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.

Vintage Cookbooks and Recipes

Jerry Stratton, January 29, 2022

This is a work in progress. It’s here because I have to point the short URL to something. It will eventually be filled with more about whatever it was that sent you here.

November 23, 2022: Baker’s Dozen Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

View application.

A PDF of The Baker’s Dozen.

I said in the first installment that I’d have more recipes later from The Baker’s Dozen (PDF File, 3.3 MB). Here’s the first. I’m a huge fan of oatmeal cookies, so I couldn’t resist trying this recipe. They’re a wonderfully chewy-crunchy oatmeal cookie that flattens naturally into even rounds. The coconut enhances the chewiness without harming the crunchiness. If you sprinkle coconut on the cookies before baking, there’s a wonderful rush of toasted coconut flavor; if you don’t, the coconut flavor is much more subtle but the coconut chewiness remains upfront.

They’re great either way.

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Baker’s Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Servings: 48
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
The Baker’s Dozen (PDF File, 3.3 MB)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp Calumet Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 cup Baker’s Angel Flake Coconut

Steps

  1. Sift flour with baking powder, salt, and soda.
  2. Cream butter.
  3. Gradually add sugars; cream until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg and vanilla; beat well.
  5. Add flour mixture in 4 parts, beating just until smooth after each addition.
  6. Mix in rolled oats and coconut.
  7. Drop by teaspoonfuls (½ oz) onto ungreased baking sheets.
  8. Top each cookie with additional coconut if desired.
  9. Bake at 375° for 9 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
September 28, 2022: Granola, the ultimate breakfast
Granola: The Ultimate Breakfast

I love breakfast cereal. My favorite breakfast cereal is granola. And my favorite granola is home-made.

Homemade granola is both more versatile than store-bought and less expensive. You can put what you want in it, and leave out what you don’t want. Prefer cranberries to raisins? Dates to either? When you make it yourself, it’s entirely up to you.

Always add raisins or cranberries after baking. Otherwise they expand and burn in the oven. A long time ago, when I pulled recipes off of the nascent Internet instead of from old cookbooks, I used a recipe that added the raisins before baking. They expanded and burned in the oven, even with copious mixing during baking. I’d suggest that if you run across such a recipe and still want to try it, hold the dried fruit until after baking, then mix it in when the rest of the ingredients are done.

Burnt raisins can turn you off of home-made cereal very quickly and for a long time. There doesn’t appear to be much of a caramelization middle-ground between “not burnt” and “charred to a distasteful crisp”.

Cooking for Consciousness is possibly the best hippie cookbook I have, despite coming from a questionable source1. The recipe as I’ve presented it here is much more precise than the recipe in the book, which basically consists of, mix some oatmeal, honey, salt, and oil, then consider adding some of these other things. Vanilla, walnuts, cinnamon, and cranberries are among my favorite “other things”.

Vanilla-walnut granola

Ethereal Cereal

Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Review: Cooking for Consciousness (Jerry@Goodreads)

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp salad oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup dried cranberries

Steps

  1. Combine the oil, honey, and vanilla in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Combine the oatmeal, walnuts, salt, and cinnamon in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  4. Roast in a shallow pan at 250° for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Add dried cranberries and cool.
September 14, 2022: Popcorn is a many-splendored thing
Buttered popcorn

Is there any more perfect snack than popcorn? Quickly popped on the stove, drenched in melted butter (six tablespoons per half cup of unpopped), and salted to taste, popcorn is easy to make and very, very easy to eat.

I have never understood the appeal of microwave popcorn at home. It’s easier to pop corn on the stovetop than to pop it in a microwave. On the stove, you pop it until it stops popping. In the microwave, you pop it and walk away, come back and realize it was burnt, throw it out, and put in another one realizing that using the microwave doesn’t mean not staying with it until it’s ready.

In a hotel room, microwave popcorn has its place. Most hotel rooms have microwaves, but do not have stovetops.

