February 10, 2011

More Than an After Dinner Mint

As a rule, if something's edible, you'll likely find a specific cookbook using that particular ingredient. However, I never thought I'd see a promotional cookbook for those fluffy little pastel-colored mints that one commonly finds at restaurants and in party favors at wedding receptions and baby showers.

I was wrong.

The Touch of Mint Recipe Book (not dated, 24 pages) was published by the Thos. D. Richardson Co. At that time, the company was owned by Beatrice Foods Co. Using clues from the introduction, I think the publishing date was probably sometime around 1977. That date kind of fits too, because the last batch of booklets I acquired were all from the 1970s and early 1980s time period.

The booklet shows you how to use Richardson Mints in beverages, cookies, desserts, in snacks and in dessert toppings. I've seen them used as decorating features on cakes and such, but actually using them in the recipe? Who knew?

The first page talks about how cooking with mint is not a new idea, but one that dates back to ancient times. This is true, but that thought brings to mind the green, leafy kind of mint, not sugary pastel pink, yellow and blue pillow puffs that are more familiarly found on tip trays.

The booklet states to specifically use Richardson Mints in the recipes because they were manufactured without cornstarch, which made them easy to dissolve in water. That small note makes it easier to imagine how the recipes for Mint Sugar, Mint Syrup, Mint Ice Cubes and Mint Whipped Cream could be achieved by replacing regular mint with this confection.

Besides the front cover, which is in color, there are no other illustrations inside the booklet except for the two black and white photos of the different packaged Richardson Mint products. At that time these products consisted of the Party Jellies, Butter Mints, Club Mints, Pastel Mints and Party Patties.


Dissolve 2 cups Richardson Pastel or Club Mints in 1 cup of boiling water. Store in covered jar in the refrigerator.


Fill ice cube tray with water. Add 3 to 4 Richardson Club Mints to each section, let stand until mints are dissolved. Freeze. Use in iced tea and lemonade.


Put Richardson Pastel or Club Mints in plastic bag and crush with rolling pin. One cup of whole mints will yield approximately 1 cup of mint sugar.

The dishes shown on the cover are the Richardson Choo-Choo Cake,Yogurt Fruit Dip, the Chocolate Pudding Flip and what I believe is the Angel Mint Dessert.

If one can make a Daiquiri Mint Cocktail using after dinner mints, I wonder what the next unusual recipe book I find will be for?

February 05, 2011

Kid's and Cooking Circa 1943

I'm busy trying to add more of my cookbooks to my database. There's always something about each book that catches my eye.

This one, A New Way Every Day to Enjoy Iron (1943, 24 pages) was published by Grandma's Old Fashioned Molasses. I thought the black and white photo of the children laid against the bright yellow color of the cover was interesting. There's something about the girl that looks a little unreal. The book definitely doesn't appear to be a high budget production. The cover looks stern and serious ...like medicine. Is that the message they meant to portray?

This booklet focuses on the nutritional value of molasses, particularly it's high natural iron content. The first four pages are devoted to all of the positive attributes of molasses, specifically, the Grandma's Molasses brand. Other brands, as you might guess, were supposedly inferior. I suppose the excerpt from a 1942 newspaper article, inside the front cover, explaining the dietary advantages of molasses, is shown to add credibility to their claims.

This paragraph from the front of the booklet is interesting. It could have been written yesterday, albeit for different reasons.

More and more homemakers today feel the need to know about the constituents of foods. They want to be sure that each element in a food contributes toward a well-balanced diet for their families. They wish to have information about the mineral content, the vitamins and the general food values present in every food. They realize that it is important to provide the total daily requirments of each essential element by having every member of the family eat one or more foods that contain it. Grandma's Kitchen supplies you with information abou the vital healthful elements of Grandma's Old Fashioned Molasses.
The booklet contains advice on "modernizing" your everyday recipes with the use of Grandma's Molasses instead of sugar. Two full pages are devoted to this subject. There are ninety-one recipes in all, with pancakes and waffles, a variety of spreads for sandwiches, baked goods, and a few main and side dishes.

The publishing date of 1943 places this advertising cookbook directly into the wartime cookbook category. Sugar had already been rationed and molasses made a good substitute, as it was more plentiful (it, too, later made the rationing lists). The newspaper excerpt, mentioned above, also alludes to the war: "In these days when healthful diets for all people are of the utmost significance to national defense, greater dependence would be placed upon natural foods than upon foods that are too highly processed or refined." One of the salad recipes is called "Defense Salad."

It's ironic to think that although we are now currently involved in a war and the interest in consuming more natural foods is extremely high, it's not because of national defense, but rather due to the trend of people wanting to move away from the chemicals and preservatives in processed foods on their own.

This page, containing one of the few color illustrations in the booklet, shows an attractive pair of children pulling taffy. The recipe for Lads and Lassies Taffy is given, along with some variations.

With all of the interest in teaching children to cook these days, I was pleased to find that this booklet also encouraged children's cooking. There are several pages that contain recipes at the bottom of the page that are labeled "A Recipe for a Very Young Cook." Those recipes are shown below.

This is sweet, French Toast for Daddy's Sunday morning breakfast:

Old Virginia Frosting, made with peanut butter and molasses:

This West Indies Milk shake sounds more like medicine to me:

Grandma's Peanut Butter Patties, a peanut butter cookie:

I'm pretty sure modern kids would have little interest in anything called Prune Whip (do they even know what a prune is?), but how did kids in the 1940's like it?

Grandma's Cream Cheese Spread - great for tea parties with dollies or friends:

Tutti Frutti Slices, a sort of non-baked cookie made with dried fruit--sounds healthy!

A basic Breakfast Muffins recipe:

Baked Bananas might be a little more healthy than ice cream and candy:

Quick Gingerbread, not as popular today as it was back then:

Colonial Custard, pudding that doesn't come in a plastic cup: