Monthly Archives: May 2020

Ham Chowder

I got a huge stack of new cookbooks that I’m excited to be using. Today I decided to make a ham chowder from one of them. It’s not really chowder weather here recently, but today we are in the middle of bad thunderstorms with large hail and strong winds. If there was ever weather that called for a warm bowl of comforting chowder, this is it I think.

I’m really fascinated by this new cookbook. Modern Meal Maker was written in 1939 by Martha Meade for General Mills. The front boasts that the book includes 1115 menus and 744 recipes. That’s a whole bunch of First Monday Menus! It uses a different format than most of my other cookbooks. It has menus for three meals a day, 365 days a year. It’s spiral bound across the top, and each page has at least two new recipes in addition to the menus. Today’s recipe comes from the luncheon menu for February’s first Friday. The rest of the menu includes corn muffins, fruit salad, and coffee, tee, or milk.

Results

This was a terrific chowder recipe. It was easy to make and is another recipe that can be adjusted to fit whatever you have in your pantry or refrigerator. There was a good combination of flavors and textures. It was warm and filling, but not heavy enough to keep me from making it again during hot weather. It was a real crowd pleaser, too. I’m happy that my older kids like to discuss recipes we make now. Their suggestions for this recipe was to add a bit of cheese next time. I think that is a wonderful idea.

Baked String Beans

I got a bunch of new cookbooks and I’m so excited to start trying some of the recipes. Today I’m using the Assistance League’s Pleasing Food cookbook from Long Beach, California. Published in 1941, it’s full of local advertisements and handwritten recipes. The first page reads “Members of the Assistance League of Long Beach present Favorite Recipes and Tea Room Delicacies”. I’ve looked though most of the book, and I’ve only found a single recipe that is signed with the contributor’s name. They are all signed Mrs. Husband’s First and Last Name. It’s definitely an interesting look at how women saw themselves during that time. The Assistance League of Long Beach still exists. They are a volunteer organization that has numerous programs to help those in need.

Baked String Beans

  • 1 large can green beans
  • 3 tbsp bacon drippings
  • 1/4 small green pepper, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp (or more) onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 c mushrooms, sliced and browned in butter
  • grated cheese

Mix in order given, minus cheese. Top with grated cheese. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. This dish may be left in the oven for 1 hour or longer at a lower temperature. Serves 6. Mrs. William Brayton

Note: I cut the bacon up and added it to the mixture. I also doubled the recipe, and used grated parmesan cheese as the topping.

Results

What a delicious green bean dish! The different colors, textures, and tastes complimented each other very well. I would definitely add the bacon if I make this again. You can taste a very slight bit of vinegar, but not enough to be off-putting. I like this type of side dish because it goes with everything. We had it with parmesan chicken, but I can see it being a perfect side to a hamburger, fried chicken or meatloaf. It would be an easy, flavorful potluck dish. Bring the recipe with you. People will ask for it. It’s that good.

Beaded Edge Milk Glass

Since I used these plates in my last post, I thought I’d tell you a little about them. These are some of my favorites from my collection. I think the fruits are so vibrant and cheerful. They remind me of warm weather and sunshine.

Made from the late 1930s to the 1950s by the Westmoreland Glass Company, these Beaded Edge plates came in plain and painted versions. The decorated versions had fruits, flowers, birds, or holiday designs painted in the center. I have all eight fruit patterns in the 7.5″ plates. There were many other items available in this pattern.

Magic Chocolate Frosting

I found a handwritten recipe tucked into one of my vintage cookbooks. It was written on a paper torn from a promotional pad, so I was able to guess a rough date based on information on the paper. It’s probably early 1940s, which makes sense because the cookbook was published in 1940. Of all of the vintage recipes I make, these handwritten ones are my favorites. They are so personal somehow. It’s very different than reading a recipe out of a published cookbook.

Magic Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp water

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Add sweetened condensed milk and stir over boiling water 5 minutes until it thickens. Ad water and vanilla. Spread and serve when cool.

Results

I was disappointed with this frosting. Whenever I make something from a handwritten recipe that I’ve found, I think that somehow I’ll end up with something amazing and spectacular. After all, someone liked this recipe so much that they took the time to copy it down and tuck it into the pages of a cookbook to save. Plus, with a name like “Magic Chocolate Frosting,” it had to be magical, right?

Not one of my taste testers liked the frosting. It was somehow runny and thick at the same time. The consistency was more like an oily syrup. One of my sons said it felt like he was eating slime. The cupcakes soaked up the frosting so quickly that by the time we called everyone to the kitchen, it looked like we had poured chocolate water over them instead of frosting. The frosting did have a nice, not overly sweet chocolate flavor, but that’s about all I can say in favor of it. Well, and it was shiny and reflected light like a mirror. It was actually quite lovely to look at after it was freshly applied to the cupcake.

