Cook Spaghetti Three Hours…

May 5, 2017

Like Lizzie Black Kander’s Settlement Cookbook before it, the Neighborhood Cookbook, first published in 1912 in Portland, Oregon was intended to raise money for a Jewish Women’s center that offered lifestyle classes to the poor – cooking, sewing, even laundering. These centers were essentially finishing schools for immigrants, pushing an agenda of assimilation and civilized economic independence. But unlike the Settlement Cookbook, the Neighborhood Cookbook features all kinds of Jewish-ish delicacies, and embraces an almost slapstick enthusiasm for the nearly forgotten timbale (essentially ground meat or vegetables turned into large muffin tins.) There are 14 kinds represented. For that sensibility alone it’s fun to read. 

I liked seeing these matzoh recipes, one of which is basically gussied up matzoh brei. It’s also fun to reflect on a time when shredded wheat with milk got it’s own special recipe: 

A small sample of timbale recipes: 

Three whole recipes for goulash:

This zany thing defies introduction: If you feel sorry for that poor pasta, include these asparagus, string beans and all other veggies in your sympathies:

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3 Comments

  • Tom Steele says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how Americans used to destroy good food. James Beard helped to turn that around, but so did many others. Fortunately, my own mother (unlike yours, Ruth!) was a wonderful home cook, and she never overcooked a vegetable in her life.

  • David Kmetz says:

    Holy crap! Three hours?? Pure mush. I concur with Tom Steele above. Both my parents were good home cooks and inspired me to try my hand at it at a young age. Never looked back. And I sometimes cook pasta starting with cold water and the pasta in it – works out fine.

  • Norma says:

    wow have you ever found the paperback of this vintage book? I would really like to get my hands on it.

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