Still Life With Bundt Cake and Brooding 1970s Waiter

IMG_0001 strange bundt waiter pic

This is a nice recipe, but the photo is strange. If you want to see gorgeous photos of the best Bundt cakes ever, I refer you to the incomparable T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types.

The weird waiter is in several photos in this book, jealously guarding a Bundt cake in a dark, moody setting. I don’t know who he is or why he is so obsessed.


2 cups finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup bourbon
3 q/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
8 eggs
2 cups butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup bourbon

In small bowl, combine walnuts and 1/2 cup bourbon, mix well. Let stand. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside. In small bowl, beat eggs until they are thick and light. In large bowl, cream butter with sugar until light; beat in vanilla. Add beaten eggs, beating at low speed, then at high speed until mixture is thick ad fluffy. Gradually beat in flour mixture just until combined. Stir in bourbon-walnut mixture. Turn batter into greased and floured 12-cup Bundt Pan; spread with rubber scraper s that batter is slightly higher at side and against tube. Place a 12″ square of brown paper over pan. Bake 55-60 minutes at 350. Cool in pan 10-15 minutes; turn out on wire rack to complete cooling. Soak 18-inch square of cheesecloth in 1/2 cup bourbon. Wrap cake completely in cheesecloth then in foil. Store several days in an airtight container. Just before serving glaze with Coffee Glaze and garnish with nuts or sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.


2 tsp instant coffee
scant 3 Tb hot milk
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 Tb soft butter

Dissolve instant coffee in hot milk. In small bowl, combine sugar and butter. Gradually add milk to achieve desired consistency and stir until smooth.\

This recipe is from Over 300 Ways To Use Your Bundt Pans(1973) brought to you by the Nordic Ware Kitchen/Northland Aluminum Products folks in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Food That Inveigles

IMG_0002 Guardian pots etc

This recipe is called salad, and yet it is not. Retro cookbooks liked to use the term “salad” pretty loosely.

It reminds me of the canned baked apples of the late 1960s. They were pinkish red and very, very water-logged (or perhaps syrup-logged, which was how one felt after eating one). Lots of weird things got canned back then.  A culinary Scylla and Charybdis: either be named Salad, or get stuck in a Can.

This comes from the Guardian Service Tested Recipes (ca 1955), which featured the Guardian line of pots, pans and dishes. You could use these items to make a salad in, you see. Mold it in a saucepan, unmold it on the “Round Tray or Griddle Broiler.”  Remember to turn that Griddle Broiler off, though.


6 eating apples
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 pkg . cinnamon candies
Red vegetable coloring (abt 1/4 tsp)

Place sugar, water and cinnamon candies in unit [the Guardian Casserole-Tureen, see above, with bonus checkmark from previous owner], put unit over medium heat until candies are dissolved. Add vegetable coloring to give a bright red color.

Meanwhile, core apples, pare leaving on 1/4 of the skin down at the blossom end. Place in syrup, cover unit, reduce heat to low. Turn apples upside down after 7-10 minutes. When barely tender, remove apples to a cake rack. Turn heat up to medium, cook syrup in uncovered unit until very thick. Brush syrup on apples with a pastry brush or pour over them with spoon.

Chill. Place apples on lettuce. Split each one in sections from top, part way down sides. Spread sections open. Fill center of apples with cottage cheese or cream cheese, put through a pastry tube. Sprinkle cheese with grated orange or lemon rind.

The chapter subtitle claims that Guardian salads “Will Inveigle the Family Into Their Full Vitamin Quota.” Unmold them and then step back! These salads aren’t just “crisp, firm and tasty” – they badger the diners! Inveigle literally means to lure through flattery. I don’t think I want the salad course to do that.

I don’t think these apples are going to do much inveigling though. They will be exhausted after all that cooking and basting and being colored an unnatural shade of red. I don’t recall the canned baked apples having much to say about my vitamin quota – full or not.

IMG_0003 Guardian salad

The Poetry of Crisco, 1920

IMG Crisco cookbook 1920

A Calendar of Dinners With 615 Recipes (1920), by Marion Harris Neil, was distributed by the Crisco Company. Crisco was first made by Proctor and Gamble in 1911. It is kosher and vegan-friendly, as it is all vegetable. Of course it is also 100% fat, so not exactly a health elixir. Though to read this little book, one might be lulled into thinking that it was. Why, Ms. Neil calls fat “man’s most important food” and Crisco itself is dubbed “this rich, wholesome cream of nutritious food oils in sanitary tins.” That’s pretty nearly poetry in a can.

