If you’re anything like me, working from home *may* have become a baking & cooking extravaganza of sorts. Success or failure, I find being in the kitchen extremely comforting. (I am your prime example of a stress-baker: just ask the chocolate chip cookies from last week, the oatmeal raisin walnut cookies bars from last night, the supplies for apple cheddar scones on my counter, and my plan to finally attempt to make bread–maybe…I think…when I work up the courage.) Anyway, one of the downsides to working from home/Special Collections and University Archives being closed is that I can’t scan anything new for a blog post. And while there is some material on our servers, I have a far more devious plan for this week’s post. If you, too, are social distancing, quarantining, or isolating, now is a great time to try those recipes you have always wanted to try. If you’d like to experiment AND keep those you are sharing a space with at a safe, 6-foot distance, here are some historic recipes that can help you succeed, re-purposed from some of my previous posts on our food history blog. Or, at the very least, you might stay 6 feet from the plate?
First off, I know there are many people that enjoy Spam. I don’t hold anyone’s food choices against them–I have my own favorites that plenty of people would question. But this is a whole other level:
This sandwich contains Spam, chicken, lettuce, tomato, olives, butter, and more mayonnaise than seems possible. Yes, that is frosted with a mixture of mayo, whipped cream, and hard-cooked eggs. You might understand how, upon seeing it for the first time, I may have mistaken it for a cake? More on this item and some other frosted sandwiches here: https://whatscookinvt.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/frosted-sandwiche/. (Also, the bottom of that post has links to additional posts about frosted sandwiches.)
Before leave sandwiches in this post, historically speaking, there are thousands and thousands of sandwich fillings. Here are a few from 1924:
For those of you fond of savory pies, you might consider branching out into lesser used proteins in these modern times:
“Umble pie” is what first caught my attention in Sarah Harrison’s The house-keeper’s pocket-book, and compleat family cook : containing above twelve hundred curious and uncommon receipts in cookery, pastry, preserving, pickling, candying, collaring, &c., with plain and easy instructions for preparing and dressing every thing suitable for an elegant entertainment, from two dishes to five or ten, &c., and directions for ranging them in their proper order, but once you get past the calves feet, there is also veal & suet, rabbit, skirret (a root vegetable) and bone marrow, and carp. These recipes are from the mid-1700s and you can read more about this book here: https://whatscookinvt.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/housekeepers-pocketbook-compleat-family-1760/.
Lastly, anyone who follows the culinary blog (inactive as I have been lately–apologies for that!) knows that I have something of a love-hate relationship with gelatin. So, I can’t write this post without sharing some wiggly, jiggly recipes.
These images are from The Greater Jell-O Recipe Book, a 1931 pamphlet. The first page includes some more savory, protein packed gelatin. Rice and fish? Chicken mousse? Ham and celery? …sure? Yes, I poke fun, but to put these recipes in context, 1931 was two years into the Great Depression. Economy was key in the kitchen would remain so for nearly another decade. Recipes like this used up every bit of leftovers. The second page contains mainly sweeter, fruit-based jiggling recipes, but I would point on the one made entirely of olives and cherries. I’ll say that again. Olives (with pimentos). And. Cherries. Yeah, I don’t have anything either. If you’re feeling brave, more Jell-O pamphlets from 1931 in this post: https://whatscookinvt.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/jello-pamphlets-1931/. And if you search the blog for “jello” or “gelatin,” you’ll find more.
Whatever you’re making, try to take a moment and enjoy your food. It can comfort us and connect us to memories in surprising ways and these days, we might just need that kind of emotional hug. Cheers and good snacking!
This week, I put up a new exhibit titled “A Complete, Balanced Breakfast: Battle Creek, Cookery, and the Kellogg Legacy.” This idea has been on my board for months now, for better or worse, and I’ve finally had an opportunity to dive into it. There’s a fair bit I did not include about John Kellogg’s belief and medical practices to save visitors the sometimes weird or disturbing details, but there is plenty of reading out there for those interested. Given our penchant for food & drink history here at Special Collections and University Archives, it’s no surprise we might have some material on the Kelloggs and breakfast cereal. More than will fit in our display cases, as is often the case. So, there are two main parts to this story: The works of John and Ella Kellogg, which were largely instructive texts or published lectures and the history and advertising of the food companies that came from the Battle Creek legacy. If you can’t visit us in person, here’s a little virtual tour!
