February 26, 2008

The Natural Foods Company

The 17th Edition of The Vital Question Cook Book (1902, 112 pages) was published by The Natural Foods Company of Niagara Falls, New York. This company was the maker of Shredded Wheat Biscuits.

This cookbook has several interesting aspects, so we'll just look at one portion today, that which tells about their first plant in the Niagara Falls area. There would eventually be two more factories built in this area, one on each side of the U.S. and Canadian border.

The booklet is compact, measuring only 4 by 4-1/2 inches and it has a thin, pliable blue cloth cover. The copy I have has a faded and frayed red cord still attached to the top hole.

Like C. I. Hood & Co., The Natural Foods Company felt it beneficial to inform potential customers about the magnificence of their building.

Although the book does not mention it, the building described below was built at a cost of two million dollars.

The image below is found in the cookbook.

This image provides a better view.

The Natural Food Conservatory
Niagara Falls, N. Y.

"The Home of Shredded Wheat"
The Largest and Finest Industrial Building in the World.

The beautiful structure of The Natural Food Company is located on Buffalo Avenue (occupying ten acres), in the finest residence portion of the city, with a frontage of 900 feet on the Niagara Rapids.

The plant consists of the main building four hundred and sixty-three (463) feet long and sixty-six (66) feet wide, with four connecting portions. This united structure covers an area of fifty-five thousand six hundred and fifty-three (55,653) square feet, or a total of four million five hundred thousand (4,5000,000) cubic feet--about 5-1/2 acres floor space.

The center section, first in importance, and in itself a large building, contains the administrative and educational features. As one enters the Conservatory, he steps directly into a large foyer or reception room, from which may be taken one of the high-speed electric elevators to the floor above.

The gallery around the foyer or reception room is taken up with offices, and the entire floor above is devoted to the main offices of the Company.

On the fourth floor is a lecture hall with seating capacity of 1,000, provided with all conveniences, and is placed at the disposal of the public and employees. Conventions meeting at Niagara are given the free use of this hall for any length of time they desire.

On the fifth and top floor, a great airy room, commanding a delightful view of the Niagara River, there is a dining room, which will be perfectly equipped and attractive in its fittings as to be decidedly stimulating to the appetite. This room is arranged for the noon eating room of the employees. Here each day the various workers will come to luncheon. The Natural Food Company looks to keeping the standard of its employees up to the same high grade that characterizes everything connected with it.

The roof of the Administration building will be converted into a very beautiful and attractive roof garden, affording a picturesque view of the wonders of Niagara.

The frame of the building required three thousand tons of steel, which is covered with a light buff-colored brick. The interior is finished in Keene cement, painted with white enamel, requiring nearly thirty-five tons of paint. The building is heated and ventilated by the fan system. There are eight hundred and forty-four window openings, and all windows are double glazed--to exclude dust and smoke--thirty thousand lights of glass being required and ten tons of putty used for glazing. The temperature is kept uniform in summer by means of bringing fresh air over cool water and distributing it throughout the building, and in winter by forcing fresh air through coils of steam pipe.

Elaborate lavatories, finished in marble and mosaic, are provided for the employees and fitted with shower and needle baths and hot and cold soft water, employees being allowed one hour per week on Company's time for use of same.

The air in the Administration building is changed every seven and one-half minutes. Electricity is used for power and lighting throughout, and in part for baking, supplied by the Niagara Falls Power Company. Each floor of the Administration Building is connected with the Conservatory proper. A special provision is made for visitors to see the process. Galleries are provided on the second and third floors; Shredded Wheat dishes will be served by means of a carrier system in the form of a miniature electric railway. Individual desks are so arranged that one may make a memorandum of luncheon from a menu card, and placing same on the car and pushing an electric button, the car starts on its way, and is returned in a remarkably short space of time with your order complete.

The Conservatory is open, free to the visiting public, during the usual business hours.

This illustration showing visitors to the Conservatory is a portion of one found in a 1906 magazine advertisement.

Here are several other views of The Natural Food Observatory, found on souvenir postcards.

