December 31, 2010

Party Appetizers From the Past

Tempting Appetizers and Sandwiches from the Kraft Kitchens (not dated, 12 pages) is a small fold-out recipe leaflet published by the Kraft Foods Company, probably sometime in the 1960s.

I'm guessing on this time period based upon my perusal of old magazine advertisements and also by the "look" of the leaflet itself as well as it's contents. The product packaging was slightly different during the late 1950s.

The recipes in this leaflet feature either Kraft Cheese Spreads in a jar or Kraft "Handi-Snack" Pasteurized Process Cheese Food Links as the main ingredient. Although I don't believe they make the Cheese Food Links anymore, I was surprised to find that some of the cheese jars were still available in a few flavors. I haven't ever seen them in the stores, but the Kraft Product Locator tells me that I can find several flavors in my area stores. Just out of curiosity, I'll have to take a look next time I'm at the grocery store.

After reading the raves about the Roka Cheese Spread on Roadfood, I am tempted to try it just to see what all the fuss is about. I don't remember ever having tried these products before. I don't remember that we had them around the house when I was growing up either, but maybe we did and they just weren't that memorable to me. I do remember an unknown brand of processed cheese in a can, which is the same animal in a different package.

I imagine that a handy aerosol can instead of the pastry tube used with the cheese on this Appetizer Tray below would have been much easier. Not so remarkably, the manufacturers thought so too, as later recipe booklets and magazine ads all show these same type appetizers made with canned cheese instead of jar or plastic tube cheese.

I do remember when snacks at parties consisted of sour cream-based dips and potato chips. I recall many teen parties with chips and French Onion dip on the table. It's funny, not long ago, when roaming the store aisles in search of pre-prepared processed food munchies, I picked up a carton of onion dip and a bag of potato chips to see if they still tasted good. I guess tastes do change because they weren't nearly as good as I remember. I'm a salsa and tortilla chip kind of girl now.

I can't imagine a worse flavor combination than dill pickle slices and process cheese spread, but here you go -- Cheese Frills. They must have sounded good to somebody.

This photo for the Snack Tray shows a nice display of the Garlic, Nippy Brand, Bacon and Hickory Smoked Cheese Food Links in their old packaging.

Here's one of the sandwich recipes--Appetizer Rolls, which look totally unappetizing in the illustration. The recipe isn't very inspiring either.

Out of the twelve recipes found in this leaflet, this one for Lily Sandwiches intrigues me the most. While the ingredient list consists of only four ingredients, the rest of the recipe is kind of fussy.

Of all the delicious party snacks and little sandwiches that I would wish to see on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day this year, none of them contain process cheese food from a jar, tube or a can. Sorry, Kraft.

December 29, 2010

One More Holiday Booklet

This is the last Christmas cookbook for 2010. I promise!

As you know, I occasionally get calls from people who run across my websites and are looking for old recipes or have questions about a particular product.

A couple of days before Christmas, my phone rang in the morning and the caller ID showed an unfamiliar-to-me phone number. I had just turned off my computer and was getting ready to shower and then leave the house for a few hours. I answered the call impulsively, even though I knew it would put me behind.

The caller turned out to be a nice lady named Veronica who was searching for a recipe that was on a missing page from her Holiday Classics IV cookbook (Pillsbury, 1985, 94 pp.). Since she knew exactly what she was looking for, it seemed fairly quick and easy to try and help her. I rebooted my computer and checked my database to see if I had that booklet cataloged. Of course, I did not. I did promise to check to see if I could find the book when I got home that afternoon.

As it happened, I didn't make it back home until 9:30 that evening. Then I remembered that I had not gotten back to her. It being Christmas and all, I felt kind of bad, since I assumed she wanted to prepare the recipe for a holiday gathering. I didn't want her to think that I didn't even try or had forgotten her.

The next morning, Christmas Eve, I was able to easily (amazingly) locate the book she was looking for amongst all my stacks and piles of cookbooks. (Many times it's an impossible task to even try and locate a single title in all of those booklets that have not yet been cataloged.)

Even though it was quite early, I gave her a call. I emailed the recipe to her and hoped she still had time to prepare it.

