March 26, 2007

A Handi-Book of Meat Cookery

Like her counterpart Betty Crocker at General Mills, Martha Logan was the fictional corporate spokeswoman for the meatpacking giant Swift & Company. Under the guise of Martha Logan, Swift's staff of home economists dispensed advice, recipes and tips to consumers from Swift's Chicago office, on radio shows and in cooking demonstrations across the country. Many women had jobs as a Martha Logan over the years when the various promotional situations called for a live person.

Martha Logan's Meat Handi-Book (1968, 16 pp.) was only one of the many Martha Logan promotional booklets published by Swift & Company. The booklet was designed to help consumers choose and cook their meat properly.

As in many of the Swift & Company cookbooks, a short personal note from Martha Logan is found inside the front cover:

"Hi--Meat Makes the Meal--if it's cooked properly! The fame of each cut of meat depends upon the way you cook it! For instance, a Swift's Premium Porterhouse Steak would be quite tasteless if it were braised and a low-grade round steak would be unchewable if it were broiled.

I hope this booklet will help you treat each cut right.--Martha Logan"

The booklet is made up primarily of tables and charts with no other illustrations save the one on the front cover. While similar information may be found in other cookbooks, the tables in this booklet include not only generic cuts of meat but also specific cuts and brands produced or packed by Swift such as Swift's Premium Corned Beef Brisket and Swift's Georgia Peanut Cook-Before-Eating Ham.

One chart shows the drawings of the bone shapes of beef, veal, pork and lamb, divided into tender (T-bone, rib bone, wedge bone and round bone) and those less tender (blade bone). This chart is meant to help you identify a cut of meat and predict tenderness.

Other charts and tables found inside were the Refrigerator Storage Time Chart, Freezer Storage Time Chart, Roasting Schedule for Fresh Meat, Roasting Schedule for Cured and Smoked Pork, Roasting Schedule for Poultry, Braising Schedule for Meat, a Water Cooking Schedule and a Broiling Schedule.

Short discussions on the storage methods and preparation of different types and cuts of meats and poultry are included, as well as instructions on how to use a meat thermometer.

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