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Monday, June 30, 2008

Gone With the Wind Recipes

How many times have you read the book Gone With the Wind? How many times have you watched the Gone With the Wind movie? If the answer to these questions is more than once, twice or three times, join me in celebrating a few recipes from the Gone With the Wind Cookbook.

Margaret Mitchell

It wouldn't be "proper" to reveal the recipes in the Gone With the Wind Cookbook without an introduction to author, Margaret Mitchell. Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell was born on November 8, 1900 in Atlanta, Georgia. Her mother was a suffragist and father a prominent lawyer and president of the Atlanta Historical Society.

As a child Margaret Mitchell was saturated with stories of the Civil War told to her by family members who had lived through it. They indoctrinated her so effectively that Mitchell was ten years old before she learned that the South had lost the war. Her venturesomeness as a young woman, which included a year at Smith College and a subsequent career in Atlanta journalism, reflected the influence of her mother, Maybelle, an ardent supporter of woman suffrage. After her mother's death of influenza during the epidemic of 1918 Mitchell returned to Atlanta. Four years later she married Berrien Kinnard Upshaw, an attractive, romantic, but violent and unstable man who is often regarded as the prototype of Gone With the Wind's Rhett Butler. Their marriage lasted only three months, although they were not divorced until 1924. The following year Mitchell wedded John Marsh, a union that would last her lifetime. source
Margaret Mitchell is reported to have begun writing Gone With the Wind while bedridden with a broken ankle. Her husband, John Marsh, brought home historical books from the public library to amuse her while she recuperated. After she supposedly read all the historical books in the library, he told her, "Peggy, if you want another book, why don't you write your own?" She drew upon her encyclopedic knowledge of the Civil War and dramatic moments from her own life, and typed her epic novel on an old Remington typewriter. She originally called the heroine "Pansy O'Hara", and Tara was "Fontenoy Hall". She considered naming the novel Tote The Weary Load or Tomorrow Is Another Day. wikipedia

Margaret Mitchell spent three years working on Gone With the Wind. Her only published novel was presented on June 30, 1936, it sold more copies than any other American novel in history. Margaret "Peggy" Mitchell won both of the United States's two highest honors for fiction - the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. The house where she lived while writing her manuscript is known today as "The Margaret Mitchell House." It is Located in Midtown Atlanta.

Margaret Mitchell was the author of Gone With the Wind, one of the most popular books of all time. The novel was published in 1936 and sold more than a million copies in the first six months, a phenomenal feat considering it was the Great Depression era. More than 30 million copies of this Civil War–era masterpiece have been sold worldwide in thirty-eight countries. It has been translated into twenty-seven languages. Approximately 250,000 copies are still sold each year. Shortly after the book's publication the movie rights were sold to David O. Selznick for $50,000, the highest amount ever paid for a manuscript up to that time. In 1937 Margaret Mitchell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. source
Possibly one of the reasons that Mitchell never wrote another novel was that she spent so much time working with her brother and her husband to protect the copyright of her book abroad. Up until the publication of Gone With the Wind, international copyright laws were ambiguous and varied from country to country. Correspondence also took much of her time. During the years following publication, she personally answered every letter she received about her book. With the outbreak of World War II in 1941, she worked tirelessly for the American Red Cross, even outfitting a hospital ship. She also set up scholarships for black medical students.

The Gone With the Wind Cookbook

Originally published by Pebeco Tooth Paste in 1939, the Gone With The Wind Cookbook; Famous Southern Cooking Recipes was issued as just another advertising campaign to capture the public's attention. Pebeco Tooth Paste had been around for as early as 1908. (perhaps earlier) There was actually much controversy over the brand including the ingredients which were proven to be deadly! I was so surprised by the accusations I encountered while researching this post, that I was almost going to skip the Margaret Mitchell introduction and enlighten you on what I discovered. To be quite honest, the post would not have seemed as appetizing as I would have liked. I have provided a few resources below if you are curious. On to the recipes!

I like to do a quick search before I post a recipe. The way I figure it, the internet is the cookbook library of the world so, there is no absolute need to repost recipes that have already been entered. Once again, I was ecstatic not to find this recipe for Coffeecake Wheels anywhere. Well, that's not totally true. I did find the named recipe at google books but it was included as a recipe in Cleora's Kitchens: The Memoir of a Cook and Eight Decades of Great American Food by Cleora Butler. There's no doubt in my mind that recipes from Cleora Kitchens will be shared on this blog at some point in time. The recipes in both books are almost exact with the exception of the amount of raisins and walnuts. In the Gone With the Wind Cookbook, the recipe calls for 3/4 cup of each where Cleroa's Kitchen calls for 1/4 of each. This is a GREAT recipe for Coffee Cake Day in April!

Coffee Cake Wheels
1 C. butter
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 tea. salt
2 tbs. grated lemon rind
2 eggs, well beaten
1 compressed yeast cake
1 C. sour cream
4-1/2 C. flour, sifted
1/4 C. butter, melted
1/4 C. brown sugar
3/4 C. seedless raisins
3/4 C. chopped walnut meats
6 tbs. granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Cream butter gradually; add granulated sugar, and cream thoroughly. Add salt, lemon rind, eggs, and yeast cake, which has been dissolved in the sour cream. Blend well. Add flour and mix thoroughly. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours. Remove from refrigerator and let rise for 1-1/2 hours. Then roll dough on a lightly floured board to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cover bottom of 9" x 12" pan with melted butter and brown sugar. Spread the surface of the dough with the remaining ingredients, which have been mixed together. Cut crosswise into slices 3/4 inch thick. Arrange slices on top of butter and brown sugar mixture. Cover with clean cloth and let rise in warm place (75 to 85 degrees F.) about 1/2 hour, or until light. Bake in moderately hot oven (375 degrees F) 35 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 20 coffeecake wheels.

I suppose I should have discussed the introduction to the book before posting the above recipe but I got all caught up in the Pebeco revelation.

"Perhaps, too, you may have seen, in your mind's eye, that polished mahogany dining table at Tara, reflecting a juicy baked ham at one end, a veritable mountain of fried chicken at the other, and crowding in between corn muffins, hot biscuits, and waffles oozing with butter; heaping dishes of fried squash, stewed okra, and collards swimming in rich liquor; pecan pie , rich, steaming plum pudding, pound cake topped with sweetened whipped cream, and fluffy, white Syllabub fragrant of the wine cellar."

Actually, there are just a few southern recipes included in the book. The recipes posted here are from a facsimile edition "inspired by the picture" copyright 1991 Turner Entertainment Co. and published by Abbeyville Press. Since we will soon be entering July which happens to be National Peach Month, as proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1982, I thought I would scan (click to enlarge) a page which includes Georgia Peach Trifle, Kentucky Strawberry Shortcake, and Lemon Souffle. Just in case you're interested, in 1984, President Ronald Reagan also proclaimed July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day. Enjoy!

"With the spirit of her people who would not know defeat, even when it stared them in the face, she raised her chin. She could get Rhett back. She knew she could. There had never been a man she couldn't get, once she set her mind upon him.
I'll think of it all tomorrow, at Tara. I can stand it then. Tomorrow, I'll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day."

Gone with the Wind pg. 1037, August 1936 edition, editor's copy

Resources

  • 1. Margaret Mitchell @ Gone With the Wind Org.
  • 2. Margaret Mitchell @ New Georgia Encyclopedia (very informative)
  • 3. Margaret Mitchell @ Georgia Women of Achievement
  • 4. A personal Website (a bit difficult to read) dedicated to Margaret Mitchell (in depth)
  • 5. Journal of Dental Science PDF
  • 6. Teeth (1940 publication)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rose O'Neill's Birthday

Today, in honor of the birthday of Rose O'Neill, I would like to share a beautifully illustrated recipe booklet titled The Jell-O Girl Gives A Party. This charming booklet is graced page after page with shimmering dishes of Jell-O and enchanting illustrations of the Jell-O Girl as she prepares to give a party for her little friends.

Rose O'Neill; the Kewpies' Mother

Although many noted artists such as Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell and Angus MacDonald made Jell-O a household word with their colored illustrations, IMHO, none had the effect and long lasting delight as those created by Rose O'Neill. Rose Cecil O’Neill was born on June 25, 1874, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. There are many resources available online (see below) that highlight the life and career of Rose O'Neill. Here I have chosen a biographical sketch prepared by Brady Smith for the Literary and Cultural Heritage Map of Pennsylvania.

Rose Cecil O'Neill was born June 25, 1874 to Asenath Smith and William O'Neill; her father, a book seller and mother a former school teacher. Throughout the early stages of her life, O'Neill possessed a divine interest in the arts. Her father encouraged her to be an actress and through both her parent's influences, she learned to appreciate Shakespeare, Chopin and others that significantly stood out among the arts. She absorbed the love of poetry from her father, who encouraged her to read books to retain knowledge that would benefit her especially as a young woman.

O'Neill began expressing herself through paintings in her adolescent years. While she attended Sacred Heart Convent, she won a prize awarded by the Omaha World-Herald, for an illustration she drew. Her family then moved to Ozark, Missouri. She stayed in Ozark for only a short time before opting to move to New York to pursue her dreams of being an artist. O'Neill enjoyed painting but could not escape her fascination with classical literature on Greek myths which later inspired her idea for the Kewpies.