Here's the recipe below. It's for Frosted Liver Pate. (You can click on the photo to enlarge it enough to see the ingredients and instructions.)

This might make a nice festive appetizer for a New Year's gathering.

At least we know that somewhere out there, a real person used the recipe and likes it well enough to hunt it down when it was lost. That's a pretty good recommendation.

December 27, 2010

The Drinks are on Fleischmann's

This booklet, Fleischmann's Mixer's Manual (Fleischmann Distilling Corp., not dated, 20 pp.), came in the mail today along with several other small advertising pamphlets and leaflets. Now that Christmas is past, it's on to New Year's Eve, where it's all about the drinking. I thought this recipe booklet was an appropriate choice for the upcoming celebration.

I don't really have a lot to say about this booklet today, except WOW!!!! Look at the fantastic illustrations. I'm in love with them. (I had to restrain myself from using super-size photos.)

Pretty, pretty, pretty!

I almost can't read the recipes because I'm so taken with the pictures.

Cute dogs, eh?

Love the lobster and crab.

The booklet isn't dated, but it's at least 1956, the year that Fleischmann introduced their Vodka.

December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays from the Electric Company

I came across this recipe booklet from the local utility company, which continues the theme of those little gifts of appreciation to consumers from retailers.

Treasury of Christmas Ideas (Houston Lighting & Power Company, not dated, 32 pp.) was probably sent out through the mail to Houston area electric customers sometime during the 1960s. As I was only in elementary school at the time, I probably didn't appreciate the gesture nearly so much then as I would now as an adult. As a consumer held hostage to one of the most expensive electric retailers in the country, I'd be grateful to receive anything from their successor other than this:

Since I doubt Reliant Energy will be reinstating this little gift-giving tradition anytime soon, probably the best gift I can hope for is is a delay in the installation of the Smart Meter.

The booklet is divided into several sections: Holiday Recipes, Decorating Ideas, Fun Things to Make and Gift Guides. The illustrations leave a lot to be desired, being primarily made up of some unappetizing blue, green or pink-tinted pictures of food.

The recipes are from various name brand food manufacturers such as Quaker Oats, the National Dairy Council, Betty Crocker and Pet Milk.

This beverage recipe for Sleigh Rides sounds pretty good:

(from the Pan American Coffee Bureau)

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 cups strong hot coffee
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 cups heavy cream, divided
Red sugar

Melt chocolate over hot water; add hot coffee, sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; add vanilla. Add hot coffee mixture to 1-1/2 cups heavy cream in a bowl; beat until very foamy with electric mixer. Pour into mugs; top each with spoonful of remaining cream which has been whipped. Sprinkle the red sugar; add candy cane to each mug as a flavorful stirrer.

Serves 6 to 8

Here are the instructions, courtesy of Best Foods, for making a Popcorn Snowman:

Under the topic of Decorative Ideas comes "seasonal displays that brighten the outdoor scene".

We've come a long way from the effects of miniature lights, adjustable spotlights, floodlights and low voltage shockproof outdoor lighting kits that this booklet is talking about compared to outdoor displays like this:

You know the electric company loves these people. Maybe they still get a recipe booklet in the mail with their bill.

Under the "Spotlight on Santa" section, there's not one mention of an inflatable Santa or Rudolph.

There are some fun old Christmas crafts such as a Chistmas Angel made with aluminum foil and a wooden snowman cutout for the lawn.

Most interesting is the Electric Gift Guide which lists "one hundred ways to make the right choice." It's an extensive list of all of the popular electrical appliances available at that time. Today, laptops, iPads and eReaders have replaced electric razors and radios as the most sought after gifts, but you still need electricity to charge those batteries.

The rear cover shows Reddy Kilowatt all decked out in his holiday finery.

December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Department Store

Before the May Department Stores Company bought up all of the regional department store chains there were a lot of locally owned stores all over the country. Foley's was the largest one in Houston. They had a nice downtown store which is now a Macy's.

I miss Foley's. They gave me my first credit card when I initially joined the workforce with a full time job. I still remember my first purchase using that card. I bought some outrageously expensive (or so it seemed) bath towels for my new apartment at the princely sum of $5 apiece. I still have a couple of those towels that are now used for dogs and cats. I guess I'm sort of sentimental about them. At 30+ years, they're a little worn.

