January 31, 2008

More Booklets

This blog focuses primarily on advertising recipe booklets. Some of them are old and some of them aren't. I like them all, you see, no matter what their age.

These giveaway booklets and brochures have been around since the latter part of the 19th century. An untold number of them have been published in the past and they continue to be published in the present day.

Fewer and fewer of the modern booklets are actually giveaways. The once requested dime for postage and handling in 1925 is $2.95 and upwards today. More and more, when you see the words "free cookbooks," you'll be led to a company website offering a free PDF download instead of an actual booklet. Many of them are published as hardcover books and they no longer fit into the category of ephemera.

Just like I'll never have all of the old ones, I'll probably never have all of the new ones either. But that doesn't mean I'll stop my gathering.

Heres a glimpse of some I've received or picked up in the last year or so.

That plastic storage container pretty much identifies me as someone with too much paper doesn't it? There's no more room on my bookshelves--I'm already doing a neverending bookshelf shuffle as it is.

I'm always on the lookout for these booklets. A post about Bonnie Slotnick's cookbook store in NYC over on Culinary Types was a pleasant read because I've never been to her store, although I knew of its existence. I was pleased to see that at least a small portion of her shelf space is devoted to one of my favorite kinds of cookbooks. One day I hope to be able to dig through them myself to see what's there.

I'm sure there's bound to be one or two items that I need.

January 21, 2008

Too Quick and Too Easy?

These days advertising cookbooks are, for the most part, all about cooking with processed convenience foods.

The stigma attached to this method of cooking and the subject of food snobbery in general are issues that I'll address in posts other than this one.

With more and more food brands falling under the ownership of single megacorporate umbrellas, it's inevitable that there wouldn't eventually be a train wreck of sorts.

Who knew the food company recipes would be the victims?

There was a period of time during the 1980s when I quit buying new cookbooks. Or at least, not as many as I did before. I remember this period as the advent of the "light" recipe cookbooks. Being a thin twenty-something blessed with the speedy metabolism of youth, I simply wasn't interested in that type of recipe, particularly when I didn't think they tasted as good as the "regular" recipes. When the 90s rolled around, the selection improved, and I started buying cookbooks again.

I'm reminded of that time now because it seems we've entered the period of Quick and Easy cookbooks. Which is fine, I guess. I can certainly appreciate being pressed for time and there's nothing wrong with shortcuts if the end result is the same. Who doesn't want to free up a little time in their day?

The title of this recipe book, Make-it-Easy (2005, 96 pages), might appeal to anyone with too much to do. After looking at the recipes inside, however, I have to wonder again if the test kitchens are running out of ideas.

Sometimes I'm not sure if the object is to save time or to use all of a company's products in one dish.

This particular cookbook is published by General Mills, a company with a lot of products to promote. Pillsbury refrigerated doughs are the stars of this show along with an overcrowded cast of co-stars also owned by General Mills.

The photo below is for a recipe called Crunchy Nacho Dogs. It's made with crescent dinner rolls, American cheese, hot dogs and crushed nacho cheese-flavored tortilla chips. I'll admit it's possible I might be letting my intense dislike of said nacho cheese-flavored chips overshadow the possibilities of this dish.

The next photo is of Biscuit Tuna Melts which are made from a pouch of herb and garlic-seasoned tuna, frozen biscuits and shredded cheese. Cans are going the way of glass bottles, it would appear. How long before everything is packaged in little astronaut pouches "because consumers asked for it"?

This photo is of Grands! Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches, made with refrigerated biscuits. Isn't it just as quick and just as easy to buy some good bread with which to make your sandwich?

The Quick Beef Stew in the Bread Rolls shown below is a "stew" made of refrigerated precooked beef tips with gravy, fozen potatoes, frozen peas and onions, and more (from a jar) gravy, all mixed up and served in a ball of baked refrigerated dough. Is this a crossover dish like a car-based SUV? Beef stew with biscuits meets stew in a sourdough bread bowl?

If I've offended anyone who's actually tried these recipes and enjoyed them, then I apologize. Please feel free to comment if you have tried the recipes and found them to be good.

I have been known to be wrong. In the 1980s I also distinctly remember thinking that I would never be one of those older women who wore flat shoes or elastic waistbands.

January 20, 2008

World's Best Almond Recipes

In my opinion, the addition of nuts to any recipe can only improve the outcome. Although I favor pecans, almonds are certainly on my list of favorite nuts, both for snacking and cooking.

According to Blue Diamond Growers, almonds are California's largest food export and the 6th largest U.S. export. In a nutshell, it's a billion dollar business.

A Treasury of the World's Best Almond Recipes (revised edition, not dated, 48 pages), a recipe booklet with a cheerful bright red cover, was published by the California Almond Growers Exchange. Blue Diamond is the brand used for marketing to consumers. A large portion of their business is to worldwide food and candy manufacturers.

The cooperative began with a group of 230 growers in 1910. At the time of this recipe booklet's publication there were 5,00 producers throughout California who marketed their product under the Blue Diamond label.