In her later years, O'Neill began to sell illustrations to many of the prominent periodicals and her work appeared in such magazines as Collier's, Truth, McClure's and Harper's. Because the field was dominated by men at this time, she signed her work with her initials “C.R.O.” In 1896, O'Neill married Virginia aristocrat, Gray Latham. They lived in New York where she worked as a staff artist for Puck. While at Puck, she signed over 700 drawings with the signature O'Neill-Latham. However, the two divorced in 1901 and she left her job with Puck and returned to her home, “Bonniebrook” in Ozark, where she wrote and illustrated for several magazines.

O'Neill felt safe at BonnieBrook and while she stayed there, she received letters from longtime admirer Harry Leon Wilson who was the literary editor for Puck. When news of her divorce reached New York, Wilson traveled to BonnieBrook to ask for O'Neill's hand. In 1902, the two were married. They moved from Ozark to Connecticut each to pursue careers in writing. O'Neill wrote her first book 1904 entitled The Loves of Edwy. O'Neill wrote a total of four novels. (source)

BonnieBrook was Rose's home bound retreat. It was her "favorite place in the world." "In 1967, a week was dedicated to Rose O'Neill and a group of Kewpie collectors met in Branson, Missouri the closest town to BonnieBrook. The week was named "Kewpiesta" and evolved into a yearly convention. Every year the International Rose O'Neill Club (IROC) continues to hold a convention in Branson. In April of 2009, the Kewpiesta celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first Kewpies published in The Ladies Home Journal in December 1909.

In 1909, in her 'treetop studio' Rose took an afternoon nap. While sleeping, she dreamt that small “myth-like-elf” creatures that were greatly influenced by the Greek god of love, Cupid were bouncing on her coverlet, one even sitting on her hand. When she awoke, she went immediately to her drawing board and developed the tiny images hidden in her dreams into sketches and illustrations which would form her characters. They became known as Kewpies. In December 1909, the "mother" of the Kewpie characters introduced readers of Ladies' Home Journal to "The Kewpies" in her illustrated poems. The fanciful, elf-like babies with a top-knot head, wide smile, and sidelong eyes soon became a national craze. She described them as "a sort of little round fairy whose one idea is to teach people to be merry and kind at the same time." Around 1913 Rose O’Neill patented a doll based on her Kewpie character.

From 1912 to 1914, the Kewpie doll was an absolute craze. People were buying Kewpie books and Kewpie rattles, Kewpie soap and Kewpie dishes, Kewpie pianos and Kewpie salt-and-pepper shakers. Women began plucking their eyebrows to mimic the surprised dot brows of the little porcelain cherubs. Poet/artist Rose Cecil O'Neill made $1.5 million from the munchkin dolls, which she first invented as magazine illustrations and patented in 1913. source
Jell-O Kewpies
The cartoon was instantly famous. In 1912 a German porcelain manufacturer started making Kewpie dolls, and that year she and her sister went to Germany to show the porcelain artists how to make the dolls the way she wanted them. The dolls were sold all over the world along with a vast array of Kewpie merchandise such as tableware, fabrics, and trinkets.

Becoming known as the "Queen of Bohemian Society" O'Neill became a women's rights advocate. Her properties included Bonniebrook; an apartment in Washington Square in Greenwich Village that inspired the song Rose of Washington Square; Castle Carabas in Connecticut; and Villa Narcissus on the Isle of Capri, Italy. Considered one of the world's five most beautiful women, O'Neill made a fortune of $1.4 million, approximately $15 million).

O'Neill continued working, even at her wealthiest. Perhaps driven by the unfortunate circumstances in her life to express herself, along with the needs of her family, she delved into different types of art. She learned sculpture at the hand of Rodin (The Thinker), and had several exhibitions of her "Sweet Monsters" in Paris and the United States. She held open salons in her Washington Square apartment where poets, actors, dancers and the 'great thinkers' of her day would gather. O'Neill often continued her drawing until early morning. wikipedia

Rose O'Neill's talent did not end as an illustrator. She was also an author, poet, sculptor, actress, inventor and suffragette. She was one of the few women to achieve extraordinary financial success and professional independence in early twentieth-century American cartooning. Such wealth enabled O'Neill, with her sister, Callista, to hold salons in her Greenwich Village studio and create experimental drawings unlike the work for which she is usually known.

She also wrote and illustrated eight children's books featuring Kewpies from 1912 to 1936. Kewpie comics appeared in newspapers during those years, and O'Neill became one of the first female cartoonists in America. Ignoring publicized criticism of her association with the Women's Movement, O'Neill utilized the immense popularity of the Kewpie character to endorse and garner attention to her favorite political causes which included woman suffrage. The National Woman Suffrage Association distributed postcards and posters that utilized her Kewpie and artistic illustrations. A Los Angeles Tribune article reported, "The most celebrated of America's black-and-white artists, Rose O'Neill, creator of ‘The Kewpies,’ is an ardent suffragist and an active member of the Press and Publicity Council of New York City. source

The Great Depression hurt O'Neill's fortune. During that period she was dismayed to find that her work was no longer in demand. The Kewpie character phenomena, after 30 years of popularity, faded, and photography was replacing illustrating as a commercial vehicle. In 1937, Rose O'Neill returned to BonnieBrook permanently. By the 1940s she had lost most of her money and her beautiful homes. She continued to donate her time and pieces of artwork to the School of the Ozarks at Point Lookout, Missouri. She lectured at artist's workshops and continued to address women's groups. She remained a prominent personality in the Branson, Missouri community.

O’Neill worked industriously and financially supported her family and many fellow artists throughout her career. In the 1930s, her fortunes dwindled due to her generosity and the financial stress of a worldwide economic depression. Also, after thirty years of popularity, interest in the Kewpie character started to wane. O’Neill’s artwork—and the Kewpies—were no longer in high demand as realistic photographs replaced fanciful illustrations in magazines and newspapers.

In 1937 O’Neill retreated permanently to Missouri to live at Bonniebrook. There she wrote her memoirs with the help of her friend, the Ozark folklorist Vance Randolph. Her autobiography, published many years after her death, reveals her personal philosophy: “Do good deeds in a funny way. The world needs to laugh or at least smile more than it does.” She died on April 6, 1944, at the age of 70. She was buried at Bonniebrook. source

The Jell-O Girl Gives A Party

"Do good deeds in a funny way.
The world needs to laugh or at least smile more than it does."
Rose O'Neill

(revised June 2013)

Resources

  • 1. Rose O'Neill Biography
  • 2. Rose @ National Women's History Project
  • 3. Rose O'Neill's Biography
  • 4. Rose O'Neill Inventor
  • 5. Library of Congress Online Exhibition (has an image of her work published in Puck, April 15, 1903)
  • 6. "Kewpiesta"
  • 7. History of lovely BonnieBrook
  • 8. Other Rose O'Neill Ads
  • 9. Rose of Washington Square lyrics
  • Additional Resources
    Some of the Jell-O Girl information was cited from one of my favorite advertising leaflets reference books Vintage Cookbooks and Advertising Recipe Leaflets by Sandra J. Norman & Karrie K. Andes (pages 53-58)

Monday, June 23, 2008

St. John's Eve Dinner a la Brazil

In celebration of Midsummer's Eve and the eve of the Birth of St. John the Baptist, I thought I would post a Brazilian menu I unveiled in the book Festival Menus 'Round the World (1957) by Sula Benet. You may remember this book from a previous post I did back in January for Little Christmas.

I was intrigued by the thought of celebrating the summer solstice with Brazilian recipes because the seasons in Brazil are the reverse of those in the United States. If I read my web visits correctly, it's winter in Brazil from June 21 until September 21. I suppose that explains the Cauliflower Soup recipe (Sopa De Couve-Flor) offered in the menu. Although, I am a fan of cauliflower soup, today is not a day I would even dream about preparing it unless, of course, it was chilled and spiced with curry. I'm in New York today and if I do say so quite bluntly, it is HUMID! Nope, no soup today. St. John's Day is an especially important celebration day in Brazil. It is believed to have been brought to the New World by Portuguese settlers. From wikipedia:

The Portuguese Midsummer Day (St John's Day) brought to Brazil during colonial times has become a very important popular event that is celebrated during a period that starts one week before St John's Day and ends one week after. As this nationwide festival, called "Festa Junina" (Saint John Festival), happens during the European midsummer, it takes place in the Brazilian midwinter and is most associated with Northeastern Brazil, but today celebrated in the whole country...As Saint John festivities also coincide with the corn harvest, dishes served during this period are commonly made with corn, such as canjica and pamonha; dishes also include peanuts, potatoes sausages and also sweet rice. The celebrations are very colorful and festive and include amazing pyrotechnics. Bonfires and fire in general are thus one of the most important features of these festivities, a feature that is among the remnants of midsummer pagan rituals in the Iberian Peninsula.

