Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 19 – THE FINALE

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 19 – THE FINALE

It is quite sad that we have come to the end of our journey working our way through this fabulous old book, but feel it high time to give it back to Mom for her safe keeping, she has been extremely patient waiting to get it back.

The chapter on Canning, Pickling and Preserving reads as follows:

“Rows of jelly glasses sparkling ruby and topaz in the sun; jars of plump pickled peaches studded with pungent cloves, little pots of golden marmalade – these on the pantry shelf, like hand-worked linens on the table, are homemade for the modern household.  Maybe you don’t need to put up fruit as grandmother did in order to feed the family during the winter months.  Maybe arithmetic proves that you can buy good commercial products for less than the cost of home canning.  But you want the fun of saying, as you pass the breakfast jam, “Yes, I made it myself.”

If you have your own garden you want to boast, “We grew these cucumber pickles” or green beans.  Only the home gardener can profitably go in for canning vegetables on a large scale.  But in any home kitchen, or even kitchenette, you can manage a few precious jars of homemade preserves and relishes.

Principles of Canning:  The purpose of the canning process is twofold:  to destroy certain enzymes and micro-organisms already in the food and to prevent bacteria from contaminating it once these agents have been destroyed.  The first is accomplished by heat, the second by air-tight sealing.

The enzymes and two types of micro-organism  yeasts and molds, are easily destroyed by heat,  bacteria, the third type, particularly in the spore state, are strongly resistant to heat,  Ordinary boiling temperatures will not destroy them unless prolonged for many hours, but the hight temperature reached in a pressure cooker at 15 pounds pressure makes short work of them.  Fruits, tomatoes and other acid vegetables present no difficulty in this respect, for an ordinary boiling temperature in combination with the acid in the food will destroy bacteria.  The non acid vegetables and meats, however, require special consideration.  If the bacteria normally present in such foods are not destroyed they may cause one or more of several types of spoilage.”

This chapter covers the various methods of packaging (cold, hot and open kettle) and the various methods of processing (hot water bath, processing by steam pressure cooker, processing by steamer cooker and oven canning).  The chapter also details the preparation of jars, lids and rubbers as well as filling, handling and sealing jars and has 28 pages of recipes for canning, pickling and preserving  fruit juices, vegetables, meat, poultry and how to make jellies, jams and marmalades.

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 18

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 18

Friends, we are nearly at the end of this wonderful old book and with today being my birthday I thought it would be special treat to share this second last chapter with you.

The chapter on Sandwiches reads as follows:

“A man who would rather gamble than eat invented sandwiches and gave them his name.  It is not know whether or not the Earl of Sandwich won his bet, but the sliced meat between sliced bread which he had brought to the gaming table remains the neatest of food tricks.  Now that to the utilitarian ham-on-rye we add frivolous tea sandwiches, hearty hot-meat-and-gravy open sandwiches served as the main course of a meal, and sandwiches fried, toasted, grilled and chilled, we have come a long way from the original plan.  But the basic advantage of a sandwich is that it can go places – to school, to the office, on picnics – and that it can, if necessary, be held in the fingers and eaten with a fork.

Imaginative sandwich-makers will vary the possibilities by using the fillings here described for types of sandwiches other than those under which they are listed.  They will use many kinds of bread – whole-wheat, Boston brown, raisin, rye or bran – besides white.  Homemade nut bread, orange, date and prune breads make delicious tea or school-lunch specials.

Muffins, tea biscuits and soft rolls may also be split for sandwiches, with frankfurter and hamburger rolls standard in their class.  Short-cakes made of rich biscuit dough and put together with a hot creamed mixture are first cousins to the sandwich family.

Sandwich-Making

Bread:  The bread for sandwiches should be at least one day old.  When sandwiches without crust are wanted it is easier to cut the crust from the loaf before slicing.  For sandwiches cut in fancy shapes, the bread will cut to better advantage it is sliced lengthwise of the loaf – a very long loaf (sandwich style) is easier to handle if it is first cut in half.  For pinwheel or rolled sandwiches, however, the bread should be sliced the full length of the loaf.  To make these long even slices you will need practice and a good knife.

