November 30, 2007

Cookbooks and Modern Medicine

It's virtually impossible these days to flip through the pages of a magazine without being inundated with endless advertisements touting the latest and greatest miracle drugs. Big Pharma spends a huge amount of money on advertising.

And while the number of advertising or promotional cookbooks published by modern pharmaceudical companies are nowhere near the quantities published by the food companies, they do exist.

There are pamphlets published by not only the drug companies but also medical supply companies and others who manufacture health-realted products.

These types of recipe booklets are often published with the diabetic in mind.

The two examples below were published by Becton Dickinson, a leading supplier of syringes and needles used in the treatment of diabetes.

Gourmet Recipes for You and Your Family (1988, 12 pages) has twelve recipes from Craig Claiborne that were "specially formulated for the insulin user."

Another one is Irrisistible Desserts for You and Your Family (1990, 12 pages). Both of these little pamphlets also contained manufacturer coupons for B-D products.

A World of Taste: The Type 2 Diabetes Ethnic Cookbook (1999, 32 pages) is promoting the drug Glucophage and contains "healthy recipes that can help you control your blood sugar and add variety to your meal plan". The twenty recipes are divided into Asian, Caribbean, Mexican and Southern categories. The recipes all include a calorie count and nutritional information. The inevitable tiny print Patient Information insert related to the drug is attached inside the rear cover.

Easy Appealing Recipes with Sustacal and Isocal (1986, 22 pages) was published by Mead Johnson, the division of Bristol-Myers Squibb which makes nutritional supplements for infants, children and adults. This cookbook is spiral bound with a stiff index cover and is like a traditional cookbook with it's bright color photos of the food.

The person who had this particular copy used it. You can tell by the notations she's made inside. She modified the Isocal Cream of Chicken Soup recipe by using Marucchau Instant Lunch Noodles instead of Cup-A-Soup. She also adapted the Sustacal Coffee Cake recipe to use a Duncan Hines Cake Mix instead of the called-for Aunt Jemima Easy-Mix Coffee Cake mix.

(From the Inquiring Minds Dept., I found it interesting that if one Googles "Sustacal recipes," many of the highest returned results are for a recipe called Duck Soup--something pet owners feed to their sick ferrets.)

A bilingual publication, Health Recipes From the Latino Kitchen (or Recetas Sanas De la Cocina Latina) (undated, 17+ pages) was published as educational material by Latino Health Access, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving access to health services for low income communities. The booklet states that their emphasis has been with the Latino community. Looking closer one sees that this recipe booklet was funded by Hoechst Marion Roussel, Inc., the makers of Amaryl, an oral diabetes medication.

Many of the recipes call for aspartame or saccharin as the artifical sweetener ingredient.

Here's a recipe from this cookbook:


1 corn tortilla
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/4 packet artificial sweetener (aspartame or saccharin)
2 tablespoons raisins

Crisp the corn tortilla by placing in a non-stick pan over medium heat until it hardens.

In a small bowl mix together the plain nonfat yogurt, artificial sweetener and cottage cheese. Spread this yogurt mixture over the crisp tortilla. Top with raisins.

Another way to crisp the tortilla is in the microwave. Place the tortilla in the microwave for 2 minutes without a plate. Remove and allow to cool.


In this recipe, my attention was caught by the preparation method used to make the tostada. One of the objectives of this cookbook (besides promoting Amaryl) is to help people learn ways to cut down on their fat intake. Which means frying food is a big no-no.

To make a tostada, I would normally fry the tortilla in oil with the result being a round, flat, fried corn tortilla on which I would heap various yummy toppings. I don't care for warmed corn tortillas as a rule; I want them to be crispy and crunchy, no matter how I'm using them.

I've never tried to toast the corn tortilla in a skillet to crisp it up, nor have I ever thought about using the microwave.

So I interrupted the writing of this post to go and experiment. I used a cast iron skillet to heat the tortilla until it was past the merely warmed stage, right up until it became fairly rigid. I found the result to be rather tough and chewy.

I put another tortilla in the microwave for the specified 2 minutes. I was busy with the other pan, so wasn't watching closely. The result after 2 minutes was a blackened round disc, whose smell permeated the entire house, necessitating my turning on a fan and opening the windows.

I tried again and kept a closer eye on it this time. I took it out after 1 minute 20 seconds. I quickly slathered some butter (in moderation, of course) on the tortilla and gave it a taste test. I was pleasantly surprised. While it didn't taste exactly the same as a tortilla fried in vegetable oil or lard, I thought it was quite a bit better than those that are baked (either commercially or at home). The other person around here said he thought they were a little tough, but that might be cured by heating for a shorter length of time.

I'm not sure how well the microwaved version will hold up after they sit for a bit after cooking; whether or not they'll retain their crispness. But maybe I'll put them to the true test later by making some more; breaking them up into chips and trying them out with some salsa.

November 28, 2007

More on Enchiladas

Yesterday I wrote about a recipe clipping for enchiladas that I found in an old cookbook.

I didn't mention the recipe that I use for an enchilada casserole.