From Festival Menus 'Round the World

...the Fogueira de são João which is set off in villages and throughout the countryside. Families and friends gather around the fires to eat sweets, roasted sweet potatoes, manioc cake, and other traditional Brazilian delicacies. Firecrackers are exploded, young folks jump across the fire, and children send into the air multi-shaped paper balloons, heated from within by candle or an oil wig...Since Saint John is also the protectors of lovers, young girls in the country will try to ascertain their marital prospects by consulting all kinds of oracles. Rolled up scraps of paper, each one bearing the name of a girl, are placed in a bowl of water. The first one which unfolds indicates the girl who will get a husband first. Fortunes are also told by incisions made in banana trees.
TWAS in that mellow season of the year.
When the hot Sun singes the yellow leaves
Till they be gold, — and with a broader sphere
The Moon looks down on Ceres and her sheaves;
When more abundantly the spider weaves,
And the cold wind breathes from a chillier clime;
That forth I fared, on one of those still eves,
Touch'd with the dewy sadness of the time,
To think how the bright months had spent their prime.
Thomas Hood

On the eve of St. John's birth, many countries have celebrated with bonfires on Bonfire Night. This is especially true in Ireland,, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, and Lithuania. In Florence, Italy, the fireworks are ignited on the day of Saint John's birth, June 24th. In the Catholic religion, it is unusual to celebrate a saint's feast day on the day of their birth. Don't quote me on this but I think St. John's Day may be the only exception. A traditional drink in Florence is Nocino or Italian Walnut Liqueur. This blog has a bit of information about the festivities in Florence and also a Nocino recipe. In Finland, picnics are a popular way to celebrate Midsummer's Day. Finnish Pancakes or Pannukakku are the proper traditional supper for the eve of the Birth of St. John the Baptist. The batter is sometimes brought to the bonfire and cooked over the glowing flames. Of course, they can also be prepared at home like crepes. Swedish strawberries are "completely mandatory for Midsummer." Midsummer is possibly the most sacred holiday in Sweden as Anne so eloquently tells us.

Celebration of this holiday traditionally began the night before, since in ancient times days were reckoned from evening to evening, rather than from midnight to midnight as we do now (hence the prominence of "eve's", as in Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, Halloween, etc). St. John's Eve, June 23, was sometimes known as Bonfire Night in Ireland. Up to the mid-20th century, Irish Catholics lit large communal bonfires at sunset on this day, or small family fires outside their houses. source
St John's wort doth charm all Witches away
If gathered at midnight on the Saint's holy day 
Any Devils and Witches have no power to harm 
Those that gather the plant for a charm 
Rub the lintels with that red juicy flower
No thunder nor tempest will then have the power
 To hurt or hinder your house; and bind 
Round your neck a charm of similar kind source

There are many folk tales and lore surrounding the Eve of Saint John's Day. Legend has it asparagus disappear in the bonfires of St. John the Baptist's Day. In Britain and Europe, St. John's Eve was the time to gather mystical herbs believed to have magical powers. St. John's Wort, fennel, vervain, trefoil and rue were a few of the herbs gathered. St. John's Wort, which is usually in full bloom on St. John's Day, and Fennel were hung over doorways to protect homes from evil spirits. At the School of Seasons, you can find a Victorian divination which is supposed to be performed on the eve of St. John's Day. Such spiritual practices are not unusual for a season so rich in folklore. Midsummer's day is probably the most celebrated of Pagan festivals. The traditions and symbols of this bountiful celebration includes all the plants animals and insects of summer. Midsummer's full moon is known as the "Honey Moon." Prepared days in advance, mead is the divine solar drink of the festivities.

St. Johnswort: The flowers, infused in oil, ease pain and swellings, and help close wounds. At one time they were soaked in wine or brandy and drunk for melancholy and madness, or applied externally for bruises and contusions...If you pick the plant on the night of St. John and hang it on the bedroom wall, you will dream of your future husband. Hang the plant in your windows on St. John's birthday to keep away ghosts, devils, and familiars for a year. Herbs & Things by Jeanne Rose (1976) p.104

Since St. John was supposed to subsist on honey and locusts, they too are associated with Saint John's Day. Now, don't get too excited, I'm not talking about those winged insects that fill the air with that deafening mate screech. Boy, was it bad my last trip up to PA a few weeks ago. I forgot how loud that noise can be. Anyway, in this case, I'm talking about carob bean. Carob bean grows in long, dark brown pods. It is also known as St. John's Bread. Carob is successfully used as a substitute for chocolate. I know this to be true. When my kids were small, I made many, many "chocolate chip cookies" using carob chips. Locust pods have long been eaten as food so, it is no surprise to believe that St. John the Baptist is said to have eaten them. There's more, carob doesn't contain cholesterol, caffeine, theobromine, or oxalic acid, like chocolate. Here's a recipe for Carob Cake And Frosting which also uses honey. Now isn't that a befitting recipe for St. John's Day?

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended.
That you have but slumb'red here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream (V, i, ll. 412-417)

I was delighted to discover Maria's Brazilian recipes website. I had planned on scanning all the recipes on the menu for you to use in case you wanted to celebrate Midsummer's festival Brazilian style. I found the recipe for the Empadinhas (Brazilian Shrimp Pies) and Mother-in-law's Eyes there. I was also "lucky" enough to find this recipe for Okra Salad which is almost identical to the one on the menu. The marinated roast beef is similar to sauerbraten. If you would like me to add it, just leave a comment. I'm more interested in the Apricot Floating Pudding (Pudim De Claras Com Damascos) I can just imagine Shakespeare's fairies dancing their moonlight dances upon Apricot Floating Pudding.

The addition of apricots to the "pudding clear" will let your guests "taste" peach colored clouds. You can imagine my glee when I approached Ana's blog and found this Eggwhite Pudding. After a quick search on google, I was ecstatic not to find the recipe enclosed in this book. I really enjoy sharing recipes that aren't readily available online so, here goes.

Pudim De Clara's Com Damascos
Apricot Floating Pudding
1 cup dried apricots
4 egg whites
5 tsp. sugar
Sugar Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
Wash apricots and cut into small pieces. Cook until tender. Cool. Beat whites of eggs until very stiff. Add 5 teaspoons of sugar and beat some more. Mix with apricots.
Meanwhile, melt 1/2 cup sugar in a heavy skillet over a low flame until light brown. Remove from heat and slowly add boiling water. Place skillet back on low flame and simmer 10 minutes more. Spread mixture over bottom and sides of an angel food mold. Cool. After the mold has cooled, pour the apricot mixture into it. Bake for 25-30 minutes in 300 degree oven in a pan of water until done. Cool. Remove from mold and cover with sauce below.
Sauce:
4 egg yolks
2 tbs. sugar
1-1/2 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat egg yolks and sugar. Blend in milk and vanilla. Cook over hot water in double broiler several minutes. Stir frequently.

Resources

  • 1. St. John’s Eve – A Study in Folklore 
  • 2. Chiresaye (Cherry Pudding Decorated with Flowers)
  • 3. Carob Definition & Recipes

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Candy Persuasion"

On the goo-oo-ood ship Lollypop
It's a swee-ee-eet trip to a candy shop
Where bon-bons play
On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay

At least I spared you the singing. Today, we are celebrating National Candy Month. Yes, that's what they tell me. June is National Candy Month. Oh, I forgot to mention where I got the cool title for this post. It just so happens, I was strolling around the Internet for some worthy information about C.I. Hood. Actually, his name was Charles I. Hood. Anyway, I ran across Kathy's blog over at Food Company Cookbooks where she had a post titled "Architectural Persuasion." In the post, she discusses one of the Hood's Cook Books and offers a wonderful description of the Laboratory of C. I. Hood & Co., which was/is in Lowell, Massachusetts. Well, it just so happens, that today, in honor of candy month, I am also going to post about one of the Hood's cook books. Actually, I'm going to share some candy recipes from the Hood's Book of Home Made Candies published by C.I. Hood in 1888.

Charles I. Hood

From humble beginnings in Chelsea, Vermont in 1845, by the age of 14, Charles I. Hood was employed in an apothecary store as a pharmacist's apprentice. About five years after the Civil War, he established his own drugstore in Lowell Massachusetts with J. C. Ayer as his landlord. (Ayer also had a fascinating beginning) Unfortunately, there isn't much information about Charles I. Hood readily available on the internet but I did find two excellent articles which give much more insight into the man who was the founder of C. I. Hood & Company and that catchy advertising phrase (For That Tired Feeling Take Hood's) promoting Hood's Sarsaparilla. (not Sasparilla) I suppose as comfort to the purchaser's of his booklet, which could be sent for a 2 cent stamp, Charles Hood found it necessary to include his "credentials."

The head of the firm of C.I. Hood & Co. is a thoroughly competent and experienced pharmacist; he served an apprenticeship of five years with Dr. Samuel Kidder, for many years a leading pharmacist of Lowell, Mass., was then for five years prescription clerk with Theodore Metcalf & Co., Boston and in the fourteen years following was proprietor of leading pharmacy in Lowell, familiarly known as Hood's throughout that section of the state. He is also a member of the Massachusetts and American Pharmaceutical Associations and continues actively devoted to supervising the preparation of, and managing the business connected with, Hood's Sarsaparilla.

An article published in The New York Times in 1894 gives this account.