I don’t recommend this recipe, but I’m glad we tried it. I like to think that the woman who slipped this into the pages of my book would be happy that, almost 80 years later, someone else was reading and making the recipe she wrote down. I just wish we would have liked it a little better.

Do you have a favorite chocolate frosting recipe?

First Monday Menu: Spinach Soup and Lemon Rice Pudding

Today’s menu comes from Ida Bailey Allen’s Double-Quick Cooking for the Part-time Homemaker. The chapter titled “Time Saving Family Luncheons and Dinners” includes a week’s worth of menus and recipes for both lunch and dinner. Lunch menus also give suggestions for carried lunches and variations for the homemaker’s midday meal.

I was really excited to try the lemon rice pudding with apple whip sauce but was a little worried since my last few puddings haven’t turned out very well. I’m happy to say that today’s menu was a success!

I used the “Fifth Day” luncheon menu. I did switch the luncheon and the dinner soups because we still are having shortages of certain ingredients.

Luncheon Menu

  • Spinach Soup (celery in the original menu–I switched this)
  • Toasted Peanut Butter Sandwiches
  • Lemon Rice Pudding
  • Tea for adults
  • milk for children

Spinach Soup

  • 1 lb chopped raw spinach or 1/2 pkg frosted spinach
  • 1 qt boiling water
  • 2 bouillon cubes OR 1 tsp brewer’s yeast extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp enriched flour
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1/2 c light cream or evaporated milk

Combine spinach and water and boil 10 minutes. Add the bouillon cubes or extract, salt, pepper, and the flour stirred smooth with the butter. Stir until boiling, then gradually stir in the cream or evaporated milk. Serve as is, or sieve. Serves 4-6.

Note: We used raw spinach, bouillon cubes, and evaporated milk.

Lemon Rice Pudding

  • 2 c cooked rice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c sugar OR 1/3 c honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 c milk
  • juice and rind 1/2 lemon

Mix the ingredients in the order given. Pour into a shallow oiled pudding dish. Set in a pan of hot water and bake slowly in a moderate oven, 350°F until firm in the center, about 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold with melted jelly or Apple Whip Sauce.

Note: We put the full amount of sugar in, but then added a drizzle of honey, as well. It took much longer than 30 minutes to bake. It was more like 2.5 hours before the center was firm and it probably could have stayed in the oven a while longer.

Apple Whip Sauce

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar OR 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 c grated raw apple
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Gradually whip in the sweetening, apple, and lemon juice. Serve at once with puddings, or in place of whipped cream on gelatin desserts.

Note: We used powdered sugar. This really needs to be served immediately or it begins to separate.

Results

The spinach soup was warm and creamy. If you like spinach, chances are you’ll enjoy this soup. It’s not incredibly filling, so I was appreciative of the toasted peanut butter sandwiches. I thought the nuttiness and slight crunch of the toasted sandwiches went well with the soup.

The lemon rice pudding with apple whip sauce was delicious. I was surprised by how long it took to bake compared to what the recipe suggested it would take. It took so long after the rest of the meal that I lost the daylight I needed to take pictures and actually ran outside to take them in what light was left. Artificial lighting at night often makes my pictures too shadowy. I think you can still see what it looked like, though. It was creamy and lightly lemony. The sauce tasted more like apple juice than I expected. It was refreshing and sweet. I liked the pudding equally with or without the sauce.

I’m happy the lemon rice pudding turned out well. This was a nice menu and I’d recommend all of it. I think the soup was a handy recipe for a home front housewife. The spinach could have come from a Victory garden, helping to cut costs. All of the recipes include options in their ingredient lists so you can customize them to work with whatever is in your pantry. I found this helpful today, and I know it was helpful then.

Stay safe and well. Let me know if you try any of these recipes.

Corn Pudding or Deviled Corn

This is from my trusty 1940 edition of The American Woman’s Cook Book. I’m always trying to find new side dishes to add to our meals. Corn is one of my family’s favorite vegetables, and I’ve never tried deviled corn before, so this seemed like a good choice.

Corn Pudding or Deviled Corn

  • 2 tbsp fat
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp mustard
  • Paprika
  • 2 c corn pulp
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Buttered crumbs

Make a sauce of fat, flour, milk, and seasonings. Add the corn, egg slightly beaten, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour into a baking dish, cover with buttered crumbs, and bake in a moderate oven at 350° to 400°F for fifteen to thirty minutes.

Results

This had the potential to be really good. I’m going to have to play around with it a little. I think it’s supposed to be a breaded pudding-type dish, but it was so runny. The flavor was nice, though. You could taste the paprika and I think if the breaded part was cooked more this would have been delicious. I’ll play with the cooking time and the ingredients a little and I’ll report back to you.