John and Ella Kellogg
John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) was born in Tyrone, Michigan in 1852. His family moved to Battle Creek in 1856. Raised as a Seventh-Day Adventist, the church shaped much of his early life, his medical education, and much of his medical career–in particular, the teachings of Ellen G. and James Springer White. In 1876, after graduating from the NYU Medical College at Bellevue Hospital, Kellogg returned to Battle Creek and took over the Western Health Reform Institute, which he renamed the Battle Creek Medical Surgical Sanitarium. There, he preached a vegetarian, caffeine/alcohol/tobacco-free diet, among his varied–and often controversial–practices and beliefs. Over the course of his life, he wrote more than 50 books and at least as many articles, pamphlets, and lectures detailing his views on health, nutrition, hygiene, sex, and raising families and children.
Ella Eaton (1853-1920) studied at Alfred University and with an interest in sanitation and hygiene, she enrolled at the Sanitarium School of Hygiene in Battle Creek in 1876, where she met John Harvey Kellogg. They married in 1879. Over the course of her lifetime, Ella would break ground in a variety of ways. She was an early founder of what we now consider the field of dietetics; she founded a cooking school and a school of home economics; she was a prolific book and article editor and author; at various times, she led organizations focused on childcare, motherhood, dietetics, hygiene, temperance, and social purity; she supported womens suffrage; and she helped raise more than 40 foster children, several of whom she and John formally adopted.
Her most well-know work was the 1892 Science in the Kitchen: A Scientific Treatise on Food Substances and Their Dietetic Properties, Together with a Practical Explanation of the Principles of Healthful Cookery, and a Large Number of Original, Palatable, and Wholesome Recipes (picture here in the front right).This extensive book was a reflection of her career and went through five editions by 1910. It was heavily illustrated and was Ellas essential guide to everything domestic. Special Collections and University Archives has two editions of this book available digitized and online (http://digitalsc.lib.vt.edu). In addition, we house copies of Healthful Cookery (1908), Every-Day Dishes and Every-Day Work (1896), and an 1893 edition of Science in the Kitchen.
The Battle Creek Food Legacy
In 1897, brothers John and W. K. Kellogg founded their first food company, the Sanitas Nut Food Company (sometimes the Sanitas Food Company), which mainly sold nut butter-like products as a meat substitute. (John Kellogg is listed among those responsible for the creation of peanut butter precursors and he corresponded with George Washington Carver on the subject). In the mid-1890s, partially by accident, while working on their version of granola, they stumbled onto something else: wheat berry flakes. These flattened wheat berries would lead to–you guessed it–corn flakes! A patient at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, C. W. Post, witnessed the process for these products, and also jumped on board, launching the Postum Cereal Co. in 1895. Postum Cereal Co. made Grape-Nuts in 1897 and Post Toasties Double-Crisp Corn Flakes in 1904.
A disagreement between the two brothers led to a split. W. K. took the flakes and launched the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company in 1906 (renamed the Kellogg Toasted Corn Flake Company in 1909 and the Kellogg Company in 1922). The company would continue to develop new products based on the brothers’ work and teachings, with a particular emphasis on vegetarianism and meat substitutes. The company would also develop divisions with broader interests, like quantity cooking for schools, camps, and even the military. Advertising materials for children’s products were created to target that audience.
Between the late 19th and mid-20th centuries, the Kellogg Company and the Battle Creek Food Company (started by John to promote foods and supplements after the split between the brothers) created endless product- and recipe-based pamphlets advertising meat substitutes, cereals, nut butters, laxatives, and dietary supplements in particular. John Kelloggs beliefs included a hearty disdain for both tea and coffee. He considered caffeine, like tobacco and alcohol, to be a poison, going so far as to link all of them to moral deficiencies. Whether or not W. K. shared his brothers views (very likely), by the early 20th century, the Kellogg Company began producing Kaffee-Hag, a low caffeine coffee substitute. (John seemed to be against this alternative, too, and he wrote that [n]ature has supplied us with pure water, with a great variety of fruit juices and wholesome and harmless flavors quite sufficient to meet all our needs.) Some years earlier, in 1895, Postum Cereal Co. had already launched their coffee alternative, Postum.