I find it interesting that in earlier times, food companies were eager to have visitors and to show off their facilities. Proprietary reasons and liability issues aside, do you think the food companies today would want us anywhere near their manufacturing facilities? I think not.

There's a fairly recent book that's been published about Henry Perky, known as the Shredded Wheat King, if you'd like to learn more about him or the company's early history.

February 21, 2008

Kraft Miniature Marshmallows

I'm not really a marshmallow person, that is to say, I like them, but don't eat them all that frequently. They're an ingredient in the Rice Krispie Treats, Jell-O salads and Candied Sweet Potatoes that I sample occasionally in pot luck situations, but I'm not going out of my way to buy a bag or make my own.

This little pamphlet, Kraft Miniature Marshmallows: Recipes for Cooking-Salads-Desserts (not dated, 12 pages), contains many of the recipes that I have either prepared or eaten over the years that do contain marshmallows as an ingredient.

You can see all of the recipes found inside on the little tabs of the pages. That's rather convenient.

Although I like marshmallows in fruit salads every once in a while, the thought of these Peach-Mallow Nests don't do much for me. Look at the metal ice tray (referred to as a refrigerator freezing tray) in the illustration for the Caramel Mallow. I'll bet there aren't too many of those around anymore.

This broiled marshmallow frosting is quite different from the marshmallow frosting I made for this cake the other day. Their version doesn't look very appetizing.

The last page of the pamphlet shows how the bag of Kraft Miniature Marshmallows looked back then. I found a 1956 magazine advertisement that shows this same bag.

The ad shows some of the recipes found in the booklet, except they're in color. The Fruit and Marshmallow Salad, the Applesauce Dessert and the Marshmallow Fluff are shown.

There's a small number printed on the bottom edge of the pamphlet - 551005. If I were to guess, particularly after seeing the magazine ad, I'd say that it was a date code, for sometime in 1955, perhaps October 10, but maybe 1005 is a publication number.

The pamphlet could be obtained for free by writing to Kraft.

February 18, 2008

All-Around Aunt Jemima

The Pearl Milling Company introduced the Aunt Jemima brand in 1889. Aunt Jemima Pancake Flour was another early convenience mix available to consumers. All that was needed was the addition of water (or milk) to the prepackaged mix.

When Quaker Oats purchased Aunt Jemima in 1926, the product line consisted of Aunt Jemima Pancake Flour and Aunt Jemima Prepared Buckwheat Flour.

Forty-three years later, by the time the Morning to Midnight Cook Book (1969, 124 pages) was published by Follett Publishing, the Aunt Jemima product line had increased significantly. This cookbook featured many Aunt Jemima products: Buckwheat Pancake and Waffle Mix, Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix, Coffee Cake Easy Mix, Corn Bread Easy Mix, Deluxe Easy Pour Pancake Mix, Pancake & Waffle Mix, Syrup, Frozen Corn Sticks, Frozen Country Waffles and Frozen Waffles.

It also included Flako products, a line of baking mixes first introduced in 1921, which Quaker Oats had purchased in 1959: Flako Corn Muffin Mix, Flako Cup Cake Mix, Flako Pie Crust Mix and Flako Popover Mix.

Quaker didn't loose the opportunity to include their other products, either: Old Fashioned Quaker Oats and Instant Quaker Oatmeal, Quaker Enriched White Corn Meal, Quaker Enriched Whit Hominy Grits, Quaker Enriched White Hominy Quick Grits, Quaker Enriched Yellow Corn Meal, Quaker White or Yellow Corn Meal Mix and Quick Quaker Oats are used in many of the recipes too.

Some of you make think it tedious that I frequently list the products individually like this. I do it because, oftentimes, when I'm researching a product, the very information I'm seeking comes from a post like this. These are small details that are usually left out of the overall picture as time goes on. Aunt Jemima has a nice brand history on their website, but it leaves out many of the details that sometimes come in handy when you're trying to place a date on something. Perhaps this information will help someone else someday.

This is another one of those "brown" cookbooks. The cover is predominantly brown, the photos inside are dark and contain many shades of brown and even the illustrations are brown and orange.

Interestingly, the Aunt Jemima logo is nowhere to be found in this book, nor are any illustrations of the product packaging.