Mr. Hood started out in life without a dollar, and when fourteen years old he was employed in a drug store in Lowell. But here the field was too small for him, and he went to Boston, where he found employment in Theodore Metcalf & Co's establishment, the greatest retail drug store in the city. "I made up my mind I'd be partner in that house," said Mr. Hood, in telling of his experiences, "and I would have succeeded except for the fact that my health broke down. I had to go back to the farm at home. Afterward I tried it again but the work was to much for me, and I accepted an offer to go into partnership with a Lowell man who offered to put up the capital for a drug store if I would supply the experience. My partner did not treat me right, but when I protested he coolly told me if I did not like it I could go, after having worked three years to build up the business. Well, I did not propose to throw away three years work that way, so I held on, waiting for my opportunity. It came three years later.

The article in The Times is quite a lengthy one. It has information obtained by a reporter who attended a convention of the "patent-medicine kings" of the day. The convention took place at Delmonico's and was composed of the "Association of Manufacturers and Wholesale Dealers in Proprietary Articles of the United States." The article introduces the "who's who" of household medicines. It is quite interesting. Charles Hood seems to have been born with a natural instinct for advertising. As the the originator of Hood’s Sarsaparilla, he used calendars, fans, colored trade cards, posters, puzzles, cook books and a tremendous amount of newspaper advertising to broadcast his message of the wondrous healing abilities of Hood's Sarsaparilla. Hood's Sarsaparilla and Hood's Tooth Powder were his most popular products. Hood's Sarsaparilla was a sweetened, carbonated beverage flavored with birch oil and sassafras. It claimed to cure most anything including Scrofula, Salt Rheum, Dyspepsia, Biliousness, Sick Headache, Indigestion, Catarrh, Rheumatism, Kidney or Liver Complaints, and That Tired Feeling. The article also gives an account of how he came up with that catchy phrase For That Tired Feeling Take Hood's

"The way I happened to hit that phrase was very simple," said Mr. Hood to a group of friends at the convention. "A lady came into my drug store at Lowell one day in the springtime, and said she wanted a bottle of my sarsaparilla. She added: "I have that extreme tired feeling, and I think the sarsaparilla will help me." It struck me at once that "that extreme tired feeling" would make a great line. But it was a little too long, and though extreme was a splendid word where it occurs, I had to sacrifice it.

There's also excellent information, colored photographs and a list of the ingredients found in Hood's Sarsaparilla found at this website titled "If Made By Hood It's Good."

March April and May are the months in which to purify the blood, for at no other season is the body to susceptible to benefit from medicine- The peculiar purifying and reviving qualities of Hood's Sarsaparilla are just what is needed to expel disease and fortify the system against the debilitating effects of mild weather. The blood at this season is loaded with impurities which are promptly and thoroughly removed by Hood's Sarsaparilla, and strength, health, vigor, and vitality succeed to weakness, debility, and that tired feeling. Hood's Sarsaparilla cures all blood diseases. American Primary Teacher (1897)

Hood's Candy Recipes

Pictures of smiling children have always been enticing images in advertisements, even for products with which children have no possible connection. The prime target of such booklets was, of course, the mother who would be expected to at least glance at the recorded testimonials. Hood's Book of Home Made Candies is no exception. From Kitchen Culture in America (2000) by Sherrie A. Inness.

To advertise the magical powers of sarsaparilla, C. I. Hood and Company published an eighteen-page candy recipe book in 1888. Each page of Hood's Book of Homemade Candies was divided in half with a line running down the middle. On one side the reader found candy recipes. On the opposite side was a list of diseases described in agonizing detail. Explicitly linking lemon taffy, vanilla cream sticks, and peppermint lozenges with the supposed medicinal and scientific properties of their product. Hood and Company advised readers to purchase candy making supplies from qualified druggists. Without the knowledge of science, domestic candy makers risked "considerable difficulty and perhaps even failure." Just like Hood's sarsaparilla, candy appeared to contain rejuvenating and mystical powers. More important, the sudden appearance of cookbooks such as Hood's served notice that candy was gaining acceptance in America. source

Without a doubt, there is definitely no shortage of candy recipes sweetening up this world wide web of ours. Candy recipes are everywhere! There's modern candy recipes, vintage candy recipes. Heck, there's even The Science of Candy which happens to be a very interesting website. Personally, I've never made candy. What I have attempted to do is weedle out some of the unusual candy recipes contained in this booklet. Mind you, it is no easy task. As I said, any candy recipes you may have a hankering for can be found literally right at your finger tips. Some of them I have scanned. Some of them may seem familiar to you but since I am no candy elf, they may seem odd to me. The scanned ones are, Cocoanut Taffy, Orange Rock Candy, Lemon Rock, Ginger Rock and Vanilla Cream Stick. I've also included a page which has the candy recipes on one side and the medical ailments on the other. And finally, the third scan includes Molasses Taffy, and a sweet called Everton Taffy which I had never heard of before.

My contribution to National Candy Month comes from page nine, "To Make Food Coloring for Candy."

Cochineal: Powder one ounce of cochineal. Add an ounce of cream of tartar and two drachmas of alum. It is best to get the druggist to put these up for you as very little too much acid gives a common magenta shade. Boil the ingredients in half pint of water, until reduced to one half. Strain it through muslin, (add a few drops of alcohol or other liquid to prevent it spoiling if you wish to keep it) and bottle for use. A very few drops color a pound a candy. Ed Note: There seems to be a bit of a controversy over the use of cochineal even today. According to wikipedia, "Cochineal is the name of both crimson or carmine dye and the cochineal insect (Dactylopius coccus), a scale insect in the suborder Sternorrhyncha, from which the dye is derived." Cochineal is a traditional ingredient used to achieve reds and pinks in cake, icing and dessert recipes. It gives a crimson type of red or pink color. I'm not quite sure how I feel about using insects as a way of dying food but it seems, if you followed any of the above links, it is used quite often today in juices and other products. Actually, if a manufacturer wants to tout their product as organic, cochineal squeezes right in. Michele, are you reading this?????? Just in case you're curious, here's a link that explains how to use cochineal as a food coloring. And you thought this post was just about candy:)
Yellow Coloring: Boil a quarter of an ounce of Spanish saffron in half a pint of water until it is a brownish orange, then strain through muslin and put in small bottle. It is well to add a few drops of liquor to prevent it molding.
Caramel Coloring: Put half pound of granulated sugar in a small saucepan with just enough water to dissolve it. Boil it till it gets dark brown and begins to turn black in the center. Have ready a half pint of hot water. Turn into the burning sugar and stir until it is a brown liquid like strong coffee. Boil down till thick as molasses and then bottle. This makes all shades of light brown and when mixed with red or yellow produces lovely tones. For example: cochineal and a very little caramel make many shades of ashes of roses, according as you use more or less of either. Saffron and cochineal make salmon and shrimp pink, and so on. Hood's Sarsaparilla overcomes that tired feeling

At a reception held in honor of Mrs. Grover Cleveland on November 12, 1886 these Langtry Bonbons were served. I had to include the recipe as it was the only page that actually came up with the name of these marshmallow like dainties. The recipe calls for marshmallow paste which I found here from Fannie Farmer. (it's much easier than including the recipe in the booklet) Here's the recipe for Langtry Bonbons:

These fashionable candies are easily made from marshmallow paste. Cut inch square pieces. Make some cream by using the white of an egg, the same quantity of water and as much confectioners' sugar as will make a thick icing. Color part of the icing brown with melted chocolate, leaving part white. Drop the pieces of marshmallows into the white candy, lift them out when well covered and turn them onto waxed paper to dry. If the coating does not dry quickly, stir in more sugar. Use chocolate icing in the same way.
Resources
  • 1. June is National Candy Month
  • 2, All About Candy!
  • 3, Name That Candy bar (game)
  • 4, Grandma's Candy Recipes
  • 5, Candy Recipes
  • 6. Top 10 Candy Urban Legends
  • 7. Home Made Candy Recipes (Janet M. Hill)
  • 8. Mrs. Lincoln's Chocolate Caramels
  • 9.New York Times article
  • 10. What is Sarsaparilla?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Flag Day Recipes

It's Flag Day!

There's going to be a quiet celebration over at the National Flag Day Foundation in Waubeka Wisconsin, birth place of National Flag Day. The celebration honors the ladies of the Veteran Ladies Auxiliary. What a wonderful website they have. It's filled with history especially interesting is the story of 19 year old school teacher Bernard John Cigrand. In 1885, he had his students write essays on what the flag meant to them. Intersting...I've added a few other links below that share the history of Flag Day, including flag etiquette and a link which claims a list of "high quality flag and patriotic-related sites available on the internet."

I thought it might be fun to celebrate Flag Day with a few recipes from American Cookery Magazine. If you're looking for recipes, I posted a recipe for Betsy Ross Pound Cake and Betsy Ross Cake below. Plus there's more recipe links in the resource section.

My collection of American Cookery Magazines (formerly the Boston Cooking School Magazine...) is my personal favorite part of my cookbook collection. I've been wanting to celebrate them in June because it was in June of 1896 that The Boston Cooking School Magazine of Culinary Science And Domestic Economics first issue appeared. Below is an editorial from the 1908 June-July issue.

