September 30, 2007

King Salad Avocados

It didn't take me long to ferret out a really nice die-cut advertising cookbook from one of the many vendors at Warrenton.

The Care and Serving of King Salad Avocados (undated, 20 pp.) measures approximately 4-1/2 x 7-1/2 inches in size.

The booklet doesn't have a copyright date but information inside makes reference to the fact that the King Salad Avocado Company had been in business for over over twenty years. One of the King Salad trademarks was applied for in 1938, so I think that this booklet was published sometime in the late 1950s. Another source indicates that the company was founded sometime during the mid-1930s which also helps the booklet fit this timeline.

I'm impressed by the amount of information about the avocado, sometimes known as the "alligator pear," and its uses that's provided within this simple booklet. Some might have found the presentation of the information found inside rather boring in appearance had it not been for the die-cut shape and the lovely color illustration of the King Salad Avocado inside the front cover. The pages inside the booklet are colored the paler green of avocado meat with the faint image of the Crown decal in the background.

There are two other pages of illustrations inside. One is a hand-drawn diagram that shows how to cut and peel the avocado in preparation for serving. Another diagram shows how to cut several "interesting and decorative shapes" from the fresh avocados.

The copy mentions several times that only a choice six varieties out of the hundreds available were selected to be sold under the King Salad brand name. The names of the six varieties were never mentioned, however. The King Salad brand could be recognized by their quality "Cello-Wrap" or as marked by the King Salad Crown decal.
The recipe booklet tells of the benefits of serving King Salad avocados, how to select and store them, and provides a nutritional analysis. There are recipes and suggestions for Hors d' Oeuvres and Canapes, Cocktails and Fruit Cups, Soup, Salad Plates (including Guacamole), Entrees, and yes, even Desserts. Dessert recipe offerings include Parfait Royal, Regal Ice Cream, Crown Ice Cream, and a King Salad Dutch Boy.

They borrowed an excerpt from an article by Dr. J. H. Kellogg of the Miami-Battle Creek Sanitarium to extol the dietetic values of the avocado. Information from Proudfit and Robinson Nutrition and Diet Therapy is used as a reference to tell of the uses of vitamins in the human system.

There's instruction on how to grow your own avocado houseplant from your leftover avocado pit. You could request that recipe booklets be sent to your friends by writing the company.

Some information about the King Salad Avocado Co. was found on the next-to-last page. Everett Johnson was the Owner-Manager. The Home Offices and Packing Plant were located in Vista, California, with a Warehouse in Fallbrook and a Receiving Station in La Mesa. Branch offices were located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oklahoma City, Chicago and New York City, with representatives in all principal cities throughout the nation.


1 cup canned whole figs with juice
1/2 tsp. mint extract
1-1/2 cup finely mashed avocado
1 pint sour cream
1 banana
1/2 cup honey

Mix mint extract with avocado paste slowly with tablespoon then add honey and mix thoroughly. Place in sherbet glasses to about 1/3 full. Set glasses in refrigerator until thoroughly chilled. Remove when ready to serve, place on whole fig with juice in each and fill with cold sour cream, place cold banana slices on top and serve. This is an extoic dessert which tantalizes the taste with the honey-sweet offsetting the tart sour cream.

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September 29, 2007

Round Top Antiques

In my part of Texas, late September and early October means it's time for the fall antique shows at Round Top and Warrenton. Practically everyone I know is either a vendor or a customer. I'm helping a friend out with his booth at Blue Hills which also affords me ample opportunity to scour the countryside to look for more old cookbooks. Maybe I'll see you there!

Don't forget your hat and water--it's HOT!

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September 28, 2007

Starlac Powdered Milk

Every week the news seems to bring a new food recall to our attention. Even pet food isn't exempt.

I hate it when a product that I use is recalled because the recall and all the details seem to forever linger in the back of my mind. It's rather irrational on my part, as the problem is usually corrected, but sometimes it will take years for the memory to fade before I trust a brand enough to start buying it again.