Though the booklet isn't dated, I have a photo of a 1972 magazine advertisement showing the booklet along with the mail-in order form. The cost of the booklet was fifty cents.

The first photo inside the cover shows an Almond Strawberry Trifle, nicely displayed on a milk glass cake stand. Although there's not any chocolate involved, nor are strawberries in season, the pink background and pink flowers that complement the strawberries suggests Valentine's Day to me.


1 envelope plain gelatin
1/4 cup water
16 to 18 (3-inch) ladyfingers
2 packages (3-3/4 oz. each) instant vanilla pudding
2-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup orange juice or milk
1/2 cup strawberry jelly
1/2 cup slivered almonds, roasted
1 cup whipping or heavy cream
Fresh Strawberries

Combine gelatin and water in saucepan; place over low heat and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool. Split ladyfingers and stand up around sides of an 8-inch springform pan; cover bottom of pan with remainder. Combine the 2 packages of vanilla pudding with the milk and orange juice in an electric mixer and beat for two minutes. Stir in gelatin mixture and place in refrigerator for 5 minutes or just until it begins to get quite thick. Turn half of pudding into ladyfinger-lined pan. Spoon jelly in dabs over pudding; sprinkle with all but 1 tablespoon almonds. Top with remaining pudding and chill until firm. Remove the pan sides and place on plate. Whip cream and spoon or pipe on top. Garnish with fresh strawberries and sprinkle with remaining almonds. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Although this photo of Savory Cocktail Almonds isn't very appealing, it does serve to remind us that once upon a time we routinely made our own snacks rather than buying them already processed and prepackaged. The ones shown here are blanched almonds sautéed in butter with the addition of a variety of different seasonings. The company is covering all their bases, however; right below the recipe for these cocktail almonds is the suggestion to look for the handy vacuum tins of Blue Diamond almond snacks while shopping. The Smokehouse flavors available at that time were Hickory Smoked, Garlic-Onion, Barbecue and Cheese.

The California Fruit and Almond Salad shown in the photo below features orange and avocado slices atop an iceberg lettuce "raft" with a green goddess dressing mixed with cream cheese, orange rind and vinegar. I'll take the more modern version, which would probably include pretty much the same ingredients but tossed with mesclun mix rather than perched upon that little hunk of iceberg.

This photo shows eight different varieties of almonds: (1) sliced natural, (2) whole blanched, (3) in shell, (4) whole natural, (5) ground blanched, (6) sliced blanched, (7) roasted blanched slivered and (8) diced roasted. Look at the fabric beneath the nuts nd the colors in the photo--pure 1970s.

Cookies are always better with nuts. These Almond Macaroons Supreme cookies use a homemade Almond Paste.


1-1/2 cups whole blanched almonds
1-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 egg white
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Grind almonds, a portion at a time, in electric blender or food chopper using fine blade. Combine with remaining ingredients and work to a stiff paste. Store in airtight container or disposable plastic bag. This makes 13 oz. (1-1/3 cups) almond paste.

In this advertising booklet, Smokehouse Almonds are called "The Most Sophisticated Nut". The company proudly states that their almonds "made airline beverage service history." This refers to the fact that airlines began serving small, snack-size foil pouches of Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds to their passengers in 1955. Is the choice of the word sophisticated also meant to convey the impression that sophisticated peope traveled by air?

The caption for the photo also says that the foil packaged Smokehouse Almonds could now be purchased in better stores everywhere. (Ah, another group of sophisticated people--those who shop at better stores.) You can see along the top edge of the foil pouch, the small red airliner with the words "The Sensational Taste Treat--Served on the Airlines."

Give me Smokehouse Almonds over Honey Roasted Peanuts any day. Are you listening Southwest Airlines?

January 19, 2008

Pasta ABCs

A Pasta Primer: Everything you need to know to serve perfect pasta dishes with Ronzoni products (1985, 8 pages) is a foldout recipe brochure published by the General Foods Corp. that presents some elementary information on pasta in a dictionary-like format.

It's illustrated with small color drawings and contains only five recipes.

Here are some of the dictionary-type entries found inside, a few of which have a little pronunciation assistance.

Al dente (al-DEN-tay): Literally, "to the tooth," which is how Italians test pasta to see if it is properly cooked. The pasta should be a bit firm, offering some resistance to the tooth, but tender. How to test for that? By tasting it, naturally.

Calories: Think there are a lot of these in pasta? Wrong! A 1-cup serving of pasta averages about 190 calories if cooked al dente, 155 calories if cooked until tender. With a light sauce--1/4 cup tomato sauce at about 40 calories--pasta makes a satisfying dish with not many calories at all.

Durum wheat: A hard wheat, the principal ingredient in manufactured pasta.