"The Cooking School Magazine is now twelve years old. The present number is the first of a new volume. In its special line of endeavor the magazine has come to hold a place secondary to no other. From the first issue in June 1896, an even, steady growth in favor and esteem has marked its progress. A helpful, progressive spirit has inspired its every endeavor. In the reliable, everyday service, which it aims to render in the household, the magazine today has few rivals, none, perhaps, of equal influence and authority. Advertises have ever found the pages of the magazine a safe and sure medium in which to represent articles of real worth and utility. The actual results received by them have most invariably justified the confidence they have placed in the patronage. The favors of our patrons are highly esteemed, and a continuation of the same in the future is earnestly solicited by us. In no way can our readers cooperate with and aid us so much, in extending the useful service of the magazine, as by bringing it favorably to the notice of neighbors and friends. Were the number of our readers twice or thrice as large as it is at present, we could render them even better service than we are now doing. In numbers there is strength. We consider that nothing is too good to set before the readers of The Cooking School Magazine"

Betsy Ross & the American Flag

Did Betsy Ross really sew the First American Flag? Oh, I don't know. Does anyone really know? The whole story seems to be one of those urban legends, perhaps the first. There's quite a debate as to whether it was sewn by Betsy Ross or inspired by Francis Hopkinson. I'm sticking with Betsy. After all, I did a report on her when I was in grade school. Before we get to the recipes, perhaps we should discuss the make up of the American Flag.

The colors of the flag denote the struggle for freedom. The stars represent the colonies. The red color, which is separated, signifies the separation of America from the rule of Great Britain. The pointed stars represent the colonies under united governing body. The designing and colors spread over the flag, manifest loyalty, honor and essence of patriotism that kindled in the hearts of those who fought for freedom. Therefore, Flag Day recognizes the work of those who created such an amazing piece of work that displays patriotism and independence.

Previous to Flag Day, June 14, 1923 there were no federal or state regulations governing display of the United States Flag. Flag abuse seems to run rampant between the holidays of Flag Day and the 4th of July. Bakeries design flag cakes, donut shops sell flag donuts. I've even seen flag cookies. So, is a cake decorated with a flag drawn with icing a violation of the Flag Code? Although, there is nothing specific in the Flag Code regarding the use of the American flag as food. It does say:

"No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America.""... It should not be ... printed or otherwise impressed on ... anything that is designed for temporary use and discard." The icing on a cake would generally be eaten, digested, and "discarded" in a most disrespectful way. We suggest that it is an inappropriate display of the flag. source

There's quite an array of recipes on the internet with Betsy Ross in their title. I have listed a few below. I was delighted to find the following Betsy Ross Pound Cake recipe in Aunt Caroline's Dixieland Recipes.(1922) which is available online here.

Betsy Ross Pound Cake
One pound of flour
Three-fourths pound of butter
One pound of sugar
Twelve eggs
Cream butter and about two-thirds of the flour together. Beat whites of eggs to a stiff froth, beat yolks of eggs and sugar together until very light. Mix thoroughly all the ingredients, stirring in last the loose flour. Bake in a slow oven until done.
Betsy Ross Cake As promised, below is a recipe for Betsy Ross Cake published in the 1936 June-July issue of American Cookery Magazine. I find recipes like this in paragraph form to be a bit confusing sometimes. I suggest reading through the recipe first before beginning. The recipe reads as follows:

Betsy Ross Cake: A patriotic cake designed for use on Flag Day uses thirteen stars as the decorative motif.

Betsy Ross Cake
To prepare the cake, cream 1/2 c. butter and add gradually, while still beating, 1 cup of sugar. Sift 3 teaspoonfuls of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt with 2 cups of flour. Add alternately with 1/2 cup of milk. Beat all together, add 1 teaspoonful of vanilla flavoring and fold in the whites of 3 eggs which have been beaten stiff. Pour into two 9 inch layer pans, well greased, and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
For the third layer of cake, cream 1/4 cup of butter, add gradually 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 square and 1/2 of unsweetened chocolate which has been melted cool. Next add the yolks of 2 eggs which have been beaten until thick and lemon colored. Sift together 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoonful and 1/2 of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoonful of salt. Add alternately to the first mixture with 1/4 cup of milk and 1/2 teaspoonful of vanilla. Bake in one 9 inch layer pan at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
Remove the layer cakes from the pans and cool. Arrange them with the chocolate layer in the middle. Spread Butter Frosting between layers and over cake. Decorate with 13 stars made of tiny red candies and fashion the date with candies. Light 13 red and white candles in the center.
Butter Frosting: Cream 3 tablespoonfuls of butter and add 3 cups of confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoonful and 1/2 of vanilla and enough warm milk to make frosting of the right consistency to spread well.

There are so many things I wish to share with you from this issue of American Cookery but alas, that is not possible today. A few highlights from this issue include, an article titled A Cup, A Plate, a Dish, a Bowl which discusses Horace Walpole and china collecting, Picnics Then and Now, and Yes, I'll Have Six Nice Alaska Reindeer Chops, Please. Take my word for it, those are just a few of the "tasty" articles. I did find another recipe I would like to share. I am under the impression that June 15th is National Lobster Day. I don't know, there seems to be a debate as to whether it is the 13th or the 15th. Whatever day it is, I thought I would include a scanned recipe for Miriam's Baked Stuffed Lobster. The recipe comes from Miriam's Tea House which was in Rye, New Hampshire. Also included in this scan is a recipe titled Williams Inn Cream Roquefort Dressing which you may find interesting. Just as a note, if you have a hankering for yet another recipe from the Williams Inn, Lydia over at The Perfect Pantry has a recipe posted for Boston Brown Bread. As a last touch, I have included another scanned page (click any images to enlarge) from the same issue of American Cookery. It's titled Patriotic Days. It is a menu selection to celebrate A Shore Luncheon, A Buffet Supper or simply Red, White Blue. Enjoy Flag Day!

Resources
1. History Of Flag Day
2. Traditional Ways to Wave Old Glory
3. Flag Rules & Regulations
4. Long may it wave! (best website for links)
5. National Flag Day Society
6. Important Dates in the History of the American Flag Recipe: Flag Cake
7. Betsy Ross and the American Flag
8. Francis Hopkinson
9. Betsy Ross - Facts versus Fiction
10. National Lobster

Recipes
1. Betsy Ross Cake
2. Betsy Ross Berries with Creamy Custard Sauce
3. Betsy Ross Cocktail
4. Betsy Ross Punch

Friday, June 6, 2008

National Doughnut (Donut) Day

"Twixt the optimist and the pessimist
The difference is droll:
The optimist sees the doughnut
But the pessimist sees the hole."
One of the most pleasant surprises you can discover within the signatures of a booked filled with recipes is the treasure above. This nugget was found in The Ladies Home Journal Cookbook. Unfortunately, I couldn't find out much about the author.
I was "betwixt and between" for a post today. I really wanted to celebrate National Donut Day but was thorned by the notion that today is also the birth date of Louis Antoine Godey. Thank goodness, Lidian over at Kitchen Retro posted a A Very Godey Birthday. Godey Lady's Book was instrumental in the careers of some of histories most notable authors including a few cookbook authors.
Today my dear visitors, today is...Doughnut Day! Now, you may think the reason why I'm excited about Donut Day is because I have an everlasting affinity for them. Nope, do you want to know a secret? I don't eat donuts. Okay, before you hit me over the head with a wet noodle, let me explain. It isn't that I have never eaten doughnuts. Quite the contrary. I once loved those infinite rings of comfort. It got to the point that even when I was off from work I still wanted to go to Dunkin Donuts for my night shift addiction. Wait, I'm getting a little ahead of myself so, I'm just going to wrap this up. I worked nights for almost 20 years. Many many times I worked seven days a week and many doubles and triples. Dunkin Donuts was the place I left my comfort zone and began my delirious zone. Each night I took my journey, donut and coffee in tow. When my shift was eventually up, Dunkin Donuts was where I stopped on my way back to comfort zone. One day, I had to stop myself from going to Dunkin Donuts on my day off! I no longer work those kinds of hours so simply, no more doughnuts for me.
So then why the big excitement over National Doughnut Day? One, because I know for sure today is National Donut Day. I'm always more comfortable posting when I can "prove" the day is indeed the day. And two, because I have the most coolest book to share with you today and I can hardly contain myself. The title of the book is (drum roll) The Donut Book. Written by Sally Levitt Steinberg, The Donut Book is filled with "the origins, history, literature, lore, taste, etiquette, traditions, techniques, varieties, mathematics, mythology, commerce, philosophy, cuisine, and the glory of the donut." It says so right on the book cover and as all us cookbooks collectors know, "you can sometimes judge a book by its cover." This book cover doesn't lie. The best part is, Sally Levitt Steinberg is the grand daughter of a man who invented the coolest looking doughnut machine. That excites me, I just can't help it. I love knowing about the history of these kinds of things and, more importantly, the people behind them. Although, there are a few enclosed recipes in this book, it really isn't a cookbook. Often, when I say I read cookbooks, I mean I read cookbooks which are overflowing with recipes. It's sort of like reading between the lines. I can't help it. I just do it. It doesn't make me more knowledgeable; I just do it. The Donut Book is so much more readable. And pleasantly so, I must add. Sally brings the doughnut to life. The munches of lore and glory are indescribable within the scope of this post. In a way, that's good for me. It makes it so much more comfortable for me to just share some of the highlights of this book knowing it was written by an "authority."
Now, there's quite a display of donuts on the internet. From the more than serious donut lovers to those wondering, "who invented the doughnut." Many sites remind us about the many different versions of doughnuts formed all over the world. More than a few sites mention Captain Hanson Crockett Gregory. Captain Gregory's alleged claim to fame? He invented the donut hole! I actually considered celebrating Captain Gregory's birthday instead of today as "Donut Day." But, it just so happens there are some minor discrepancies involved with the notion. One his age and two his motives. If what I read is true, the "invention" of the donut hole would be on my calendar for June 22. Well, no can do. June 22nd is this gals birthday and I have other plans for posting that day. Another reason I decided against it is because today, or the first Friday in June, is historically National Doughnut Day. National Donut Day was established in 1938 by the Salvation Army to raise funds during the Great Depression. The Story Of The Doughnut Girls would make a wonderful post in itself. I'm thinking about celebrating them in October. You see it was on Oct 19, 1917 that Salvation Army volunteer Helen Purviance made the first doughnuts for homesick U.S. soldiers. Each doughnut reminded the soldiers of home. The doughnuts were cooked in a kettle over an open fire. It has been said, "It was not the delicious home cooking, but the spirit in which it was served that captivated the men." The soldiers were affectionately called "Doughboys." (see resources) The Salvation Army has been celebrating National Donut Day ever since. The promotions to raise money for the Salvation Army are still shared by many donut establishments. Actually, the celebrations sometimes spill over to a two day event know as Doughnut Days which includes the first Friday and Saturday in June. One more note on other donut holidays. There are also some sites which list June 8th as International Jelly Filled Doughnut Day, September 14th as National Cream Filled Doughnut Day and Buy A Doughnut Day which may be on October 30th. I am intrigued by the Buy A Donut Day promotion as it falls quite close to the Helen Purviance date listed above.