This cookbook contains 340 recipes using the easy shortcut method of prepared mixes as part of the ingredients.

How useful this book would be today would depend on which recipe you wanted to prepare, as many of the mixes no longer exist. The Flako mixes are no longer being produced nor are some of the Aunt Jemima mixes.

Besides recipes, the cookbook also contains menu suggestions.

The Table of Contents is divided into Appetizers and Snacks, Breakfasts and Brunches, Lunches and Meals on the Go, Suppers and Simple Buffets, Dinners for Family and Friends and Best Breads and Desserts.

I like how the Index is divided into two sections. One section lists all of the recipes by name and category and the second section lists all of the recipes by product. If you were looking to make something with your Aunt Jemima Coffee Cake Mix, you could look in the back and see that there are thirteen recipes that call for the use of that particular mix.

I chose this recipe because the Pancake Mix still exists and I thought that the use of pancake mix in the dumplings instead of flour was interesting. I've never tried using that method for dumplings before.


1 plump stewing chicken, cut up
1/2 cup Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Pancake Mix
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chicken fat, or 1/4 lb. salt pork, drawn out
4 cups water
1 stalk celery, diced
1 onion, stuck with 2 cloves
1 tablespoon minced parsley

2 cups Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Pancake Mix
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon instant minced onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Stew: Dredge pieces of chicken in mixture of pancake mix, salt and pepper. In 2-quart casserole sauté chicken in chicken fat or salt pork until well-browned on all sides. Add water, celery, onion and parsley. Cover. Simmer until chicken is tender, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Dumplings: Combine all ingredients, stir lightly. When stew is ready, drop dumplings over pieces of chicken, cook, covered, 12 to 15 minuets without lifting cover. Serve immediately.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Not all of the recipes contain the convenience mixes. The California-Style Shrimp Salad recipe contains no mix, but the suggested accompaniments on the menu do--Orange Nut Bread and Maple Nut Sundae.

California Style Shrimp Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
Orange Nut Bread
Maple Nut Sundae (Vanilla ice cream topped with Aunt Jemima Syrup and chopped nuts.)

The Yorkshire Pudding served with this Thyme-Flavored Roast Beef is made with a Flako Popover Mix.

Here's something they're calling a Turkey Divan Open Sandwich. It uses frozen waffles instead of bread.

Shown in this photo are the Cocoa Cake Roll (made with Buttermilk Pancake Mix), Cherry Cobbler and Baked Alaska Pie (both made with Flako Pie Crust Mix).

Nearly every manufacturer comes up with innovative recipes in which to use their products. This cookbook certainly shows that pancake mix, syrup and oatmeal could be used in a lot of creative ways besides breakfast.

February 12, 2008

Bananas Revisited

We've looked at this banana recipe pamphlet before, as well as others from the United Fruit Company. We've even looked at one on plantains.

I was drawn to A Study of the Banana again today. It has several interesting illustrations that I didn't show previously.

This photo shows a stem of bananas still on the plant. It's a little dark, but you get the idea.

Here's what the booklet has to say about bananas before they're harvested:

Each banana plant grows from fifteen to thirty feet in height and bears but one stem, or bunch of fruit. When that is harvested, the plant is cut down and allowed to rot and fertilize the soil for new plants growing from the same rootstock.

The fruit grows with fingers up (each individual banana is called a finger). Bananas are harvested green, even when they are to be eaten in the locality in which they are grown. This is necessary because if allowed to tree-ripen, the majority of the skins break open and the pulp is attacked by insects. Even those bananas which reach full ripeness without splitting, have a pulp which is mealy and practically tasteless.
This photo shows a man with at least six already-harvested stems loaded on his donkey and his own shoulder. He's transporting them from the field back to wherever he takes them. I wonder if this scene looks much different today than back then.

Here's a photo of the bananas back at the wholesale house. I wonder what this climate-controlled storage looks like today.