International: Though the name is Italian, pasta has an international appeal. Eastern Europeans serve noodles with their entrees, often with sour cream. The Greeks use macaroni in a favorite dish with sweet spices and a custard topping. In Scandinavia, macaroni salads are a usual part of the smorgasbords. And in the Orient, where some say pasta originated (actually, the Italians have records of serving it long before Marco Polo and his travels), noodles--slim and often made of other flours--are as much a staple as rice.

Spaghetti (spa-GET-ee): General term for long pasta strands or rods, ranging from very fine capellini (kap-a-LEE-nee); fine hairs) to spaghetti. Linguine (lin-GWEE-nee); little tongues) are flattened spaghetti. Fusilli is spaghetti in twists.


1/2 package (8 oz.) Ronzoni medium shells or rotelle
2 cups zucchini chunks or slices*
3/4 cup seeded diced green pepper
3/4 cup seeded diced red pepper
1 can (7 oz). tuna, drained and chunked
1/2 cup black pitted olives, sliced
1/2 cup prepared Good Seasons Italian dressing

*Or use broccoli florets, blanched, drained and rinsed with cold water.

Cook shells as directed on package; drain, rinse with cold water and reserve in large bowl. Add zucchini to shells with peppers, chunked tuna and olives. Stir dressings and pour over salad and toss. Makes 4 servings. Recipe may be doubled.

Looking at this recipe, I realize that I can't remember when the food companies downsized the canned tuna from 7 ounces to 6 ounces, even though I noticed when they did so to coffee, sugar, bacon and tea bags.

I hate it when they downsize the products, but not the prices, thinking consumers won't notice. Sometimes I envision the future, when we will open a can or package, and there will be nothing in it but air. Maybe they will allow us, oh say, one Cheeto in the bag, for our trouble.

January 17, 2008

Larsen Company Vegetables

If you ever wondered who was responsible for the introduction of mixed canned vegetables, it was the same company who published today's brochure.

Meal Ideas (not dated) is a small fold-out recipe brochure that features recipes using Freshlike Frozen Vegetables. This was produced as a mail-out and it shows The Larsen Company in Green Bay, Wisconsin as the return address. Larsen was acquired by Dean Foods in 1986 so the brochure pre-dates that time. As a result of the acquisition, the company name was changed from Larsen to the Dean Foods Vegetable Company.

The brochure contains seventeen recipes, one of them being the green bean/mushroom soup/french fried onion holiday dinner mainstay for some folks which is called the "Green Bean Bake with Onion" in here.

There are no illustrations save for a few simple generic drawings of vegetables in bowls inside and the slightly more sophisticated one of the plastic bags of frozen vegetables on the front. It's done simply on white paper with green and yellow highlights and the lettering in blue.

Below is a recipe which uses the Freshlike Frozen Mixed Vegetables. These were introduced to consumers in 1950. Freshlike introduced their canned brand of vegetables in 1934. This recipe is typical of the others found in the brochure.


2 cups cooked ham, cubed (or substitute browned ground beef)
1 pk. au gratin potatoes (any brand)
20 oz. pk. Freshlike Frozen Mixed Vegetables, thawed and drained*
Seasoned salt to taste

Make potatoes according to directions on pacakge. Before putting in oven, gently stir in ham and vegetables. Bake in 8-10" casserole according to directions on potato package.

Serves 4 to 6

*May substitute Freshlike Frozen Midwestern Blend or Wisconsin Blend.


AgriLink Foods (later renamed Birds Eye Foods) purchased the company from Dean in 1999 and the brand is now sold by Birds Eye Foods.

Here's an interesting article about the redevelopment of the Larsen factory property in Green Bay. I like to see the old factories saved and made into something that's still useful rather than being torn down.

January 15, 2008

Sterno - Fire in a Can

When I think of Sterno canned heat (a fuel made from denatured and jellied alcohol), I automatically think of my fondue pot from the 1970s. Had I ever been more extensively involved in foodservice or the type of camper who disdains the comforts of the Holiday Inn, I might be a little more familiar with the product.

So, in view of my limited exposure, it was interesting to come across this Sterno Cook Book (1927, 20 pages) and find out that Sterno had a lot more uses than merely heating up cooking oil or cheese for fondue.

According to the Sterno website, this handy, portable fuel source has been around for about 100 years. It was invented by S. Sternau & Co., a New York manufacturer of, among other things, chafing dishes and coffee percolators. Sterno, which is the brand name of the fuel, was used as the heat source for these appliances.

Below are some pictures taken from the cook book of some of the Sterno Corporation products in 1927:

Sterno Canned Heat: Just a few words about this wonderful fuel.
In order to use it, simply open the can and light the contents. A hot, blue
flame is given off. The fuel can be relighted so long as any contents remain in
the can. Small Size, 10 cents, Large Size, 25 cents.

Sterno Tea Kettle Outfit: Besides a delightfully dainty aluminum tea kettle this outfit includes a nickeled folding stand, a can of heat and a nickeled serving tray. For afternoon tea on the porch, for light breakfasts, for college girl spreads and thousands of other occasions this outfits serves as an attractive and efficient aid. Style No. 6051, Complete Set, $2.50.