Butter:  The spread, whether butter or margarine, should be creamed, but never melted.  Soften it in a bowl with the back of a wooden spoon and beat until smooth.  To hasten the process the bowl may be placed over warm water.  One pound of softened butter or margarine will spread from 60 to 80 slices of bread.
IF the filling is very rich, the butter may be spread on one side of the sandwich only, or omitted entirely.  But remember that butter helps to keep a soft filling from soaking into the bread.

Fillings:  These vary from a piece of cold meat or cheese with mustard to a mixture made up of several ingredients.  Many delicious prepared sandwich fillings are available nowadays – some with a cheese base, others with a mayonnaise base to which have been added pickles  ham, olives and so froth.  In some homes one corner of the refrigerator shelf is reserved fro a supply of these fillings.  They keep best in airtight jars.
Ingredients should be combined with a thought for contrast in flavor, color and texture.  Bland fillings may be sharpened with lemon, mustard, ketchup, bottled sauces and pickles,  Crunchiness is added by crisp bacon, nuts, cucumber, celery or shredded cabbage.  Fillings which lack color may be enlivened with chopped pickle, pimiento, olives peppers or parsley.

Sandwich Tools:  A thin sharp-bladed knife is the first essential.  It must be a long blade, light in weight; it may have a saw-tooth edge and it must be kept very sharp.  Heating the knife makes it easier to cut very fresh bread into thin even slices.
There should also be a cutting board kept for bread or cake – not used for shopping onions or garlic,  Heavy waxed paper for packing sandwiches to be carried and for wrapping those to be chilled in the refrigerator should always be on hand.  Envelopes of waxed paper or cellophane are convenient for the daily lunch box.
For the fancier varieties, a set of sandwich or cooky cutters and some tiny garnish cutter are needed.

To Keep Sandwiches:  Sandwiches, especially those with soft fillings which make the bread soggy, are best when prepared just before serving.  If it is necessary to make sandwiches some time before they are to be eaten, they may be wrapped in wax paper or a slightly dampened cloth and kept in a cool place.”

The chapter has 28 pages of every sandwich filling you can think of for every occasion, from everyday sandwiches, to club sandwiches,  sandwich loaves, grilled sandwiches, picnic sandwiches, open sandwiches and speciality sandwiches for gala occasions.

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Park 17

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 17

I have really been trying to savour the last few chapters but think it high time I shared another one with you.

The chapter on Cookies reads as follows:

“Were the cookies in a blue jar or a brown one at your house, and did they sprinkle sugar on them or put raisins in them?  Were you allowed to cut them into fancy shapes all by yourself?  What kind did you ask for when you went away to school or camp?  Answers will vary, but the basic fact is that cookies have always had a happy and honorable place on the pantry shelf.  Let’s hope they always will have.

Ingredients

Flour:  Unless otherwise specified, all-purpose flour is called for in the recipes in this chapter.  In some recipes either cake flour or all-purpose gives satisfactory results, but if the all-purpose flour in your locality is a strong one – that is, made from very hard wheat – it will make a slightly harder cooky.  A soft-wheat flour makes a tenderer cooky.

Shortening:  A number of shortenings are suitable for making cookies,  Butter is always a favorite one for flavor, but margarines and vegetable shortenings are more often used because they do a good job and are less expensive.  In a bland cooky in which the flavor of the shortening is distinctive, part butter and part vegetable shortening gives good results.

Sugar:  The sugar called for in the recipes in this chapter is granulated sugar unless otherwise specified and the finer grains are preferred.  For butterscotch flavor use brown sugar, medium or dark.

Milk:  Either whole milke or evaporated milk may be used.  Because cookies require so little liquid, undiluted evaporated milk is convenient and practical.  In some recipes calling for 2 or 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons of evaporated milk may be used in place of 1 egg.

Eggs:  In making cookies, fresh eggs are best for flavor.  Eggs vary in size, and in cases where the dough must be exactly of a certain stiffness the size of the eggs may make a difference.  For this reason, and also because flours vary in thickening properties, it is wise to bake one or two cookies as a test before baking the whole batch.

Mixing and Shaping

Cookies may be made by hand or with an electric mixer.  In either case, assemble all the ingredients and measure them before starting the mixing process.
In general there are two types of cooky mixture, soft doughs and stiff doughs.

Soft-dough Cookies:  Soft doughs contain a larger proportion of liquid than stiff doughs.  Cookies made from soft doughs include those dropped from a spoon and those spread in a plan like a thin layer of cakes, of which brownies are a familiar example.