"Banana ripening rooms in wholesale houses are "weather-controlled." Temperature
and moisture are carefully guarded to bring the green banana through its early
ripening stages."
Here we have a visual aid for the three stages of ripening:

Yellow with green tip: The peel of the banana acts as a color guide to tell us when the fruit is ripe. When the peel is yellow, except for a green tip, the pulp is firm and somewhat starchy. When green tipped, bananas should not be eaten raw, but should be left at room temperature to become completely ripe. Or they may be cooked in many tempting ways. Cooking makes them thoroughly digestible and brings out a rich, distinctive flavor.

(When starchy foods are cooked, the starch grains are broken up, the starch is liberated from the cells and the digestive juices of the body can act upon them more effectively.)

Yellow ripe: In the next stage, yellow ripe, when all trace of green has disappeared and all the peel is yellow, by far the largest part of the starch has become sugar. The fruit has a delicious flavor, is readily digested and is still firm enough for cooking.

Fully ripe: - Yellow with brown flecks: At this fully ripe stage practically all the starch has been converted into sugar and the flavor has developed to its highest delicacy. The pulp has softened and is thoroughly digestible.
The rear cover takes the cartoon approach with three easy rules to help the stages of ripening along with suggestions for serving at each of the stages. The banana is best used for cooking during the first two stages and for eating in the third stage.

This illustration demonstrates how to flute a banana to make it more attractive for your desserts and salads:

This illustration demonstrates how to bake a banana:

To Bake - Peeled: Peel bananas. Use whole, or cut into halves or quarters. Arrange in a shallow baking dish. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake in a moderate oven (375° F.) until bananas are tender. Allow 12 to 18 minutes for whole bananas or crosswise halves. Allow 8 to 12 minutes for quarters or lengthwise halves. Serve very hot.

To Bake - Unpeeled: Cut of both ends of each banana. Make a lengthwise split with a sharp knife through the skin of the banana. Bake in a moderate oven (375° F.) for 15 to 20 minutes or until skins are dark and bananas are soft to the touch. Separate the peel and season with butter and salt, if desired. Serve very hot.

1/2 cup diced canned pineapple (about 2 slices)
3 ripe bananas, diced
1-1/2 cups canned salmon
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped pickle
Mayonnaise to moisten

Drain pineapple well. Mix together bananas and pineapple. Add salmon from which bones and skin have been removed. Stir in remaining ingredients except lemon. Garnish with lemon slices or greens. Six to eight servings.


1 ripe banana
Chopped peanuts
Salad greens

Peel and cut banana crosswise into halves. Split each half lengthwise and spread open as a fan. Place banana on a salad plate. Sprinkle cut surfaces with peanuts. Garnish with greens. Serve with mayonnaise or cream dressing. One individual serving.

Can't figure out how to work bananas into your meal plan? Here are some suggestions from the pamphlet:

Roast Beef
Banana Fritters
Creamed Cauliflower
Boiled Greens

Banana Fritters
Baked Apple
Baked Squash
Buttered Spinach garnished with firm-cooked Egg

Lamb Chops
Banana Scallops
Creamed Peas
Pickled Beets or Celery

Baked Halibut
Baked Bananas
Buttered Peas
Sliced Tomatoes

Baked Ham
Baked Bananas
Baked Eggplant
Cranberry Sauce

Fried Fish
Banana Scallops
Creamed Peas
Cole Slaw

Fish Cakes
Broiled Bananas
Buttered Green Beans
Stewed Tomatoes

Pork Chops
Broiled Bananas
Buttered Beets
Apple Sauce

Baked Corned Beef Hash
Baked Bananas
Baked Tomatoes

Meat Pie
Banana Scallops
Buttered String Beans
Cole Slaw

February 11, 2008

Pepperidge Farm Sandwiches

Pepperidge Farm Presents: Some Highly Interesting Sandwich Recipes (not dated, 14 pages) was the first cookbooklet in the company's history devoted solely to the art of sandwich making. I find that curious considering that bread was their primary product line. What is bread for, if not sandwiches?

The introductory page, like those found in many booklets of this type, features the standard testimonial message from a company spokesperson, in this case, Margaret Rudkin, Founder and Director of Pepperidge Farm.

She remarks that "the company's main business has been bread for 25 years," which would put the date of publication around 1962. (The company was formed in 1937.)

