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Discussion in 'Skills and Smarts' started by St. Louis, Jun 12, 2019.
I'm going to try that biscuit recipe!!
Has anyone here ever tried salad and dessert jellies? I find them fascinating in a horrible kind of way & have been working my way through a few veg & fruit jellies. I can see why they would be appealing -- some of these things look great in that late-art-deco architectural design way. But I can hardly stand the texture of the congealed gelatin. I'm forcing myself to eat them (I know, hilarious) because there is something so period-correct about them & I want to try to learn to like them. There are some advantages to making a big gelatin veg salad for lunch. It keeps for a few days & the vegetables stay crisp and fresh inside the gelatin.
I think this kind of thing would wow guests for dinner.
My mother used to make a lot of jello for us -- it's an easy & quick dessert -- but that's a different kettle of fish (so to speak.) I don't know how close modern Jello is to the 1930s / 1940s version. Is there any way to find out?
Anyway, right now I'm experimenting with unflavored gelatin. I've reduced the sugar considerably & next, will try it without any sweetening at all.
I'm beginning to understand why jelly molds were so popular during the 1920s-1950s.
I've actually got several boxes of 1930s Jell-O -- and it doesn't look any different from the current stuff. The strawberry version says IMITATION STRAWBERRY FLAVOR on the box, so it certainly wasn't any more natural than you kind you get today. Most fruit-flavored convenience foods of the Era were actually flavored with various combinations of cheap chemical ethers, and this was true going back as far as the turn of the century.
I’ve had a berry jello salad before that had a whipped cream jello base and it was good. I decided to try the chocolate waffles from the cookbook minus the cocoa powder and it made a decent waffle with a crispy outer shell.
My wife has made this cake a couple times:
The image above is hosted at this site: http://frugalsos.com/vintage-recipes/double-mocha-chocolate-cake/ The ad can be found in a 1939 Life Magazine issue.
It is a delicious cake but very rich. Too rich for some people. It also has a tendency to crater. My wife bakes cakes regularly throughout the year, and they don't usually crater so it is a bit of a mystery why this one craters.
I inherited the sole cookbook that was in my family's kitchen when I was growing up, the 1943 edition of the American Woman's Cookbook. I have found that the recipes are very simple and workable for me (I'm not the most accomplished cook), probably due to wartime shortages. One thing I noticed, though, is the much longer cooking times for poultry, making me realize that the average bird being eaten back then was of much sturdier stock than today! But overall, these recipes are much more reliable than any modern ones I have tried.
A little past the Era, but Emil DeGouy's famous "The Gold Cook Book" of 1947 is perfect guide to the gastronomy of early Twentieth Century America. More than 2200 recepies, and not a bad one in the lot. Everything from "Harlequin Chicken" ( a cold roast bird in black and white aspic suitable for buffet service at the Waldorf) to "Salt Risin' Bread", to the simplest, most delectable sponge cake (unsurpassed when served as short cake, or with his simple hit butterscotch sauce)..
This cook book sold very well, and is usually easily available. A copy should sit in every kitchen.
A very good basic book. You are dead on about it's reliability.
I ran across a Fred Harvey menu from the early 1900s last night. Without a cookbook, I knew at least one recipe for everything on the menu: none of it was very complicated. I think I've spent too much time cooking in taverns and grills.
Great stuff in this thread! Just the other day, having completed a reading of Christopher Morley's "The Haunted Bookshop" I found myself fixing up a dinner of eggs Samuel Butler! It came out fantastic, though how wrong can a person go piling toast with a few slices of bacon, sauteed mushrooms and red bell peppers, topped with a poached egg and heavily paprika'd hollandaise sauce. Eggs Samuel Butler will certainly find it's way into the regular rotation of meals.
One waterfront diner in which I briefly worked offered a "hungry man" breakfast consisting of a combination of 2 slices of french toast or 2 "handspan" pancakes (the diameter equal to the span of the cook's hand, typically 8-10"), 4 rashers of bacon or 4 sausage links, a 6" omelette stuffed with choice of diced ham/hashbrowns/chopped onion and peppers, and a bottomless cup of coffee. Other than prices, the menu hadn't changed since the '30s.
Sunday morning from 4-7 AM the special was hot bacon-and-fried-potato sandwiches, usually with plenty of Tobasco sauce and a glass of "thin" tomato juice on the side. It was supposed to cure hangovers, but I always suspected the vodka "thinning" the tomato juice had more to do with that. I knew we didn't have a liquor license, so I never asked.
The kitchen was basically a two-man operation. One guy did the prep work, the other cooked and plated. The griddle man was expected to be able to cook and plate with just a pair of scrapers. There's a knack to cooking an omelette on a griddle that way--without a ring--but once you have that it is much quicker (and who's got time to cook 20 omelettes at once in pans?).
Fast work all, very fast--but good training. A couple guys who worked there over the years went on to be decent chefs, and lord only knows how many eventually owned their own greasy spoons. I once applied for a job on a food truck and was asked to make a Philly cheesesteak as part of the interview. The owner watched me make the sandwich start to finish with just my scrapers and asked, "When did you work for Lou?"
@Just Jim that is an awesome story and it made me hungry! Joints like that are increasingly hard to find.