November 25, 2008

A PET Milk Thanksgiving

It seems as if I've been away from this blog for quite a while. While I was off exploring San Francisco again, the days of November seemed to slip by altogether too quickly. Here it is Thanksgiving week already.

My brief visits into the supermarkets out there for water and coffee yielded only one small recipe booklet, one published by Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil: Signature Family Recipes (2008, 12 pages). Suprisingly, for this time of year, it doesn't contain any holiday recipes, though it does have some manufacturer coupons which one might find useful during the next month or so. Look for the booklet in your supermarket aisles; odds are there's probably a display near you.

Back home again, having resumed my regular routine (and reunited once again with my trusty scanner), I find that the website searches and requests for PET Milk recipes have rolled in as they always do, as Thanksgiving dinner preparations draw closer.

I have no way of knowing for sure, but I'll bet Pet Evaporated Milk sales are the highest at this time of year. I think PET Evaporated Milk is an ingredient that goes into a lot of comfort food for many people. Folks seem to be more nostalgic about recipes and dishes from their past during the holiday season.

Pet Recipes and Money-Saving Meal Plans for 2 or 4 or 6 (not dated, 16 pages) has a lovely illustration of a pumpkin pie set against a dark green background along with colorful fall leaves and acorns on the front cover. It's an appropriate book cover for this time of year.

This booklet is but one out of a whole series of booklets that were published in conjunction with the Mary Lee Taylor Radio Program which aired from the 1930s to the 1950s. One day I'll do a post on the series, but for now we'll just concentrate on this particular booklet.

Several menus and recipes are presented inside, one of them being a simple holiday menu. Perhaps this old menu will serve to give you some ideas for your own meal. Many people are turning towards simpler and less fussy celebrations during this holiday season due to the economy.

Small Servings of Cranberry Orange Salad*
Roast Turkey, Chicken, Duck or Guinea Hen
Harvest Stuffing*
Giblet Gravy*
Buttered Broccoli or Brussels Sprouts
Pumpkin Pie*
Hot Coffee

* Recipes are in the booklet

From the small print found inside, I suspect this booklet may have been published in 1944. Those were lean times and the theme of economy is prevalent throughout the booklet.

Below is a portion of the Introduction found inside the front cover:

The use of Pet Milk can help you save money in many ways. For example ...

Pet Milk provides the kind of protein your family needs for body-building and growth--so you can use it to prepare meatless and meat-saving dishes such as Deviled Macaroni Squares and Tamale Casserole.

Pet Milk, because it is double-rich whole milk, gives a dessert like Pumpkin Pie a wonderful richness of flavor--and helps you to save on expensive ingredients such as cream and eggs.

Pet Milk whips easily, so you can use it for making delicious dishes such as Halloween Salad and for Whipped Lemon Topping. You can save money by doing this because Pet Milk costs a great deal less than whipping cream.

In fact, you save whenever you purchase Pet Milk because Pet Milk costs less generally than ordinary milk, and much less than cream. That's one reason why many thrifty homemakers use Pet Milk, not only for cooking, but also in coffee and on cereals.

I've included scans of the recipes suitable for serving at a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, as well as a couple of others that also seem appropriate. You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

One of the things I like about this series of recipe booklets is that quantities are given for serving sizes of two, four or six people. Sometimes it's hard to find recipes that are just right for two.

The rear cover shows an advertisement for the Mary Lee Taylor Program which aired on the radio on Saturday mornings.

These days we are inspired and influenced by the television programs and recipes brought to us on television via the Food Network.

A delightful glimpse into the past to a time when homemakers tuned in their radios to listen to their favorite cooking shows can be found at this link. There you can hear what they heard and be transported for a few minutes back in time by listening to an actual old Mary Lee program. Being able to listen to a radio show advertised on the back of an old cookbook over half a century later, is to me, one of the wonders of the internet. It's no wonder I spent too much time here.

Each episode told how to send away for Mary Lee's latest recipe booklet. I'm one of the women who would have faithfully sent away for each one. (Although I'm not sure what I would have done without my DVR -- not having to be tied to a TV during a certain time slot is another wonderful modern innovation.) I find that being able to hear these old radio cookbook offers is as wonderful as discovering an offer in a printed ad in a magazine.


At 10:27 AM CST, Blogger ~~louise~~ said...

Hi Kathy,
I'm loving this post. I didn't know anything about Mary Lee Taylor although, I too have many of those Pet Milk books. I can't wait until you do a post about the radio series which I also didn't know about. (ya think I would look at the backs of my books:)

I always have at least one can of evaporated milk, condensed milk, and dry milk powder in the pantry. I think it has something to do with my up bringing. My mother always had them available in case of an emergency. (I grew up during the 60's)

I do agree though Pet Milk probably waits till this time of year to "make their numbers."

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

At 12:09 PM CST, Blogger Kathy said...

Louise - I always have the evaporated and condensed milk around too, though not the dry milk powder. For some reason my mother never used it so I never did either. A friend mentioned the other day that he and his wife rarely have milk in the house and they use the dried powder when sometimes cooking dishes that require milk. Thought that was a good idea to have it handy in case I run ever run out. My grandmother always fixed my oatmeal wth Pet Milk and I still love that flavor combination today. Everyone else in the family thinks it's terrible.

At 1:55 PM CST, Blogger ~~louise~~ said...

I was just reading your reply and it reminded me, although, I'm not sure why I would forget, I like to use dried milk powder when I make chocolate pudding. I may just have to try the Pet Milk in oatmeal. It sounds interesting.

At 2:25 PM CST, Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I remember baking with PET milk even as a kid (but I'm not as old as the recipe book ... ) I love the "scientific look" of those recipes. Thanks for the link to the radio clips - I am a radio fan, so I can't wait to check that out. Happy Thanksgiving, Kathy!

At 10:45 PM CST, Blogger Rochelle R. said...

I have quite a few of those booklets but I had never tried to find out anything about Mary Lee Taylor.I like the 2,4,6 quantity idea too. The link to the radio show was interesting and fun to listen to. I use canned milk fairly often because it stays fresh way longer than regular milk. I got tired of throwing out half a jug of milk.

At 9:23 AM CST, Blogger Kathy said...

Louise - Just to clarify--the evaporated milk was poured over the top over the cooked oatmeal, the oatmeal was not cooked with the milk instead of water. I've heard it's good in coffee too, but haven't ever tried that. I'm rather addicted to the powdered Coffee-Mate in my afternoon coffee.

T.W. - I enjoyed these and will have to dig around and see if I can't find find more--like the ones with Betty Crocker from General Mills. Naturally, I have my eye on a book about the old radio cooking shows.

Rochelle - I feel really guilty when I have to throw out a mostly full $5 gallon of milk because I didn't need it that week. But I hate to not have it on hand when I need it. The canned and powdered milk seem like good solutions.

At 1:35 PM CDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lost my recipe for the original Pet milk /geletin/sugar/water whipped topping. Now it's commercial as Dreaam Whip whioch costs a lot for the amount of food that's actually in it. Want the old recipe if anyone has it.
My name is patti and this blog looks so homey.


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