Oh, sorry – I mean, in a sanitary tin.

After the inexorable march through 600+ Crisco-based recipes, Ms. Neil gives you a menu for every day of the year. I checked up on what we ought to be cooking today, and here’s what you ought to get going on the stove on April 20th:

Celery Soup
Braised Ox-Tongue
Baked Potatoes, Mashed Turnips
Cold Slaw, Cheese, Wafers
Rice Mousse, Coffee

All of the menus are like this, with many dishes. A year of this would be like going to my grandmother’s for Sunday lunch every single day. And not even my dear grandmother - a wonderful cook –  would have wanted to make fancy puddings and soups and roast whatnot day after day.

Note the old-fashioned term “cold slaw,” which is of course what we call “cole slaw.” Here it says that in England the dish was originally called “cold slaw” but that the later use of “cole” came from the Latin “colis,” meaning cabbage.

I wanted to find the Rice Mousse recipe to share, but Crisco’s “Domestic Scientists” forgot to share it in the book. I found something else in the complex-carb line instead, though not a dessert.

Not surprisingly, the sanitary-tin-wielding Domestic Scientists are especially keen on desserts (though not on Rice Mousse, seemingly). There are lots of good cakes and puddings in here.  But desserts are not all they can test, oh no! I also came across this unusual recipe for a meat-free sausage:


1/2 cupful Crisco
1/4 lb chopped onions
1/2 lb cold boiled mashed potatoes
1/2 lb breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 beaten eggs

Mix all ingredients thoroughly well together with wooden spoon, then form into sausages; tie each well in cloth, and boil exactly as a roly-poly. If not to be eaten when newly cooked, put aside, and untie when wanted. This sausage is also good when oatmeal is added instead of breadcrumbs, or it may be made of half oatmeal and half breadcrumbs. Sufficient for twelve sausages.

This is in the “Vegetarian Dishes” section, which implies that a significant number of people were vegetarians in the 1920s. Here is a sensational post at Edwardian Promenade about the history of vegetarianism. I feel fortunate to live in the age of soy sausages, I really do.

Meringue Shortbread and A Joyful Cake

IMG Daily Telegraph cookbook UK 1940s

Isn’t she lovely? That’s what your average, English Daily Telegraph reader looked like circa 1950. All dolled up and making homemade chips (or French fries, if she had been in a North American kitchen). That apron is a miracle against the forces of gravity, the way it stays up. Must be from starch. Could it be potato starch? That would be handy, since she probably has a lot of that around. Just wipe your hands on the apron to transfer more starch.

And there are some really good recipes, too. Canadian Sweet Cucumber Pickle – which amused me, because as far as I know, we in Canada are not especially known for our cucumber pickles, sweet or otherwise. Mock Mango Chutney – using plums. Why not call it Plum Chutney?

Savoury dishes include Celery Nut Balls (oh dear), and Dumpling Stew (oh dear again). Kipper Salad and Green Pea Sandwiches. Hmmm. Let’s move along to the next course, shall we?

Things do start to pick up at dessert (or “for pudding,” I suppose I should say – I love calling dessert pudding, it sounds so hopeful and cakey and – stodgy in a lovely way, doesn’t it?). Here we run into Shortbread Meringues for example –  that’s a good idea! And Joy Cake, too! Who could resist a cake that is full of Joy? (Not me, unless the Joy in question is the dish-washing liquid, in which case, thanks but no thanks).

Shortbread Meringues

For the Shortbread
2 oz. margarine
1 1/2 oz sugar
Few drops almond, lemon or vanilla flavouring if liked.
4 oz flour

For the Meringue:
1 white of egg
Pinch of salt
2 Tbs caster [sic] sugar
Glacé cherries

Beat the fat and the sugar together until they resemble thick cream; add flavouring to taste. Gradually knead in the sifted flour until it makes one solid lump. Roll out to abut1/2 inch thick, cut in small rounds about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, place on a greased tin and prick with a fork.

To make the meringue, beat the white of egg and salt together until the mixture stands up in a point when beater is sharply withdrawn. This will take several minutes’ sharp beating (rotary beater best). Add sugar gradually by lightly stirring it in.

