Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Tempt Them with Tastier Foods: Second Printing—Wednesday, July 10th, 2024
Tempt Them with Tastier Foods front cover: Front cover to the Eddie Doucette recipe collection, Tempt Them with Tastier Foods.; Eddie Doucette

The second printing contains eighteen new recipes.

I’ve just made the second print of Tempt Them with Tastier Foods (PDF File, 13.7 MB) available. It includes eighteen more Eddie Doucette recipes I’ve discovered over the past year, including one extra matchbook recipe, German Potato Salad, My Way, which is well worth making—with or without Elvis singing in the background. And the 1966 Turkey ala King looks like a great way to get rid of leftover turkey from Thanksgiving.

If you already have the first printing, I’ve made a PDF of the new recipes (PDF File, 141.6 KB) that you can slip into your book. I’ve also made it available as a smaller pamphlet (PDF File, 203.7 KB). If you choose to use the pamphlet, you will need to print landscape, with short-edge binding, and then fold it over.

A few of these new recipes are from old newspapers that have recently come online. The three from the The Carlisle Mercury of Carlisle, Kentucky, in 1965 and 1966, were from the Nicholas County School web site.

A Centennial Meal for the Sestercentennial—Wednesday, June 26th, 2024
Horsford Cook-Book cover: Cover for The Horsford Cook-Book, ca. 1877, available for download at clubpadgett.com.; cookbooks; food history; vintage cookbooks; Rumford Chemical Works; Horsford Acid Phosphate

This is one of the two books I used most to find Centennial recipes.

Last year, I provided recipes from cookbooks that celebrated the bicentennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This year, I’m going back to 1876 for some great—and some merely good—recipes to help celebrate Independence Day. As we near the Sestercentennial in 2026, it’s interesting to look back on our shared culinary history during previous celebrations.

One of the benefits of 150-year-old cookbooks is that this year, all of the books I’m referencing except one are available for download. The only one that isn’t available, I’ve scanned in myself. So you can download the Rumford Company’s ca. 1877 Horsford Cook-Book (PDF File, 4.7 MB) now, too.

These are books that either directly celebrated the Centennial or advertised awards for taking part in other celebrations. There don’t seem to be that many. Some may have been lost, of course, but I wonder how popular Centennial celebrations were in 1876. It was barely a decade after the Civil War ended (1865) and only six years after the last Confederate state was readmitted to the Union. Ulysses S. Grant—General Grant in the war—had just finished his second term.

Clearly, not everyone was into the spirit of ’76. The Ladies of Plymouth Church in Des Moines, Iowa came out with a cookbook that they titled, literally, “76.” (with quotes). Despite its title it does not mention the Centennial at all. At the end of its introduction it quotes Jefferson:

“May you live long and prosper.”

But that turns out to be, not the founder, but an actor famous for playing Rip van Winkle. Whether Leonard Nimoy got his variation of this randomly, via Joseph Jefferson, or via Harry S. Truman, who apparently also appropriated it, is not recorded in the historical record.

Summer Ices Part Three: A Trilogy of Frozen Desserts—Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
When someone asks if you want ice cream…: Ghostbusters: when someone asks if you want more ice cream, you say yes! Social media image for Ice Cream Trilogy, hoboes.com/ice.; Ghostbusters; ice cream

I never planned to do an ice cream series. The inaugural post held eight ice cream recipes, which seemed more than enough at the time. But then, by 2023, I’d found six more great ice creams to add to the list. Having already presented fourteen great summer ice cream options, do I really need more ice cream?

I think Dr. Peter Venkman said it best: when someone asks if you need more ice cream, you say yes!

I’ve already presented two ice creams this year. I love the flavor of maple syrup. I included a great maple ice cream from 1942 in the inaugural post in this series as well as one from 1928 in my post on the Frigidaire Recipes cookbook. This year’s Pi Day’s boiled cider pie also included a peanut butter and maple ice cream from Vermont.

In the same vein as the Russian ice cream from last year’s post, but even simpler, that Vermont maple peanut ice cream not only requires no cooking, it doesn’t even fold the cream into syrup. Just whip it all together. Even driving to the store takes more work.

