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.

January birthday veal from 1950

Jerry Stratton, February 8, 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.

Raw veal steak rolls: Step 1 for the Veal Steak Rolls in the 1950 Hope Lutheran (Chicago) recipe calendar: roll them.; veal

Roll the veal and ham steaks and secure with a toothpick.

Buttered raw veal rolls: Step 2 for the Veal Steak Rolls in the 1950 Hope Lutheran (Chicago) recipe calendar: coat them and butter them.; butter; veal

Coat the rolls in breadcrumbs, and dot with butter.

Baked veal rolls: Step 3 for the Veal Steak Rolls in the 1950 Hope Lutheran (Chicago) recipe calendar: bake them.; ham; veal

Cover with tomatoes and mushroom sauce, and bake!

The recipe also doesn’t mention when to add the thyme. I have a tendency to focus a little too much when cooking from a recipe, and I don’t think I remembered to add any thyme. I suspect it would have been best mixed with the bread crumbs or sprinkled over the top of the tomatoes, or perhaps mixed with the mushroom liquid and cider.

I also suspect that the initial “30 minutes” is meant to be uncovered, and only the “one hour longer” is meant to be covered; this should make for a crunchier topping. The roll I had for leftovers yesterday, that I reheated uncovered in a toaster oven, was definitely better than the roll I had fresh the day before.

Another interesting bit of linguistic assumption is that the recipe calls for “½ cup sliced mushrooms” and “2 sliced tomatoes”. It does not say that the mushrooms should be canned, but while I’m assuming that the tomatoes are expected to be from fresh tomatoes, the mushrooms are expected to be canned. That, after all, is where the “¼ cup mushroom liquid” would have to come from.

Veal rolled in ham is an interesting flavor and texture. I’m not sure I’d be able to place it if I didn’t know the recipe. It’s unique on both counts, and very flavorful. If you enjoy this sort of thing and can ignore the price of veal, I recommend it. Even without the thyme: with the thyme it should be even better.

Because you can already download this recipe by way of the calendar it appears in (PDF File, 9.4 MB), I’m also going to provide you with the cheese mix that’s in the celery in the background. It’s a great cheese spread for crackers and toast, but also for celery, carrots, and other dipping vegetables. And while it still has a couple of years to go before it reaches vintage status, it goes very well with fifties-era meat dishes. I found it in The Joy of the Whole Table, a 1985 cookbook from Austin, Texas.

Texas garlic cheese spread

Texas Garlic Cheese Spread

Servings: 24
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Jean Wyllys
Review: Joy of the Whole Table (Jerry@Goodreads)


  • ½ lb sharp cheddar
  • ¼ lb cream cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp jalapeño
  • 1 tsp chili powder


  1. Blend the cheese, garlic, and jalapeño in a food processor until finely chopped.
  2. Add the cream cheese and chili powder and process until smooth.
  3. Top with additional chili powder or smoked paprika if desired.

In response to A 1950 recipe calendar for 2023: In October, a friend gave me this cool calendar of recipes from 1950. It turns out, 1950 is the same as 2023, right down to the date of Easter. Print it out and hang it if you wish, and happy New Year!

  1. February pudding ->