The Donut Book

Donut BookThe Donut Princess

Ready? Grab yourself a peanut butter and donut sandwich cause, here we go! There are more than 225 pages in this donut filled book so choosing the perfect donut legacy is no easy task. Let's begin with the "Donut Princess."
"On the first day of first grade I wore a red and green plaid dress above my patent leather Mary Janes and white socks, and on my white collar I wore something that made me different. A pin. It was yellow and brown plastic, in the shape of a cup of steaming plastic coffee, with a plastic donut poised above, ready for dunking. This meant I was a genuine Donut Dunker, member of the National Donut Dunking Association, formed when an actress dropped a donut into her coffee by accident and other celebrities copied her, starting a fad."
Donut Poem
"And then there was was the jingle on the Mayflower box. It was a quaint insignia of two men dressed as old fashioned jesters, facing away from each other with my grandfather's motto in curly, old style print between them:
As you ramble on thru Life, Brother,
Whatever be your Goal,
Keep your Eye upon the Doughnut
And not upon the Hole.
"...My grandfather found this motto, the Optimist's Creed, as it is called, inside a cheap picture frame he happened to buy in a dime store."

"Donuts have been my dusty corner of American life since my grandfather invented that Wonderful Almost Human Automatic Donut machine. Donuts were around the world and around me all the time, beautiful ones in pink jackets or with red and silver sprinkles...
My grandfather, Adolph Levitt, was not always the American Donut King, as they called him. He began as a village boy in Russia, son of a Jewish merchant, in a village where the Gentile Russian grain merchants were angry with the Jewish ones. It all started when Uncle Jake, my grandfather's older brother, came to the New World to get away from anti-Jewish riots in Russia. He bought a pushcart, loaded it with dry goods, and dragged it across the Midwest and out to Oregon, hawking his wares, a button here, a zipper there. In a year, Jake, the greenhorn with the wagon, had made enough money to bring his family across sea...in this land my grandfather, his parents, and, his six brothers and sisters came to roost...in Milwaukee. (1892)

The Donut King

On the streets of Milwaukee, where hard work rules, children found work as newsboys. At ten, after two years of American school, my grandfather had to quit to save pennies by selling papers to whorehouses, before he ever knew what a whorehouse was. To learn, he read encyclopedia from cover to cover...when he and his brother John were only 14 and 15, they went into the mercantile business. Their plan was to put everything in the window, suits and especially hats and shoes. My grandfather was known for his window displays, "a great idea." ...He had one one store after another hats and shoes and gloves and belts...One after another, the stores closed.
Alone, Alfred Levitt made his way to New York. Broke, and feeling like a failure, he took money his mother had hidden under mattresses for emergencies. Once in New York, the money allowed him to invest in a bakery chain. Then, in 1920, he met the soldiers returning from war. "The doughboys of WWI had the taste of donuts in their mouths, the donuts some Salvation Army girls had fried in garbage pails in wartime France."
Donuts became the rave of the trenches, filling bellies and warming hearts with the taste of home, the original wartime homesickness remedy. The girls could hardly keep the soldiers supplied. donuts' association with soldiers continued into the Second World War as well, making a bridge to home, inspiring patriotism...Johnny came marching home asking for donuts on the street. The cries of the doughboys on a donut rampage rang across the countryside until my grandfather heard. He saw to it that America got the donuts he jnew it needed. He took a kettle, fried donuts in it, and pushed it to the window of the bakery in Harlem. People loved to watch the donuts frying in the window, turned over by a man with a stick, and they loved eating them. Pretty soon the crowd in front of the window was too large to get through, and people wanted more donuts than the kettle in the bake shop could fry.

The Donut Machine

Sally Levitt Steinberg marches along telling the story of how the donut making machine came to pass. It seems there were a few minor details to solve with the location of the bakery and its proximity to a movie house next door. "The fumes from the bubbling fat bothered the moviegoers."
My grandfather, the problem solver, thought up the idea of a machine to make donuts, turning them automatically, getting rid of the fumes from the open kettle with a fan to pus them to the roof, and producing donuts in greater numbers for the crowds outside the window at the same time. He tried to put his "bright idea" into action, to inspire someone to invent a machine, with out success. One day, in the dining car of a train to Chicago, he sat next to an engineer. By way of making conversation, he told the engineer about the bakery and the lines outside the window and about the complaints from moviegoers, The engineer offered to sketch a machine and send it through the mail. He did, but the machine did not work. Together they invented eleven more unworkable machines for making donuts...finally the twelvth one worked. It had cost $15,000 to make. In 1920 my grandfather put the machine in the bakery window so everyone could see the miraculous way to plop dough rings into fat, take them on a ride in a bath of oil, crisp them brown, flip them over, and cool the donuts on trays. Even more than the kettle, people loved watching The Wonderful Almost Human Automatic Donut Machine, as it was called, where dough went in and donuts streamed out. Bakers from all over came to buy machines for their bakeries. My grandfather sold 128 machines the first year. He paid the engineer for his help, and the engineer went his own way. In 1921 my grandfather made $250,000, enough to put the money back under my grandmother's mattress and have some left over...One by one, Adolph and his donut men sold machines to people all over America. They sold them to small bakeries and to five and tens, to fairgrounds and to beaches and amusement parks. They linked up with Maxwell House coffee, opening coffee and donut shops in cities, and with large baking companies, selling their donuts under brand names like Ward and A&P. They had the Union Steel Company make the machine, and they patented it.
The author continues the journey of the donut machine, and its inventor, down to Times Square. Such a success was the new location of the Mayflower Donut Corporation that The New Yorker wrote about the event in July of 1933. The author continues:
Nearby was Lindy's, the famous delicatessen restaurant with its famous cheesecake, where donuts were dunked for the first time. And in the middle of this swirl...was a bakery with a machine spilling out donuts and blowing their aroma into the street with a special fan so everyone could smell their irresistible smell. It was a sensation. It knotted New York traffic all over the city. Forests of craning necks ans grabbing fists pressed into a human clot. The city sent its police force, sirens blaring, emergency, a Donut Emergency.
My grandfather, they said, was a marketing genius. From the idea of putting things in windows, he went on to other tricks. He used names from American history: Lincoln for the machine, Mayflower for his donut shop chain. Realizing the machines alone were not enough, since they were built like battleships, to last for twenty five years and chew up millions of pounds of mix, he got into making the mix and the flour. Then he started bakeries to make donuts, and restaurants where people could eat them, and advertising schemes to sell them.
After skimming through only 35 pages of this delightful, fascinating book, I realize it would be too difficult to devour all of its contents in just this post. Hopefully, this bit of a dunking will inspire visitors to leisurely explore this charming book and all of its contents. From the donuts of Hollywood stars to "Everything You Never Knew About Donuts," there are oodles of black and white photos you probably never knew existed. The author goes into great detail about America's first donut girls and even provides a recipe from Stella Young; one of the original Salvation Army Doughnut Girls." There are also a few vintage recipes from the past. She delves into the "hole" truth of Captain Gregory by visiting relatives and researching manuscripts. Oh, I could just go on and on about this enticing spattering of our heritage revealed within this book's pages. There are donuts from stories, donuts from poems, donuts from history, donuts from home. There are donuts in pictures, donuts in space. There are donuts in fairs and donuts in place. There are explanations, dissertations, quotes and donut reducing diets. The entire book is jammed. And yes, there is even a donut calendar! What a gentle, comforting reminder this book is of how truly we become what we endeavor to eat.
Adolph rented machines to the Red Cross during WWII so soldiers could have donuts. Three hundred machines on Clubmobiles and millions of pounds of donut mix went out to boost the morales of soldiers in wartime again. His company won the A award for the U.S. government, A for achievement, for supplying food to the armed forces in the war.