Mrs. Rudkin sold Pepperidge Farm to the Campbell Soup Company in 1961, but remained as head of the company. She retired in 1966 and passed away in 1967.

Six different Pepperidge Farm bakery products are shown on the rear cover in their vintage packaging: White Bread, White Sandwich Bread, Family Rye Bread, Whole Wheat Bread, Snack Rye Slices and Hovis Golden Sandwich Bread.

Choices of bread to use in the sandwiches are not indicated other than the direction to use slices of white and dark bread in the Party Treats section or the Party Rye Bread on the Hors d'Oeuvres page.

Included are a page of helpful hints on sandwich making, a checklist of popular sandwich-making ingredients and a short history on bread.

The recipes and sandwich filling suggestions are divided into variations that include Meat, Fish and Eggs as the main ingredient.

The ideas shown on the Party Treats page seem a bit complicated, particularly in the case of the Mosaic Sandwiches (shown below) where the directions are as follows:

Make sandwich with top slice of white bread, bottom slice of dark bread. (Use sweet fillings for children, savory for adults). Cut and reverse inner shape using small cookie cutter. Then cut outer shape with large cutter.
That seems pretty fussy, and time consuming, unless you had someone else doing it for you.

The center of the booklet is a double page spread with twelve soup and sandwich suggestions. I like the looks of these two pages. The suggestions and presentation of the soups, sandwiches and addition of a fresh fruit on each plate appear to be both practical and appetizing.

There are detailed instructions for preparing Roll-Up and Pinwheel Sandwiches. Also included, but not shown here, are instructions for the Ribbon Sandwiches and Checkerboards.

And, of course, no real sandwich recipe booklet of this era would be complete without the instructions for making a Party Sandwich Loaf.

I'll tell you. If I were going to the trouble to fill up a pastry bag and pipe decorations onto something, it would sure be the frosting for a cake and not cream cheese for a sandwich. But that's just me.

February 09, 2008


People can say what they will about the evils of processed foods, but sometimes they serve a very good purpose.

A case in point is sauerkraut. I usually get the Boar's Head brand, which comes in a nice little refrigerated bag.

One year, after a bountiful cabbage harvest, I considered making my own homemade sauerkraut. Sadly, I never got past looking at the directions in the cookbook because I couldn't wrap my mind around the whole fermentation process.

Leave shredded cabbage at room temperature on the kitchen counter for days and weeks? Isn't that considered compost? It's not gonna happen. And this is Texas. We're air conditioned 24/7 even in February. It's likely that my kitchen is as cool as my refrigerator. It's still not gonna happen.

Here's part of the problem: I'm one of those people who's extremely influenced by the expiration dates on food. The food companies love people like me. I won't eat or use anything past it's expiration date. Out it goes. Off to the store to buy new.

Just this evening I noticed that they started putting an expiration date on the cans of PAM. Just what I need.

I know it's all in my mind. Before eggs started getting their death date printed right on the carton, I would use them for months if that's how long they were in the refrigerator. Who knows how long my previous cans of PAM had been in the cupboard before they were eventually used up. Even canned goods have the actual dates stamped on them now instead of some mysterious code that I previously could cheerfully ignore because I didn't know what they meant.

I was buzzing along in blissful ignorance. I want to know what's in my food and where it comes from, but I don't want to know when my elbow macaroni expires.

So, back to sauerkraut.

Tammy over at Food on the Food started a batch of her own last month and I've been waiting to see how it would turn out. She did an update yesterday and I have to say, I'm quite impressed.

Since she's now eaten some and lived to write about it, I'm almost convinced that it might be a doable thing for me. At least she's given me the courage to perhaps start the project. We'll see about actually tasting it when the time comes.

I may be a little weird about the expiration date thing, but I want you to know that I do exercise risky behavior in some cases.

  • I've been eating cake and brownie batter from the beaters, bowls and spoons ever since I was a kid.

  • One of the best things about my first apartment was that I was finally able to nip pieces of raw cookie dough out of the refrigerator without feeling guilty about it or having my mother tell me not to do it because it was bad for me.

