March 27, 2008

Canadian Spuds

I have quite a few advertising cookbooks of Canadian origin in my collection. One of them is Ontario Potato - Potato Recipes (undated, 36 pages) that was published by the Ontario Potato Growers Marketing Board. This organization was formed in 1976 and is similar to the various industry marketing groups we have here in the U.S.

The Foodland Ontario symbol you see on the front cover in the lower right corner is used to help consumers identify Ontario foods. I've noticed a similar logo on Texas produce lately.

The cookbook contains thirty recipes divided into the three sections you see on the cover: Quick 'n Easy, Diet and Gourmet. Each section has ten recipes. The beginning of each section is a page that shows small photos of each of the ten dishes in that section.

Some of the interesting things about this booklet are the props used in the photos. Pyrex and Corningware appear to be as popular in Canada as they are in the U.S.

Some of the things used as props are noticeably worn. Shown in the photo for the Potato Scramble recipe are several books. One has quite a rippled dust jacket and a view of the page edges of another book shows some staining and dirt. The wooden handle on the skillet shown in the Lamb Jardinière shows quite a bit of wear too, as does the wooden chopping block in the Pommes Dauphinoise and the Farmer's Omelette.

I had quite forgotten that Gordon Lightfoot was Canadian until I noticed his Did She Mention My Name? 33-1/2 rpm record and its very worn album cover shown beside Potato and Ham Casserole.

This recipe for Hawaiian Chocolate Cake doesn't really have anything to do with Hawaii as far as I can tell, other than some pineapple slices used garnish. It does contain mashed potatoes though. This recipe is from the Diet section, hence the use of diet margarine, skim milk and the sugar substitute.


1/3 cup diet margarine
1 cup sugar
12 packets granulated sugar substitute (equivalent to 1/2 cup sugar)
4 eggs
1 cup mashed potatoes, made with skim milk
1/2 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

In large bowl, with electric mixer at medium-high speed, cream together margarine, sugar and sugar substitute.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in potatoes.

Add remaining ingredients; beat two minutes.

Line 2 - 8 or 9 inch round cake pans with waxed paper cut to fit the bottoms. Pour half of batter in each pan.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean.

Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire racks to cool completely. Decorate with pineapple and whipped cream.

You can go to the Ontario Potato Board website to find more "Spudstitutions" like the one in the cake above (click on the their recipes tab to find the link).

March 24, 2008

1929 Frigidaire Refrigerators

Frigidaire Frozen Delights (1929, 48 pages) is interesting in that it appears to be, for some reason, aimed at apartment dwellers. The subtitle of this small cookbook is "Especially Prepared for Apartments with Frigidaire."

In 1925 the cost of a Frigidaire household refrigerator was about $500, the price significantly reduced by about 50 percent from what it was a mere five years earlier. By the time this booklet was published, Frigidaire was the top selling refrigerator brand, the company having already achieved their millionth refrigerator sale.

By 1929, perhaps the price had come down enough to where it was cost effective to put Frigidaire refrigerators into new apartments.

When I think of apartments, I immediately think of New York City, where there are thousands of multi-story apartment buildings. (I do not think of the bland and boring, two or three-story, sprawling apartment complexes that are the norm for my own city and where there is always a parking space near your front door.) Although this book on the history of New York apartment houses stops short of the time period when this cookbook was published, I found it to be very interesting reading. The 1920s was a time when many new apartment houses were being built in NYC.

Here in Houston, amazingly enough, the Plaza Apartment Hotel, built in 1925, has thus far escaped the bulldozer and still stands. This article tells something about one of our, until recently, few multi-story apartment buildings. One of the features was that all apartments were equipped with were electric refrigerators that made ice cubes. Maybe they were Frigidaires.

The booklet makes no other mention of apartments other than the subtitle and the following sentence in the Introduction: "The preparation of frozen desserts represents an entirely new application of the apartment refrigerator." The same paragraph also mentions that an experimental kitchen was installed at the Dayton, Ohio Frigidaire factory. I can't decide whether the small illustration beside this paragraph is supposed to depict an apartment kitchen or their home economics test kitchen. As far as I can tell, there was no real size distinction between a Frigidaire for an apartment and a regular Frigidaire. It's more likely that this was just another marketing angle.

This cookbook includes almost one hundred recipes for everything from beverages to salad dressings that were made practical through the use of continual refrigeration.

There are no color illustrations. Most of them are of this type shown here.

The following two drawings are included within the text, showing suggested food placement for obtaining optimal food storage results. These show both the two-door and the single-door units, and Frigidaire Models AP-7-a and D-7-1 are mentioned in the captions.

These models look very similar to the Kelvinator that I wrote about earlier this year.

This April 1928 advertisement from the Ladies Home Journal shows an illustration of what the two door Frigidaire in the cookbook probably looked like.

I was amused with the portion of the booklet referencing storage containers--no nasty plastic back then.

Containers for Food

The absence of excessive moisture in Frigidaire is a distinct advantage in preserving perishable foods. But it is essential that foods be properly stored to realize the full benefits of this dry cold. Liquids and wet foods, for instance, should be covered. The containers may be of metal, earthenware or glass. The most satisfactory containers, however, are those of glass, for they have the advantage of transparency, which saves time often wasted in searching for articles in covered pans.
This recipe from the Cocktails section (they're not talking beverages here) sounds awful. Thankfully, most of the other recipes seem to be a little more appealing.


Pour some sherry wine flavor over seedless raisins and let stand in Frigidaire for one hour. Make a sauce of one cup tomato catsup, season with a dash of tobasco (sic) sauce, celery seed and the juice of two lemons. Add a few chopped almonds. Fill glasses and chill.

March 12, 2008

Dixie Margarine

This small brochure is for an oleomargarine product whose brand name is unfamiliar to me. Dixie Recipes That Bring Smiles of Pleasure (undated, foldout) was published by The Capital City Products Co. of Columbus, Ohio and is advertising Dixie Vegetable Oleomargarine. It looks like the 1940s era to me.

Although their "new flavor discovery" is mentioned several times, it doesn't go into any detail about exactly what that discovery is. There is, however, a picture of a scientist with a microscope and copy stating that ten years of research went into this new discovery.

When folded completely out, the brochure measures about 9-1/2 by 12-1/2 inches. One side shows a woman chef beating on a metal dishpan with her ladle and the words "Come and Get It!"

When did the metal dishpans fall out of favor? My grandmother was still using one in 1988.

The rest of this page is given over to nine recipes with color photos. Three of the photos show the one pound block of Dixie Margarine. There are recipes for Dixie Butterscotch Bars, Thin Sugar Cookies, a Dixie Yellow Layer Cake, a Potato Souffle, Peach Crisp Pudding, Spicy Raisin Cookies, Dixie Pecan Rolls, Apple Pancakes and Macaroni-Chili Casserole (a dish I've never been fond of).

I do like the other side of the brochure which shows a nice large illustration of the Dixie Vegetable Oleomargarine product package. You can read the fine print not visible in the other illustration: "Vitamin Fortified - 2 ozs. supplies 47% of the minimum adult and 62% child daily Vitamin "A" requirements." and 15,000 U.S.P. units of Vitamin "A" added. Artificially Flavored - 1/10 of 1% Sodium Benzoate added as a preservative."

This side also has a recipe for Dixie Fruit Cake which calls for one cup of the Dixie product.