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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: An Eddie Doucette Recipe Collection

Jerry Stratton, July 12, 2023

Tempt Them with Tastier Foods front cover: Front cover to the Eddie Doucette recipe collection, Tempt Them with Tastier Foods.; Eddie Doucette

Eddie Doucette’s mantra: “Cooking Can Be Fun”.

In my post about the recipes I found from a viewer of Eddie Doucette’s 1954 television show “Home Cooking”, I noted that he later became the IGA chef and introduced many recipes in abbreviated form in IGA ads in local newspapers. I promised “a few of” those recipes “in a future post”. This is that post, and by “a few”, I mean every recipe I could find researching old newspapers and scouring auction sites for old ephemera. I’ve collected them as a PDF (PDF File, 10.5 MB), an ePub (ePub ebook file, 9.4 MB), and as a print collection.

I was unable to try all of the recipes, but I did try a lot, and they are some very nice recipes. IGA was, and is, a grocery store semi-chain. It stood for “Independent Grocers Alliance”. Recipes under Eddie Doucette’s name began appearing in IGA ads in late 1961 but the official start of Doucette’s relationship with IGA was 1962.

Introducing Eddie Doucette… IGA’s own Chef (former N.B.C. TV Chef and noted food authority) whose recipes and ideas will help brighten mealtime for you in ’62!

Recipes continued to appear under his name in IGA advertisements into 1971. It appears that IGA would provide the recipes to local grocery store owners; the grocery store owners could choose to reproduce these recipes in their advertisements, or provide them, perhaps on recipe cards, to shoppers at the point of sale.

With the IGA deal, he went beyond Chicago. His recipes appeared throughout the United States from Mexico, Missouri to Pocatello, Idaho. They even appeared in the Camrose Canadian of Camrose, Alberta, Canada.

He continued his cooking demonstrations around the country, now under the IGA brand. The Uintah County Library Regional History Center has a 1964 photo of Chef Eddie Doucette showing “some tantalizing food magic at Rex’s IGA Foodliner store demonstration”. Rex’s IGA Foodliner was in Vernal, Uintah County, Utah.

Doucette also represented the U.S. Department of Agriculture and “demonstrated foods from the United States in meal preparations at the recent International Trade Fair in Tokyo”. Recent probably meant the 1968 fair, since this appeared in the March, 1969 Macaroni Journal. They reported on Doucette because he’d appeared in the National Macaroni Institute’s Macaroni Menu Magic educational video. If you’d like to see Eddie Doucette in action, go about four minutes in. It’s not the most exciting presentation: he’s obviously reading from prepared text on the side.

There were three recipes in late 1961. Most of the recipes I could find appeared in 1962 first and were occasionally repeated through the years. The recipes sort of began to peter out in 1965—I found none in 1966 or 1967. I say “sort of” because the grocery stores still advertised Eddie Doucette recipes, but you had to come into the store to get them. A handful more began to appear in 1968, and then petered out again, disappearing completely after February, 1971.

This survey is skewed to the newspapers archived on newspapers.com. While it seems unlikely that whatever bias newspapers.com has would affect the selection of IGA store advertisements, you never know.

All-American Hot Dog Recipe Suggestions: Eddie Doucette’s hot dog and frankfurter recipes from a Mike Douglas TV show appearance.; hot dogs; frankfurters, franks; Eddie Doucette; Mike Douglas

Eddie Doucette appeared on the Mike Douglas show several times to show off fun recipes.

I also saw a few items on eBay. As I wrote in the earlier post, there was at least one matchbook with an Eddie Doucette recipe, touting “Recipes from the Files of Eddie Doucette”. I’ve since found one more matchbook recipe, confirming my suspicion that there were multiple matchbooks, each with different recipes. I’ve only seen these two, but suspect there are, or were, more. Most people don’t keep empty matchbooks which makes it likely that some matchbook recipes are, like his television show recipes, lost forever.

In grocery store ads, these recipes often appeared under the phrase “IGA Food Magic! by Eddie Doucette” or “Cooking Can Be Fun”. Sometimes, they simply appeared under the phrase “IGA Chef Eddie Doucette” or “Eddie Doucette suggests”.

The ads didn’t always contain a recipe. For example, some stores recommended that you “Try this tender TableRite steak in your IGA Food Magic recipe for this week!” which implies that there was a weekly recipe, either available elsewhere—there was no recipe in this large ad—or available at the store. It may have been a weekly mailing that homemakers could sign up for, or a card available at the store for their card files, to encourage coming in regularly. I have not seen any such cards, however. That’s only a guess.

There were occasionally recipes accompanying his “Home Cooking Can Be Fun” traveling shows. I found a few of these in various newspapers and one or two flyers. There was even a collection of hot dog recipes from one of his appearances on the Mike Douglas TV show.

One treasure trove of Doucette recipes and articles was the Alton Evening Telegraph of April 4, 1967. Doucette appears to have supplied them with at least seven articles for use to hype an upcoming show at nearby Monticello College and they used all of them. He practically took over the newspaper that issue.

I have compiled all of the Eddie Doucette newspaper recipes I could find into Tempt Them with Tastier Foods (PDF File, 10.5 MB). Never let it be said that when I get a good idea I don’t drive it straight into the ground. You can download Tempt Them with Tastier Foods as a PDF file (PDF File, 10.5 MB) or an ePub file (ePub ebook file, 9.4 MB), or you can buy the print copy on Lulu.com.