This was mainly because I much prefer to eat my enchiladas out in a restaurant. Cheese are my favorite. I don't usually make enchiladas at home because I can never get them or the plate as hot at home as they come to the table in the restaurant. (I'm a food temperature freak--my food must be steaming hot, hot, hot.) Enchilada plates in Mexican restaurants are too hot to touch when they arrive at the table.

So on the rare occasions that I crave cheese enchiladas but don't want to traverse the 45 miles to get to my favorite Mexican restaurant, I sometimes make the following recipe which was given to me by a co-worker (back when I had co-workers).

I ordinarily would not have tried this recipe in a million years simply because I don't like the looks of the ingredients, or the combination of ingredients, or something. Maybe I subconsciously think the words "enchiladas" and "casserole" don't belong together. Maybe it's the soup ingredient. However, I ate some of this at an office pot-luck and liked it.

For the record, the gal who made this dish did not have copies of the recipe printed up beforehand, but brought her recipe card to the office and copied it later for those of us who wanted it.

This recipe calls for corn tortillas rather than flour. I prefer my enchiladas to be prepared with the corn variety.


1/2 lb. cheddar cheese
1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese (cut up)
1/2 can Rotel tomatoes (diced)
1/2 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can chili w/o beans
1 lb. ground meat
chili powder
seasoned salt
1 pkg corn tortillas

Brown and season meat with onions, chili powder, garlic, seasoned salt; drain.

In large bowl mix all other ingredients; add meat mixture.

Layer tortillas and mixture in baking dish. Bake in oven at 400° until cheese melts and bubbles, or in microwave about 10 min. (I haven't ever tried the microwave part.)

If you're going to have Enchiladas, you might like to have some Pico de Gallo too.

In Texas there are at least two Mexican restaurants on every corner. Most of them really serve Tex-Mex, of course, and some are better than others. Everyone has their favorite place for one reason or another.

If you'd like to read about real Tex-Mex enchiladas (and not casseroles or recipes from a soup company in New Jersey) and why I'm willing to drive 45 miles to get to Molina's, I recommend The Tex-Mex Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos. I absolutely love this book.

November 27, 2007

Found Clippings

While cataloging a stack of old cookbooks yesterday, I came across a small group of recipe clippings laid in between the pages of one of the books.

It turned out to be only two recipes, both cut from one of those coupon circulars that come in the Sunday newspaper (circa 2004).

One of recipes was cut out neatly along the dotted lines and attached by a paper clip to several squares of paper. Looking closer, I saw that the squares all contained the same recipe as the clipping, only the recipe had been entered into one of those recipe software programs.

She (or maybe it was a he) might have done this so they could share the recipe with others at work or at some church or family pot-luck gathering. I wondered if it was done in advance, so that when asked, she could whip a copy right out of her purse, right there on the spot.

The recipe clipping is for Campbell's Creamy Chicken Enchiladas that are made with (surprise) a can of condensed soup. I looked around through my cookbooks and found this nearly identical recipe in Favorite All Time Recipes - Celebrations (1998, 94 pages). It's called Creamy Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas in the cookbook and because of slight modifications to the tortilla requirements, the cookbook version serves six, while the clipping version only serves five. The cookbook also shows a photograph of the prepared dish.

Here's the recipe from the clipping:


Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 40 min.

1 can (10-3/4 oz.) Campbell's Cream of Chicken or 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
1 container (8 oz.) sour cream
1 cup Pace Picante Sauce
2 tsp. chili powder
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
10 Mission Soft Taco Size Flour tortillas, warmed
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 green onion, sliced

Mix soup, sour cream, picante sauce and chili powder.

Mix 1 cup picante sauce mixture, chicken and cheese.

Spread about 1/4 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in 3-qt. shallow baking dish. Pour remaining picante sauce mixture over enchiladas. Cover.

Bake at 350°F. for 40 min. or until hot. Top with tomato and onions. Serves 5.

On the computer-generated recipe she added "Generous Servings" after the serving amount. Perhaps the portions in the cookbook were not so generous as that recipe called for 12 6-inch flour tortillas instead of ten. The clipping recipe must have been adapted (perhaps for marketing purposes) to call for the particular brand of tortillas and adjustments made because of their size. I also noticed that she left the "Campbell's" off of the recipe title.

I wonder, did people like the recipe? Were these copies left over or never given out?

I've never been that confident of one of my own pot-luck offerings, printing the recipe up in advance like that, in anticipation of requests. What if nobody asked for the recipe? Then I might feel bad. I'd rather wait.

The reason for the copies is all in my imagination of course. Who really knows why they were in there? I like speculating about it though.

The other recipe clipping? It's a recipe that has recently graced the Bisquick boxes, leaving no room for the old Dumplings recipe, and seems so vile, both in appearance and in my imagination, that I'm not even going to say the name of it.

I threw that one away.

November 26, 2007

Bisquick 101

The first promotional cookbook for Bisquick baking mix was Betty Crocker's 101 Delicious Bisquick Creations (1933, 32 pp.). It was published two years after Bisquick was first introduced to consumers.

Betty Crocker, in her Foreword, tells of the overwhelming response to the product and how users, from all walks of life, sent in suggestions of other ways, besides biscuits, to use the mix in their cooking.