For years I have fed my cats a nationally known brand of prescription cat food. Although one variety of this brand was recalled, the variety I use was never on any of the recall lists. I became extremely uncomfortable about using this product because it seemed that my cats did exhibit a few of the symptoms listed. The fact that the company began selling a reformulated product shortly afterward only intensified my discomfort despite the manufacturer assuring me that the new food had been in the works for some time.

Honestly, I can't make myself believe them. I'm not a marketing expert, but it seems to me that this was a very bad time to introduce a reformulated product when you didn't have to. So now the perception I have, justified or not, is that they may not have been as truthful as I would have hoped.

The product advertised in the recipe brochure that I chose today was associated with a product safety recall in 1966.

Starlac was the brand name of the powdered milk sold by Borden's from the early 1950s to the mid-1960s. It was sold in several different sizes ranging from individual pre-measured 1 quart packets to a 12 quart economy size.

New Recipes for Completely New Super Starlac (undated, foldout) was one of several recipe brochures featuring the Starlac product that was published during this time period.

Borden's advertising proclaimed that Super Starlac was "quicker than instant" and that their modern new "hearts of milk" dissolved faster than other products using crystals and powder, which Borden's now deemed to be "old-fashioned".

A voluntary recall in 1966 because of the possibility of salmonella bacteria contamination along with the associated negative publicity is what caused the demise of the Starlac brand of powdered milk. The brand never recovered due to the erosion of public confidence in the product.

Since the brochure is not dated, I am left to wonder if Completely New Super Starlac was an attempt to salvage the public perception of the brand and to regain consumer confidence.

Below is a recipe from the brochure which is similar to those you will find for an Orange Julius. Since Starlac no longer available, you could substitute any brand of powdered milk.


(Makes 4 large servings)

1/4 cup frozen orange-juice concentrate, thawed
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup crushed ice
1 quart liquid Super Starlac, chilled

Combine orange-juice concentrate and honey in large pitcher; add crushed ice. Blend in liquid Super Starlac. Serve.

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September 21, 2007

Little Chef Cookbook

An interesting article on children's cookbooks mentioned over at the Culinary Types blog this morning sent me off to dig through my own cookbook stash. I have many cooking pamphlets published by the food companies that were meant for children and teens.

Many of them were acquired from the estates of teachers and librarians, and in quantities that suggest the pamphlets were introduced to students through the classroom. The food manufacturers of today often offer "educational material" on their websites.

One of the children's cookbooks I came across was a bit of a surprise as I usually don't associate the series with any particular product.

Susie's New Stove - The Little Chef's Cookbook (1950, 42 pp.) is one of the popular Little Golden Books, a children's book series that began in 1942. It's a combination storybook and cookbook.

While this isn't a promotional cookbook published by a food company, it interests me because the book does seem to feature a real product that was being manufactured at the time. That product is a child's toy, the Little Chef Electric Stove, manufactured by Tacoma Metal Products Company of Tacoma, Washington.

The copyright page gives credit for the term LITTLE CHEF to Tacoma Metal Products and the stove is not mentioned by name in any other part of the book. In the text it's referred to only as a "really-truly little electric stove" or "my little stove". The book's subtitle is suggestive of either the two young children featured in the story who are learning to cook or as the brand name of the toy stove.

The color illustrations by Corinne Malvern are lovely. Pictures of the toy stove are featured prominently throughout the story and the recipe directions. The stove looks very much like the one from magazine advertisements, toy catalogs and of the ones available on Ebay.

Many of the eleven recipes included in the book are meant to be prepared on the miniature stove and the ingredient measurements are scaled down so that they'll fit into the tiny pots and pans (which look amazingly similar to the ones that came with the Little Chef stove).