It’s a beautiful book, if I do say so myself. For the cover design, I took inspiration from Time-Life’s wonderful Foods of the World series.

I don’t know what happened to Eddie Doucette. He seems to disappear from newspapers completely, not just from ads, around 1971. The last mention of “IGA Chef Eddie Doucette” that I can find is in the February 27, 1971, Mexico Ledger. Charles Flynn, of The Daily Herald and the Elk Grove Herald mentioned “my good friend, Eddie Doucette” in his June 24, 1971, Mostly for Men column. Flynn reproduced Doucette’s IGA recipe for lemon barbecue sauce nearly exactly as it appeared in 1962 grocery ads.

By 1977, Doucette was referred to in what sounds to me like a historical sense. In “Joy of Communication”, about Mary Edgier of Schaumburg, in the October 12, 1977, Daily Herald, there is the line:

Chef Eddie Doucette in Vernal Utah: Chef Eddie Doucette for Rex IGA in Vernal, Utah.; Utah; Eddie Doucette; IGA Food Stores

In Vernal, Utah, for the Rex IGA, in 1964.

…she helped launch a new product, Ac-cent, and with a new TV personality, chef Eddie Doucette.

Around the same time, a new Eddie Doucette appeared who is clearly not the chef. Eddie Doucette the sportscaster first appeared in the Waukesha Daily Freeman on February 27, 1969, and by the mid-seventies his name dominates searches on “Eddie Doucette”.

Back in 1951, the Knoxville News-Sentinel of October 22 had quoted chef Eddie as saying “my two boys, 14 and 4, like to cook a great deal.” The new sportscaster was that 14-year-old, chef Eddie’s oldest son, the now legendary Voice of the Milwaukee Bucks.

If you know more about chef Eddie Doucette, I’d love to hear your stories. I’d also love to hear from you if you have newspaper clippings or other records of any Eddie Doucette recipes I’ve missed.

This post is already getting long, so I’m going to break the recipe examples into a separate post. However, while searching for alternate versions of his Cape Cod Cranberry Bread to verify that my interpretation of “tasp.” as either a typo for “tsp.” or an alternate abbreviation for teaspoon was correct, I discovered an interesting variation on what is basically the same recipe. It’s in the December 16, 1974, Times Standard of Eureka, California. The article appears to be a running column called “North Coast… Kitchens” by Valerie Ohanian.

Cape Cod Cranberry Bread

Servings: 24
Preparation Time: 2 hours
Valerie Ohanian

Ingredients

  • 1 small orange
  • hot water
  • 1-½ cups fresh cranberries, ground or chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, well-beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1-½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped

Steps

  1. Cut small orange in eighths, discard seeds, and work the rind and flesh through the finest blade of a food chopper.
  2. Place in a measuring cup and add enough hot water to make one cup.
  3. Combine the cranberries, sugar, egg, and orange. Let stand.
  4. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and soda together.
  5. Cut the shortening into the flour with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
  6. Pour in the cranberry mixture and stir the batter until the ingredients are just mixed. Do not beat.
  7. Fold in the chopped nuts.
  8. Spoon the batter into a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan.
  9. Let stand for 20 minutes.
  10. Bake in a 350° oven for 55-60 minutes or until tests done with pick.
  11. May be frozen.

Ohanian’s recipe replaces the orange juice and zest with an orange run through a food chopper. Oddly, it does not call for running the orange and cranberries through the chopper at the same time, which is the way I expect I’ll make it. It increases the cranberries and decreases the walnuts by a half cup; and it adds cinnamon. It also adds two tablespoons of shortening. Except for the cinnamon, however, it uses the same ingredients, and the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt are in the same amounts.

In response to A home-cooking handful from Eddie Doucette: A glimpse at a long-lost 1954 Chicagoland television cooking show, including recipes. Some of them require creative interpretation.

August 2, 2023: Eddie Doucette recipe sampler

Tempt Them with Tastier Foods (PDF File, 10.5 MB) contains all of the Eddie Doucette recipes that I could find searching online auction sites and newspaper archives. It includes all of the recipes from the typewritten viewer notes that I wrote about earlier and a lot more. Most of the new recipes come from IGA store advertisements throughout the sixties. Despite some occasional weirdness, I’ve yet to try a recipe that wasn’t tasty. Some are amazing.

His potato bread recipe, for example, came from the pre-presentation press materials of his 1967 French Cooking Can Be Fun evening at Monticello College in Alton, Illinois. As I wrote in my announcement post, he pretty much took over the Alton Evening Telegraph for his media blitz. One of the articles was You Can Have Fun with Yeast.

With our modern mode of cooking and baking it is a pleasure to produce sumptuous light taste-provoking baked goods, whether it be for your own table, a surprise gift for a dear friend, a church social or what-have-you, I’m certain you’ll find you can have “Fun With Yeast.”

I’ve never made potato bread before, so I thought I’d try his recipe. It was amazing—and it was easy to follow, too. Normally I have to make some adjustment for kind of flour and for things the recipe-writer assumed. In this case, I made the potato-liquid mix as directed (using the potato option) and put exactly 4-½ cups (19 ounces) of sifted flour on top of it in the bread machine. With no adjustments at all, out came a perfect loaf.

  1. <- Home Cooking episodes
  2. Potato Day Sauerkraut ->