"These came from social leaders of Park Avenue and debutantes of Bar Harbor, from financial wizards cruising in their own yachts, from business men, and Boy and Girl Scouts who discovered Bisquick for camping trips. They came from world noted chefs and food specialists, from artists of the stage and screen, and the literary world. Fascinating new ways of using Bisquick were sent to us by famous hostesses from the North to the Old South, and by busy mothers everywhere."
The majority of the recipes in the booklet are presented as those sent in by these contributors, both well-known and not. I guess it was hoped that consumers would be suitably impressed by the celebrities and the well-to-do using Bisquick. Given the large public preoccupation with the activities of these same type folks today, it must have been a successful marketing strategy.

There are several vignettes, complete with black and white portraits, of the famous people and their recipe suggestions. The recipes sent in by regular people are just acknowledged with their names and locations.

Somehow I can't quite picture Gloria Swanson or Mary Pickford taking the time to sit down to pen a letter of praise to General Mills. The same goes for Princess Rostislav and Countess de Forceville. Didn't they have better things to do?

What about Philip Roemer, the chef responsible for creating Green Goddess salad dressing? Was he really using Bisquick in the kitchen of the famed San Francisco Palace Hotel?


One of the famous dishes from the hand of a master chef, which has made the Palace Hotel famous among lovers of good food.

Cut up chicken as for stew; cook until chicken is tender; make gravy of the stock. Remove some of the larger bones, and put chicken in a large baking dish. Pour on gravy and let it cool. Make Bisquick or Shortcake Dough. Cut ito small Bisquicks and place on top of chicken, or roll to fit baking dish. Sit to allow steam to escape. Bake 20 minutes in a hot oven, 450°F.

One of the selling points of this new biscuit mix was that they could be mixed up and ready to go into the oven in ninety seconds. General Mills gave this modern biscuit successor a name--Bisquicks.
"Bisquicks...the modern name for baking powder biscuits. The modern EASIER, QUICKER, SURER way of making those glorious, light, tender, fluffy biscuits so delicious with any smart for any party occasion."

November 23, 2007

Westinghouse and Wartime

The onset of World War II brought many changes to the American homemaker's way of life.

One change that affected homemakers took place in factories across the country. During the period between 1940-1945, manufacturing was diverted to wartime needs rather than the production of consumer goods. As a result, there were shortages of everything from automobiles to household electrical appliances.

Appliance manufacturers adapted to the changes just like everyone else. The war's influence is reflected in their promotional materials of that era.

The Care and Use of Electric Appliances in the Home - Revised Wartime Edition (1943, 48 pp.) is a good example of one of these wartime publications.

Published by the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company, this booklet promoted the civilian war effort in several ways.

It strongly appealed to women to contribute to the war effort. A portion of the introductory text found on the first page follows:


We're in charge of our homes for the duration! The responsibility of keeping up the health, happiness and morale of our families rests entirely on us. We'll get no medals or citations or headlines for doing it well. We'll get nothing but the serene knowledge that we have played our active part in winning the war.

It isn't an easy job. We have more things to do these days...and less to do them with. Shortages of all kinds complicate the picture."
Whew! Julia Kiene, the Director of the Westinghouse Home Economics Institute really laid it on thick, didn't she?

During World War II, many homemakers joined the workforce for the first time, some of them even going to work in the aforementioned factories. These newly working women, now faced with juggling both a home and job, needed to find ways to cut down on the time required for performing housework and cooking chores.

To this end, Westinghouse offered advice and tips for using and caring for kitchen and table, laundry, and other small household appliances. They instructed women on how to achieve maximum use from their refrigerators and electric stoves and how to serve healthy, nutritious meals despite the shortages.

This illustration shows the many ways that meals could be cooked in a Roaster Oven. (You can click on the image to view a larger version.)

A special "Fix-It" section was a new addition to this type of publication and another one of the things setting this booklet apart from those published before the war. Appliance repairmen were among the millions of men who went off to to serve their country during World War II. The government encouraged homemakers to conserve both material goods and labor. Westinghouse offered simple, do-it-yourself repair tips for many electrical appliances which women could peform themselves. Things they could try before calling in a professional repairman.

There is a checklist of things to do before calling a serviceman out to the home. They suggest taking the appliances in for repair rather than requesting an in-home service call. They demonstrate through text and illustrations how easy it was to change a fuse or make simple repairs to cords and plugs.

The booklet shows how to troubleshooting problems and provides repair suggestions for all of the typical home appliances: refrigerators and ranges, roaster ovens, dishwashers, coffeemakers, toasters, waffle bakers and sandwich grills, clothes washers, irons and ironers, water heaters, lamps, vacumn cleaners and electric fans.

The booklet admonishes homemakers to "take care of their labor-saving electric appliances so they would do more and last longer." As a matter of fact, you'll find the pages of this edition liberally sprinkled with all sorts of wartime-related slogans:

Take good care of the things you have

Proper care means longer wear

Special wartime uses for your refrigerator

Refrigerator (range, washer, etc.) hints on saving time, work and money!