For a neat twist, add a tablespoon or two of your favorite jam or jelly to it for a peanut butter and jelly ice cream! And for an even more Vermonty twist than maple syrup, switch out the maple syrup for boiled cider. I first ran across boiled cider in Vrest Orton’s The American Cider Book and can’t stop raving about it. Boiling it is a great way of using up a big jug of apple cider from autumn sales. Bring to a boil, and then simmer very slowly, at least five cups of cider. Keep simmering until it’s down to maple syrup consistency, which will be about one-fifth its volume or weight.

Easter Candy-Cane Ice Cream—Wednesday, March 27th, 2024
Peppermint ice cream with peanuts: Peppermint ice cream, from the 1928 Frigidaire Recipes, made with candy canes and sprinkled with peanuts.; peanuts; ice cream; Frigidaire; candy canes; peppermint sticks

Peanuts and peppermints was probably a song in the sixties.

As regular followers of Mimsy Were the Borogoves know, I have a tradition that spans from Christmas to Easter. I keep the candy canes from Christmas and make a dessert from them to help celebrate Easter Sunday.

There is a spiritual meaning to the ubiquitous Christmas candy cane. Whether that meaning was part of their invention or not, we don’t know, but as Catholics often do, we have invested this celebratory food with spiritual meaning. We just don’t know if that meaning was part of the candy cane tradition from the start. Once you see it, however, it’s hard to forget: the candy cane is a shepherd’s staff. The next time you see a nativity painting, take a look at the staffs the shepherds are holding. Very likely, they’re going to have the same shape as a candy cane.

Even today, the curved shepherd’s staff is ubiquitous in Catholic ritual. Every bishop has one. Their crozier is a shepherd’s staff, and it has the candy cane loop.

St. Patrick stained glass window: Stained glass window at Saint Patrick’s church in San Diego, California.; San Diego; Catholicism; stained glass

At St. Patrick’s in San Diego, St. Patrick bears a shepherd’s staff.

Candy canes also—turn one upside down—represent the letter “J”. Of all the symbolism attributed to the candy cane, this, I’ll admit, is most likely to be ex post facto.

The white and the red, much like a barber’s sign where the colors represent blood and bandages1 represent Christ’s blood and purity.

Vermont Boiled Cider Pi—Wednesday, March 13th, 2024
Cider Pie with Peanut Butter Ice Cream: Boiled Cider Pie and Maple Peanut Butter Ice Cream. Two great Vermont recipes that go great together.; maple; pie; ice cream; Vermont; peanut butter; boiled cider

Cider pie and peanut butter ice cream. Pi Day doesn’t get better than this.

Tomorrow is Pi Day. And have I got a unique pie for you this year!

One of the more obscure discoveries I made while researching the El Molino Best cookbook was Ellen and Vrest Orton’s Cooking with Wholegrains. It was so good that I included their recipe for Green Mountain Hermits in my announcement that I’d made El Molino Best available for download—even though it has nothing to do with El Molino Mills except that if you’d made it in the fifties you might have used their cornmeal.

It was so good that I went looking to see if the Ortons had written any other cookbooks. And it turns out that Vrest Orton, in 1973, wrote The American Cider Book. I was able to find a copy on the Internet Archive and it was unique enough, with enough very interesting recipes, that I tracked down a print copy.

That book provided what is probably my most common breakfast eggnog. It also provided this year’s Pi Day pie, Vermont Boiled Cider Pie.

This is an amazing pie. It’s very much unlike any apple pie I’ve ever had. It’s creamy, rich, and the filling almost literally melts in your mouth.

You may be wondering how to get boiled cider. It’s not generally available outside of the northeast, but it’s easy enough to make if you can get apple cider. Put at least five times as much cider into a pan as you want boiled cider. Then simmer very low for a few hours until it reaches the consistency of maple syrup. That’s the entirety of Vrest Orton’s instructions for making boiled cider.

Catching up with Eddie Doucette—Thursday, March 7th, 2024

“One thing about AM radio, after the sun goes down, is picking up a faraway signal through the interference and the ether, where the magic crackles through a speaker. This is how people in the Midwest learned of Eddie Doucette in the late 1960s, broadcasting play-by-play for a fledgling NBA expansion team, the Milwaukee Bucks.”

Catching up with Eddie Doucette is a really nice interview with Chef Eddie Doucette’s son, the great sports broadcaster, in this week’s Shepherd Express of Milwaukee, where he had his breakout broadcasting Milwaukee Bucks games in the late sixties.