Place one heaped teaspoonful of the meringue mixture on each round of shortbread, slightly flatten mixture over three-parts of the shortbread. Place half a glacé cherry in middle of each. bake in a very slow oven. Can be placed in warm oven after all other cooking has been withdrawn, and left, with gas turned down very low, until cakes are deep cream colour and meringue sets firm.

Joy Cake

6  oz. self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 dessertspoonfuls dried eggs (used dry)
1 Tb sugar (or less)
2 Tbs marmalade
4 oz. golden syrup
4 oz. sultanas
1/4 pint milk

Sift flour, baking powder and dried egg together. Add sugar, marmalade, warmed syrup and fruit. Mix all with the milk to a soft dough. Put in a greased tin and bake in a moderate oven 3/4 hour (375 deg. F; gas No. 5).

Did you notice up there in the first recipe how you are supposed to use a rotary beater for those egg whites? That is hard work! Apron lady must have biceps of steel. No need for the Bow Flex in 1950!

And as for Joy Cake, it must have been thought up by someone who was crazy about dried eggs. Or maybe when you make it you are really happy that you are using up all the stuff in your pantry, that must be it.

Cara-Coa, East Of Java

El Molino 1

El Molino 2

Here’s a pioneer in the health food business – El Molino Mills, who had been in business since 1926 in Alhambra, California. They aren’t around anymore though, as far as I can tell. This little cookbook came out in 1953. The name of the company is a little bit redundant, since “el molino” means mill in Spanish. But that is all right, not everyone would know that. I didn’t, before this morning!

That bear looks quite happy with his cookie. The carob desserts are about the same color as he is, and the cookie matches the Date Loaf. I guess color-coordination is important to ceramic bears.

Also, I like how the baking incorporates pre-1960s groovy carob and whole wheat juxtaposed with the 1950s standard Susie Homemaker mile-high layer cake. And dig those obsessive-compulsive walnuts placed around the cream pie. Can we all say 1950s conformity? You can’t just slap ‘em on (well, you can – and I have done this so I know you can – but not in the 1950s you don’t!)

Wait a decade and see. Those walnuts will be getting together with some Jordan almonds and making yin-yangs on that pie.

There are lots of recipes using soy and millet and of course carob – or Cara-Coa as the El Molino people call it (which sounds like a cross between Kon-Tiki and Krakatoa to me). It is a jaunty little book and I like it a lot. Here’s one of the recipes that is making the bear cookie jar look so smug. It appears to have acquired mint flavoring between the photo and the recipe page:


1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup milk
3 El Molino Cara-Coa Carob Candy Bars (7/8 oz. size)
1 Tb unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup cream
1/4 tsp Oil of Peppermint
1 9-inch baked pie shell

Sliughtly beat egg yolk with milk and add broken piecces of carob candy. Combine with gelatin, sugar and salt in top of double boiler over boiling water. Stir frequently until candy melts.

Remove from heat and beat until smooth. Chill until [has] cream-like consistency. Fold in whipped cream flavored with oil of peppermint. Turn into pie shell. Chill until firm.

For variation omit peppermint flavoring and add sliced bananas to pie shell before filling.

One cup of cream! Must be retro after all – carob is about as much healthiness as a pie could handle in 1953.

The jokey title refers to a 1969 movie called Krakatoa, East of Java, which itself is sort of ironic because in fact Krakatoa is west of Java.

Donut Muffins

Rogers Sugar 1973

I hesitated a little bit over this one, because the book is called Recipes For Young Adults. It was put out by the B.C. Sugar Refining Company in 1973 and – well, they specifically say young adults – not mid-forties adults who have been trying to wrestle meals onto the table for lo these many years.

But this is what I’ve got so far, so I’m going to press on anyway. Even though I am not sure how much refined sugar those young adults really ought to be taking on board. There is also a good dollop of household hints (how to get Rogers’ Pancake Syrup off the counter), and party suggestions (eat more sugar!) and a chapter on “Stain Removal” (because the spilling of the Rogers’ Golden Syrup is inevitable).

Actually this book covers the waterfront – all sorts of recipes. Though naturally they are rather keen on the sugary stuff.

And on edible conundrums. Here is the Donut Muffin. Is it a doughnut? Yes, sort of. But it is in a muffin tin and therefore…a muffin. But not really.