Stella Young's Salvation Army Doughnuts

Salvation Army Doughnuts
5 cups flour
2 cups granulated sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1-3/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon lard
Fat for deep frying
Powdered Sugar
Donut must be throughly kneaded, rolled smooth, and cut into rings a little less than 1/4 inch thick. Drop ring into fat that is hot enough to bubble when donut is dropped in. Turn donuts several times so they will brown evenly. Then lift them out, holding them over kettle a moment to drip. Dust with powdered sugar while hot. Makes about 3 dozen.
Resources
1. Doughnuts to Doughboys @ the Salvation Army 
2. National Doughnut Day at Serious Eats
3. Keep Your Eye Upon The Bagel (donut article by William Safire, New York Times, 1994)
4. Donut Speak: Sweet Talk About the Iconic Treat's Name @ Cakespy
5. Hole Lotta Love
6. Donut Trivia (cute, you can also hear the donut song there:)
7. About Sally Levitt Steinberg (scroll down)
Recipes
1. Baked Donut Recipe
2. Cake Doughnuts with Cinnamon Sugar

Monday, June 2, 2008

Lady Washington

Martha, Martha, Martha. A long, long, long time ago, I was involved with a theatre group in Lindenhurst, NY called The Studio Theatre. It was there that I was first introduced to a live performance of Edward Albee's play from which these opening words were spoken. As property master, it was my responsibility to make sure the set was furnished with the necessary decor to afford the audience the feeling that they were the invited guests of George and Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe is far and away one of the most personal plays that I have ever been involved with in my short career as property master. (I then went onto performing:) But today, we are not celebrating that Martha. Today, we are celebrating Martha Dandridge [Custis Washington,] wife of George Washington our first President.

Martha Dandridge

The oldest daughter of Baptist parents, Martha Dandridge was born on June 2, 1731 on her parent's Chestnut Grove Plantation near Williamsburg, Virginia. Both her father and mother came from established New England families and in Virginia, John Dandridge was a wealthy tobacco land owner. As most young girls in an 18th century family, Martha had an informal education. She was not sent to school. However, she was taught to read, write and count and trained at home in music, sewing, and household management. She was taught how to be a good wife, housekeeper and a lady with impeccable manners. Some say she may have been tutored in plantation management, crop sales, homeopathic medicine, animal husbandry by indentured family Thomas Leonard. From The First Ladies of the United States by John T. Marck:

Martha Dandridge, eldest child of Colonel and Mrs. John Dandridge, was born at Chestnut Grove Plantation, not far from Williamsburg in the British colony of Virginia. Growing up in a select society of English families, she was much the same kind of person as a daughter of the rural gentry in England. At the age of sixteen, she was quite popular; petite with brown hair, with lively flirtatious eyes, who knew all the steps in the figure dances of the time and much about social diplomacy. The husband that her family had chosen for her was Captain Daniel Parke Custis; however, there was a possibility that he might be disinherited by his father. As soon as the fear of this was allayed, the wedding was celebrated in 1749, Martha being eighteen and her husband more than twice her age. The marriage was happy, however brief, as Captain Custis died at the age of forty-five, from probably a heart attack, leaving Martha a widow at twenty-six. The death of her husband left Martha quite rich, with a magnificent plantation called the White House, (later called Mount Vernon) and two children, Jack and Patsy.

Martha Dandridge Custis

Martha's marriage to Colonel Daniel Parke Custis, albeit short lived, was a happy one. Her husband adored his young, pretty bride and pampered her with the finest clothes and gifts imported from England. Their life in Virginia was rich and colorful especially for those of their statue. Martha and Daniel Custis had four children in their Pamunkey River mansion. Soon Martha was a busy mother caring for the couple's four children. A son and a daughter, Daniel and Frances, died in childhood, but two other children, John (Jacky) Parke Custis and Martha ("Patsy") Parke Custis survived to young adulthood. Among the couple's many wedding gifts was a cherished gift from the groom's mother. It was a small leather bound book with brittle yellow pages stained, seared and crossed with child like scribbles. It's fading leaves rich with quill penned Virginia recipes would later become one of America's most cherished cookbooks; The Custis Family Cookbook. "There is evidence the recipe book had been in the Custis family for generations. It is quite likely this was a family heirloom dating back to the early 1600s. In all, there were over five hundred classic recipes, dating largely from Elizabethan and Jacobean times. In 1799, Martha presented the book to her granddaughter, Eleanor Parke Custis as a wedding gift when she married Lawrence Lewis. The cookbook was handed down from mother to daughter until 1892 when the Lewis family presented it to The Historical Society of Pennsylvania where it still resides today. In 1940, the Society gave special permission to renowned historian Marie Kimball to study the manuscript and prepare a cookbook entitled, "The Martha Washington Cook Book." source

I wanted to make sure the above information was accurate so I decided to hit a few of my books. First, I found this in America's Collectible Cookbooks by Mary Anna DuSablon published in 1994. Below that is a quote from The Taste of America by John and Karen Hess published in 1977.

Although the origin of the "Martha Washington" cookbook is in question, there are two undisputed facts concerning this beguiling document: Martha Washington used it while she was First Lady and her family brought the cookbook from England to America. It is a small volume bound in brown leather and divided into two parts: "A Book of Cookery" with 205 recipes and "A Book of Sweetmeats" containing 326 recipes. Belonging to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, the legible, hand written pages have been studied by many, but never so assiduously until historian Karen Hess commenced her research. She titled her interpretation, with historical notes and copious annotations Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery and Booke of Sweatmeats, being a Family Manuscript, curiously copied by an unknown Hand, sometime in the seventeenth century, which was in her Keeping from 1749, the time of her [first} marriage to Daniel Custis, to 1799, at which time she gave it to Eleanor Parke Custis, her granddaughter, on the occasion of her marriage to Lawrence Lewis.
Proper English housewives of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries kept manuscript books of recipes, which were handed down from mother to daughter; one of the duties of girlhood, along with sewing fine seams for a trousseau, appears to have been copying these recipes and learning how to make them. While daughters may have made certain deletions, they tended to make fair copies, adding recipes as they themselves set up housekeeping. In the great houses, the manuscript belonged to the family, with each new mistress bringing her own addition...Printed cookbooks addressed to housewives did not appear until the end of the sixteenth century, when publishers discovered this gold mine. All cookbooks of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are based on family manuscripts, and even those households affluent enough to buy such books still treasured their own, and brought them to the New World. Two of these, which may be presumed to have helped shape our cooking, survive in the keeping of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. One is the so-called Martha Washington cookbook, which has long been attributed to Frances Custis, the First Lady's first mother-in-law. The other is that of the William Penn family...In a general way, the two collections resemble each other, as well they might, both having come from upper calss English families of roughly the same period...There is, incidentally, virtually no herb or spice in use in our "gourmet" cookery of today that did not appear in these seventeenth-century manuscripts.

Lady Washington


"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, not upon circumstances."
Martha Washington

After the untimely death of her husband, Martha Custis, only 26 years old, was suddenly a rich widow with independent control over her inheritance and that of her children's. Charming and vivacious, she was now one of the wealthiest widows in Virginia and an excellent "catch" for the right suitor. At age 27, the "Widow Custis" selected George Washington from a host of those suitors. Martha had met George Washington at a cotillion in Williamsburg, Virginia. It is said she immediately fell in love with him while he found her quite attractive with a gentle and kind disposition. (Her inherited wealth was an added bonus) There are those who say Washington proposed to Martha while "munching on hard boiled eggs during a picnic as they overlooked the Potomac River." Whether this is true or not, there is a tone of romanticism associated unlike that of the George and Martha we "met" at the beginning of this post. There is also speculation as to whether Washington was actually in love with Martha when they first became engaged. It is said he had had a crush on a woman by the name of Sally Fairfax who may or may not have been the wife of one of his friends. (the other thought is she was a pretty neighbor, but when she married another, he knew he must find a suitable wife for himself.) Whatever the circumstances, it is widely agreed that the partnership was mutually beneficial. On January 6, 1759, George Washington and Martha Dandridge Custis were married. The marriage changed Washington to a substantially wealthy landowner. (lots of laws & politics involved here) Three months later, George, Martha, Jacky (4), and Patsy (2) moved into Mt. Vernon, which George had had acquired by lease from the widow of his half-brother Lawrence in 1754. (He inherited the plantation upon the widow's death in 1761.) It is doubtful that Washington could ever have imagined that Mt. Vernon would one day grow into a world wide shrine and a symbol of the American way of life. There is so much information at the Mt. Vernon website, I have only left but a few for you to begin your exploration. If I were you, I would begin with "Who was Martha Washington" the link is provided below.

