Mimsy Were the Borogoves

If you learn only one lesson of history, make it this one: history repeats itself until it doesn’t. — Mark Steyn (The Face of the Tiger)

Plain & Fancy in the seventies with Hiram Walker—Wednesday, September 20th, 2023
Brandy piledriver: Piledriver brandy and gin drink, from Plain and Fancy ways of using Hiram Walker Cordials, ca. 1972.; brandy; oranges; beverages; drinks; Hiram Walker; gin

Orange, brandy, and gin. A great relaxing accompaniment to a lazy summer afternoon.

The very first hard liquor I had was a fuzzy navel at a family Christmas party back in the seventies. I’m pretty sure my aunt and uncle made it using Hiram Walker Peach Schnapps. If not, it was De Kuyper Peachtree Schnapps, but unlike De Kuyper, Hiram Walker was partly a Michigan business. Even looking at the Total Wine website right now, they don’t have Hiram Walker Peach Schnapps in Texas, “but we found it at Grand Rapids, MI.”

So when I saw the wonderful artwork on the cover of Plain and Fancy ways of using Hiram Walker Cordials (PDF File, 9.2 MB), I bought it despite having no desire whatsoever of keeping my liquor “cabinet” stocked with multiple flavors of cordials. While I’m pleasantly impressed with people who do have well-stocked liquor cabinets, I just don’t drink enough for that. Even on my limited shelf, I have liquor that’s over ten years old.

One of the liquors I enjoy but don’t drink often is brandy. And, it turns out, most of the brandy recipes in Plain and Fancy are very simple. So both of the drinks I tried from this pamphlet are from the two facing pages focused on “California Brandy”. I chose the Piledriver and the Sidecar because they use alcohols I already had on hand.

I don’t know if Hiram Walker California Brandy was merely brandy from California, or if it was some sort of special cordial. Either way, I didn’t use California brandy, and I didn’t use Hiram Walker. I used a Raynal & Cie French brandy.

In the Piledriver, I also replaced the Hiram Walker Sloe Gin with Bombay Sapphire. For the orange juice I did indeed use orange juice, albeit frozen orange juice concentrate, reconstituted.

For the Sidecar, I replaced the Hiram Walker Triple Sec with Grand Marnier. I did have to go out and buy a lime. One lime is very close to one ounce of lime juice.

The pamphlet’s purpose appears to be convincing people to keep lots of cordials on hand and experience the “new world of fun, excitement and discovery in Hiram Walker Cordials” for all your “memorable moments—those special occasions—plain or fancy!”

Finding vintage cookbook downloads—Wednesday, September 13th, 2023
Orange macadamia fudge: Orange macadamia fudge from the Imperial Sugar Company’s 125th Anniversary cookbook.; oranges; macadamia nuts; fudge; Imperial Sugar

Orange macadamia nut fudge, from the Imperial Sugar Company’s 125th Anniversary Cookbook in 1968.

Most of the time, the easiest source for online cookbooks is archive.org. It has its own search facility for finding titles. If you’re looking for an ingredient or term rather than a title, you can use a general purpose search engine. You can search for that term and restrict the search to archive.org. Most search engines have something like a site:hostname search. To find all mentions of old fashioned brown sugar on archive.org, for example, search for "old fashioned brown sugar" site:archive.org.

If you’re using macOS or iOS, you may find xSearch useful. With it, I can just type ia texas cook book to search the Internet Archive. I set the xSearch shortcut to “ia”, and the URL to “https://archive.org/search.php?query=%s”. The “%s” is replaced with whatever text comes after “ia” and the space. In this example, that means searching all of the titles at the archive for the words texas, cook, and book.

There are several collections at Universities also, and they have some great old cookbooks available for download. One of my favorites is Michigan State University’s Sliker Culinary Collection of Little Cookbooks. It is filled with wonderful old pamphlets and promotional books, such as Diamond Walnut Recipe Gems. Fair warning, browsing this collection can easily make hours disappear without feeling the time pass at all.

Often, university collections focus on the specific geographical area that the university serves. Even closer to my heart than MSU’s little cookbooks is their Feeding Michigan collection. This doesn’t collect commercial pamphlets, but community cookbooks dating all the way back to the 1800s—all from Michigan. Two great cookbooks if you don’t want to randomly browse it and lose those many hours are The Charlotte Cook Book and The Grand Rapids Cook Book.

Breakfast lassi—Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023
Cardamom Lassi and Ultimate Granola: Cardamom Lassi and the Ultimate (Michigan) Granola, for an indulgent breakfast.; cereal; granola; lassi

A balanced breakfast: granola and cardamom lassi.