Take care of your range (washer, fan, etc.) will last longer

The Electric saver, health protector

Blackout Suggetions

The electric winter and summer

There's a new Spirit of Cooperation in Wartime America

Your War Jobs on the Home Front

Your home must be a refuge from the tenseness of war

Keep a record of your ration book numbers here
Despite all the patriotism, Westinghouse also managed to take the opportunity to work in a little brand awareness by coining a new term:

There's a new word.."CONSERVICE"

It's a combination of conservation and service, and is the word we use to describe this special wartime care that keeps your appliances doing more and lasting longer.

Conservice is the special wartime program of Westinghouse retailers. We sincerely recommend these Westinghouse retailers for any service you may need. We know how good they are and how conscientiously they'll try to help you.
On the rear cover, accompanied by a small drawing of Uncle Sam, Westinghouse tries to persuade people to buy War Bonds. People are encouraged to join the 10% Club, telling them to lend, not give--their dollars to the Government.

November 22, 2007

Turkey Day

Have a great Thanksgiving!

See ya tomorrow! Leftover turkey ideas welcome.

November 19, 2007

Sealtest Ice Cream

Looking to get out of your rut of eating ice cream directly from its little cardboard container? Concerned about a loved one who insists that a huge mixing bowl of ice cream really counts as only one bowl? Maybe you're just looking for some different serving ideas.

You might be able to find something in New Ways with Ice Cream (1949, 48 pp.) published by Sealtest, Inc. Or....maybe not. You be the judge.

The title page proclaims that this booklet is "An exciting collection of ice cream desserts...easy to prepare...economical and practical...yet, glamorous additions to any carefully prepared menu."

In the rear of the book is a Calendar of Special Events which lists recipe suggestions for ten holidays. These first two recipes were suggested for Thanksgiving.


warm mincemeat
Sealtest vanilla ice cream
maraschino cherries

Serve spoonfuls of warm mincemeat on vanilla ice cream. Grnish with maraschino cherries.


There is company fare in this holiday dessert. Put crushed cranberry sauce and vanilla ice cream in alternate layers in glasses for an especially attractive partfait. Top with whipped cream and a bit of cranberry sauce.

This one was suggested for Valentine's Day or May Day:


2 quarts Sealtest vanilla ice cream
1/8 pound slivered sweet chocolate

Press ice cream lightly into chilled custard cups. Sprinkle the chocolate over top. Insert a small flower in each cup, first wrapping its stem in waxed paper. Real or artificial flowers may be used. Eight to ten flower pots.

I dunno. I like orange sherbet and I like avocados, but....


1-1/2 cups avocado balls
1-1/2 cups orange sections
Sealtest Orange sherbet

Combine avocado and orange sections. Chill. Place in sherbet cups and put a scoop of orange sherbet or any other flavor on each serving. Six servings.


1-1/2 pounds rhubarb (about 5-1/4 cups diced)
2 cups waer
1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar
3/4 to 1 pint Sealtest vanilla ice cream

Combine rhubarb and water in saucepan. Cover and cook over low heat until tender. Press through a sieve.

Add sugar to taste and mix well. Chill. Pour into 4 medium or 6 small glasses.

Top with spoonfuls of ice cream. Stir in lightly. If desired, garnish with whipped cream and a piece of sweetened stewed rhubarb. Four to six servings.


1 cup diced cantaloupe
1/2 cup Pineapple Sauce
Sealtest vanilla ice cream

Combine cantaloupe and Pineapple Sauce. Chill.

Put alternate layers of the mixed fruit sauce and vanilla ice cream in partfait glasses, ending with the sauce. Garnish with whipped cream. Six servings.


1 cup canned sweetened crushed pineapple
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

Drain pineapple. Add juice gradually to cornstarch in heavy saucepan making a smooth mixture.

Cook, stirrig constantly until thickened and clear. Remove from heat.

Add pineapple. Add lemon or lime juice. Cool. Yield: about 1 cup sauce. Four to six servings.


1 pint red raspberries
3-1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
Few grains salt
1 pint Sealtest vanilla ice cream
Whipped cream

Crush the berries and add to the milk. Put through a sieve and press out all of the juice. Stir in the sugar and salt.

Place the ice cream in six glasses or in a pitcher and pour in the raspberry milk. Top with whipped cream. Six servings.

The one below sounds good, but then, anything with pecans is good.


Prepare a mixture of shaved maple sugar and finely chopped pecans and sprinkle over vanilla or chocolate ice cream.

November 16, 2007

Banana Boats

Another thing I found interesting about A Short History of the Banana and a Few Recipes for its Use, which I wrote about on Wednesday, was something tucked away back behind the recipe section.

The consumption of bananas was not the only thing being promoted by the United Fruit Company in this turn of the century recipe booklet. One of the company's sidelines was providing sea transportation for those who might be looking for a little tropical travel. This seems a logical extension of their resources as they already had a fleet of ships at their disposal.

The company operated a passenger cruise service on its freighters which brought fruit (mostly bananas and pineapples) to the United States from Central America and the Caribbean.

The last three pages are filled with information about United Fruit Company's Steamship Lines. The company offered U.S. Mail and Passenger Service to the West Indies and Central and South America. A map of the routes is shown on one of the pages.

From the U.S. cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans and Mobile one could travel to Cuba, Jamaica, San Domingo, Belize (the British Honduras), and Guatemala. Destinations further on included the Spanish Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia.