It's likely that the residents of Akron, Ohio felt the same way about their O'Neil's as I did about my Foleys.

The Christmas window displays in the O'Neil's were a great favorite of the citizens of Akron. Although I never saw any of those original displays in person, I was fortunate enough to view some of the historical displays from the store at the Akron-Summit County library. (After a fruitless 20 minute search on my old ME computer, I am unable to produce the photos I took of the library displays. Perhaps those photos are in the large shoebox of undeveloped disposable film cameras on the shelf behind me. Anyhoo...)

Today's recipe booklet is a throwback to the days when companies actually performed nice little "Thank You" gestures towards their customers. No points or rewards cards where one wonders who's actually doing who the favor. Just a simple little gift to show their appreciation.

O'Neil's Favorite Recipes From Our Kitchen to Yours, at Christmastime (undated, 48 pp.) is a compilation of recipes from store employees at the main store and branch locations. I'm guessing that it was published sometime in the 1980's before the store was merged with May Company Ohio and the O'Neil's name was retired.

It has a cheerful, bright red cover and the recipes look like someone pounded them out on a typewriter (remember those?).

Inside the front cover is a simple Table of Contents: Entrees and Breads - pages 1-14; Salads and Hors d'oeuvres - pages 15-24; Desserts - pages 25-48.

There are no illustrations. The recipes are of the type that you might find in any community cookbook. Although this isn't a food company cookbook per se, it does fall under the category of advertising cookbook since I'm sure the costs for this went right to the advertising budget. If a previous customer of O'Neil's reads this and remembers receiving one of these booklets, give us a shout in the Comments. It would be interesting to hear how you came to own the booklet.

Each recipe has the first and last name of the employee who contributed the recipe, what department they worked in, and the store location. We can see that Charlene Miller in Loss Prevention worked at the downtown store and that her contribution was a Hummingbird Cake recipe. Hildegard Moyers, Candy Buyer, Downtown, contributed a recipe for Charlotte Chocolate. Love these details.

Jo Lawley, Vice President Sales Promotion, Downtown, contributed this recipe for Christmas Pound Cake:


3 cups sugar
1/2 lb. butter
6 eggs
3 cups cake flour
1 cup whipping cream
2 t. vanilla
1 t. almond extract
1 t. lemon extract

Cream sugar and butter thoroughly, add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour, a little at a time, and a little cream until all is blended. Add flavoring. Put into cold oven, turn temperature to 350° and bake for one hour or until a light brown crust forms on top. Use a well greased and floured tube cake pan.


After getting arm cramps and wasting a large amount of olive oil trying to master the art of making my own mayonnaise and garlic aioli, I got a chuckle out of this recipe for Homemade Mayonnaise contributed by Phyllis Gwinner, Stationery, the Richland store. I've not seen one quite like it before:


2 eggs, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 t. salt, 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish mustard, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1/4 cup white sugar.

Cook over low heat until mixture thickens. Cool. Add equal parts of Miracle Whip Salad Dressing to above and blend together with Carnation milk until consistency you want. Use on potatoes, macaroni salads, etc.


I suppose I shouldn't knock it until I've tried it, but it is a bit unusual.

Here's the rear cover of the cookbook.

December 19, 2010

Cheese in Your Mailbox

I've written about this Swiss Colony - Fortieth Anniversary catalog (Swiss Colony, 1965, 40 pp.) before in reference to some Culinary Art Institute Cookbooks that could be ordered as part of one of the gifts found inside.

The catalog caught my eye on the shelves again this year and I found myself flipping through and studying its contents much as I did many years ago.

I thought someone else might also be interested in the items that were found in this catalog so I'll share some of them with you here.

For non-bakers, ordering the Fruit Cake or Stollen shown below was an option. These items are still offered in their current catalog (and on their website) but the prices have more than quadrupled. In Texas, it's tradional to order fruitcake from the Collin Street Bakery. Those Pecan Almond Nouggats still look pretty yummy.