Sterno Aluminum Cooking Set: For those who desire a complete outfit including a boiler, this item will be found to be just the thing. It is made with wire folding handles. The outfit also includes enameled folding stove and can of heat. Just the thing for quickly heating water, milk, broths, etc. Complete, 50 cents.

Sterno Sad Iron Outfit: For ironing dainty feminine things when emergency requires it, either at home or on vacation trip, this outfit is invaluable. Of course it takes up very little room when not in use. Besides the iron the set includes a nickled folding stand, a can of heat and a ring on which to rest the iron. Set, $1.00.

Sterno Toaster: Suitable for use on any Sterno Stove or stand, this toaster is especially made to give excellent results with Sterno Canned Heat. Quickly makes rich brown, crisp toast, free from any taste from the fuel. The handle folds back, permitting easy packing for traveling. Style No. 42, 25 cents.

Sterno Baby Milk Warmer: Practical milk warmer which heats milk in a jiffy. Can be used anywhere--in the home or while traveling. Finished in baby blue enamel, sturdily constructed. Can also be used as cooker or a stove. Syle No. 15 Complete, $1.00

Sterno Curling Iron Set: This compact outfit is ideal for the boudoir or while traveling. Set consists of curling iron with green enamel handles, folding stand to match, can of heat and extinguisher. Clean and efficient. Style No. 12 Complete, $35 cents.

Sterno Folding Stove: These are the real Sterno Cook Stoves. Substantial when set up, yet they fold flat as a pancake. These stoves are ideal for light cooking in the home, as well as for traveling and outdoor use. These two stoves accommodate both small and large sizes. No. 33, 1 Burner 25 cents; No. 46, 2 Burner 50 cents.

Sterno Vaporizer: This Sterno Vaporizer is a compact, quick-heating outfit consisting of Sterno Folding Stove, blue-enameled, non-corroding Vaporizer and Sterno Canned Heat. No Gas or Electricity Needed. $1.50

Living 50 miles inland from the Texas Gulf Coast, hurricanes and the possible ensuing tornados are more of a threat than earthquakes or ice storms. I was five years old when Hurricane Carla, a storm of Category 4 strength, came to town. My most vivid memory about that event was the fact that my mother had freshly brewed coffee despite the pounding rain, high winds and lack of power. I remember a clear glass, probably Pyrex, coffee pot, that I'm willing to bet was fueled by a can of Sterno.

It probably wouldn't hurt for me to invest in a Sterno Emergency Kit. Like my mother before me, I believe that any storm can be weathered as long as there's fresh coffee.

January 13, 2008

Quaker Sugar

It's Fun to Cook with Quaker Sugar (not dated, 36 pages) was a promotional recipe booklet published sometime in the late 1940s or 1950s. It's filled with recipes for cakes, fillings and frostings, cookies and pies, quick breads, desserts and candies, jams and jellies and fruits and beverages.

Up until the end of 1947, Quaker Sugar was a brand of the Philadelphia Sugar Company. It was manufactured by the Pennsylvania Sugar Division of the National Sugar Refining Co beginning in 1948. The packaging of the product shown in the illustrations of this booklet reflects the latter brand ownership.

The front of the booklet tells how the sugar cane was grown in Cuba and transported from the fields to the sugar mill in oxen-drawn carts. The sugar cane was cut and crushed to extract the juice and then cleaned of impurities. The raw sugar, which looked something like wet sawdust, was then packed into burlap bags where it was loaded on to New York-bound ships. After further refining at the sugar refineries in New York and Philadelphia it was packaged by machines. It was then loaded onto trucks to be distributed to grocery stores throughout the country.

The above process is illustrated by a series of black and white photographs. The packaging machines and their operators are shown in the photo below.

The booklet states that there was "A Quaker Sugar for every purpose." Small color illustrations are shown of Granulated, Verifine, Light Brown, Dark Brown, Confectioners' Super X and Tablet varieties. The white sugar was packaged in red boxes and the brown sugar in brown boxes. The product packages are shown in a group on the rear cover.

Under the title "Some Facts You Should Know About Sugar," the company worked to dispel any negative thinking related to sugar consumption:

  • Sugar is a wholesome food.
  • Eat sugar for energy.
  • Is sugar fattening? [No]
  • Is sugar harmful to teeth? [Don't blame sugar]
This sugar facts page is illustrated with small black and white illustrations. In the one here, a mother, wearing a sundress and high heels is waving goodbye to her children as they go off to school or play.

The pages of the booklet are also decorated with small line drawings of a woman in Quaker garb baking and serving desserts or pies and whatnot.

There are also eight full-page color photographs of many of the prepared dishes. Four of the pages display dishes that could be appropriate for each of the four seasons. "Summer" is shown below and pictures the Lemon Chiffon Pie, Meringues, a Refrigerator Cake made with strawberries and vanilla wafers, Mint Ice and tall glasses of Plantation Punch.