Upon arrival at the ports of these foreign destinations, connections could be made with railroads to travel on to interior points within the countries.

A description of the passenger accommodations on their ships is also given:

"The "Admiral" steamships operated by this company are American built twin-screw vessels, and are especially adapted to tropical travel. They have commodious promenade decks, cool and airy, well-ventilated staterooms situated on the main and hurricane decks amidships, thus insuring a minimum of sea motion. The dining saloon is located on the main deck well forward of the engine room, and removed from all disagreeable odors incident. Bathrooms are supplied with fresh or sea
water and are at the disposal of passengers at all times.

The table is made an especial feature of these boats, and is supplied with every delicacy the northern and tropical markets afford.

The ships are furnished throughout with a perfect system of electric lighting and steam heating.

The stewards and waiters are unremitting in their duties and everything is done for the comfort and convenience of the passengers."
The last page has a really nice illustration of one of their ships. Notice the white color of the ship. Their fleet was painted white to help keep the fruit cargo cool and to slow down the ripening process. The UFCO vessels were also known as the Great White Fleet. The red, white and blue flag of the fleet is also shown. A circular logo similar to the pennant design and colors are prominent on each page of the recipe booklet. Also shown is a partial list of the first-class steamers that were part of the United Fruit Company's fleet. Twenty-one vessels are mentioned by name with a reference to the fact that there were also fifty-five others.

Seeing the advertisement for the United Fruit Company's Steamship Lines in the recipe book jogged my memory about another book I thought I had around here somewhere. Sure enough, I was able to locate an old copy of The Guide to Traveling Around the World by Passenger-Carrying Freighters. This was the 1969 edition, published many years after the cookbook, but I browsed through it and found three entries for United Fruit ships:

Sailings from New York City

Panama. From New York to Nassau and Panama (with stopovers ashore), returning to Weehawken, New Jersey. Via smart American and foreign flag fruit boats with twin-bedded cabins, lounge, and good meals. Weekly. United Fruit Company.
Cruise ten days $325-$360 plus cost of stopover in Panama at passenger's expense.

Central America. From New York to Tela, Honduras or to Berlize, B.H. and Puerto Cortes, Honduras; returning to New York. Via foreign flag freighters carrying 4-12 passengers in single and double cabins with private facilities. Twice monthly. United Fruit Co.
Cruise 12 days $325-$360.

Sailings from Gulf of Mexico Ports

Caribbean-Central & South America. Yacht-like banana boats of the United Fruit Company operate through the Western Caribbean on puctually scheduled cruises. Via American or chartered freighters with single and double cabins with bath, good food. Weekly on each service. Itineraries usually resemble those below but ports, fares and voyage times may vary.

New Orleans to Puerto Barrios and return. New Orleans to Belize and Puerto Cortes and return. $120 o.w. [one way], $216 r.t. [round trip]. Cruise 8 days $165-$240.

New Orleans to Kingston thence through the Panama Caal to Puerto Armuelles or Golfito, Costa Rica; and vice versa. To Panama only $342-#387 r.t. Cruise 18 days $475-530.

The passengers generally ate the same meals as those prepared for the crew. I wonder if bananas were on the menu?

November 14, 2007

Newton, Robertson & Co.

Sometimes when an advertising cookbook has several interesting aspects it's difficult to address all of them at once lest my post here become too lengthy.

I think A Short History of the Banana and a Few Recipes for its Use (1904, 32 pages) falls into this category. There are several things about it that grab my attention.

What to think about first?

The interesting gilt embossed cover? The well-known Janet McKenzie Hill? The history of the food company (United Fruit Company)? The delicious color artwork used for the illustrations? Banana recipes? The banana industry? The food value of bananas?

A small thing found without even opening the book inspires me today.

Quite noticeable on the lower right portion of the front cover, below the title, are the words "Compliments of Newton, Robertson & Co.".

Who were they?

It wasn't uncommon for promotional cookbooks to have the name of a local business printed somewhere on the outside cover or interior pages. There are many examples of this; sometimes the same booklet will show up, identical to another except for the different business names. I think organizations promoting dairy products like milk and butter did this a lot. They were marketing a generic product with brand names that changed quite a bit locally and regionally, so they used a business name that the consumer could more easily associate with their product.

In this case it's bananas. The United Fruit Company wasn't marketing a brand name like Chiquita, but the food itself. Probably nobody even cared who the United Fruit Company was, really, except for maybe the citizens of the Caribbean, Central and Latin American countries whose lives were being turned upside down by the banana importers and exporters.

Just as Ellen over at Chronicles of a Curious Cook finds a better way to search for recipes, I sometimes find Google Books to be another useful tool. (This is because it is neither physically nor financially feasible for me to own a copy of every book that interests me. I am a book addict.)

This morning my search there yielded Geer's Harford City Directory, No. 62--July, 1899 to July, 1900. There's an entry for what I believe is this company in there:

Newton, Robertson & Co.--grocers, fruit, creamery butter, teas, 338 and 342 Asylum. see page 502. J. P. Newton. W. P. Roberston, H. H. Dickerson.
There's also a 1/3 page advertisement on page 502 of the same volume that further confirms my belief.