I’ve previously written about the Kelloggs’ (John, his wife Ella, and his brother W. K.) on our food history blog, so if you’d like to delve a little deeper that’s a good place to start. That series has links to digitized books, other readings on this fascinating (and sometimes controversial) family, and more images.
And if all of this doesn’t satisfy your curiosity about the Kelloggs, C. W. Post, early breakfast cereal, or Battle Creek, feel free to visit us and learn more. There is a lot more to John Kellogg’s theories, inventions, and methods at the Battle Creek Sanitarium; to the early days of breakfast cereals; to corporate and family competition; and to the history of food advertising! We’ll be here and we’d love to share!
About two months ago, while staffing the front desk at Special Collections, I took an interesting phone call. A woman called to ask if we really had copies of Ragsdales Original Scientific Course of Candy Manufacturing Instructions and, if we did, could she get copies. If I remember correctly, she said that she had found out that Virginia Tech was one of only two libraries that held these materials. The catalog showed that we did, indeed, have it, but since she was interested in obtaining copies, I asked if she would hold the line while I went to retrieve it. It turned out to be ten sets of mimeographed sheets, each with a well-designed heavy paper cover and held together by two grommets at its top. It also turned out to be something Id never seen while working here (therein lies the fun, as I have often said before).
I got back to the phone and described what I had in my hands. She was overjoyed. I said that we were talking about approximately 90 scans—not a problem—but that the grommets could be a problem. It would be impossible to scan the sheets without unbinding each set of instructions. Typically, we would want to remove the metal, but I would have to see if the grommets could be safely removed without damaging the documents. Ten years as an archivist and Id never removed grommets. Surprise, surprise!
I hope youll see what you can do, she said.
I saw no copyright notice, but each of the folders/volumes carried a big WARNING:
I was not too worried about the threat of prosecution from Mr. Ragsdale, and even though the items cataloging gave its pub date as 1930 (Worldcat says, approximately 1930?), I was more than willing to scan the entire set for our patron . . . if I got past the grommets. That was before I heard the story behind the request.
She was calling from Nebraska. It was the end of March. Her house had been completely flooded in the history-making flood that had occurred about 2 weeks before. These booklets had been in her family for a couple of generations and were cherished. More than that, they were part of her familys story. And, they were gone. She specifically mentioned the recipe for fruit cake fudge—a great favorite.
That was more than enough for me, and I told her I would get back in touch with her when I knew more. A couple of days later, I reported that the grommets were out and the scanning had begun. I thought I had heard there was a specialty tool for removing grommets, but, in the end, a small pair of wire cutters (used primarily not to cut, but to bend the metal) and an equally small needle-nosed pliers did the trick.
Of course, as I was scanning the materials, I became more interested in their origin. First, Worldcat does report that only Virginia Tech and Rutgers have these materials. (We acquired them in 2013, not that long ago. One of our major collecting areas is the History of Food and Drink.) But what of these lessons, and what might we find out about W. Hillyer Ragsdale?
The lessons were not written for folks who wanted, occasionally, to make candy, but were for entrepreneurs or established small business folks who wanted to make and sell various kinds of confections. The cover page of the booklet titled, Beginner’s Work Sheets and Special Supplement . . . declares:
On page 2 of the same set, under the subhead, Selling Plans, Ragsdale writes: As you are perfectly aware, the market for candy is absolutely unlimited. Its sale is no longer confined to the corner confectionery store—but department stores, tea rooms, grocery stores, drug stores, cafeterias, office buildings, road stands, amusement parks, fairs, and hotels all sell tremendous quantities. Ragsdale includes lots of practical advice for the business of selling confections in this folder, everything from buying attractive boxes (cheaply) for display and packaging, to staying up-to-date by reading the appropriate trade papers. As for the recipes in this lesson, they include Almond Crunch (a delightful nut piecevery popular everywhere. Usually sells for 80 to $1.00 per lb. retail.); Haystack Goodies; Maple, Mocha, Pistachio Fudge, and the curious Chop Suey Candy (“take a popcorn crispette, but add roasted peanuts and concoanut . . . more corn and cocoanut than peanuts”).
