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.

Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book—Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

Bananas are a staple of American life today, and much of that success likely comes from this promotional book by the United Fruit Company’s Home Economics Department. At the time it was written United Fruit still had to convince people to use bananas regularly. Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book (PDF File, 9.9 MB) tells consumers not just that bananas taste good and are nutritious, but also that they’re not dangerous and everyone can enjoy them.

That “nature seals bananas in a germ-proof package” and that they’re perfect for everyone from infants to athletes to old folks.

From the cover and interior art to the banana-related advice to the recipes themselves, this is designed for people who aren’t familiar with bananas and need a banana manual. This pamphlet covers how to choose bananas, how to ripen them, and how to slice them. It even explains how to mash them. There are three different ways: a fork, an egg beater, or an electric mixer.

And it’s narrated throughout by Chiquita Banana herself. In a chef’s hat with a teacher’s baton, she points to three simple steps to keeping bananas. In her Carmen Miranda hat with a painter’s palette, she draws a picture of the three stages of banana ripening. In the same fruited hat and accompanying herself on the banjo, she sings. The music is in fact playable, though there’s nothing exciting about it.1

Mango macadamia pie for π day—Wednesday, March 8th, 2023
Cream-kist Mango Pie: Mrs. Jack Bether’s cream-kist peach pie from the 1972 Southern Living Pies and Pastries Cookbook.; Southern Living; pie; mangos

Next week is π day. Since Pi Day is always a week before the end of winter, why not celebrate the coming spring with a very Hawaiian pie? This year’s featured pie comes via the 1972 Pies and Pastries Cookbook of the Southern Living Cookbook Library. The original, a peach pie with an almond topping, was contributed to Southern Living by “Mrs. Jack Bether, Lancaster, South Carolina”.

I often find that replacing peaches with mango makes a dessert even better, and with no other changes. I’ve had this pie on my “try soon” list ever since I saw it while compiling the Southern Living Missing Index. So when I found myself with a couple of mangos about to go bad and an open bag of macadamia nuts I wanted to use up, I decided to try this recipe replacing both the peaches and the almonds, with mangos and macadamias.

Because mangos are bigger than peaches, you’ll probably have some mango left over. This is not a problem: just eat it (as Weird Al might say). All you need is enough fruit to solidly cover the bottom of the pie shell.

This is really an amazing pie. The cream surrounding the fruit forms a creamy filling beneath the fruit, and a crusty golden top above the fruit and around the chopped nuts. I’m sure it’s great with peaches and almonds as well. As I write this, however, mangos are on sale, so check your local grocery.

For that matter, I expect it’s great with any pie-friendly fruit.

A pie like this also deserves a great crust. I chose to make a beer crust, from Eddie Doucette’s Oktoberfest recipes, as presented in Tempt Them with Tastier Foods. Tempt Them is an upcoming collection of Eddie Doucette’s recipes, mostly from the IGA advertisements he appeared in. It also contains several recipes from his various “cooking can be fun” presentations.

You heard it here first!

1950 Cherry Pudding Dessert—Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023
Cherry Cream: Cherry Cream from the 1950 calendar of Hope Lutheran Church of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.; cherries; pudding

For February’s 1950 calendar recipe, I had planned to choose the Shrimp Spaghetti. But I found myself in a hurry and wanting something sweet, and realized that the Cherry Cream would give me an excuse to also make my favorite vanilla pudding. I still intend to try the Shrimp Spaghetti. It’s just such a Deplorable Gourmet combination of ingredients. But it’ll have to wait until later.

The Cherry Cream recipe calls for a package of vanilla pudding; if I’m reading it right, it assumes that you’re mixing the two cups of milk in the ingredient list with a package of powder. The milk isn’t called for anywhere else, and it’s listed after the “1 package prepared vanilla pudding”. The recipe then later refers to the prepared pudding as “custard” if I’m reading it right.

My favorite quick vanilla pudding recipe uses 2-½ cups of milk, so that’s what I used for the “custard” of this cherry pudding.

I’m not sure what the recipe list means by “cherries”. I’m assuming some sort of canned or preserved cherries, because the second item in the ingredient list is a cup of cherry juice. I’m guessing that the juice comes from the can or jar of cherries. I chose to use maraschino cherries, because I have a giant jar of them in the back of my fridge. I suspect that maraschino cherries are sweeter than what they meant, so I cut back on the sugar, from ¾ cup to about ⅓ cup. I probably could have cut back further, or even completely.

I also increased the lemon juice by half, to a full tablespoon. Partly to offset the sweetness, but also because I had a bowl of leftover lemon juice in the fridge and it turned out to be exactly a tablespoon. There didn’t seem much point in leaving a teaspoon of lemon juice in the fridge.

