The American Peoples Cookbook, 1956, part one.

No, there's no apostophe missing; the wonderful old Culinary Arts Institute was presenting here ideas from many Americans of all different backgrounds, and also were taking many winning entries from the Peoples Book Club and from the Sears Readers Club (though the Culinary Arts people added recipes to make it a well-rounded cookbook, they explain).

I actually bought this book for its pictures -- and am finding it fascinating that they too were enthralled by various times in American history including the 1920s:

As has often happened to me lately with vintage cookbooks, however, I'm getting interested in some of their recipes and tips. Today I read some interesting tips on packing lunches, which they recommend include the general healthy-even-by-today's-standards menu of

• a protein-rich source such as a cheese sandwich, a meat sandwich, or fried chicken (which they explain should be frozen ahead of time so it's still safely coolish a few hours later for lunch)

• "salads and raw vegetables" (which is a good idea in the days before microwaves; who would have wanted a vegetable casserole or something without refrigeration or reheating facilities)

• beverage (for which they recommend a thermos)

• dessert  (they highly recommend a fruity one, such as simply a fresh fruit or two, or pie, or a fruit salad)

• a surprise! ("be it candy or a stick of gum, olives or pickles, a newspaper clipping or note" -- any let "the lunch carrier know that the lunch was packed with loving thoughtfulness")

(I'm still reading this book so there might be another installment of this "review" sometime.)

Super Easy Minted Pea Soup

This is so delicious, but incredibly easy. Just put into a blender and puree and serve (I liked it at room temperature though you may prefer to heat it a bit):

1 can peas with their liquid (be sure it's just plain peas and water and salt and maybe a bit of sugar)
about 1 Tbsp olive oil
about 2 Tbsp red onion (not cooked)
about 1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves
grated zest of 1/3 fresh organic lime
1 Tbsp plain yogurt (I love Brown Cow With Cream Top)

Taste and add a bit of salt if necessary.

(adapted from the recipe for May 8, Pea and Mint Puree with Lemon, in Williams Sonoma Soup of the Day: 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year by Kate McMillan)

(a re-posting from this site's predecessor)

Amazing Pea Salad

So easy and so delicious!

Stir together
a can of peas, drained (I just used HEB's store brand, though it was of their petit ones)
a huge garlic clove smashed in one of those cool gadgets (Oxo's, thank you to my daughter, is the first I've ever found that actually works; sourced at Crate and Barrel)

some olive oil
a lime's juice
some fresh cut mint
thick yogurt to bind it together nicely

Add salt if necessary.

(Adapted from Spiced Pea Dip in The Meat-Free Monday Cookbook.)

(a re-post from the previous incarnation of this site)

It's not just me and oranges!

A.A. Milne -- yes, he of Winnie the Pooh fame -- wrote in a story in Punch years ago, now in a fun collection published in 1929 called Those Were the Days, of a house guest who paused during a breakfast conversation to eat an orange:

Five minutes elapsed, or transpired (whichever it is), before I was ready to talk again. Generally, after an orange, I want to have a bath and go straight off to bed, but this particular one had not been so all-overish as usual.
That's exactly how I feel after an orange, or a grapefruit! Perhaps they're better as bedtime snacks?!

This Week's Cookbooks

I thought it would be fun for a guest who's coming soon to feature old ideas for our menus! She'll also be here for Memorial Day, which of course calls for a picnic, maybe in our park near our new home!!

Aunt Jenny's Favorite Recipes [with Spry], 1937??

Okay, first I laughed my head off. And learned the source/reason for all the parodies of things like this that I'd seen all my life:
It's even funnier because throughout they apparently thought they were being friendly by making their -ing's into -in's, as in the cartoon above and in "makin' frostin'" -- and also by using words like "humdinger," which apparently was only invented by about 1890.

Speaking of dates, then I wondered when it had been made. There's no date, though it is mentioned that it's from Lever Brothers out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. (They eventually became Unilever.) Here are some clues -- how people dressed "30 years ago" and how people decorated their living rooms.

I looked up the product and think this book is possibly from about 1937; Spry was started in 1936 as a big competitor for Crisco, and the book mentions "another shortening" without naming them but as if Spry were new.

Then I realized that these recipes, made with vegetable shortening, actually included some delicious-sounding ones, if you leave out/substitute for the featured product! There is a version of apple pie with maple sugar and cinnamon that sounds good, though there's also already-greasy beef iced as thick as a cake with plain shortening! I'm going to shelve this one with my dessert cookbooks...

It's interesting that the book/manufacturer claims to have invented drop cookies, "a new way to make cookies." It's also interesting that it claims that unlike other fats, this one is so easy to digest that "even children" can have desserts! I wonder what the poor darlings had before! 

Gribiche Sauce

You'll need 1-1/2 (1.5) hard-boiled eggs; start them now if you have to.

Cut up as necessary on a large cutting board and keep aside:
  1/8 of a 300-gram jar of cornichons (really good ones)
  1/2 to 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  1 tsp capers (they won't need chopped unless you're using the huge variety; I suggest the tiny ones for this)

Slice the eggs long-wise and put their 1-1/2 yolks in a medium bowl and set aside for a moment. Put the 1-1/2 whites on the cutting board and chop them.

