January 22, 2009

General Foods Home Baking

This particular copy of All About Home Baking (1940, 144 pages) is the fourth edition of the cookbook which was originally published in 1933 by the Consumer Service Department of General Foods Corporation. While editions from previous years were published in a hardcover format, this is a softcover edition.

The cookbook is divided into seven sections:

It's a Wise Woman Who Knows Her Baking Rules
Ingredients--The Inside Story of Baking Success
Measuring--How to Play Fair with Recipes
Pans...Oven...Proper Cooling
23 Easy Picture Lessons--The Keys to Baking Success
Some Bright New Menu Ideas for the Hostess

The photo below illustrates the first basic Baking Rule--Be Orderly. Good advice, and still true these many years later.

Be orderly. Do your planning before you start. Choose your recipe, read it through carefully, understand it clearly. Collect all of the ingredients it calls for in their order; assemble all the utensils you will need on your work table. Cultivate the do-it-right habit. It makes the job a joy, and it saves you time, money, and many a worried moment in your baking.

The next photo illustrates the second basic Baking Rule--Use Good Tools. Also still true.

Good tools simplify baking. They enable you to do things more easily, more accurately. They speed up mixing and help you to achieve uniformly successful results. Check up your utensils with the illustration opposite. Here are: standard measuring cup and spoons, a wooden mixing paddle, slotted spoon, scoop, rubber scraper, steel spatula, cutting knives, rotary egg beater, wire whisk, flour sieve, small sieve, mixing bolws with rounded bottoms, baking pans, pastry brush, pastry blender, biscuit cutter, wire cake tester, wire cake rack, oven thermometer, candy thermomenter, pair of scissors, and a cake decorator with assorted tips.

The other rules are:

Choose good ingredients
Measure accurately
Mix carefully
Know your pans and oven, and how to cool your cakes

The next section goes on to explain how not all ingredients are created equal, not only in terms of quality, but also the difference in kinds of ingredients. This chapter tells why the kind of flour and the kind of baking powder used in each recipe is important and why General Foods ingredients are the best because the recipes were developed with these products in mind.

The use of Swan's Down Cake Flour, Calumet Baking Powder, Baker's Chocolate, and Baker's Coconut are all recommended to ensure success with the recipes in this cookbook. And although Diamond Crystal Salt is not specifically mentioned or called for in the recipes, it is shown in this picture below. General Foods acquired the Diamond Crystal Brand in 1929. There are no specific brand recommendations for sugar, shortening, liquids and eggs which probably means that General Foods didn't own any at the time.

In two of the photos above, you'll notice that a copy of the General Foods Cook Book is shown amongst the tools and ingredients. Laid inside the front pages of this cookbook was a single page flyer with an order form for the cookbook. That cookbook encompassed much more than baking and was available for only $1


At 7:04 PM CST, Blogger ~~louise~~ said...

I didn't know this book was also available in soft cover. It really does have valuable information still relevant today.

Thanks for sharing Kathy and once again, Welcome Back!

At 5:26 AM CST, Blogger Kathy said...

And I didn't know it was available in hardcover. For some reason I have only ever seen softcover copies.

At 3:02 AM CST, Blogger Rochelle R. said...

How coincidental, I have several copies of this (hardcover)and the General Foods Cookbook on my ebay watch list right now. I found out about them from some Frances Lee Barton's General Foods Cooking School of the Air phamplets from the 30's that I got for Xmas. I got 108 of them, lots of reading to do.

At 5:21 AM CST, Blogger Kathy said...

Rochelle - I don't think I've seen any of the General Foods Cooking School pamphlets--are you going to post about them. Would love to see one.

P-Dot - Your comments disappeared when I tried to publish them. I don't like many of the newer options either, although I'll admit that I haven't explored the really high end stuff. I think it's because these days a higher price doesn't always mean higher quality. Don't give up on the photos--one day it will just click and you'll figure it out!

At 8:52 AM CST, Blogger Fresh Start Coach said...

WOW! I own the 1935 (Third edition) of this book. They are a hoot to read!

At 3:16 PM CDT, Blogger Gail said...

My brothers and I just finished clearing out our family home. My Mother passed away in November 2009 at the age of 92. I kelp the old cookbook that had always been around the house, as long as I can remember. It is a hardback 1933 edition. I was amazed to see this website with a picture of the cookbook that looks exactly the same as mine.

At 6:29 PM CST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also have this cookbook, l933 lst Edition. It was my Mother's and she used it a lot.


Post a Comment

<< Home