(Serves about 8)

1 quart strawberries
1 cup Quaker Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
24 vanilla wafers

1. Wash, hull and slice strawberries.
2. Add Quaker Granulated Sugar and lemon juice
3. Line greased loaf pan with waxed paper. Soften gelatin in water. Dissolve over hot water.
4. Drain juice from berries and add to gelatin. Stir into whipped cream. Fold in berries.
5. Cover bottom of pan with mixture. Add layer of wafers, alternately in this way until all strawberry mixture is used, finishing with layer of wafers.
6. Chill overnight in coldest part of refrigerator. Turn out on platter. Remove waxed paper.
7. Garnish with sliced strawberries and whipped cream, if desired.

There are several recipes for jams, jellies and preserves. The photo below pictures a five pound box of Quaker Sugar with jars of Grape Jelly, Canned Pears and Sweet Watermelon Pickles.

January 08, 2008

Easy Elegant Desserts

Even though the holidays are over and interest in holiday recipes slacks off some, there are still people searching for these types of recipes.

Easy Elegance - A Celebration of Desserts and Holiday Entertaining (1995, 16 pages) contains a variety of dessert, cookie and candy recipes from several different food companies. I have seen different versions of this same booklet published over the years.

The sponsors usually always include Diamond Walnuts and Nestle, and in this particular year, also Land O Lakes, Sunmaid, Mazola, Kingsford's, Argo and Hellmann's. If I remember correctly these booklets are some of the ones set out in the supermarket aisle displays during November and December.

Of course, there's no law that says you have to use these recipes only during the holidays. Many of them, if not all, would be good any time of the year. The photographs make me hungry right now, for instance.

I like this booklet because it contains clues to other booklets. On the last page is an offer with instructions for ordering more food company cookbooks.

These booklets range in price from $1.50 to $2.99 and your money is mailed in to the promotion fulfillment center in Young America, MN.

The booklets available here are:

  • Nestle Toll House Best Loved Cookies

  • Libby's Homebaked Goodness

  • Diamond Walnut Collection

  • Argo & Kingsford's Corn Starch Stir Crazy

  • Land O Lakes Our Best Desserts
Many times, the only place you might find out about a new recipe booklet is the advertisement on another booklet like this. In the case of older booklets that are sometimes undated, these offers help narrow down the publication dates. Thankfully, most modern booklets and pamphlets are dated.

January 06, 2008

King Midas Baking Queens

The last post I did on a State Fair recipe booklet wasn't connected with a food company. Favorite Recipes of King Midas Baking Queens (1958, 33 pages) is a promotional booklet from King Midas Flour and contains winning recipes from some Michigan and Wisconsin state and county fairs.

The booklet contains 30 recipes for breads, dinner rolls, sweet rolls, coffee cakes, quick breads, doughnuts, cookies and cakes. There are about three times the number of cookie recipes than other recipes. Dates were a popular ingredient.

The name of the winning contestant, location and name of the fair is given along with each recipe. There aren't any illustrations, but each page is decorated with an orange crown and the text is in blue. The interior matches nicely with the cover.

"King Midas Magic" seems to be the product slogan at this time.


by Miss Patricia Ann Houska; Lena, Wisconsin; Junior Winner, Oconto County Youth Fair

Temperature: 400°
Baking Time: 12-15 minutes

2 cakes compressed yeast (or 2 packages dry yeast)
1/2 cup water
2 cups scalded milk
1 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
8 to 8-1/2 cups sifted King Midas All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup melted butter
2 slightly beaten eggs

Soften compressed yeast in lukewarm water. (Or substitute dry yeas and soften in very warm, not hot, water.)

Combine milk, sugar and salt in large bowl. Cool to lukewarm. Add the yeast mixture and about half of the flour to form a thick batter. Beat well. Cover.

Let rise in warm place (85° to 90°) until light and bubbly, 30 to 45 minutes. Add the butter and eggs; beat well. Gradually add remaining flour, beating well after each addition, to form a dough. turn out on flour surface. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Knead dough until smooth and satiny, 3 to 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl and cover.

Let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes. Shape into crescents or other rolls. Place on greased baking sheet or pan. Cover and let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, 30 60 minutes. Bake. Makes 4 to 5 minutes.

In regards to the various contest recipe booklets, I often get inquiries from people asking me to look and see if such-and-such person has a recipe inside.