Oven 400 degrees, yield: 18 small; 20 minutes [baking time]

2 cups Master Mix
2 Tb sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Stir sugar into Mix.
2. Combine milk, egg and Mix until well blended.
3. Bake in small muffin tins.
4. Dip one at a time into melted butter.
5. Remove quickly and shake in a bag containing sugar and cinnamon.


1. Sift 3 times: 9 cups flour, 1/3 cup baking powder, 1 Tb salt, 1 tsp cream of tartar, 1/4 cup sugar.
2. Cut in 2 cups shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal.
3. Store in covered containers at room temperature.
4. To measure pile lightly in cup and level with spatula.

These look like a good idea to me because I don’t like deep-frying things. It isn’t all that healthy, plus also the fear of burning myself (never mind the actual event) is also not healthy. I would make these, probably. Once in awhile. Usually I make vegetarian/vegan stuff in real life, much though I love retro recipes and baking – and desserts, and candy. Not that you can’t have healthy veggie-ish desserts, but – oh, you know what I mean.

Anyway. This book is full of useful things, not just sugar. Like how to make Wiener Winks (a hotdog appetizer) and advice on how full to fill the water glasses (three-quarters, you young’uns, not a drop more) and only “just before announcing the meal.” Come and get your Wiener Winks and Donut Muffins! Just what young adults like to eat while they’re – being young and youthful. And buying Rogers’ sugar.

Bisquick Every Night, Josephine

Betty Crocker likes Bisquick. She likes it a lot – so much, in fact, that she will attempt to wrestle it into every recipe she can think of. And when Betty gives a party, she makes a party dessert. Makes sense. Quickly, put Bisquick in every one of those party desserts! It’s biscuity, and it’s quick – why, there’s a whole fridgeful of meaning in just that one word. Never mind what happens when you start adding layers of ingredients! For example, you might find yourself face to face with this party dessert chez Crocker - the natural partner of the faux Napoleon – the ersatz Josephine:


Make Short Pie Dough (1 cup Bisquick mixed with 1/2 stick soft butter and 3 Tb boiling water), also adding 1/2 tsp almond or vanilla extract. Pat dough into twelve 3″x2″ oblongs with Easy Creamy Icing (i cup sifted confectioner’s sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract, 1 1/2 Tb cream). Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Put oblongs in pairs with chilled vanilla pudding between. Makes 6 tarts.

Oh, that Betty – her subtexts are  something else. Why no one’s written a dissertation about this is beyond me (believe me, they will – I remember being a bit desperate about thesis topics!)

For example: is a Josephine technically a tart. or is Betty being – well,  a little catty?

Depends on how you interpret the subliminal whatever-it-is, I guess.

Kraft Dinner Triumph

IMG_0001 WD 1963 Kraft ad 

It isn’t often that you see the words “Kraft Dinner” and “triumph” in the same sentence, is it? I mean, Kraft Dinner is what you tend to serve up when you feel tired, or cowed by kitchen complexities, or you are totally out of ideas for meals – or maybe you just are in a terrible hurry, or have had small children about all day who really like mac and cheese from a box and – you get the idea. That is when I have tended to serve KD anyway. I don’t think we’ve had it in awhile though (she added a tad defensively). But in Forty Meatless Meal Recipes from Kraft, you might expect to see KD exalted as an ingredient. And so it is, and so it is. The booklet dates from 1958, as per the ad for the Kraft Hour on TV, starring Milton Berle on Kraft Music Hall - on the back inside cover. Berle hosted this only in 1958, so there you go.

Kraft Dinner Triumph 1 7 oz. can tuna, drained
1 Tb chopped green pepper
1 Tb. chopped pimiento
1 1/2 cups hot medium cream sauce
1 pkg Kraft Dinner
Hot cooked sliced carrots, seasoned

Combine the tuna, green pepper and pimiento with the cream sauce, and heat. Prepare the Kraft Dinner as directed on the package. Heap it onto a round serving plate, make a depression in the center, and fill it with the hot tuna mixture. Surround the Kraft Dinner with carrots.

I suppose the carrots act as a sort of moat. It all sounds very creamy and – amorphous. And what the heck is medium cream sauce anyway? Cream sauce is cream sauce, right? Maybe they mean medium thick. Somewhere between whole milk and library paste.

This is just too much work for what you end up with. Kraft Dinner is supposed to be quick and easy. I don’t want to triumph at the table, I just want people to eat it and like it, OK?