And as is often the case, I doubled the amount of almond extract in the cherry part of the mix, because I pulled the fact of almond extract from the instructions, and the amount from the ingredient list. Recipes that sum ingredients which get used in multiple parts of the instructions often cause me to mistakenly add the full amount from the list rather than the partial amount from the instructions. It doesn’t seem to have hurt it, probably, again, because the maraschino cherry juice is very sweet.

January birthday veal from 1950—Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Veal steak roll: Veal Steak Roll, from the 1950 Hope Lutheran (Chicago) recipe calendar.; ham; food history; vintage cookbooks; veal

In A 1950 recipe calendar for 2023 I wrote that “I’m looking forward to trying a new recipe from this calendar each month come January.”

As New Year resolutions go, that’s not a difficult one. A little expensive. For January’s recipe, it came down to the Birthday White Cake or the Veal Steak Rolls; The cake looks very good, but I was already making a lot of baked goods from the El Molino Best cookbook, so I went with the Veal rolls.

Veal is not cheap nowadays, so I made a half recipe. A little under a pound of veal cutlets was about twelve dollars. January is a birthday month according to the calendar, and birthdays demand a special meal. A special meal justifies a little added cost.

I don’t know that veal cutlets are the same as the “veal steaks” called for in the recipe, but it was either cutlets or ground veal. Veal doesn’t seem to be as popular as it once was, either.

I don’t have garlic salt on hand, so I seasoned the veal with salt, pepper, and crushed garlic.

The recipe makes the interesting assumption that 2 pounds of veal steaks is the same number of pieces as a half pound of sliced ham. I didn’t think to measure it, but that seems about right. My just-under-a-pound of veal cutlets meant four cutlets; four slices of the sliced ham that I bought for this recipe (and for sandwiches from El Molino whole wheat bread) seems likely to have been about a quarter pound, perhaps a little less.

Had I gotten a full pound, that would have meant another cutlet. My guess is that the recipe is meant to produce ten, or maybe twelve, rolls.

A home-cooking handful from Eddie Doucette—Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

View application.

Fascinating and easy recipes from a pioneering television show!

These sheets (PDF File, 2.9 MB) were advertised on eBay as recipes from a 1960s Chicago restaurant, Eddie Doucette’s Pancake Plantation. The note said that the typewritten sheets had belonged to their aunt.

I wasn’t interested in recipes from a Chicago restaurant I’d never been to, so I posted it to a vintage recipe group thinking someone else might be. But the title of the sheet didn’t sound like a restaurant to me. Instead of just Eddie Doucette, I did a search on the full title, and discovered a very obscure Chicago cooking show, Home Cooking that aired in the fifties.

That sounded a lot more interesting. At $2 including postage, I decided it would be worth at least a blog post.

After I received them and looked at them, I asked the seller if they knew how their aunt acquired them, or why she’d typed them up?

Our aunt… had many recipes from Chicago area restaurants from back in the day. Also many recipes from different radio and tv programs. She was an adventurous cook!

So this does indeed sound like a viewer who typed up recipes from a television show they enjoyed. It’s a show that few people seem to remember today. The number of hits on my Internet search for it while writing this brought up all of three hits, one from a 1954 newspaper and one from someone posting old TV schedules. I was able to find a handful more results by rewording the search terms, but there’s literally nothing about anybody talking about the show. All the hits are from contemporary newspapers—mostly TV guide-style listings—and media clippings about upcoming series to watch out for.

Eddie Doucette’s “Home Cooking” episode guide—Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

While searching for an episode of Eddie Doucette’s “Home Cooking” 1954-55 television show, I also kept a list of what episodes I found. As you can see, there are a few missing. If you have TV Guides from the missing weeks, scans or photos of the 1:00 PM slot for Monday through Friday will be greatly appreciated!

