a curiosity.

Everybody has their stash of favorite old cookbooks and recipe booklets that they use over and over again or that they inherited from their mom. Even in these times of simplifying and streamlining lifestyles and homes, some things are staying put.

Somehow I don't see future generations cozying up to a pile of old recipe DVDs. Even though I love computers and modern technology, I'm hoping this is a trend that doesn't catch on.

January 12, 2006

Recipes on Continuity Cards

Continuity cards are purchased by the customer through the mail from advertising initially found in newspaper supplements, magazines, and other direct mail ads. There are many subjects of interest covered using this method like gardening, hobbies, home decorating and cooking.

Most cooks are familiar with the recipe cards. There is usually an introductory offer of 2 or 3 decks of cards with a free recipe card box to hold the cards and some other small kitchen gadget as a bonus. To increase the collection, customers continue to purchase individual card decks on a regular basis, usually every few weeks.

Betty Crocker began offering recipe card sets in 1971 and McCall's followed in 1973.

International Masters Publishers, a company that specializes in continuity publishing, offered their first set in 1981, which was called My Great Recipes. The Great American Recipes collection followed. They are currently simultaneously publishing several different collections of cards that appeal to different cooking niches: Grandma's Kitchen, Great American Home Baking Cookie Collection, Easy Everyday Cooking and Easy to Make Easy to Bake. The Easy to Make collection includes some brand name recipes.

Here's a recipe from the Great American Recipes collection. This recipe was from the Poultry at Its Best category, Card 117, Group 5. This card is dated 1989.


For 4 to 5 servings you will need:
1 frying chicken, 3 to 3-1/2 lbs., cut up
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
3 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 can (14 oz.) stewed tomatoes, with liquid
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp. water
2/3 cup half-and-half
1 red or green pepper, sliced, for garnish, optional
Fresh chopped parsley or fresh thyme leaves, optional

1. Rinse chicken. Pat dry.
2. In a large skillet, quickly sauté chicken in butter. Remove. Place chicken in a large baking dish.
3. Sauté red onion in same pan. Sprinkle over chicken.
4. Sprinkle chicken with salt, thyme leaves and paprika.
5. Pour tomatoes with most of juice over chicken. Add bay leaves. Save remaining juice.
6. Bake chicken, uncovered, at 350 F degrees about 40 min. until cooked through.
7. Remove chicken. Strain liquid, if desired.
8. Pour liquid into saucepan. Add remaining tomato juice. Bring to boil.
9. Combine flour and water. Stir into boiling juices. Whisk and cook for about 3 min.
10. Add half-and-half. Heat. Season
11. Pour sauce over chicken in a serving dish. Garnish with bell pepper and parsley or thyme.

The recipe also has microwave instructions on the reverse side, but I'll leave that for another day.

January 11, 2006

A Party - 1950s Style

I absolutely love the illustration on the front cover of How to Plan and Give Parties with Personality (1953, 48 pages). The softcover booklet was published by The Thos. D. Richardson Co. (makers of Richardson Candies) to promote their U-All-No Mints.

The illustration is similar to what I conjure up in my imagination when I think about what a 1950's dinner party or cocktail party for adults might have looked like.

The women are standing around the room with their carefully coiffed hair, flattering form-fitting dresses, and all wearing the expected jewelry of that era. If we could see their feet, you know they'd be wearing pointy-toed spike-heeled shoes that perfectly matched their outfits.

The men are wearing two-piece suits with narrow ties and the predictable white starched shirts.

They're happily mingling and one lady is even holding a cigarette, which doesn't seem to be bothering anyone else.

Which of the suggested parties in the booklet might this be?

We can easily rule out For Men Only, Ladies Invited, Carnival Masquerade, Ride 'Em Cowboy, Graduation Class Dance and Kiddie Party. The gathering is obviously indoors, so that rules out the Cook-Out. They don't appear to be on a Treasure Hunt and the table is set too nicely for Pot Luck. There are no 4th of July decorations, so a Party for Patriots is out too.

Perhaps it's Bridge or Sunday Brunch or Just a Gathering of the Clan.

January 10, 2006

Sunbeam Workhorse - The Model 9 Mixmaster

The vintage kitchen appliance manual shown on the left, How to Get the Most Out of Your Sunbeam Automatic Mixmaster (1948, 44 pages) was published for use with Sunbeam's Model 9 mixer. The Model 9 was introduced in 1948 and was the most versatile appliance of it's kind.

Besides the standard juicer, a large number of other attachments, "designed to make short work of tiresome home tasks," were available for the Model 9. These included the Meat Grinder/Food Chopper, Drink Mixer, Slicer and Shredder, Butter Churn, Colander, Can Opener, Bean Slicer, Ice Cream Freezer, Coffee Grinder, Knife Sharpener, Polisher, Pea Sheller and the Potato Peeler. The illustrations of the attachments shown below are from the booklet.

The Sunbeam Model 9 Mixmaster was manufactured for only two years. This popular model was introduced in 1948 and manufactured through most of 1950. Many of the attachments were no longer produced after 1950, with the Juicer, the Meat Grinder/Chopper, the Slicer/Shredder, the Butter Churn and the Drink Mixer being the exceptions.