With her extremely large inheritance of land from the Custis estate and the vast farming enterprise at Mount Vernon, Martha Washington spent considerable time directing the large staff of slaves and servants, while George Washington oversaw all financial transactions related to the plantation, Martha Washington was responsible for the not insubstantial process of harvesting, preparing, and preserving herbs, vegetables, fruits, meats, and dairy for medicines, household products and foods needed for those who lived at Mount Vernon, relatives, slaves and servants - as well as long-staying visitors.

Martha and George Washington had no children together, but they did raise Martha's two surviving children which were adopted by George. George was a loving stepfather to Patsy and Jacky and a devoted husband to his wife. The next years at Mount Vernon were happy. The Washingtons owned many pets including dogs and parrots. And then, of course, there were horses used for hunting by George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Martha was careful and conscientious in running her home, although she and her husband did not pinch pennies when it came to caring for their home. She spent considerable time directing the large staff of slaves and servants, while George Washington oversaw all financial transactions related to the plantation. Her large inheritance of land and the vast farming enterprise at Mt. Vernon were demanding jobs which Martha tackled from morning till night. Her children were denied nothing. She pampered and lavished attention and expensive gifts on them. Her only anxiety at the time was over how badly spoiled her children had become. They frolicked over the great sweeping lawns of Mount Vernon, they snuck into the spice fragrant kitchens where Washington's "negro cooks" were planning dishes for the multitude of guests who visited. All in all, the family had a prosperous and apparently happy life at Washington's Mount Vernon estate until, once again, tragedy fell upon Martha Washington. On June 19, 1773, Martha Washington's daughter, Patsy, died during an epileptic seizure at the age of seventeen. Left with only one living child, Martha was devastated.

George and Martha were happily married for 40 years. Although they spent much time elsewhere during the war and presidential years, Mount Vernon remained George and Martha's home until their respective deaths. It is said that the "White House" on the Pamunkey, where Martha first lived, was the inspirational name given to the official residence of the Presidents of the United States, in honor of the wife of the first President. Once again, an unthinkable tragedy, Jacky died in his mid 20's from camp fever probably typhus, which he contracted at Yorktown at the end of the Revolutionary War. Jack had married early, and after his death, two of his four children Eleanor Parke Custis (Nelly) and George Washington Parke Custis (Washy), were taken to Mount Vernon to be raised, by the Washingtons. This offered a tiny bit of comfort to Martha. She followed Washington into the battlefield when he served as Commander in Chief of the American Army. She spent the infamous winter at Valley Forge with the General where she helped care for the wounded soldiers and was instrumental in maintaining some level of morale among officers and enlisted troops. She opposed Washington's election as President of the newly formed United States of America, but, gave money to poor American Revolution veterans and lobbied on their behalf for presidential pardons. In appreciation, American servicemen addressed her as "Lady Washington. "She refused to attend the inauguration but gracefully fulfilled her duties as the official state hostess during their two terms in what was called the "President's House," located first in New York City and later in Philadelphia, the temporary U.S. capitals. Martha was not cut out for public life. When the eight years of the Presidency were over, the Washingtons returned to living a quiet, private life at Mount Vernon.

Martha Washington is referred to as the first First Lady, she was actually called by a variety of titles, including Mrs. President or Lady Washington (her husband's nickname for her was Patsy). It wasn't until 1877, during the presidency of Rutherford B Hayes, that his wife, Lucy Hayes was referred to as the First Lady. Although, Dolley Madison is often referred to as the first lady of the white house because of her graciousness and style, Martha was a very good hostess and gave elegant receptions and dinner parties after George Washington became President. As First Lady, entertaining became even more important in Martha Washington's life. She held open receptions every Friday for both men and women who wanted to chat with the wife of the President. George passed away only two years later. Has hostess of this country, she gave lavish parties to match those given by the established governments of Europe. Martha Washington was responsible process of harvesting, preparing, and preserving herbs, vegetables, fruits, meats, and dairy for medicines, household products and foods needed for those who lived at Mount Vernon, as well as long-staying visitors. Between 1768 and 1775, the Washingtons hosted more than 2,000 guests. Guests at the Washington home sipped straw stemmed glasses of wine and were duly assembled on the broad flagged column shaded piazza over looking the Potomac River which "the Squire of Mount Vernon" had added on only years before.

Martha Washington's eight years as the first First Lady were extremely unpleasant to her personally, but she viewed it as duty to her husband and her country. By the time she arrived at the capital, her husband's secretary, who had lived in Europe, created a series of rigid protocol rules that she found especially limiting of her, particularly the one which forbade her and the President from accepting invitations to dine in private homes. Despite the company of her two grandchildren, she expressed a sense of loneliness in New York, the first capital, where she had fewer personal friends than she would find in the next capital of Philadelphia. She also discovered that even her mundane activities like shopping or taking her grandchildren to the circus, were recorded by the press. source

On December 14, 1799, George Washington died. After George died, Martha closed the bedroom they shared and didn't enter either their bedroom or George's study. Avoiding memories, Martha then spent her time in a room on the third floor of their estate until she died, only two years later. She is buried in a modest tomb on the Mount Vernon estate with her husband.

Upon his death on December 14, 1799, the slaves owned by the Washingtons were promised their freedom upon Martha Washington's death. Making clear the tremendous personal sacrifice that the federal government asked of her in requesting that she permit the remains of the first president to be eventually interned at the U.S. Capitol Building, she wrote to President John Adams that she would acquiesce with her sense of public duty. Although she curtailed her life to Mount Vernon, once the new capital city was established in what was first called, "The Federal City," and then named for her late husband, Martha Washington welcomed political figures who came to pay their respects to her and visit what was then thought to be the temporary burial place of the late president. She expressed her loneliness for her late husband frequently and her desire to soon join him in death.

Martha made sure every dish served at Mount Vernon… as well as in the first Presidential "White Houses" in New York and Philadelphia… was prepared exactly as called for in her personal cookbook. At least three generous meals were served daily at Mount Vernon. Breakfast was served promptly at 7:00; dinner at 3:00; and tea at 6:00.Sometimes a light supper was served at 9:00. The Great Cake was served during the Christmas holidays and for other special occasions. The hoe cakes were George Washington's breakfast of choice.

Nelly Custis's Recipe for Hoecakes: General Washington's typical breakfast has been described by members of his immediate family and several guests. His step-granddaughter, Nelly Custis Lewis, who was raised at Mount Vernon wrote...He rose before sunrise, always wrote or read until 7 in summer or half past seven in winter. His breakfast was then ready - he ate three small mush cakes (Indian meal) swimming in butter and honey, drank three cups of tea without cream..."...The bread business is as follows if you wish to make 2 1/2 quarts of flour up-take at night one quart of flour, five table spoonfuls of yeast & as much lukewoarm water as will make it the consistency of pancake batter, mix it in a large stone pot & set it near a warm hearth (or a moderate fire) make it at candlelight & let it remain until the next morning then add the remaining quart & a half by degrees with a spoon when well mixed let it stand 15 or 20 minutes & then bake it - of this dough in the morning, beat up a white & half of the yilk of an egg - add as much lukewarm water as will make it like pancake batter, drop a spoonful at a time on a hoe or griddle (as we say in the south). When done on one side turn the other - the griddle must be rubbed in the first instance with a piece of beef suet or the fat of cold corned beef..." source

I discovered a review for The Martha, Washington Cook Book in the New York Times published on February 11, 1894. The article also had a promotion that stated you could get the book for $1.00 with a subscription to The Weekly Times for one year. It's a PDF file but, if you would like to view it, here is the link. I also included a recipe for French Fritters from the booklet titled Leaves From The Table of George and Martha Washington back in February for President's Day. This is a direct link to the scanned recipe. Leaves From The Table of George and Martha Washington, is a revised edition of the heirloom recipe book. The revised 1948 edition put out by Taylor Wine has a few of the original scripted recipes and Taylor Wine adaptations. The original recipes are classic recipes of Colonial Virginia. All of the pictures posted today are from this small booklet. They can all be enlarged for easier viewing by clicking on them. I know it is sometimes difficult to translate recipes so I have included a scan of words which Taylor Wine editors shrewdly deciphered. I have also included two additional recipes below. One "To Stew Duck the French Way; Stewed Duck and Rolled Roast of Beef. Enjoy!

Leaves From The Table


Resources


  • 1. Martha Washington @ Virginia Historical Society
  • 2. Martha Dandridge Custis Washington by John T. Marck
  • 3. Who was Martha Washington?
  • 4. First Lady Biography: Martha Washington
  • 5. The Women of the American Revolution/Martha Washington
  • 6. Martha Washington @ Valley Forge
  • 7. George & Martha Marriage Profile
  • 8. Rare Letter from Martha to George Washington Returns to Mount Vernon
    Recipes
  • 1. Greek, American and French Style Picnics
  • 2. Martha Washington's Great Cake and Birthday celebration
  • 3. Martha Washington's Sweet and Sour Sauce @ Farmer's Almanac
    4. Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery and Booke of Sweetmeats By Karen Hess (google books)
  • 5. Trout Steaks with Wine and Rosemary (I found this recipe at a blog post from 2006. It is titled "Just Like Martha Use To Make")