Convenience foods are used but brand names are not mentioned in the ingredients, though it's my opinion that the illustrations subtly suggest brands that Mommy may have regularly purchased at that time: frozen vegetables (looks like Birdseye), cheese spread (looks like Kraft), canned soup (Heinz or Campbell's?) and pudding mix (Royal or Jell-O?).

I can't see any little girl or boy having this book and not wanting a Little Chef stove so that they, too, could prepare the recipes exactly the way they were done in the story.

I'd say product placement was alive and well back in 1950.

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September 11, 2007

Baby Boomer Comfort Food

I really do use a lot of the recipes in the cookbooks that I write about here on this blog. Sometimes I cook from scratch. Sometimes I use convenience foods. And sometimes, like tonight, it's all boxes and cans.

Bumble Bee Salmon Croquettes
Kraft Velveeta Shells & Cheese
LeSuer Early Peas
Not shown: Premium Saltine Crackers

I asked the person I cook for: "This is your favorite meal isn't it?"



"It's ummmm... Comfort Food. Like Mom used to make."

(Well, almost. His mom didn't use a boxed Velveeta mac'n cheese mix and she probably had to pick those icky bones and eye sockets out of her canned salmon. And her peas were probably from a Mason jar. But it's almost the same. Kind of.)

Hey, if it works for him, it works for me. Preparation time: about 20 minutes. Cost: about $3.50 per serving. Cheaper and quicker than the cafeteria which is the only other likely place we'll find Salmon Croquettes.


September 10, 2007

Reynolds Wrap - A Kitchen Staple

When Entertaining Ease (1982, 32 pp.) was published by the Reynolds Wrap Kitchens there were several consumer products advertised on the back cover and used in the recipes: Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil (in 7 sizes and 3 weights), Reynolds Plastic Wrap and Reynolds Oven Cooking Bags.

I've had a copy of this booklet for all these years, ordered from an ad in a magazine as I recall. I've always liked this booklet because of the color "how-to" photos shown inside that demonstrate some of the ways to use their products. The recipes inside use the techniques that are shown in the illustrations.

Some of the techniques are: How to Envelope Wrap, How to make a Souffle, How to Bundle Wrap, How to Make and Fill Orange Shells, How to Make a Pastry Top, How to Use a Reynolds Oven Cooking Bag, How to Roll a Cake, How to Make a Reynolds Wrap Flan Pan, Crystallized Flowers, How to Shape Tarts, How to Assemble a Cheese Wheel (using plastic wrap), How to Make a Shell Mold and How to Drugstore Wrap.

One of the recipes is for an After-the-Game-Pizza-Party and is called Participation Pizza. The recipe and photos show how to make the basic sauce and crust (using frozen bread dough) ahead of time, then allowing the guests to add their own toppings when it's time to cook and serve the pizzas. An easy and convenient way to organize make-you-own pizzas for a crowd.

I'm a visual person and I appreciate these helpful little photos.

Entertaining Ease was one of a series of 32-page cookbooks. Other books in the series were Flavor Savor Cookbook, How to Cook for 1 or 2, Microwave Cooking and The Way Mama Cooked It.

Twenty-five years later they still offer these same products as well as well as a host of other useful items: Reynolds Baking Cups, Reynolds Cut-Rite Waxed Paper (the brand was acquired in a 1995 acquisition from Scott Paper), Freezer Paper, Reynolds FunShapes Baking Cups and Cake Pans, Reynolds Parchment Paper, Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners and Reynolds Wrappers Pop-Up Foil Sheets. They've updated their foil and plastic wrap line with Reynolds Wrap Release Non-Stick Aluminum Foil (a great idea) and changed the name of the Plastic Wrap to Seal-Tight, which comes in a variety of colors (the colors were another great idea).

News reports indicate that Alcoa may sell off their packaging products unit. This is a shame, I believe, because the Reynolds Wrap line contains so many useful, basic products that are staples in the kitchen. Even through their own acqusition of some of these products, they haven't fixed what isn't broken and they've come up with some great new ideas over the years. Hopefully none of the products will disappear and the new buyer(s) won't be buying out the competition only to replace it with their own inferior products.

