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.


At 1:26 AM CST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny how the eye plays tricks... those aren't sailboats, they're Christmas trees. Enjoying the blog!

At 7:43 AM CST, Blogger Kathy said...

LOL! Now that you mention it, they sure are! What was I thinking?


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