  • I'll take butter out of the refrigerator to soften before making cookies and not actually make the cookies until days later.

  • There's nothing wrong with Steak Tartare. I like my steaks and roast beef cooked very rare.

  • I have used expired milk in my mashed potatoes and dumplings in the past because I was too lazy to go to the store.

  • I use a wooden cutting board for my meat and my vegetables.

We'll save my issues with dairy products for another day.

February 08, 2008

Jenny Wren Flour

Jenny Wren Recipes (1926, 16 pages) is a cute little pamphlet with recipes for biscuits, shortcake, dumplings, pancakes and waffles, quick breads, doughnuts, pies and cakes, cookies and other desserts.

Here are a couple of the color illustrations from inside. The first is for biscuits.

This one is for griddle cakes.

These illustrations look sort of familiar to me. Have I seen them somewhere before? Even the recipes seem vaguely familiar.

Look at that cute logo on the front of their package. A birdhouse with a little brown wren. I like birds so I think this is pretty cool packaging. But even the packaging seems familiar.

What's in the box? Jenny Wren Ready-Mixed Flour.

What does all of this remind me of? Why, Bisquick Baking Mix, of course! The illustrations and recipes are very similar to those found in a booklet we've looked at before. Except Bisquick wasn't introduced until 1931. And Bisquick claims to be the first packaged dry baking mix.

What's up with that?

The Jenny Wren brand originated in Lawrence, Kansas, though I'm not sure of the exact date. This booklet says it was published by the Jenny Wren Company. There were several booklets published in the mid-1930s by the Jenny Wren Products Company. Here's a photo showing the Bowersock Mills and Power Co. on the Kaw River and the Jenny Wren name on the side of one of the buildings.

This source says that the Lawrence, Kansas WREN radio station was created in 1926 by R. C. Jackman for the specific purpose of advertising Jenny Wren Flour. You can find out a bit more about WREN here.

This is the information found in the front of the booklet. Many of the same selling points as Bisquick:

Jenny Wren Flour is a scientific blend of hard and soft wheat flour of the highest quality, in which the "hard-to-mix" ingredients are already included in absolutely correct proportions.

Everything Baked with JENNY WREN has an appetizing goodness all its own. There's a flavor, a savor, and a beautiful golden brown color to JENNY WREN bakings not obtainable with other flours. It enables the novice, with no previous baking experience, to equal the work of experts, and it gives experts better results that ever before with less time and effort. Success is guaranteed!

JENNY WREN costs less, goes farther, is more healthful and has more uses than other prepared flours. It is--
A Cake Flour
A Biscuit Flour
A Pancake Flour
A Pie Crust Flour
A Flour for all Quick Breads and Pastries


Here's one of the Important Reminders found on the next page, which tells us a little more about the ingredients found in Jenny Wren Ready-Mixed Flour:

In using your own recipes, remember that Jenny Wren Flour requires more liquid than other flours. Never add salt, baking powder, soda, yeast or any other leavening ingredient to Jenny Wren Flour, as it all ready contains phosphate soda and salt.
Here lies what appears to be the main difference between Bisquick and Jenny Wren. Bisquick contains shortening in the mixture and Jenny Wren did not. Most of the Jenny Wren recipes required the addition of shortening.

Perhaps this was why Bisquick was the product that endured the test of time and became the more successful of the two in the long run. They took their formula a step further. They cut out another step required of the cook who used Bisquick. The addition of the shortening also might have allowed them to market their product as a baking mix rather than just a flour.

From an advertising point of view, which of the two sounds like it would be more helpful to the homemaker--a baking mix or flour?

I'm not saying that Bisquick copied Jenny Wren, but I think it's interesting that the two products and their advertising are so much alike.

February 07, 2008

All-Bran All The Time

The Kellogg's recipe pamphlet referred to in my post on Saturday was called The Plus Food for Minus Meals (not dated, 16 pages), a small publication that promoted their All-Bran breakfast cereal.

Kellogg's introduced their ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, Toasted Corn Flakes, in 1906. By the time this publication came out they had a line of seven different cereals, all of which are shown on the rear cover.

The dates following the name of the cereals below indicate when they were introduced to the public.