To find your own copy of Entertaining Ease you can look here or here.

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September 07, 2007

Discontinued Products

I'm not a big QVC fan and haven't really watched much. I know one lady who told me she is addicted and must hide her remote control from herself so she won't order anything.

I attended a tag sale once where the deceased must have been one of their best customers. Her home was literally stuffed with products she had ordered through QVC, many of them still in boxes with the original packing slips. Her kitchen was quite a smorgasbord of goodies.

Savory & Simple Cooking with Savory Seasonings Herb Blends (1994, 96 pp.) was one of the items I picked up at that sale. The author was Virginia Olson who was well-known on QVC as the Nesco lady. She was, in fact, one of their Home Economists and was the author of several Nesco Roaster cookbooks.

The recipes in this book all feature the use of her Savory Seasonings Herb Blends which were all natural with no salt added. There were five varieties: Garden Blend, Cook Blend, Bake Blend, Meat Blend, Poultry Blend and Fish Blend.

It looks like a very nice cookbook. The recipe titles sound delicious, the photographs of the plated food are gorgeous and the recipes themselves seem fairly simple and easy to prepare as the title suggests.

However, the seasoning portion of all the recipes all call for the Savory Seasonings products which apparently no longer exist.

In most cases, when you use a cookbook or recipe and don't like the brand name ingredients you can usually substitute your own favored brand with no problems. Or you can take a recipe with generic ingredients and use whatever brand name product you like.

In situations such as the one found in this cookbook, you would just have to use your best judgement and rely on experience to figure out how to season the dishes. Not a problem for some, but for those who cook directly out of the book, following the recipe to a T, this doesn't work, which renders this cookbook pretty much useless.

It's interesting that out of all the many advertising cookbooks in my collection, that the large percentage of them are still quite useful, even if they might be 50 to 100 years old. In most cases, if the original product doesn't exist anymore, then a comparable one does.

I suppose I should have dug a little further at that sale. I'm fairly confident that I would have found those jars of Savory Seasonings in the lady's cupboard and could have figured out what herbs and spices each blend consisted of.

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September 06, 2007

Old Restaurant Recipes

Long before Jane and Michael Stern ever hit the road and made a career out of guiding us to wonderfully obscure restaurants across America, there was Duncan Hines.

Today, the name Duncan Hines may only be familiar to many as the brand name of a cake mix. His name is on the cake mixes because of the popularity and recognition he received as the successful author of travel guides and cookbooks.

Many editions of Adventures in Good Eating, Lodging for a Night and his Vacation Guide were published annually over the years, covering a period from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Adventures in Good Cooking and The Art of Carving in the Home (1957 edition shown here) brought many of the recipes from the restaurants that he wrote about in his travel guides into a format suitable for the home cook.

Along with recipes from many restaurants, hotels and taverns across the United States he also included some of this own and others he considered unsual.

There are no illustrations for the recipes in this cookbook, although there are some black and white photos in the meat carving section. The pages are not paginated, but each recipe is numbered, all the way up to 714. The alphabetical index in the rear of the book points you to the the correct recipe number.

It's likely that you will recognize many of the restaurant names and there are many that may be only known to those in a particular regional area. Some, like Ye Old College Inn in Houston, a premier restaurant in it's day, are gone, but some of them remain in business today.

Although the original cookbook is now out-of-print, it's possible to find a new version of the classic Adventures in Good Cooking that was published in 2002.

A companion book of Duncan Hines' restaurant recipes, The Dessert Book, has also been recently published.

If you are interested in learning more about this man, you might also enjoy this biography, Duncan Hines: The Man Behind the Cake Mix.

Of course, copies of the original version of the old cookbooks can usually always be found here.

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