There are many, many ways to spice popcorn up besides—or in addition to—butter and salt. Among my favorites is to add curry powder. Probably any curry powder will do, but homemade makes it easy to adjust the spices perfectly for whatever use you have—including putting it on popcorn along with the salt and butter.

Mushroom curry

Curry Powder

Servings: 24
Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 4 tsp fenugreek
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

Steps

  1. Process spices to a powder in a spice or coffee grinder.

You can add this to popcorn microwaved in your hotel room, too. This is by far the way I eat popcorn most—even more than butter and salt, which is probably second.

Probably second, because I also have a sweet tooth. And popcorn isn’t just the perfect snack, it’s also the perfect candy.

August 31, 2022: Three from the Baker’s Dozen

I recently found a General Foods pamphlet in another cookbook that I bought. The pamphlet is a 1976 Baker’s Coconut promotion called “The Baker’s Dozen”. My copy originally appeared in McCall’s, but I suspect it was an advertising pullout that appeared in multiple magazines. The few recipes I’ve tried have been very good—and very rich. There are only twelve recipes—it’s not a true baker’s dozen—but the three I’ve tried so far are some good ones.

The pamphlet advertises “exciting recipe book offers”, one of which is the Baker’s Chocolate and Coconut Favorites. Judging from the 1977 (sixth) edition of Baker’s Chocolate and Coconut Favorites on Michigan State University’s Little Cookbooks Collection, none of these recipes are in it. In fact, the 1977 edition of Favorites looks like a barely-updated version of the 1962 edition.

This is, as far as I can tell, an advertisement, not a book. It was bound into the magazine for easy removal and you were even expected to remove the coupon from the final page of the pamphlet. I’ve occasionally wondered about the recipes in the ads companies like Baker’s run. Do they pull them from their larger cookbooks, or make them up especially for the ad? In this case, it appears that they made them up just for the ad. Seems like a waste of great recipes, though it does make for interesting culinary archaeological expeditions.

Baker’s Dozen Magic Coconut Bars

Sweet, chewy coconut bars drizzled in chocolate. Magic!

Broil-on Coconut Topping Full

I could eat this for breakfast. It was so good I was spooning it out of the bowl.

Chocolate Cheese Pie

A nice slice of creamy Chocolate Cheese Pie, with Broil-On Coconut Topping.

July 27, 2022: Franklin Golden Syrup Recipes
Chocolate oat cakes and walnut creams

The chocolate oat cakes are a cross between baked oatmeal cookies and unbaked oatmeal candies.

I recently bought an old Franklin Golden Sugar Refining Company cookbook—a pamphlet, really—from about 1910. The Franklin Sugar Refining Company of Philadelphia was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, sugar refineries in the United States—and probably the world. They don’t exist today; they’re just a side-note to a company that itself doesn’t exist. Their cane syrup doesn’t exist either. Today, most syrup for baking is made from corn instead of cane.

I didn’t realize when I bought this book that golden syrup was cane syrup. I especially didn’t know that golden syrup was a special kind of cane syrup, one that’s difficult to find nowadays except in specialty stores and through mail order. But I decided to go all the way—so many of the recipes mention the unique flavor of golden syrup that I decided to test them using it. I bought Lyle’s Golden Syrup as a substitute for Franklin’s.

Golden syrup has a wonderful caramel flavor. If this is what golden syrup used to be—and from the description of some of the recipes, I’m pretty sure it is—it’s sad that it isn’t more available. It has a wonderful creamy caramel flavor great not just for baking but also for pancakes and waffles.

There are surprisingly few histories of golden syrup online. As I write this, the Wikipedia entry is barely more than a stub. The Lyle’s page and most British pages about golden syrup focus on Lyle’s, not on the syrup itself.

Franklin Golden Syrup Recipes (ePub ebook file, 582.8 KB) is a very short collection of recipes. Unlike other branded syrup recipe books I’ve seen, it focuses exclusively on baked goods and candies. There’s nothing here about using the syrup on hams or in casseroles. I’ve also made it available as a paperback flipbook.

  1. <- National Sandwich Day
  2. Ice cream ->