Kellogg's Toasted Corn Flakes - 1906
Kellogg's Krumbles - 1914
Kellogg's Whole Wheat Biscuit -1920
Kellogg's All-Bran - 1916
Kellogg's PEP - 1922
Kellogg's Rice Krispies - 1927
Kellogg's Wheat Krispies - 1934

The inclusion of Kellogg's Wheat Krispies in the illustration helps date the pamphlet, which was published a bit later than I initially thought. It must have been between 1934 (when they brought out Wheat Krispies) and 1937 (before they sold Kaffee Hag) and not the late 1920s.

Sometimes dating these old booklets is a bit like working a Logic Puzzle. It's fun figuring out all the details. I would have probably enjoyed investigative accounting had I only known of its existence way back when.

The cryptic title of the pamphlet has to do with the nutritional and gastrological benefits to be derived from eating and cooking with All-Bran.

Serve More Complete Meals with Kellogg's All-Bran

Perhaps the meals you serve are "bulk-minus" meals. Kellogg's All-Bran is the "bulk-plus" food so necessary in the well-balanced diet. Serve as a cereal, combined with other cereals, or use it as an ingredient in many tempting and economical dishes. All the recipes in this helpful folder have been triple tested in our Cottage Kitchen so that you may get the fullest enjoyment from the use of All-Bran in your home. Laboratory tests show (1) that All-Bran is a safe and gentle food that relieves constipation due to insufficient "bulk"; (2) that it does not lose its effectiveness with continued use; (3) that is a good source of iron and Vitamin B. Kellogg's All-Bran is accepted by the American Medical Association Committee on Foods as a natural laxative for normal people.

This text is found inside the front cover, followed by the signature of Barbara B. Brooks, of the Kellogg Company Home Economics Department in Battle Creek, Michigan.

The Kellogg's Home Economics Department was created and headed up by Mary Barber, a dietician hired by Kellogg's in 1923. While Mary Barber was an actual person, Barbara B. Brooks was not. Like Betty Crocker at General Mills, Martha Logan at Swift & Co. and Mary Blake at Carnation, Barbara was another one of the fictional Home Economics personas created by the food companies.

Of the seven recipes found in the pamphlet, I thought one was a bit unusual. Perhaps this is because gingersnaps are not something I would normally associate with increasing one's dietary fiber intake.


1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup Kellogg's ALL-BRAN
2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoon ginger
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream shortening and sugar. Add molasses and ALL-BRAN. Beat thoroughly. Sift dry ingredients and combine with creamed mixture. Shape into a roll about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in waxed paper and store in refrigerator until firm. Slice very thin and bake on ungreased cookie sheets about 10 minutes in a moderate oven (375° F.)

Yield: 50 cookies

Has anyone besides myself ever noticed that these older recipes seem to call for a little more baking soda than their modern counterparts? Why is that?

The other six recipes are some that are still fairly popular today: All-Bran Muffins, Banana All-Bran Nut Bread, All-Bran Date Bars, All-Bran Brown Bread, All-Bran Waffles Supreme and All-Bran Refrigerator Rolls.

Smaller illustrations decorate each of the recipe pages. I noticed that they all showed people involved in some type of physical activity.

One illustration shows a dapper gentlemen with his walking cane, another is of a smartly dressed woman taking a brisk walk, there's a woman swinging a golf club, a man and woman on a hill with a hiking stick and a young boy on a bicycle.

Are these subtle reminders that a healthy diet equals an active lifestyle?

The following illustration reminds me of my grandmother. For as long as I remember, she ate either All-Bran or Raisin Bran (introduced by Kellogg's in 1942) for breakfast every morning.

February 02, 2008

Kellogg's Kaffee Hag

This morning I pulled a small sheet of paper out of an old Kellogg's cereal recipe booklet. It was neatly tucked in the back, just inside the rear cover. At first I thought it was a loose page but soon realized that it was an advertisement for another Kellogg's product. By all appearances, the paper looked as if it belonged there, so I'm going to assume that the paper was meant to be part of the booklet.