Oh, and you will like the household hint at the bottom of the page (every page in the booklet features one of these):

Scrambled eggs take on new color when you stir in 1 tablespoon of orange juice per egg before putting in pan.

Yes, they turn orange. And they will take on a new taste too. It will not be a triumph.


IMG horsford 1886 almanac whopovers

Here we have the oddly named cousin of the popover, from The Horsford 1886 Almanac and Cook Book. Horsford’s was a brand of baking powder  made by the Rumford Chemical Works, which fine company we met briefly on Pi Day. They also made Bread Preparation, Cream Tartar Substitute, Yeast Powder, Acid Phosphate(for drinks), Sulphite (“for preserving cakes”) and Anti-Chlorine (“for paper makers”). I guess if you got tired of preparing bread and drinking phosphates, you could make a little paper. Makes a nice change of pace!


Mix two heaping cups sifted four with one heaping teasponnful Horsford’s Baking Powder; then add two eggs, one large spoonful sugar, a piece of butter as large as a walnut, two cups sweet milk, a little nutmeg and salt; melt the butter. Bake in cups in a quick oven.

The picture above says, “A significant characteristic of Horsford’s Baking powder is its invigorating quality.”

Especially, I would think, Whopovers – which are clearly served to (or rather aimed at) people through some sort of small cannon.

Turkey and Igloos For The Go-Go Set

IMG cooking ontario's turkey 1957

I have a couple of booklets about cooking things in Ontario, which theoretically is perfect for me, since I live there. One is called Cooking Ontario’s Eggs and the other is Cooking Ontario’s Turkey (apparently there is only one turkey in the province, better make good use of the leftovers!).

Of course I keep wishing that one was called Cooking Ontario’s Goose, but no such luck. The booklets were both produced by the Poultry Products Institute of Canada in Toronto, circa 1957. You can imagine the pedestrian nature of most of the text – how to cook the turkey in an oven, how to make stuffing, how to boil eggs. And then there is a recipe for turkey burgers or meatballs - “for the Go-Go Set.” The burger has a face and a hat. The photo is above. What is the Go-Go Set, pray tell? Perhaps they are go-going far away from the smiling turkey burger. I would, certainly. They are probably not reading this book. Why, they are doing the Peppermint Twist at the go-go, Poultry Institute People – not home reading up on how to make Hot Turkey Salad For the Church or Club Supper.

And then I came upon this little item. This must be where the turkey burger and his groovy meatball friends live.

Igloo Turkey Salad

3 cups well-seasoned mashed potato salad
3 cups well-seasoned turkey salad
2-3 Tbs mayonnaise

Use a large round-bottomed bowl (6-cup size). Spread mayonnaise as evenly as possible around inside of bowl. Carefully(and lightly) press all but one cup of potato salad in a layer about an inch thick around sides and over bottom of bowl. Spoon turkey salad into the centre. Press down lightly. Smooth remaining potato salad lightly over top to seal in the turkey salad. Chill an hour or longer. To unmold, run a thin knife carefully around inside of bowl, place a serving plate face down on top of bowl and quickly invert plate and bowl in smooth motion with a slight bounce as the bowl is turned completely upside down.

Garnish serving plate with lettuce and radish roses or tomato wedges. Cut with a knife into wedges with a wide flat pie server. Yields six servings.

For a buffet supper or teenage party the illusion of an igloo may be carried farther by scoring the surface of the unmolded salad to represent blocks piled up as in making a real igloo. Use strips of green pepper or ripe olives to outline the door.

First of all, I would like to know what mashed-potato salad is supposed to be. It doesn’t exist in nature, that’s what. But then neither do turkey-salad igloos. I guess it is mashed potato and mayonnaise. But you are smearing mayo in the bowl right away anyhow. That is a lot of mayo.

And I don’t think they use radish roses and tomato wedges as architectural decoration in the Arctic. Or anywhere. Or green peppers and olives as door frames.

Finally, why do 1950s cookbook writers think that teenagers – even 1950s teenagers – will be impressed by you scoring bricks into the mashed potatoes? Particularly since this thing will never ever unmold properly. It will just be a mashed-potato slag heap (perhaps an evocation of 1950s Sudbury?). Really, you need some industrial-strength gelatin to reinforce this sort of structure.

If we really want to cook Ontario’s turkey (or goose), let’s build something a little more geographically appropriate than an igloo (talk about your Canadian stereotyping). Maybe a CN Tower made of celery and turkey wings.