So to that end, and because someone might one day be pleasantly surprised to find out someone they knew had a prize-winning recipe long ago, I'm listing the names of the contestants and their recipes.
  • Blue Ribbon White Bread - Mrs. George King; Gladstone, Michigan; Senior Winner, Upper Peninsula State Fair

  • Favorite Whole Wheat Bread - Mrs. C. R. Martin; Wausau, Wisconsin; Senior Winner, Wisconsin Valley Fair

  • Perfect Rye Bread - Mrs. Hellmuth Zabel; Fremont, Wisconsin; Senior Winner, Waupaca County Fair

  • Rich Dinner Rolls - Mrs. Fred Steinbrecker; Racine, Wisconsin; Wisconsin State Fair White Bread Champion

  • Refrigerator Rolls - Mrs. Arthur Stadler; Reedsville, Wisconsin; Senior Winner, Manitowoc County Fair

  • Cinnamon Rolls - Miss Marlene Waletzko; Willow River, Minnesota; Junior Winner, Pine County Fair

  • Orange Rolls - Mrs. William Petz; Shell Lake, Wisconsin; Senior Winner, Washburn County Fair

  • Lemon Batter Rolls - Mrs. Lynn Bowe; Elk River, Minnesota; Senior Winner, Mille Lacs County Fair

  • Butterscotch Nut Coffee Cake - Mrs. Laurence Loehlein; Princeton, Minnesota; Senior Winner, Benton County Fair

  • Date-Filled Coffee Ring - Mrs. Lowell L. Carlson; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Minnesota State Fair White Bread Champion

  • Sour Cream Delight - Miss Joan Reid; Plainfield, Wisconsin; Junior Winner, Adams County Fair

  • Quick Coffee Cake - Miss Nadine Hollis; Belleville, Wisconsin; Junior Winner, Green County Fair

  • Dark Date Bread - Miss Pat Sorensen; Wabeno, Wisconsin; Junior Winner, Forest County Fair

  • Orange Nut Bread - Mrs. Elmer Gotfredson; Mora, Minnesota; Senior Winner, Kanabec County Fair

  • Glazed Potato Doughnuts - Mrs. Wilbert Jaeger; West Bend, Wisconsin; Senior Winner, Washington County Fair

  • Sunshine Doughnuts - Mrs. Francis Danielson; Black River Falls, Wisconsin; Senior Winner, Jackson County Fair

  • Devil's Food Drops - Mrs. Manford Hagen; Hixton, Wisconsin; Senior Winner, Jackson County Fair

  • Filled Prune Cookies - Mrs. H. Oelke; Waverly, Minnesota; Senior Winner, Wright County Fair

  • Million Dollar Cookies - Miss Marie Arts; Tony, Wisconsin; Junior Winner, Rusk County Fair

  • King's Kringles - Mrs. Roy Moen; Bemidji, Minnesota; Senior Winner, Beltrami County Fair

  • King of the Oatmeals - Mrs. Oscar Dippmann; Wausau, Wisconsin; Senior Winner, Marathon County Fair

  • Butterscotch Frosted Cookies - Mrs. John Olson; Mineral Point, Wisconsin; Senior Winner, Iowa County Fair

  • Pumpkin Cookies - Miss Marlene Skolas; Westby, Wisconsin; Junior Winner, Vernon County Fair

  • Date Delight - Miss Emilie Pempek; Athens, Wisconsin, Junior Winner, Athens Fair

  • Butter Bars - Mrs. Delores Bible; Merrimac, Wisconsin; Junior Winner, Lodi Fair

  • Novelty Bars - Miss Barbara Thoma; Whitehall, Wisconsin; Junior Winner, Trempealeau County Fair

  • Brown Sugar Spice Cake - Mrs. Winston Mossberg; Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota; Senior Winner, Carlton County Fair

  • Date Surprise Cake - Miss Margaret Nelson; Mondovi, Wisconsin; Junior Winner, Buffalo County Fair

  • Grandmother's Chocolate Cake - Miss Rachel Blair; Barron, Wisconsin; Junior Winner, Barron County Fair
    • You might find a copy of this booklet here if you come across a name that's familiar and want to get a booklet of your own or as a gift.

      January 04, 2008

      The Water Gate Inn

      It's restaurant recipes again today, folks, randomly chosen from the never-dwindling stacks of culinary ephemera.

      This small, privately published softcover cookbook, New Hobby Horse Cookery: Favorite Recipes of Water Gate Inn (1953, 48 pages), features recipes from a long-gone Washington, D.C. eatery.

      Once located in the historic Foggy Bottom district of our nation's capital, on a quarter-acre overlooking the Potomac River, the restaurant was quite popular in its day for its Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine and decor. An old menu gives the restaurant address as "2700 F Street, Northwest" and on a giveaway matchbook, as "Potomac and F."

      This old postcard shows an exterior view of the charming ivy-covered restaurant.

      The Foreword, written by owner Marjory Hendricks, tells a bit about the history of the restaurant and its recipes.

      Marjory and her sister Genevieve, a well-placed Washington interior decorator, purchased the old Riverside Riding Academy in 1942 and transformed it into the Water Gate Inn. The two sisters already owned and operated another successful restaurant, Normandy Farm , located about 20 miles away in Potomac, Maryland. She describes Normandy Farm as "authentically French Provencial" and "a Washington institution since 1931." Water Gate Inn became known as the "in-town" branch of their original restaurant.

      The book was compiled by a woman named Flora G. Orr. Hendricks gives credit to Orr for the recipes:

      "Many have been the requests for recipes at Water Gate Inn. Hence, this little book, but because our space was limited, we could not give you every recipe that we use. It was necessary to be highly selective.

