October 22, 2007

Cox's Gelatine

Cox's Gelatine Recipes (1920, 32 pp.) is a plain little cooking pamphlet with the cover the only portion given over to any decoration. There are no illustrations inside, a striking contrast to modern promotional cookbooks where the luscious photography stimulates our senses and calls for us to scramble for our pots and pans. The colors of the cover mimic those found on the red, white and blue checkerboard packaging that the brand was known for.

The Cox Gelatine Company was located at 546 Greenwich St. in New York City. (Just for fun, to see what was at this address today, I looked to see if there was a Google Maps Street View. The potentially-privacy-invasive and much debated Street View, however, comes up blank on this corner.)

The paper on which the pamphlet is printed is rather fragile and I'm surprised that this cookbook is in such good condition after 87 years. The cover is made of a different type paper (what kind?--I'm no paper expert, I only hoard it) and is slightly stiffer than that of the interior pages. I would surmise that this copy wasn't used much in anyone's kitchen.

"The Checkerboard Package" made four pints of jelly. At the time this pamphlet was published the box was sold only in this one size. Each box contained two envelopes of the powdered gelatine, with each envelope enough to make two pints.

The product was actually manufactured in Scotland and imported into this country. J & G Limited Company began manufacturing powdered gelatine in 1842 in Edinburgh and they opened an office and warehouse in New York at 100 Hudson St. in 1845. In America they were called the Cox Gelatine Company.

Their Scottish origins would account for their trademark, a figure wearing a checkered kilt, bearing a gelatin mold in his(?) hands, which is shown on the rear cover of the pamphlet.

Cox's Gelatine could be used to make jellies (both savory and sweet), puddings, frozen dishes, ice cream, gelatine salads, candies, as well as an ingredient in other miscellaneous dishes such as soups, glazes and cake frosting. There's also a small section with recipes suitable for invalids and infants.

An alphabetical index is found in the rear, making it easy to find any of the 122 recipes. A couple of the recipes with unusual-sounding names are Popcorn Pudding (a pudding made with chopped popcorn) and Cherry Moss (a gelatine mold). There's another pudding made with the dubious combination of stewed prunes and diced bananas and an intricate and time-consuming recipe for a watermelon mold.

On the use of Cox's Gelatine in Soup, they write:

"French soups, so much esteemed, have for their basis a considerable quatity of Gelatine. They stimulate the flow of the gastric juices, thus preparing the stomach for the reception of solid food, and as they contain much Gelatine, they have a soothing effect on the nervous system".

I chose the following recipe from the booklet partly because it's the onset of the Texas citrus season and also because it's mindful of past times when people made more candy of this type at home than they do today.

GRAPE FRUIT LOZENGES

1/2 envelope Cox's Gelatine
1-1/2 cups (3/4 pint) confectioners' sugar
8 tablespoons cold water
1/2 tablespoon corn or golden sirup
4 tablespoons grapefruit juice
Yellow color

Put one-half cup of the confectioners' sugar and four tablespoonfuls of cold water into a saucepan; when dissolved, add corn sirup, bring to a boiling point, add Gelatine mixed with remainder of water, grape fruit juice and a few drops of yellow color. Sift remainder of sugar into a bowl, pour hot mixture into center, and allow it to cool. Work it with a wooden spoon until smooth. Spread mixture into a layer one inch thick in a wet pan, allow it to harden, cut into squares and roll in sugar.

Will this recipe work today? I don't know--it's difficult and hit-or-miss making candy here on the Texas Gulf Coast where the high humidity more often than not leaves homemade candy a sticky mess. But in my mind, I can easily picture a crystal bowl filled with charming little individually-cellophane-wrapped pieces of yellow grapefruit flavored candy.

2 Comments:

At 5:47 AM CDT, Blogger T.W. Barritt said...

This would be an interesting recipe to try. It is very much an "old fashioned" confection that you don't see much these days.

 
At 6:55 AM CDT, Blogger Kathy said...

t.w. - if the humidity ever drops down on a day when I have some free time, I just might try it.

 

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