Our patron from Nebraska told me that her family had these in the 1920s, that her grandmother had passed them down to her mother. Certainly, as early as October 1923, Ragsdale’s ads appear in the Newsstand Group advertising supplement to Smart Set: A Magazine of Cleverness, then edited by H.L. Menken and George Jean Nathan. In fact, In his autobiography, My Life as Author and Editor, Menken writes about the introduction of this kind of advertising to his posh, literary magazine:
Inasmuch as all the other members of this group [Newsstand Group] were such dubious pulps as Snappy Stories,Breezy Stories, and Youngs Magazine, Nathan and I were perturbed more than gratified, and our doubts were not allayed when we saw the advertisements that began to come in. They included everything in the shabby line save lost manhood and bust developer ads, as we had to take a pretty severe kidding from readers and friends.
The ads in Smart Set started with a couple of pages, but by December 1922, there were 23 pages of advertisements. Look to the November 1923 set of ads, and there is W. Hillyer Ragsdale at Drawer 400, East Orange, N.J. proclaiming:
“GO INTO BUSINESS FOR YOURSELF,” right there between Dont Wear a Truss and a bust developer ad! Menken, in the same passage quoted above goes on to write of that December 1922 supplement, There were several ads headed Send No Money and half a dozen or more announcing ways to make fortunes by spare-time work at home! Ragsdale was right there.
So, by 1923, Ragsdale was running ads enticing folks to Establish and operate a New System Specialty Candy Factory, using some of the same language that appears in our sets of lessons. Also by 1923, Tools and Machinery for Confectioners by W. Hillyer Ragsdale, The Candy Specialist, becomes available. Here are the first three pages, including a price list (From the Alan and Shirley Brocker Sliker Culinary Collection, Michigan State University Libraries.)
Heres his ad from the November 1929 issue of Popular Mechanics, promising enormous profits:
Throughout the 1920s, Ragsdales business must have grown. Perhaps the 10 sets of lessons were available at once; perhaps they were developed over a few years. We do know that Ragsdale was born on a farm in Lithonia, DeKalb County, Georgia in 1876. According to census data, in 1900 he was living at home and employed as a clerk in a drugstore in nearby Kirkwood, Georgia. By 1910, he had relocated with his wife, Wilhelmina (Willie) to East Orange, N.J. where he was working as a traveling salesman possibly for a department store. The 1920 US census lists his occupation as Proprietor, his status as Employer, and the Industry in which he was engaged as Jobber Confectioner Supply House. At the very least, by 1920 the roots of his candy-making endeavors were firmly in place. A notice on the Antiquarian Booksellers Association website dates the set of lessons as ca. 1920s?”
In David Lawrence Piersons History of the Oranges to 1921, Vol. 4 (Orange, NJ: Lewis Historical Publishing Co. 1922), Ragsdale is reported to have come to East Orange in 1908, where he established and built his large business as a manufacturer and jobber of confectioners supplies. Pierson also writes that, as of 1922, Ragsdale was a director of the Lackawanna Building and Loan of East Orange. We can assume that his business was quite successful, at least through the early part of the depression. In 1930, Ragsdale is listed in the census as manager of his Confectionary Supply Company. By 1940, however, at age 63, he was employed as an investigator for the New Jersey State Beverage Tax Department. William Hillyer Ragsdale died in East Orange in 1957, but the traces of his candy-making business can still be found quite easily. It is not at all hard to find some of his equipment, for example, especially his candy thermometers, on eBay.
But the sets of instructions in candy-making for profit are the trace that continue to hold significance for our patron in Nebraska. After wed gotten the scans to her, about three weeks after our phone call, I asked her if she would send me a bit of her familys story in connection with these sets of instructions; also if I might retell that story in our blog. Heres what she wrote (copied with permission):
“My grandmother passed them down to my mom. So, since the 1920’s. They were really prized. When my mom’s family was young, her father came down with tuberculosis of the liver. That knocked him out of working. My grandmother, being an excellent cook to seven children, and having a brother that owned an ice cream store in Massachusetts, set out to do the confections. They were sold through the brother’s store and during the holidays, the kids would go door to door. Then the depression happened and finding work was even more hard to do. They kept their business going. They were hard workers. They rallied around my grandfather. There were four boys. When the war broke out, they left to serve their country and of course, they were no longer involved in the candy making business.”
