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.

March 22, 2023: Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book

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

February 22, 2023: 1950 Cherry Pudding Dessert
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.

February 8, 2023: January birthday veal from 1950
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.

February 1, 2023: A home-cooking handful from Eddie Doucette

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.

February 1, 2023: Eddie Doucette’s “Home Cooking” episode guide

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.
December 28, 2022: A 1950 recipe calendar for 2023
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!

December 21, 2022: Promotional cookbook archive
Rogers’s Christmas Tree: From the Rainbow, December 1984, “Holly Jolly Holidays”, a Christmas tree by Robert T. Rogers.; Christmas music; Christmas carols; Color Computer; CoCo, TRS-80 Color Computer; computer history; Christmas tree

Merry Vintage Christmas!

If you’re a fan of vintage cookbooks, I have a Christmas present for you. Since writing the searchablePDF script that I used on The Baker’s Dozen, I’ve started scanning in more of my old promotional pamphlets that don’t appear to be available online.

The Baker’s Dozen is the reason I wrote the script. Afterward, I went back and recreated Franklin Golden Syrup Recipes and the Directions for Operating [a Dominion] Waffle Iron so that they take advantage of the new capability as well. They are now searchable and they have a table of contents. I’m about to do another sweetened condensed milk pamphlet and have finally delved into the mysteries of evaporated milk.

This page will automatically update whenever I upload a new vintage pamphlet. I have some neat ones ready to go. There are some fascinating recipes in them, as well as strange terminology. Rather than force you to go searching the site, I’m going to archive them here automatically whenever I post a new book. This page will also include any of the missing indexes when I make more—and I have at least one more I want to make. It’s going to be a big one, and very cool, so stay tuned.

I’m looking forward to making more old recipes and writing about them over the next year.

Enjoy, and Merry (Vintage) Christmas! If you enjoy vintage cookbooks, this is a gift that will keep on giving.

I’ve moved the cookbook archive to its own page, and made it searchable as well. The simple list of downloads remains at the bottom of this page.

If I’ve retyped a pamphlet it will be available both as an ePub and as a PDF. You can read an ePub in any ebook reader, and it will format itself automatically to fit your mobile (or desktop) screen.

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)


  • 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


  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: Granola in a sceptered wine glass.; breakfast; cereal; granola; Claire Saffitz

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”.

September 14, 2022: Popcorn is a many-splendored thing
Buttered popcorn: Buttered, salted popcorn in a bowl.; popcorn; butter

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


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


  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.

July 27, 2022: Franklin Golden Syrup Recipes
Chocolate oat cakes and walnut creams: Two very nice sweets made from golden syrup using recipes from the Franklin Golden Syrup Recipes pamphlet.; chocolate; cocoa; cookies; walnuts; fudge; golden syrup

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 ->