Eggnog for Breakfast… and Beyond!—Wednesday, February 14th, 2024
Drink Your Breakfast!: Social media image for breakfast eggnog blog post.; breakfast; egg nog; eggnog

One of Bill Cosby’s greatest jokes involved a dad angrily making breakfast for the kids. His four-year-old asks for chocolate cake, and the dad is about to say no—very angrily—when the list of ingredients flashes through his mind.

Eggs. Eggs are in chocolate cake! And milk! Oh goody! And wheat! That’s nutrition. Chocolate cake… coming up! Now, you need something to drink with your chocolate cake, something breakfast. Grapefruit juice! Eggs, milk, and wheat in the chocolate cake. And… I didn’t have to cook.

That is a righteous conclusion. Chocolate cake is a great breakfast. With milk for kids and coffee for adults. (And leave the grapefruit juice for anyone who complains about chocolate cake for breakfast.)

More commonly, however, I do eat mildly healthier. Breakfast lassi, for example, from yogurt and various other flavorings. But while yogurt drinks make for a fine breakfast, they’re not the only option for a drinkable breakfast. And I’m not talking about the traditional pejorative meaning of a drinkable breakfast. Although it may well have been born from just such a drink.

Eggnog. Think about it. Eggs. Eggs are in eggnog! And milk! Oh goody! That’s nutrition. Eggnog… coming up!

Preferably without grapefruit juice.

While we normally think of eggnog as a holiday drink with heavy spirits, that as the only way to make eggnog appears to be a late twentieth century interpretation. Eighteenth and nineteenth century versions used wine, fortified, yes, but nothing like brandy or rum. And from the earlier twentieth century many of my vintage recipe collections include nogs that either don’t have alcohol or don’t need it. In fact, most of the recipes that have “nog” in their title and include eggs in the recipe either don’t call for alcohol or make it optional.

If those recipes are anything to go by, eggnog used to be very popular not just for Christmas parties or even parties in general, but as a general beverage for any occasion. Or even for breakfasts or brunches without need of an occasion. The Sunkist eggnog I’ve included here is literally from a book titled “…recipes for every day”.

The earliest recipe for eggnog in my collection is in the 1916 Table and Kitchen from Dr. Price’s Cream Baking Powder. It describes its “Egg Nog” as:

My Year in Food: 2023—Wednesday, January 31st, 2024

In My Year in Books I wrote that quite a few of the books I read this year were cookbooks. This may have been my most interesting year yet for cookbooks, vintage and modern. Besides the cookbooks I’ve acquired, I completed or began three projects in 2023 that were each fascinating in their own way.

Most importantly, in June, I published Tempt Them with Tastier Foods, a collection of recipes from Chicago-area chef Eddie Doucette, who was also the face of IGA groceries throughout the country. This was a fun project—especially testing some of the recipes Doucette encouraged people to try. He’s mostly forgotten today, and that’s a shame. He was a pioneer television chef in Chicago in the fifties, and went on to promote the fun of cooking around the country and around the world.

Crêpe with orange sauce: Crêpe Suzette, from Eddie Doucette’s 1954 television show, Home Cooking.; oranges; Eddie Doucette; crêpes

Eddie Doucette’s delicious and easy crèpe suzette.

Orange Nog Breakfast Eye Opener: Orange Nog Breakfast Eye Opener, from Tempt Them with Tastier Foods, the Recipes of Eddie Doucette.; breakfast; oranges; Eddie Doucette; egg nog; eggnog

His wonderful orange nog breakfast beverage.

I also went through a 1950 recipe calendar and began a survey of early refrigerator manual/cookbooks, each of which I’ve written about elsewhere.

It was definitely my most interesting year for travel. This is the first time I’ve been to a place that officially doesn’t speak English.1 I went to Italy, and it should come as no surprise that the food was amazing.

I began the trip in Venice, for an Adriatic cruise. Our group stayed at the Molino Stucky Hotel on Giudecca before sailing, and even the hotel food was amazing.

The food only got better after we set sail. In Kotor, Montenegro, a cookbook author and chef opened her home to us and we had a sit-down meal of local foods and local wines. A planned drive to an archaeological dig in Santorini was canceled, so I wandered about the island on foot catching the sights. One of the sights was a restaurant in the middle of nowhere at the top of a tall hill.

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