She also wrote this:
“We’re still under water where the farm is. It’s going to take a long time . . . but, we are hardy people and will probably just rebuild. . . . I’m going to be sharing them with Mom on Friday. I haven’t told her that I got them replaced. I know what this means to her.”
A little over a month after the flood, still under water. That made me think about a lot of different things. After considering how horrific it must be, how staggering to have such an event occur and how more common weather events of this historic proportion are becoming, I thought about how short our news cycle is. Perhaps it’s just because we are east-coasters, but we stopped hearing about midwest flood waters about a day or two after they first hit. Every big rain in April added to the disaster. Incredible.
But then, hearing about her plan to surprise her mom with the material Special Collections was able to provide, well, I was glad to have been able to help in a very small way. Ive probably never felt so good about providing a patron with scans from our collections.
Oh yes, and she again mentioned the fruit cake fudge. If you make it, she says, you have to add some peach Schnapps to it! I’m guessing this is it:
This week, I really wanted to do a post highlighting materials related to the various wintertime holy days and celebrations that happen during December. That didn’t exactly work out. I did find some materials in our rare books collection that were Christmas related but I had trouble finding things for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Yule, and Eid (I would have included it even though it’s not really the same and was in September this year).So, I shelved that post for another year when we’ve made better progress increasing the representation in our collections.
As I searched for something else to post about, I saw them: Wood and Metal book covers. They were just my style and I had to share them.The wood-bound (and metal housed) books I’ve chosen today are from our History of Food and Drink Collectionand focus on Southern cuisine, Astrology/Mixology, and general cookery.
First, a little bit about wood book covers in general. If you take a moment and do a quick Internet search (I’ll wait…), you will likely discover that there are hundreds upon hundreds of sites providing instructions on how to make your own wood book cover. Wood has been a popular material for electronics cases and other applications for a few years now (I’ve personally watched as the number of products in this space has increased exponentially). Not surprisingly, this is a phenomenon that falls squarely into the category “everything old is new again”. The covers from our rare books collection are not freshly made. They mostly hail from the late 1930’s (one is on a book from the 1970’s – another period where wood was exceedingly popular on everything from cars to walls). Going back a few centuriesfurther, the Copts of North Africa lent their name to the technique of binding with wooden covers sewn togetheraround pages. So, that hip new trend is actually ancient – – and still amazingly beautiful (if you can get past the problematic racial issues raised by the illustrations).
Our firsttwo examples both focus on Southern style cuisine. They also rely on the Jim Crow mammie caricature. The introduction from the 1930’s volume reads”The very name ‘Southern Cookery’ seems to conjure up the vision of the old mammy, head tied with a red bandanna, a jovial, stoutish, wholesome personage . . .”
Clearly that Jim Crow era attitude was still around in the 1970’s when the mammy image cover was placed around this cookbook with the ’70s dinner party cover.
Our next two offerings both focus on astrology and mixology, or the fine art of combiningcocktails with mysterious planetary influences on our destinies. I ask you: What could go wrong?
Well, to start, how about this cover from Zodiac Cocktails (1940). The artwork, while creatively using the tools of the bartender’s trade, manages to evoke racial and religious stereotypes about Caribbean Islanders and Voodoo priestesses. Surprisingly, once past the cover, the illustrations are more referential toward medieval British conceptions of the mystical.
The content of this volume is as it would be with any book of cocktail recipes: useful in making cocktails. Still, it’s hard to take the author seriously in his attempt to “. . .demonstrate that people born under one sign of the zodiac are capable of drinking one or more combinations of liquor without ill-effect, whereas other combinations bring less pleasing results.” He has formulated a cocktail for each sign that he believes is the ideal cocktail for anyone born under that sign. Since we are currently under Sagittarius, I share with you the ideal cocktail for that sign:
1 Lump Sugar
2 Dashes Cocktail Bitters
1 Glass Rye or Whiskey
Crush sugar and bitters together, add lump of ice, decorate with twist of lemon peel and slice of orange, using medium glass, and stir well.
This cocktail can be made with Brandy, Gin, Rum, etc., instead of Rye Whiskey.
The next item from 1939 will tell you your Bar-o-scope. This one is definitely not taking itself too seriously. It is described as:
Spiced with “Astro-illogical” guidance in rhyme + pictures for those REborn under the different signs of the Baroscope.