      The book was compiled by Flora Orr, noted food expert, who has long been responsible for finding, testing, adapting and standardizing so many of our recipes. Her invaluable weekly critiques steer us on the paths of well-designed food and service."
      There are about eighty different recipes found in this cookbook. As well, there are also pages devoted to things like Ten Ways to Prepare and Serve Broccoli (Green Cauliflower); Ten Cakes from One Recipe; and A Variety of Salad Dressings. The last two pages consist of "Home Menus Using Water Gate Inn Recipes." A suggested menu for a luncheon was:

      Philadelphia Clam Chowder
      Kutztown Cheese Souffle
      Schnitzel Beans
      Grandma Shield's Montgomery Cake-Pie
      The book is illustrated with small black and white line drawings and a photo of one of the dining rooms. Notice the old wooden hobby horses used as decoration. This theme is carried over to the cover of the cookbook, which shows a red hobby horse pattern on the front and rear.

      There were several old postcards advertising the restaurant. Some of the postcard captions reveal popular menu items, many of which are included as recipes in this cookbook.

      Here's a later view of the restaurant interior. According to the caption on the rear, the retaurant was even open on Christmas Day.

      The postcard caption reads: "Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant famous for hot popovers, rare roast beef, seafood, Mennonite chicken, Dutch apple cheese pie. Log fires, club dining room, cocktail lounge, excellent bar. Gift shop. Air-Conditioned. Open every day all year, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Marjory Hendricks, owner."

      Another view of the dining room:

      The small piece of property on which the restaurant was situated was part of the real estate appropriated for the future John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Hendricks received $650,000 for the land in 1964 and the building was demolished in 1966.

      Although Marjory Hendricks originally planned to move her restaurant to the infamous Watergate residential and commercial complex, it never became a reality.

      Normandy Farm had been sold previously, to another family, back in 1958. That restaurant still exists, although it has changed hands several times since then and is now known as Normandie Farm. The popovers are still on the menu.

      I've taken several recipes from the cookbook to show you here. One is the recipe for the famed popovers.

      Men Live for Popovers - a small, handwritten caption above the recipe.

      2 eggs
      2 cups milk
      1 tablespoon melted butter
      1 teaspoon salt
      Pinch of nutmeg
      2 cups sifted flour

      Mix well-beaten eggs with milk, melted butter, salt and nutmeg. Sift flour over gradually, beating with strong rotary beater until the batter, while still thin, is smooth and has the appearance of heavy cream. Put batter in refrigerator to chill it thoroughly. Prepare oven so that it will be 450 degrees f. Grease custard cups with unsalted vegetable fat. Put greased cups in the oven so that they will be sizzling hot to receive the batter. Take hot, sizzling cups from oven. Fill each cup two-thirds full of the chilled butter. Pop immediately into the 450 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then lower heat to 350 degrees and bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer. It takes at least 35 minutes to bake popovers. Serve hot with butter.

      This recipe seems a bit unusual. It's unfortunate that there's no photo so we can see what they looked like.


      1/2 cup shortening
      6 tablespoons sugar
      2 eggs
      1 cup mashed ripe bananas
      1 teaspoon lemon juice
      10-20 drops yellow food color
      2 cups flour (sifted before measuring)
      3 teaspoons baking powder
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      Broken walnut meats
      30 to 35 whole cloves

      Cream shortening and sugar together; add eggs well beaten; beat entire mixture well. Add mashed bananas and lemon juice and at least 10 drops of yellow food color. Mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry mixture gradually to liquid mixture, beating well after each addition. If dough does not seem sufficiently golden in color to simulate real bananas, add more food color, drop by drop, beating it in well. Grease thoroughly iron or aluminum cornstick pan and let the greased pan get thoroughly hot and sizzling in your 400 degree oven. Fill cavities with banana dough, pressing a broken black walnut meat and two cloves at the narrow end of each to represent blossom-end of bananas. Bake about 20 minutes at 400 degrees F., but do not allow to get brown. The "banana" should be golden yellow. Arrange "bananas" for serving in round wooden bowl, wrapping "bananas" in napkin to keep them hot.
      The next two recipes are advertised on their postcards.


      Disjoint freshly killed and dressed chicken, season nicely and saute pieces until golden brown. Put pieces in baking pan, cover with sour cream thinned out with some sweet milk. Bake until chicken is tender and has been thoroughly permeated with the sour cream seasoning gravy. Whenever, during the cooking, the sour cream thickens too much, add some milk. Serve in flat casserole with sour cream gravy all around and sprinkled with chopped parsley.


      Break freshly-cooked and dressed shrimp into pieces not more than one-half inch in length. Combine them with enough fresh or frozen peas to make one-half the measure of the shrimp pieces. Make a white sauce with cream or very rich milk, butter and flour and seasonings. Put shrimp and peas in this sauce. Heat very slowly, stirring constantly to avoid scorching. The addition of a few mushrooms, chopped green peppers and pimentoes is permissible, if desired. Just before serving, season with sherry wine. If necessary to thin the sauce during cooking, use chicken broth.