Did you know that Kellogg's once produced a decaffeinated coffee product? I didn't. Or not that I remember, anyway.

After a little searching, I discovered that for a period of about ten years (from 1927 until 1937), Kellogg's manufactured a 97% caffeine-free coffee sold under the brand name of Kaffee Hag.

As its name indicates, the brand had German roots. In the early 1900s a process for removing the caffeine from green coffee beans was invented in Germany by Ludwig Roselius and Karl Wimmer. This early process involved using solvents such as benzene and methylene chloride as part of the caffeine extraction method.

Roselius was already marketing his coffee in Germany and other parts of Europe under the Kaffee Hag name and in France under the Sanka name, when he established the Kaffee Hag Corporation in New York. In 1912, he began manufacturing the first decaffeinated coffee in America in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

During World War I, the company, along with its trademark, was expropriated by the Alien Property Custodian office of the U.S. government. George F. Gund II, of the Cleveland, Ohio brewing family, purchased the American portion of Kaffee Hag and its trademark for $130,000 after state Prohibition laws interrupted their brewery operations in 1919. Gund built up the company and sold it to Kellogg's for the sum of $10 million in 1927.

I learned here that Roselius continued with his American decaffeinated coffee ventures after the war was over.

"After the armistice, Roselius returned to the United States and in 1927 entered into a partnership arrangement with the General Foods Corp. to produce decaffeinated coffee under the Sanka label in Brooklyn, New York. In 1932 Roselius sold his interest in the Sanka business to General Foods. In 1937 General Foods bought the American Kaffee Hag Co. from Kellogg and thereby became the sole producer of caffeine-free coffee in the United States."

A quick perusal of old magazine and newspaper advertisements didn't turn up anything for the Kaffee Hag brand in the U.S. after the Kellogg's sale, so it's probably safe to assume that General Foods retired the brand altogether after the acquisition to focus solely on Sanka. The Kaffee Hag brand is still sold in Europe today.

The front side of the ad shows a formally dressed couple sitting at a candlelit table with the woman holding a cup of coffee, illustrating a "Happy Ending" to their meal, just as the ad copy suggests.

The copy on the rear side is remarkably similar to what one might see in a decaffeinated coffee advertisement today:

"Does ordinary coffee over-stimulate your nerves, keep you awake at night, or upset your digestion? Have you wished that some day there would be a coffee without the harmful caffeine that would still give you all of coffee's satisfying taste and tantalizing aroma?"

Since we now know that Kellogg's only owned the Kaffee Hag brand for ten years, we can date the advertisement (and the booklet) as being from sometime between 1927 and 1937. To my thinking, Kellogg's mention of their "improved" decaffeination process in the ad suggests it may have been published sometime in the late 1920s, shortly after the purchase from Gund. Certainly they would have wanted to accentuate how Kaffee Hag was "better" under their new ownership.

Until fairly recently, I hadn't ruminated much on decaffeinated anything. I didn't care for the taste of the coffee and it didn't do much for the flavor of my iced tea either. Sanka was around our house for a while in the 1960s, until my father eventually gave it (and his doctor's other advice) up and went back to regular coffee.

Some casual conversation around the dinner table this past Thanksgiving lit up a little light bulb in my brain and led me to the realization that I might be ingesting a little too much caffeine. So since Thanksgiving, I've been mixing decaffeinated coffee and tea in with the regular stuff as a means of cutting back.

As for the decaffeination process itself--I'd never given it a thought before now.

I sat up a little straighter in my chair when I came across the words "methylene chloride." I'm familiar with methylene chloride as being the main ingredient in the easiest, handiest-dandiest paint stripper there ever was. The stuff magically washes away hundred year old paint and other finishes from old furniture without the pesky business of scrubbing or slowly scraping off sludge that is required from the array of less powerful products found in the corner hardware store. My respect for the power of this solvent is such that I no longer strip my own furniture nor do I flinch when quoted a price for professional furniture stripping. It's definitely not something I want to even think about in relation to my food or drink.

My reading took me here for the basics of the decaffeination process and here to see how the brand of decaf coffee I've been using is being processed. Ick! I don't like any of it.

No more decaffeinated anything for me.