These assortments of cheeses look so neat and tidy in their festive packaging. Warning: packages are smaller than they appear. Why does the mind make them seem larger than they are in real life? Love that striped box with the Santa adornment. I have a small collection of those vintage paper package decorations.

Get a modern new corn popper or coffee pot with these Cheese 'n Pastries sets:

Fondue was really popular in the 60s -- two different fondue pots here with some tiny cheese.

I've never eaten any of these Swiss Colony sweets, but they always looked so good in the catalog. I'm sure these, too, were smaller than these lifelike illustrations. Swiss Colony still carries these Dobash Tortes, but they now cost in the neighborhood of $17-$40.

For whatever reason, I was always fascinated by the North Woods Breakfast. I like the touch of the Teflon griddle showing the bacon and pancakes. I did evenutally purchase the Hickory Farms Cheese Logs that were in their stores in the shopping malls.

The catalog still has the order form that folds into the postage-paid envelope. I would sometimes fill out the form but I never mailed it off.

Hope you had fun looking at some of the many items found inside this old catalog!

December 16, 2010

Pillsbury's BEST Christmas

The festive cover of today's booklet caught my eye as I perused my bookshelves. It fits in perfectly with the holiday season.

Best Loved Foods of Christmas (Pillsbury, not dated (circa 1959), 65 pp.) is one in a series of Pillsbury-sponsored booklets that feature Pillsbury's BEST flours in the recipe ingredient lists. Some of the other brand name ingredients used in the recipes are French's spices and extracts and Funsten's nuts. It's interesting to note that they played on the word "Best" four times in the copy on the cover alone.

Some editions of the booklets in this series, like this one, have the five holes punched along the left edge so that they can be stored in a special binder. The original cost was 25 cents and one of the ways in which it could be ordered was with a mail in form found in a magazine advertisement. A page at the rear of this booklet has instructions to send off for another booklet in the series: Volume III of the Pillsbury's Best Butter Cookie Cookbook.

There are several different categories of recipes found in the index: Bar Cookies, Rolled Cookies, Drop Cookies, Molded Cookies, Variety Cookies, Refrigerator Cookies, Press Cookies, Yeast Breads, Quick Breads, Pies and the standby miscellaneous Desserts category. There are also fourteen different frosting variations. An entire page is devoted to the subject of storing and freezing cookies.

Cookie trays were as popular back then as they are today. You could make these Butter Rich Spritz cookies with a cookie press. A Mirro aluminum cookie press was probably a standard kitchen item back in the 1950's.

The platter below holds a variety of cookies all made from one basic dough. They're called Eight-Trick Butter Cookies. Look at the pretty Christmas cookie jar.

I like this layout with the candy canes and handmade paper sailboat-shaped tags that are surrounding the plate of cookies with the Peppermint Frosting. I wonder how the sailboats tie in with the Christmas theme?

This booklet contains quite a few recipes for different styles of fruitcake. There are recipes for yeast breads such as Stollen and Norwegian Holiday bread which also utilize the candied fruit. My grandmother was the only one in my family who liked fruitcake. Any that we received as gifts we gave to her.

One of the things I dearly love about these old advertising cookbooks (besides the illustrations and photographs) is the fact that they were once owned by someone I didn't know . Oftentimes the previous owner has marked up the booklets with personal notes. This recipe for Banana Bread was deemed "Very Good!". They made minor modifications to the directions and also doubled the recipe as can be seen by the quantities that are written in the margins. Perhaps she had a large family, gave them as gifts or shared with her neighbors. Several of the recipes have been modified to reflect the double quantities.

Here's another recipe, for Walnut Honey Loaf, that she's rated as "Good!". It was a Senior Winner in Pillsbury's 5th Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest (now officially the Pillsbury Bake-Off).

Isn't this Christmas Pudding beautiful? It reminded me of my fellow blogger over at Culinary Types, who did several posts on his experiences with making steamed pudding a few years back.

Here's the rest of the Christmas Pudding recipe as well as another Bake-Off winning recipe (the 7th year) for My Mother's Pudding.

Hopefully, I'll be scouring my shelves in the next few days for more Christmas and holiday-related booklets to share with you.