Mash the yolks in the bowl with a fork with
  1/2 tsp French (not French's!) mustard
Then pour in and whisk:
  1/2 cup olive oil
Then whisk in:
  1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Then stir in everything on your cutting board. Add salt and pepper to taste.

It won't be perfectly combined, but it will taste delicious over fish, vegetables, and also toast! It keeps about a week in the refrigerator and is one of my favorite hot-weather sauces. It's also great because it can take the place of mayonnaise without the risk of raw eggs.

adapted from the British edition of Je Suis Cuisiner (I Know How to Cook) by Ginette Mathiot -- a wonderful general cookbook if you have access to high-quality ingredients

(a re-posting from this site's predecessor, from when we lived where food poisoning was a terrible threat)

Lamb with Rosemary and Olives

Marinate -- as long as you can (at least 20 minutes, but up to 24 hrs if your lamb is tough -- if doing for a short time just marinate in the pan you'll ccok in) (note you will cook in the "marinade" and it will become the lamb's sauce):
boneless lamb cut into small bite-size
rosemary chopped (fresh is nice)
parsley chopped (about same amount as rosemary)
some almonds chopped
a generous amount of olive oil
a generous amount of inexpensive port or red wine
a generous amount of garlic
a splash of Thai fish sauce (or anchovies if you have them)
a generous amount of green olives (stuffed if you like that) (no need to slice)
Then cook in the marinade/sauce on the stovetop until done. Add a bit of water and/or more port if it starts getting dry.
Serve over hot rice.

Extremely changed from the wonderful Jamie Oliver's wonderful recipe Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Olives, Bread, Pinenuts, and Herbs in his Jamie's Italy cookbook. 
Re-posted from previous incarnation of this site...

The Heinz Book of Meat Cookery, 1932

As I mentioned the other day, I got some wonderful old recipe booklets in my mailbox. Here's one of them -- probably one of the least photogenic, but interesting nonetheless:

I found it interesting that even though this was written in 1932 it spoke of the long-gone "old days" when people used to make their own condiments, whereas "today's" person had "more varied...interests" that kept them too busy to make their own pickles, jellies, catsup, etc.! Which of course was very much to this particular company's advantage!

Perhaps you've wondered about the "Heinz 57" mention in some places. There indeed were 57 products, and they are listed in this book. Actually, according to their official site, when Mr. Heinz decided to use that number, it was because he felt it was lucky, even though they already had more products than that in their lineup. This 1932 book lists them, and they include pork-and-beans type products, various soups, many condiments -- but what surprised me were desserts like fig pudding and breakfasts like Rice Flakes. I somehow picked up a brochure from Heinz in Germany maybe 8 or 10 years ago, and they listed more products than I'd seen in my country of the USA...

Wow, I just learned on Heinz's official site, , that they've merged with Kraft! That is one huge company!

The recipe from this that looks most intriguing to me is an idea called "Individual Cold Platter" in which one divides up a plate and has different spots for, say, little sandwiches and for pickles.

(A personal note: I start with this "review" because Heinz is dear to my heart because I may not be here if it were not for Heinz -- a job with them was what brought my dad to the town where he met my mom!)

Oh, the mail these days at this house is blissful!

I had the most fun going through a stash of retro cookbooks and cookbooklets from a lovely seller on Etsy. Here are a couple of my favorites:
She has a similar set today at .

I'm toying with the idea, if life doesn't get even busier too much, of presenting some of these each week or so....There were over SEVENTY of them, how generous and delightful!

This Week's Cookbooks

...include menu plans and recipes (and shopping lists) I found to give me many more vegetarian ideas than I was coming up with! -- at . Also includes a couple of my favorite cooks -- Nigel Slater and Jacques Pépin. Oh, sorry, you can hardly see my favorite-looking cookbook of this little lot -- the fun 1927 Piggly Wiggly Daily Health Menus Balanced Diet collection of menus and recipes for a year by "Chef Wyman" -- there's information about it from a seller I discovered two seconds ago -- .

Tomatoes and Red Bell Peppers with Rosemary

Sauté in plenty of olive oil
equal amounts tomato wedges and thin slices of red bell peppers
along with chopped rosemary to taste (fresh if possible).
Then sprinkle with sea salt.
Then put on very thin slices of a nice cheese, not too much, turn off heat, and wait for it to melt; I used the incredible cheese from Scotland that actually reminds me of Parmesan, but at a fraction of the price in India! McLelland Seriously Strong Extra Mature Cheddar.
If you happen to have already sautéed some red bell peppers and stored them in olive oil in the refrigerator, wow! and perfect! Use their oil for the sautéeing and stir in the already-cooked bell peppers near the end.

Inspired by a very different recipe in My New Favorite Magazine: Cuisiner au Jour le Jour for Mai-Juin-Juillet 2010, for Semaine 1 Lundi -- their pizza-like Tatin provençale au rondin de chévre.

(This was posted years ago at this site's predecessor, when we lived in India. However, note that that magazine became not-so-much-my favorite because it started repeating itself. However, collecting a year's worth is very pleasant and useful.)