Old Cookbooks 2
September 13, 2010
Last week, in my favorite used book store, I found the most incredible group of cookbooks from the forties. The three bound notebooks are each so densely covered with tiny handwriting that they look like the work of a mad cook suffering from horror vacui, loath to leave a single bit of white space on the page.
The recipes are strange and wonderful, and they cover the world: French soufflés, Russian zakuski and Chinese sweet and sour chicken all make an appearance. But my favorites are the truly odd American concoctions like an “Orange Surprise” that includes ground raisins, cottage cheese, oranges and sweetened French dressing.
Here’s another crazy old recipe:
2 (3 oz.) cans liver spread
8 slices enriched bread
1 can condensed mushroom or tomato soup
½ cup milk
Spread liver on 4 slices of the bread and top with remaining four slices. Place sandwiches in a shallow greased casserole. Pour the soup, which has been diluted with the milk, over the sandwiches and bake in a moderate (350) oven for 30 minutes.
I can’t imagine that you end up with anything that anyone would want to eat, but someday I’m going to try it and see.
The next recipe in the notebook, by the way, is for Ham Pancakes with Hot Honey.
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I have this great old cookbook called A Wolf In Chef’s Clothing. It’s a picture book for men to use to do the most basic of cooking. There are more illustrations than words.
Someday when you try this recipe, please do share the results !! This made me laugh and reminded me of an odd combination of ingredients for a recipe that I found in an old magazine. A friend and I were driving through the countryside one day back in the ’80s and came across a run down and obviously vacant house – I found a stack of magazines from the 1950’s (don’t recall the name) while rummaging in this abandoned house in the Carneros region of Napa -we cautiously entered and curiously snooped through the remains of which there was a collection of a publication that featured home decorating, gardening and cooking. One of the recipes went something like this: Take a thick slice of ham and spread peanut butter on the top, add a jar of maraschino cherries, chopped onions and garlic powder. Pour 1 cup of pineapple juice on top and bake for 30 minutes. I never had the courage to experiment with this dish, however have often wondered who and why the creator came up with the combination ?!