They used a good portion of this advertisement towards the quantity and quality of fruits offered at their establishment. You don't have to stretch your imagination very far to think that they might also allot a part of their advertising budget towards the cost of a recipe booklet for their customers. Or maybe N&R was such a good customer, such a large customer, that they also got the booklets free, compliments of UFCO.

Hopefully, this other Google Books link will take you to an old photo shown in Hartford (Images of America). The photo at the bottom of page 102 shows the Newton Robertson grocery on the ground floor of the building located at Asylum and Ann streets. According to the caption, this building also housed the home office of Hartford Life Insurance and the Hartford Dispatch.

A link at Connecticut History Online takes you to an earlier exterior view of the store when it was known as the J. P. Newton Market. The description notes that "Joel P. Newton was a wholesale meat, poultry and fish dealer at 341 Asylum Street from 1875 to 1885, when the business became Newton and Robertson, grocers."

I like these pictures and the advertisement from the old directory. They assist us in visualizing the time period when the cookbook was published.

Although those in the Hartford area might have been able to get a complimentary copy of this cookbook from the proprietors of Newton & Robertson, anyone could get the booklet by sending 10 cents in stamps to A. W. Preston, President [United Fruit], 131 State Street, Boston.

More about this cookbook tomorrow or the next day.

To read about another United Fruit Company recipe book, you can go here.

November 12, 2007

Upside-Down Again

Because this little booklet practically fell right off the shelf into my hands this morning, and upside-down cakes seem to keep popping up all over the place, I had to include it today.

A magazine or newspaper insert, the pineapple cookbook (undated, 8 pp.) was published by Dole in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Dole Company is named as a division of Castle & Cooke, Inc so the booklet was published after the merger of the two companies in 1961. It looks kind of late 60-ish or early 70-ish to me.

The booklet has 12 recipes from the Dole Kitchens and also 12 Pineapple Quickies which are short little suggestions on what you can do with canned pineapple. One Quickie is to "Add drained pineapple chunks, or crushed pineapple, to cole slaw for a bright flavor change". I like to add crushed pineapple to my chicken salad. Nobody (i.e. those who profess to hate pineapple) even knows it's there and I think it really enhances the taste of the salad.

What caught my attention about this booklet, however, is the cake pan shown on the front cover. You could order this teflon-lined upside-down cake pan with indentions for pineapple slices for only $2.00 and 2 Dole labels.

While I've never really had any problem with the pineapple slices sitting in the bottom of the pan all by themselves and coming out nicely on top at the end, I guess it could be a problem or they wouldn't have designed the pan.

I found these Nordic Ware cake pans that are essentially the same thing, but nicer.

In case you're not into cake, how about a salad instead?


5 TO 7 slices Dole Pineapple (No. 2 or 1 lb., 4 oz. can)
3/4 cup pineapple syrup
3/4 cup water
1 package (3 oz.) orange flavor gelatin
5 to 7 maraschino cherries
1 cup cottage cheese

Drain pineapple and reserve syrup. Combine syrup and water and bring to a boil. Pour over orange gelatin and stir until dissolved. Arrange pineapple and cherries in an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan. Pour half of the gelatin over pineapple. Chill until set. Meanwhile, keep remaining gelatin at room temperature.

Combine remaining gelatin with cottage cheese and pour over the "set" gelatin. Chill until firm. Unmold on crisp greens.

Makes 5 or 6 servings.

November 11, 2007

PAM Tips and Tricks

In my opinion, one of the best inventions of the 20th century was that of PAM No-Stick Spray back in 1959. Throw away those messy, oily paper towels and get out the red and yellow can instead. It's a no-brainer.

In many instances it's a great substitute for butter, margarine, shortening or oil. Less calories too. Compare a one second spray of PAM into your egg pan at 7 calories to one tablespoon of butter at 104 calories and you get the idea. Plus, it's just easier...isn't lessening our labor and saving time still one of the major objectives of new product development today?

There are now eight different varieties of PAM to choose from, but when 101 Cooking Tips & Other Tricks with PAM No-Stick Cooking Spray (1983, 16 pp.) was published by Boyle-Midway, there was only one, now referred to as PAM Original. PAM Butter Flavor, the second variety, was not introduced until 1985.

This booklet was available to consumers who, in 1983, didn't have the luxury of using Google to instantly find four million and one ways to use this cooking spray. (Okay, I think the World Wide Web rates higher than PAM and just about every other thing in the Best Invention department.)

Besides some of the obvious uses like spraying PAM in the pan when frying eggs or cooking pancakes, some of the suggestions in this booklet are:

  1. "Season" cast iron cookware in only five seconds with PAM.

  2. Frying sausage? Don't forget to spray the splatter-guard lid.

  3. Pam works on practically every pot or pan in the kitchen--aluminum, cast iron, crockery, enamel, copper-bottom, stainless steel or glass.

  4. Use PAM in the pan before scalding baby's milk, making hot chocolate, cream sauce or soup. Messy "collars" practically melt away.

  5. Spray Pam on the cheese grater.

  6. Use PAM and presto...spaghetti and noodles won't stick! Pam even works on the tongs and colander. And here's a tip you'll love...spray the sides of the pot and the water won't boil over.