      There was an earlier edition of this cookbook published in 1950 entitled Hobby Horse Cookery: Favorite Recipes of Marjory Hendricks's Water Gate Inn, Washington, D.C., also compiled by Flora Orr.

      January 02, 2008

      Betty Crocker's Cake Mix Magic

      Food manufacturers, most notably, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and Duncan Hines, brought the convenience of cake mixes into kitchens in the postwar 1940s. There's no doubt the mixes were a true convenience. Add some water, stir it up, and the cake was practically on the table.

      Prior to this, if someone wanted to bake a cake, they had to first gather up numerous ingredients which usually consisted of flour, a sweetener such as honey or sugar, eggs, baking powder, salt, etc. and then individually measure each of them out in the correct proportions. Or her maid had to gather them up. Maybe they even had to collect the eggs from the hens first. Whatever. The cake mixes were a time saver.

      Betty Crocker first introduced a Ginger Cake Mix, then a Devils Food Cake Mix, and then a white layer cake.

      The familiar red spoon logo is missing from the cake mix packaging illustrated in this recipe book. The logo didn't make its appearance until later.

      By the early 1950s Betty and all the girls in her test kitchen began creating recipes which incorporated additional ingredients into the basic mixes. These recipes brought consumers an even larger variety of convenience cakes, all of them advertised as "so easy to make."

      Betty Crocker's Cake Mix Magic (1951, 28 pages) is all about using the three basic mixes as a base for more "glamorous" cakes and desserts. In this booklet, the white layer cake is called the Party Cake.

      The directions for making the doctored-up cakes all specified following the basic instructions found on the cake mix packages. This was indicated by little symbols in the recipe instructions. The letters PC meant Party Cake, DF meant Devils Food Cake, and GC was for Ginger Cake and Cooky Mix. You can see the little symbol in the photo below (although you might have to click on the photo to enlarge it - just click your Back Button on your browser when you're done). I suppose they thought it might be easy to skim through the recipe book looking for the symbols of the cake mix you wanted to use.

      How many cakes could be made from the three basic mixes? The subtitle of the book - 121 Wonderful Cakes and Desserts You Can Make with Betty Crocker's Cake Mixes - should give you an idea.

      The Party Cake mix could be made into a Burnt Sugar Cake, a Banana Cake, a Black Walnut Spice Cake, a Peppermint Candy Cake, a Coconut Cream Cake, and several others. The Party Cake mix recipes were further divided up into three sections, with recipes calling for whole eggs, egg whites, or egg yolks. The Party Cake could be made into either a white cake or a yellow cake base.

      The Devils Food Cake mix could be used to make a Chocolate Cream Cake, a Fudge Nut Cake, or a Cherry Chocolate Cake.

      Some of the desserts made with the Ginger Cake and Cooky Mix included Streusel Ginger Cake, Butterscotch Ginger Pudding, Orange Nut Ginger Bars and Gingercake Drop Cookies.

      Party Crinkles, Rolled or Refrigerator Party Cookies could also be made from the Party Cake mix. Recipes for birthdays or special occasions could be made from all of the mixes.

      This photo demonstrates how to marble a cake. There are several small illustrated tips like this included among the recipes.

      The Special Desserts section included recipes for Baked Alaska, Japanese Fruit Cake, Little Upside Down Cakes, a Berry Basket Cake and several others. Recipes for icings, fillings and various toppings followed at the end of the other recipes. White Mountain Icing, Broiled Peanut Butter Icing, Custard Cream Filling and Dark Chocolate Filling are just a few. There are suggestions for whipped cream toppings and several made with marshmallows especially for the Ginger Cake.

      In the Questions and Answers section in the front of the book Betty answers the question "Why do you use fresh eggs?"

      "Fresh eggs make consistently better cakes. Dried eggs are relatively perishable and when included in a cake mix may cause a cake to be dry and crumbly with an eggy flavor."
      Coincidentally, I had recently read the following in The Century in Food by Beverly Bundy:

      "The two pioneering companies [General Mills and Pillsbury] miscalculated by including powdered eggs in the mixes. Consumers make it clear they want to add their own eggs--these are, after all, people who have cooked in the recent past. So, with a quick turn-around, mixes are reformulated."
      I guess powdered eggs were okay with Betty as long as she was the one putting them in the mix.

      Betty Crocker also published a hardcover book called the Betty Crocker Ultimate Cake Mix Cookbook in 2004 which follows the same premise as the 1951 booklet; this expanded version calls for the use of their SuperMoist cake mixes.

      Today, other publishers and authors have their own versions of cake mix magic: All New Cake Mix Magic, Kid's Cake Mix Magic, Favorite Brand Name Recipes Cake Mix Magic, Duncan Hines Cake Mix Magic, Duncan Hines Complete Cake Mix Magic.... should I go on? You can take a look at most of these books here or here.