Monday, August 30Eddie Doucette returns to his post as mentor, with easily followed recipes. Eddie considers costs as well as glamor, and uses clever touches to meals. Today: Chicken that’s different; peach meringue torte.
Tuesday, August 31Eddie Doucette with easily prepared meals. Today: Ham steak gourmet; green peas Bayou; berry mush.
Wednesday, September 1Pie crust tips; mystery pie.
Thursday, September 2Fillet of sole Jeanine; fruit Carnival.
Friday, September 3Breast of lamb pinwheels; baked meringue spicecake.
Monday, September 13Eddie Doucette prepares “Elmer’s circus cake with carousel frosting.”
Tuesday, September 14Eddie Doucette with baked onions Bordelaise and Lyannaise potatoes.
Wednesday, September 15Eddie Doucette prepares chicken tamale pie as today’s recipe.
Thursday, September 16Eddie Doucette prepares California guest cake; fluffy orange frosting.
Friday, September 17Italian pizza pie is chef Doucette’s treat.
Monday, September 20Eddie Doucette offers recipes for steak strips with soybean sauce, Chinese style, and fluffy rice.
Tuesday, September 21Succotash souffle, deviled tomatoes, Midwest Style, are Eddie Doucette’s offerings.
Wednesday, September 22Eddie Doucette prepares candelabra cake and marshmallow frosting.
Thursday, September 23Lobster curry and Risotta ring are on the Doucette menu today.
Friday, September 24Eddie Doucette prepares sauteed chicken and Bourguignonne.
Monday, September 27Chef Eddie Doucette with pork chops topper; one-meal-casserole.
Tuesday, September 28Eddie Doucette with chocolate angel pie.
Wednesday, September 29No show listed.
Thursday, September 30No show blurb.
Friday, October 1No show listed.
Monday, October 4Chef Eddie Doucette prepares ham loaf with horseradish, scalloped potatoes.
Tuesday, October 5“Apricot Braid.” Eddie Doucette.
Wednesday, October 6Showman-cook Doucette with his specialty, “Bubble and Squeak with Wow Wow Sauce.”
Thursday, October 7Eddie Doucette prepares country style omelet and popovers.
Friday, October 8No show listed.
Monday, October 11Eddie Doucette prepares wine peach pudding pie as today’s treat.
My year in food: 2022—Wednesday, January 18th, 2023

January 1, 2022 was a Saturday, which is when our gaming group meets, so we decided to do a New Year’s meal for the game. Obviously, we had Hoppin’ John, but I also made one of my favorite barbecues, the Grilled Root Beer Pork Ribs from Food & Wine’s 2012 collection.1 This being Texas, and my preferring to save my root beer for drinking, I used Dr. Pepper.

I made a very quick chocolate cake from the classic Renny Darling collection, The Joy of Eating. This is one of those cookbooks that everyone seemed to have in the seventies and has mostly disappeared. That’s sad, because it really is a nice cookbook. The focus is on eating, not cooking. This dough is made in a blender, poured into the cake pan, and baked.

Gaming and great food is not a bad way to start off a new year.

I started fermenting beverages that first week in January. My first attempt—a balloon wine made with grape juice—probably worked exactly as it was supposed to, by making a simple alcoholic drink that didn’t taste particularly great but could easily be made in a dorm room or barracks.

My second attempt, however, was a Finnish Sima, or Lemon Mead, from the Scandinavian volume of Time-Life’s Foods of the World series. It creates a wonderful lemon beverage with a beautiful color and a delicate flavor.

A 1950 recipe calendar for 2023—Wednesday, December 28th, 2022
Hope Lutheran Church 1950 calendar: “My faith looks up to thee.” From a 1950 recipe calendar of Hope Lutheran Church, Milwaukee.; calendars; Milwaukee

If you have any 1950 calendars lying around, you can use them in 2023—or you can use this wonderful old collection of recipes tied to the seasons!

Old cookbooks are not alone among the ephemera that often raise more questions than answers. Old calendars, with their strange holidays and even stranger assumptions about how you use them are also often like peering into a different country. But what about old calendars that are also cookbooks?

On the same online group that produced the wonderful Deplorable Gourmet—a few months before our Texas meetup—a friend posted the enigmatic (and always exciting) words “I found a cool cookbook for you. I’ll bring it to the meet.”

It turned out not to be a cookbook, but a calendar, a 1950 calendar from Hope Lutheran Church of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It took me slightly longer to track down where they were than it should have because while they provided their address on the calendar, they did not include either the town or the state where the address was located. This was well before zip codes, too, and the phone numbers are all five digits with a word in front of them, that is, Division 2-0471 and Kilbourn 5-5524.

That Hope Lutheran is part of the “Missouri Synod” sent me up the entirely wrong tree, as there is in fact a Hope Lutheran just outside of St. Louis, Missouri.

But once I tracked down the cross streets, it turns out the church is still there, at 1115 N 35th St, Milwaukee, just like the calendar says. And it’s still Missouri Synod.

Kaestner, the funeral home that sponsored the calendar for them, is long gone, although (some of) their records appear to be preserved at the Milwaukee County Historical Society.

Each month has a collection of season-appropriate recipes, although, oddly, the recipes are behind the month. That is, January’s recipes are only visible during February, the Fourth of July recipes only show up when you switch the calendar to August, and Thanksgiving only shows when you switch to December. The recipes for the month are on the same sheet as the month, which makes it impossible to see them both at the same time!

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