  7. Make cook-ahead casseroles that practically clean ahead too--meatloaf, meat pies, even cheese'n macaroni. Just start with PAM. Then cook'em, freeze'em and cook'em again. Those crusty casseroles still virtually rinse clean.

  8. Spray the meat thermometer.

  9. With PAM on the poultry pins, there's no tugging or tearing. They glide right out.

  10. PAM is marvelous for fancy cakes baked in bundt or tube pans. (Any cake but angel food--this batter has to stick and climb the sides of the pan to rise. PAM just won't let it.

  11. You can use PAM for upside-down-cakes! Melted brown sugar and fruit won't stick, so the design stays pretty.

  12. Do your cooked icings stick? Next time, spray the beater blades, the pan and the cake decorator.

  13. Don't forget to use PAM on holiday cookie cutters--the dough won't stick. (PAM works like a shot on cookie guns, too.)

  14. Stirring up a syrupy filling? Spray the mixing bowl.

  15. Spray the measuring cup when the recipe calls for honey, molasses or any syrupy filling. It'll slide right out.

  16. Spray the meat grinder and make paté more often.

  17. PAM and food processors were made for each other! Spray the blades--cheese or dough won't stick.

  18. Fast cooking deserves fast cleanup--so use PAM on microwave dishes.

  19. Spray the kitchen shears before cutting marshmallows or fruit.

  20. Try PAM in ice trays before making frozen desserts--even popsicles pop out!

  21. Defrosting the freezer? Wipe the defrosted wall dry. Glisten it with PAM. Next time, defrosting will be easier.
One of my favorite ways to use PAM: When keeping red tomato-based sauce in a plastic container, spray the container with PAM first. It won't leave a red stain behind afterwards.

November 08, 2007

Taystee Bread

How I Use New Process Taystee Bread (1933, 32 pages) was published by Purity Bakeries. Agnes Carroll Hayward is the "I" in the title. She has her name on the cover and a short testimonial-type introduction on the first page. She is also associated with other Taystee Bread cookery pamphlets.

Although the entirety of page two is devoted to telling us how great New Process Taystee Bread is, Purity doesn't go into any specific detail as to what this new process was.

"NEW PROCESS TAYSTEE BREAD--the new discovery of the Purity Bakers, is truly a revolation in bread-baking. This new method of baking gives TAYSTEE Bread a better flavor, a smoother, finer and whiter texture and a rich, tender crust."
Funny they should mention the tender crust. Nearly every recipe calls for the crust to be removed from the bread, whether it's for toast or sandwiches. In some instances circles, squares or other shapes are cut from the center of the bread slice, again leaving the "tender" crust behind.

But this crust wasn't wasted. Readers were advised to save all pieces of bread from which the crust has been removed, and all other crusts, to use for bread crumbs.

Bread crumbs are used in all of the remaining recipes that aren't sandwiches or toast. The white crumbs are used for coating croquettes, oysters, etc. and the brown crumbs for buttered crumbs or au gratin dishes.

Besides all the crust removal (isn't the crust the best part of bread anyway?) the other thing that stands out to me about this booklet are the terrible black and white illustrations. Dark, grainy and plainly unappetizing. The only color is on the cover. The black and white illustration shown here is one of the nicer ones.

And of course, Taystee Bread is perfect for Baked Bean Sandwiches.


1 loaf Taystee Bread
1 large can baked beans
tomato catsup

Drain of the sauce from the baked beans, mash with a fork until well broken, add tomato catsup to taste and spread on the bread.

If a hot sandwich is liked, heat beans in the can, mash, add catsup and spread on the bread. Put together sandwich fashion, and toast until well browned on both sides.

A very hearty sandwich is made by covering one slice of bread with the beans and the other with broiled or fried bacon, then put together in sandwich fashion.

Although there was evidently a Taystee Bread bakery in Dallas, I don't remember this brand while growing up in Houston. Kiterik, the local television female kiddy show host who dressed up like a cat in a black leotard and fishnet stockings, pushed another brand of bread. Every afternoon she would ask the guest children what their favorite food was and they always replied with either "spaghetti" or "bread". I forget the brand now, but it wasn't Taystee Bread.

November 05, 2007

Eat More Cranberries

Every Fall, one of the signals of the approaching holiday baking and cooking season is the appearance of fresh cranberries in the produce departments of our supermarkets. According to Oceanspray, millions of pounds of cranberries are harvested between mid-September and mid-November.

The modern cranberry industry, in which cranberries are grown for cultivation, got its start in Massachusetts in the early 1800s. New Jersey growers began appearing in the 1830s with Wisconsin growers entering the market in the 1860s. By 1885 there were cranberry growers as far away as Washington and Oregon.

Grower associations and marketing cooperatives were formed as the industry grew in size and expanded in scope. The American Cranberry Exchange was formed as a merger between the National Fruit Exchange and the Growers' Cranberry Company sometime around 1907.

The U.S. Cranberry Industry: Historical Changes and the Current Situation (.pdf file) states that:

"The newly strengthened ACE operated like a well-oiled machine. It was owned and directed by the growers and represented their own principles. All members formed contracts to give their whole crop to the individual sales companies, while the ACE handled the promotion, placement, and sales of the berries. The berries were pooled by grade, type, and state and sold under the Eatmor brand name."
Cranberries and How to Cook Them (1938, 20 pages) was one of the promotional items published by the American Cranberry Exchange and featured Eatmor Cranberries as one of the recipe ingredients.