The front of the manual explains the Automatic Mix-Finder Dial, The Automatic Bowl-Speed Control, The Automatic Beater Ejector and the Automatic Juice Extractor. (Sunbeam was apparently wild about the word "Automatic".) Other hints for getting the most from your Mixmaster are given along with recipes for cakes, icings, cookies, candies, mashed potatoes and vegetables, salad dressings, desserts, pies, waffles and some miscellaneous items. The pages showing the attachments don't tell how to use them, but rather explains what they can be used for.

The ice cream freezer attachment was meant to be used in conjunction with any make of ice cream freezer (up to 3 quart capacity) and Sunbeam included a freezer-made Vanilla Ice Cream recipe. They also included recipes for making Vanilla and Quick Marshmallow flavor ice creams and Pineapple and Banana Lemon Sherbets in the Automatic Refrigerator.

In the center of the booklet are full-page color advertisements for four other Sunbeam kitchen appliances--the Ironmaster, the Radiant Control Toaster, the Coffeemaster and the Waffle Baker -- all Automatic of course. (I told you!)

The last two pages cover the Care of the Mixmaster and the Parts for the Model 9 Automatic Mixmaster. The parts are listed with their names, part numbers and illustrations.

Meat Grinder/Food Chopper

Drink Mixer

Slicer and Shredder

Butter Churn


Can Opener

Bean Slicer

Ice Cream Freezer

Coffee Grinder

Knife Sharpener


Pea Sheller

Potato Peeler

January 09, 2006

Rumford and Jewish Housewives

When planning and publishing promotional cookbooks, the food companies did not neglect the needs of the Jewish population.

The Rumford Company, makers of Rumford Baking Powder, published a small booklet called What Shall I Serve? (1931, 24 pages). The booklet, subtitled Famous Recipes for Jewish Housewives, contains the following introduction:

"Gathered from the culinary lore of good old-fashioned Jewish housewives, this unique little volume contains a wealth of treasured, traditional recipes. The majority of these recipes come from a private search among Jewish mothers whose very joy in life is the preparation of Friday night's supper for the family.

The younger generation may now enjoy the secrets of those exquisite delicacies which mother used to make, and whose origin dips way back into the romantic past.

We believe this is the kind of cook-book you have always hoped for; and it is our humble way of playing tribute to the young Jewish housewives whose tables reflect the unusual recipe-consciousness of the entire Jewish people."

What Shall I Serve? contains 39 recipes, a Calendar of Jewish Holidays with suggested recipes appropriate for each, and a Week's Menus with suggestions for Breakfast, Dinner and Supper.

Among the pages of this little recipe book, which is decorated with lovely color illustrations, one will find recipes for Cheese Kreplech, Egg Kichlech, Homontashen, Lebkuchen, Mandel Bread, Pirogen, Potato Kugel, Potato Latkes, Prune Cakes, Soup Cakes, Strudel and Tayglech.

On the last page is a Hechsher, a symbol placed on many preprepared foods signifying that the product is kosher, with a Rabbi's Certificate:

"This is to certify that Rumford Baking Powder, product of the firm called Rumford Chemical Works is absolutely Kosher, according to the Jewish laws, to be used for baking purposes, except during Passover.
Furthermore, its ingredients are not only of the utmost purity, but are of such a nature that this powder can be used for baking either meat or milk dishes.

I herewith set my hand and seal this 28th day of October, 1930. Rabbi Laagudas Hasfardim
David M. Rabinovitz in Boston, Mass."

For Purim, the booklet suggests Homontashen:


1 egg
1/4 lb. melted butter
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
2-1/4 cups flour
2 heaping tsps. Rumford Baking Powder
1/4 lb. poppy seeds
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar

Scald the poppy seeds and let stand until the seeds sink to the bottom of the bowl. Pour off the water and let poppy seeds drain in a fine strainer until all the water has dripped off. Then grind with the finest knife of food chopper. Fold in an egg, and work in the sugar until mixture is well blended. Mix the ingredients of the first column (the remaining 6 ingredients) thoroughly, and knead well. Roll out the dough in pieces, so that each piece makes a circle about 6" in diameter. Then put a tablespoonful of the poppy seed mixture in the center of each circle, draw up three sides, and pinch in form of triangle. Place on buttered pan and bake in medium oven until brown, about an hour.

Recipe makes 8 good sized Homontashen.

January 07, 2006

Folgers and Sandra Lee

There's an offer for a free Sandra Lee recipe booklet on my can of Folgers Classic Roast Holiday Edition coffee.

You can visit the Folgers website and order the booklet using the code from the inner seal. Or, you can mail a 3x5 card with your name, address and phone number along with your code to P.O. Box 92138, Elk Grove Village, IL 60009-2138. This offer expires April 30, 2006, with a limit of one offer per household. The Folgers Sandra Lee Winter Recipe Collection is a paper copy that comes by mail.

Who is Sandra Lee? She's the Lifestylist that you see on Food TV and QVC and the author of the Semi-Homemade cookbook series. The Semi-Homemade cooking concept is based on Sandra’s 70/30 philosophy (70% store-bought/ready-made products accompanied by 30% fresh and creative touches) for dishes that look, feel and taste homemade. Semi-Homemade Cooking 2 is her newest cookbook which was released in September of 2005.

Now a word about the so-called "can". Although I'm not exactly a dinosaur, the word "can" implies, to me at least, that it's metal packaging. Procter & Gamble switched over to plastic containers in 2003. I'm not fond of the plastic canisters because I can't pour my hot leftover cooking oil into them without worrying about melting the plastic. It's those little things in life that bug me.