Ginger Lassi and Rocky Road Fudge: Ginger Lassi and Rocky Road Fudge for the perfect healthy breakfast.; lassi; fudge

An unbalanced breakfast: ginger lassi and rocky road fudge.

Ginger Lassi prepped for blending: Ginger Lassi from Elizabeth Gordon’s Lincoln Continental Guide to the Cuisines of the Western World.; lassi; ginger

Ginger lassi prepped for blending in a mason jar.

I discovered breakfast lassi in the Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2006. Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez’s recipe calls for yogurt, cardamom, sugar, and ice, whipped in a blender. They’re basically very simple smoothies without fruit.

Cardamom lassi

Cardamom Lassi

Servings: 1
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez
Review: Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2006 (Jerry@Goodreads)


  • 8 oz Greek yogurt (1 cup)
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 large ice cube
  • ¼ tsp cardamom


  1. Place all ingredients into blender container.
  2. Grind until ice is ground.
  3. Whip until desired consistency.
The Voters vs. the Party—Monday, August 21st, 2023

“I haven’t been reading a lot of Trump indictment analysis by Andrew McCarthy, Jonathan Turley, Alan Dershowitz… They’re all great legal minds, but how naïve do you have to be still to think that America has anything recognizable as a ‘justice’ system?”

“The point I always make is on the agreed line of ninety-nine per cent of American politicians, judges, bureaucrats and media experts—that, oh sure, they found a little bit of fraud but relax, it wasn’t enough to change the result.

“Not to go all Turleyesque on you, but what’s the evidentiary basis for that statement? In non-corrupt countries such as, say, Denmark, that’s not the standard: it’s not that there’s not enough fraud to change the result, it’s that there’s no fraud—period.

“…the base is trying to tell the worthless GOP establishment something important here:

We don’t think this is a normal election, and we can’t see the point of pretending that it is.

“…[while] the American right still talks about the justice system and the election campaign as if either term means what it does in functioning societies… in my experience of Third World crapholes, you don’t start criminalizing your political opposition unless you’ve already decided there aren’t going to be any election-night surprises.

“These are not normal times: in the years ahead, ever greater corruption… will be necessary to constrain the people’s choices to the shriveled offerings of the Uniparty. So, if you reckon it’s bad now, wait till next time. GOP primary voters seem to get that at least.”

Oktoberfest Sauerkraut for Potato Day—Wednesday, August 16th, 2023

Do you make mashed potatoes for National Potato Day? Crack open a can of beer and use up any leftover mashed potatoes in this sauerkraut-bacon casserole. Eddie Doucette recommended this for Oktoberfest, but if you’re willing to use the oven it’ll be good any time of the year. It might even be good made in a covered grill, but you’ll still want to broil it to get a nice golden crust on the potatoes.

Just thinking about that… I’ll bet it would be awesome made in a charcoal oven.

Oktoberfest Sauerkraut

Eddie Doucette’s Oktoberfest Sauerkraut

Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Eddie Doucette
Tempt Them with Tastier Foods: An Eddie Doucette Recipe Collection


  • 3-½ cups sauerkraut, drained
  • 5 slices meaty bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • ½ cup beer
  • 2-3 cups or so mashed potatoes


  1. Dump the drained sauerkraut loosely in a greased casserole dish.
  2. Sauté the bacon and onion lightly.
  3. Add the bacon and onion to the sauerkraut along with the caraway and beer.
  4. Toss lightly to mix throughout.
  5. Add enough beer or water to barely cover.
  6. Cover the casserole dish and bake at 375° for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove and top with mashed potatoes.
  8. Place under the broiler until golden brown.

I’m going to assume you know how to make mashed potatoes; if not, Doucette has a really nice recipe for Golden Mashed Potatoes which I’ve reproduced in Tempt Them with Tastier Foods. And of course there are mashed potato recipes all over the Internet. It’s not particularly difficult. The recipe is practically in the title: boil or bake potatoes. Mash them. For extra credit, whip in some butter, some milk and/or cream, and some salt.

In my interpretation of the recipe, you’ll need about two cups, but whatever you feel like: more potatoes is never a bad thing. But be careful if you make the mashed potatoes fresh for this recipe: I ended up eating about half of the mashed potatoes I made for the topping before I got around to using it as topping. I had barely enough left over.

Eddie Doucette recipe sampler—Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023

Tempt Them with Tastier Foods (PDF File, 10.5 MB) contains all of the Eddie Doucette recipes that I could find searching online auction sites and newspaper archives. It includes all of the recipes from the typewritten viewer notes that I wrote about earlier and a lot more. Most of the new recipes come from IGA store advertisements throughout the sixties. Despite some occasional weirdness, I’ve yet to try a recipe that wasn’t tasty. Some are amazing.