The copy inside reassures customers with talk of sharp-eyed inspectors, gently harvested cranberries, and the claim "only the finest of the best" makes the grade for the Eatmor brand. The health benefits of cranberry consumption, Vitamin C with supplementary amounts of iodine and other mineral salts, is also mentioned.

Cranberries are incorporated into a variety of dishes in the 43 recipes and range from fresh sauce to canned conserves to desserts and meat accompaniments. One colorful page offers holiday decorating advice: "trim the Christmas trees in the good old-fashioned way...with gay red cranberries strung with needle and thread." Vintage color illustrations complement many of the recipes.

While I have tasted a Mock Apple Pie made with green tomatoes and which does taste somewhat like an apple pie, I have never tried a Mock Cherry Pie done with cranberries and raisins.


3 cups Eatmor Cranberries
1 cup seeded raisins
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pie crust

Chop cranberries and combine with remaining ingredients. Fill pastry lined pie plate, and cover with upper crust. Bake in hot oven, 400 degrees F., about 45 minutes.

The following recipe caught my eye because of the old-fashioned metal clamp-on food grinder shown in the illustration. I use a Universal grinder just like this to grind up cooked roast beef and roast pork for taco fillings.

(No Cooking)

The aristocrat of relishes. Particularly good with all meats, hot or cold.

1 pound (4 cups) Eatmor Cranberries
2 oranges
2 cups sugar

Put cranberries through food chopper. Peel oranges, remove seeds and put rind and oranges trhough chopper. Mix with cranberries and sugar. Let stand for a few hours before serving. This easy, popular uncooked relish can be put up for future use in sterilized glasses covered with paraffin.

Having just purchased my first fresh cranberries of the season, I tried out this recipe from the booklet this morning.


1 cup Eatmor Cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter

Chop cranberries and sprinkle with half the sugar. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and remaining sugar together. Beat egg slightly, combine with milk and melted butter and add to dry ingredients. Stir only until blended. Then fold in cranberries. Transfer to buttered muffin pans and bake in hot oven, 425 degrees F., about 25 minutes. Makes 12 medium sized muffins.

I did use mini muffin tins instead of regular size and I cooked them for only 15 minutes (14 might have been better). They turned out fine despite the 70 year age of the recipe. Makes 36 mini muffins.

The muffins are shown in a red wooden recipe box that I got in a handmade recipe box swap on Swap-bot. The photo isn't all that great--I'm hoping Santa will bring me a new digital camera this year.

November 02, 2007

Gold Medal Rye Dictionary

As I've mentioned before, promotional cookbooks in the foodservice category seem to be a bit more difficult to locate than those meant for home cooks. Why is that?

I don't know how many foodservice cookbooks I might actually have around here, but I suspect the overall percentage isn't very high. (This is when I must confess to you that I have so many advertising cookbooks I haven't even looked at all of them individually.)

Today I came across The Gold Medal Rye Dictionary (Revised Edition, 1948, 99 pages). This cookbook was published by General Mills, Inc. and shows the original copyright date as 1936. On the front cover, and on every recipe page, there is a logo with the words "Products Control - Quality and Uniformity Insured."

The first line of text clearly states the book's objective:

"The purpose of this book is to point out the profit possibilities for bakers in baked rye products."
The front half of the cookbook covers the nuts and bolts of rye flour (the General Mills varieties in particular) and some fundamentals the baker must consider in his/her efforts to successfully turn out a profitable line of rye bread and rolls. Some of the basic considerations discussed are: rye bread ingredients, rye bread production "do's and don'ts", correcting common faults of rye bread, and rye bread flavors and sours. Formulae for several different types of sours are given.

The recipes presented in the second half of the cookbook represent many variations of baked products which include Rye specialties and the standard types of Rye breads. Each recipe is illustrated with a black and white illustration of the finished product.

All of the recipes are for large quantities, of course. Ingredient quantities are given as a percentage basis and a gallon basis. Either sponge dough or straight dough is indicated. Some of the recipes are designated as "A General Mills Specialty Bread School Formula."

Recipes for the breads and rolls include: American Rye, Jewish White Rye, Milwaukee Dark Rye, Bohemian Rye (judging by the amount of food stains, this recipe was used quite a bit), Buttermilk Rye, Hunters Rye, Russian Rye, Sta-Soft White, Wheat-Rye, Specialty Dinner Rolls, Specialty Sweet Dough, Soft Rye Buns, Hard Rye Rolls, Light Pumpernickel or Kurled Rye, Medium Pumpernickel, Heavy Pumpernickel, Raisin Hearth Rye, Swedish Light Pan Rye (Limpa), Swedish Dark Pan Rye (Limpa), Orange Rye, Cheese Rye, Pimiento Rye, Tomato Rye, Pine-O-Rye (made with crushed pineapple), Potato Rye, Light Rye, Dark Rye and Special Occasion Rye.

Sigh. I'm not much of a bread baker. I wish I lived near a good bakery. Sometimes I get awfully hungry looking through these cookbooks.