The cocktails are arranged in chapters by type and each chapter contains a little poem about a zodiacal sign:
Nov. 23 to Dec. 23
Are idealists at heart
And to parties and functions
Good spirits impart.
It’s a fun little book, but it’s actually not bound in wood. It’s really press board (sometimes called particle board). It’s tied with leather thongs and is very similar to the traditional coptic binding style but has a spine added where one would not normally be present in coptic style.
Finally, there is a glorious metal “bound” cookbook from Pillsbury (1933). Right in the heart of the Art Deco period, this book incorporates elements of that iconic style into a housewife’s reference book titled Balanced Recipes.
The book includes sections for bread, cakes, cookies, desserts, luncheon and supper dinners, macaroni and spaghetti, meat and fish, pies, salads, soups and sauces, vegetables, and menus. The recipes included were developed in Pillsbury’s “home-type experimental kitchen” in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Of all these books, this one is by far my favorite. It avoids the caricatures and racial issues of the others while being really cool to look at. It also has a connection to Minneapolis (my favorite big city). Plus, when I was flipping through, it gave me a holiday surprise and landed on a recipe for that perennial holiday favorite: fruit cake. Enjoy!
Dia dhaoibh! When I found out I’d be posting on March 17th, I knew I had to do something for St. Patrick’s Day. You see, I love the Irish! I love the annual celebration of Ireland that happens this time every year! I love the shamrocks, the parades, and the green decor everywhere! I DO NOT, however, love the ever present corned beef and cabbage or the green beer.
Since I have been assaulted by corned beef and cabbage one too many times in my life, I decided to explore our History of Food &Drink Collection in search of more palatable Irish fare. During my search, I found various recipes for Irish potato dishes, a few roasts, and even one recipe for the dreaded corned beef. While I was searching, I came across a little Irish cookbook. No, literally! the book’s title is A Little Irish Cookbook (TX717.5 .M877x 1986).
A Little Irish Cookbook includes 28 recipes representing everything from breakfast to dessert. The book was originally published by The Appletree Press Ltd. in Ireland in 1986. The copy held by Special Collections was published the same year by Chronicle Books in the United States but was printed in Ireland. The author, John Murphy, states in his introduction that the book is not intended to represent all of Irish cuisine. It is merely a collection of recipes that “…if a visitor to Ireland were to encounter only what is in this book … he would be satisfied that he had eaten well in the Irish style.” That makes me think it’s perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day repast.
In celebration of Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve created a five course menu from Mr. Murphy’s book. The menu is below accompanied by the appetizing illustrations from the book.
But first … Since March is Women’s History Month, I want to spend a moment talking not about the author of the book but about its amazing illustrator, Karen Bailey. Karen Bailey is a working artist with a studio in Ottawa, Canada. Her first art exhibition was in 1981. Since then, she has had both solo and joint exhibitions across Canada and the United Kingdom. She has provided illustrations for a number of Appletree Press books, including “Irish Toasts”, “A Little Scottish Cookbook”, “A Little American Cookbook”, and “A Little Canadian Cookbook”. More examples of her work can be seen on her website: www.karenbailey.ca.
Now for our menu:
Introduced in the book as “… a traditional potato dish, celebrated in the rhyme:Boxty on the griddle, boxty in the pan,If you can’t make boxty, you’ll never get your man.”
This is a classic that everyone should expect when looking into an Irish cookbook. Murphy describes his recipe as “… hearty, nourishing, and traditional enough.”
Crsa isc (fish course)
Ireland is an island, so I had to include some seafood! Plus, I love seafood and this is my menu. 🙂 While I wasn’t able to find the origin of this dish’s amusing name, many sites on the Iternet claim it has to do with the wealthy status of lawyers in Dublin. Regardless, I firmly believe Murphy when he says “This dish is delicious and traditional…”
Promhchrsa (main course)
Spiced Beef with Champ
First, the Spiced Beef. With this dish, I’m slipping into Christmas fare a little but I couldn’t pass up this delicious image from Karen Bailey. The Spiced Beef “… can be made at home, but it does take time.” according to Murphy.
As for Champ, it “… is a simple, warming dish which is cheap, easy to produce and very filling. I’ve actually tried Champ and it was wonderful!