His potato bread recipe, for example, came from the pre-presentation press materials of his 1967 French Cooking Can Be Fun evening at Monticello College in Alton, Illinois. As I wrote in my announcement post, he pretty much took over the Alton Evening Telegraph for his media blitz. One of the articles was You Can Have Fun with Yeast.

With our modern mode of cooking and baking it is a pleasure to produce sumptuous light taste-provoking baked goods, whether it be for your own table, a surprise gift for a dear friend, a church social or what-have-you, I’m certain you’ll find you can have “Fun With Yeast.”

I’ve never made potato bread before, so I thought I’d try his recipe. It was amazing—and it was easy to follow, too. Normally I have to make some adjustment for kind of flour and for things the recipe-writer assumed. In this case, I made the potato-liquid mix as directed (using the potato option) and put exactly 4-½ cups (19 ounces) of sifted flour on top of it in the bread machine. With no adjustments at all, out came a perfect loaf.

I did peel the potatoes after boiling them, which is not called for in the recipe. While I prefer to leave the peel on when cooking with potatoes, I wasn’t sure how that would interact with the machine. Hand-kneading may well allow leaving the peel on. I suspect it would collect at the edges and crisp up nicely.

Tempt Them with Tastier Foods: An Eddie Doucette Recipe Collection—Wednesday, July 12th, 2023
Tempt Them with Tastier Foods front cover: Front cover to the Eddie Doucette recipe collection, Tempt Them with Tastier Foods.; Eddie Doucette

Eddie Doucette’s mantra: “Cooking Can Be Fun”.

In my post about the recipes I found from a viewer of Eddie Doucette’s 1954 television show “Home Cooking”, I noted that he later became the IGA chef and introduced many recipes in abbreviated form in IGA ads in local newspapers. I promised “a few of” those recipes “in a future post”. This is that post, and by “a few”, I mean every recipe I could find researching old newspapers and scouring auction sites for old ephemera. I’ve collected them as a PDF (PDF File, 10.5 MB), an ePub (ePub ebook file, 9.4 MB), and as a print collection.

I was unable to try all of the recipes, but I did try a lot, and they are some very nice recipes. IGA was, and is, a grocery store semi-chain. It stood for “Independent Grocers Alliance”. Recipes under Eddie Doucette’s name began appearing in IGA ads in late 1961 but the official start of Doucette’s relationship with IGA was 1962.

Introducing Eddie Doucette… IGA’s own Chef (former N.B.C. TV Chef and noted food authority) whose recipes and ideas will help brighten mealtime for you in ’62!

Recipes continued to appear under his name in IGA advertisements into 1971. It appears that IGA would provide the recipes to local grocery store owners; the grocery store owners could choose to reproduce these recipes in their advertisements, or provide them, perhaps on recipe cards, to shoppers at the point of sale.

With the IGA deal, he went beyond Chicago. His recipes appeared throughout the United States from Mexico, Missouri to Pocatello, Idaho. They even appeared in the Camrose Canadian of Camrose, Alberta, Canada.

He continued his cooking demonstrations around the country, now under the IGA brand. The Uintah County Library Regional History Center has a 1964 photo of Chef Eddie Doucette showing “some tantalizing food magic at Rex’s IGA Foodliner store demonstration”. Rex’s IGA Foodliner was in Vernal, Uintah County, Utah.

A Bicentennial Meal for the Sestercentennial—Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

America’s Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. With the declaration, we were independent in spirit, even if a lot of work still had to be done to force the world, especially England, to recognize our independence.

As 1976 approached, people began making plans to celebrate our 200th anniversary. The freedom train traveled coast to coast and a wagon train from every state traveled to Pennsylvania. Tall ships were prepped for public viewing in Operation Sail.

And a lot of albums of patriotic songs, products in patriotic colors, and magazines with patriotic themes, hit the supermarkets, newsstands, and record stores. I still remember fondly checking out Dallas Corey’s record album from the library several times, to listen to “The History of the American Revolution” in song. Because of that album, when I saw Mel Gibson’s The Patriot I knew immediately it was partly based on the Swamp Fox, Francis Marion. Musical history does help!

Sadly, very few movies celebrated the bicentennial. 1776 the Musical was a 1969 movie release. But there were attempts at short animation and films. And television got into the game with shorts such as The Bicentennial Minute.

Johnny Cash was Grand Marshall of the U.S. Bicentennial Parade in DC, and there were parades and fireworks in towns and cities and villages all across the United States. My mom dressed us up as Uncle Sam, and my dad got his old Model T working well enough for us to ride in the village parade.

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