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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