OK. I’m partial to gooseberries but there’s another great reason to highlight this dish in my menu. It’s apparently so good the publishers not only included it in the 28 recipes but they also printed the recipe a second time on the included bookmark!
I hope you enjoy whatever you decide to make for St. Patrick’s Day! And remember: Women’s History Month is only half over! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our online exhibit for Women’s History Month 2016.
I’m posting on both Special Collections blogs this week, so I’m all about food! On this blog, we’re looking atthe intersection of agriculture experiment stations, recipes, and meal planning. And a work by a man named George Washington Carver.(If you want to see the latest History of Food and Drink post about sandwiches, you can view it here. Either way, you’re going to hear about peanut butter. 🙂 ) Here’s a bit ofThree Delicous Meals Every Day for the Farmer from 1916. (And no, that’s not a typo–“Delicous” is how it appears on the title page and throughout the text.)
George Washington Carver served as the director of theTuskegee Institute’s Agriculture Department from 1896 until the time of his death in 1947. During his tenure, he published numerous bulletins, including this one.Three Delicous Meals Every Day for the Farmerbegins with an introduction about the relationship between people and food, including what he saw as some of the issues of the time. The majority of the provides a plan of three meals a day for one week.
What grabbed my attention was the “Explanatory” section at the end, which includes recipes for eight dishes that are among the planned menu. There is a focus on simplicity, economy, and (re)use. “Granulated Toast” is basically breadcrumbs which can be used in a number of other ways and in other recipes. “Bacon Puffs” are made from a piece of the bacon that’s already been used at least once. Carver’s recipe for “Nut Sandwiches” means using whatever kind of nut or nuts you have available, peanut or otherwise. These are easy, satisfying, sustainable (if a bit repetitive) dishes meant to appear over and over again in meal plans and they require (mainly) ingredients that were available on the farm.
Our History of Food & Drink Collection is full of surprises, including recipes, household management guides, books on nutrition and dietetics, advertising ephemera, children’s cookbooks and nutrition publications, and information on the history of cocktails in America. We’re working hard to add some original materials, too, and we now house more than two dozen handwritten receipt books, compiled recipe collections, and faculty papers. This “How to Cook a Husband” was a small manuscript item discovered among a box of publications in 2010. And its catchy title was hard to resist.
Like many manuscript materials, handwriting is always a challenge. In general, if you spend a few minutes with it, you’ll get the hang of it. In the meantime, here’s a transcript:
A good many husbands are utterly spoiled by mismanagement in cooking, and do not turn out tender or good. Some go about the task as if their husbands were balloons. They blow them up, others keep them constantly in hot water, others let them freeze by their carelessness and indifference. Some keep them in a stew by their irritating way and words. Other roast them. Some keep them in a pickle all their lives.
It cannot be supposed a husband will be tender or good so managed but they are truly delicious when properly treated.
In selecting your husband, you must not be guided by a silvery appearance, as in buying mackerel, or by the golden tint as in salmon. Be sure you select him yourself as tastes differ and be sure you do not look for him at market for the best are always brought to the door.
It is far better not to have any unless you patiently learn how to cook them. A preserving kettle lined with the finest porcelain must be used, yet if you have but an earthen pipkin, it will do if carefully handled. See that the linen in which you wrap him is nicely washed & mended and with the required buttons and strings neatly sewed on.
Lie him in the kettle with a strong silken cord called Comfort, as the one called duty is apt to be weak. They are apt to fly out of the kettle and get burnt and crunchy on the edges since like crabs or oysters you have to cook them alive. Make a good steady fire out of love, neatness and cheerfulness. Set your husband as near this as seems to agree with him. If he sputter and fizz, do not grow anxious. Some do this until quite done.
Add a little sugar in the form confectioners call kisses & spice if used with judgement may be added. No sharp instrument must be stuck into him to see if he is tender. Stir him gently and you cannot fail to know when he is done.
If thus treated, you will find him digestible, agreeing nicely with you as long as you do not grow careless and stick him in too cold a place.
The contents are based on a popular story that uses cooking metaphors to instruct young women in treating their husbands well (assuming, of course, that a young lady has already locate and hook a young man). Although the creator of the original story is unknown, the story is thought to have originated in New England in the early 1880s. A finding aid for this collection is available online.