Stiff-dough Cookies:  Cookies made from stiff doughs included rolled cookies, refrigerator or sliced cookies and cookies shaped by forcing the dough through a cooky press.”

The chapter continues with correct ways to bake and store your cookies as well as all the different forms of decorations and has 28 pages crammed full of different cookie recipes.

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 16

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 16

I guess I cannot put off the last 4 chapters forever, so here is another chapter for your enjoyment.

The chapter on Candy reads as follows:

“Whether you make candy just for fun, or to keep the children from buying less wholesome candies at the corner store, or for profit – many woman have made a paying business of candy-making – you will want to make good candy.  With the right equipment and attention to the fundamental techniques of candy-making you will be surprised what attractive and professional-looking candies can be made in your own kitchen.

Candies are either crystalline in structure – that is, composed of minute crystals – like the fudges and fondants, or non-crystalline  like the taffies, brittles and clear hard candies,  The temperature or concentration to which the sirup is cooked decides the type of candy – soft, chewy, or hard; the manipulation after cooking determines the texture – grainy or smooth.

The proper equipment adds to the pleasure of making candy and contributes to the success of results.  For the occasional candy-maker t is enough to have:

SAUCEPANS large enough to allow the mixture to boil up – 2 or 3 quarts capacity.  Heavy metal ones are better than thin ones because the sirup will not stick so readily.
WOODEN SPOONS for stirring and beating.  Better still for stirring is a broad wooden paddle like the old-fashioned butter paddles.
CANDY PANS for cooling candies.  They may be square or rectangular, but they should be straight-sided and less than 2 inches deep.  Never cut candy in the pan unless it is used only for candy.  Instead, loosen the candy at the edges, turn out of the pan and cut on a flat surface.
A LARGE HEAVY PLATTER for working fondant if you do not have a marble slab.
A CANDY THERMOMETER is strongly recommended even for the occasional candy-maker.  Thermometers are reasonable in price and the greater accuracy made possible saves much time and effort.
In addition to the foregoing, the following inexpensive items will come in handy.  A broad kitchen SPATULA for working fondant – an inexpensive putty knife will do very well; a MEDICINE DROPPER for adding acid and flavoring oils; a PASTRY BRUSH for oiling pans or slabs, and for distributing water evenly; kitchen SCISSORS for cutting taffies: WAXED PAPER or CELLOPHANE for wrapping candies; a WOODEN CUTTING BOARD kept just for candies.

For making candies on a large scale you should have, in addition to the equipment described above:
A large MARBLE SLAB, which makes the best working surface for beating fondants and fudges, pouring caramels, brittles and hard candies, as well as for hand-dipping chocolates.
DIPPING FORKS for glacé work or for coating bonbons and chocolates.  They may be purchased or made at home out of a 2-foot length of strong thin wire – preferably copper wire.  Double the wire and twist the ends together, leaving a loop about ¾ inch long at the doubled end.  The twisted part serves as a handle.
CANDY IRONS to regulate the thickness and size of a batch of candy poured out on the marble slab.  They should be smooth and approximately ¾ inch thick and 2 inches high.  A set of four 12-inch and six 6-inch irons will be adequate for most work.  The short irons are used for small batches and to separate the parts of a batch when different flavors have been added.
RUBBER MOLDS for shaping mints and wafers.  Round, heart, diamond and club shapes are popular for bridge parties and special designs for Easter, Christmas and other occasions may also be purchased.
A POURING FUNNEL and GAUGE for regulating the flow of drop fondant.  They prevent  waste, make the prices more symmetrical and are useful in decorating candies.
A CANDY HOOK attached to a strong base if a great many pulled candies are made.

These may be purchased in a confectioners’ supply shop if they are not available elsewhere.”

The chapter also covers all the varies ingredients, how to properly cook candy, the importance of temperature, how to use a thermometer, how to make a cold-water test for all the different types of candy, how to care for your candy, all the different fondants as well as a myriad of recipes over 24 pages for every candy you can think of.

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 15

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 15

With all of us getting organised for the holiday festivities and baking preparations – there is always more baking down over the holidays, I thought it apt to share the chapter on cakes.

The chapter on Cakes reads:

“Whether it’s a blue ribbon at the fair or appreciate ah’s from the family, a perfect cake wins approval enough to give its creator a warm glow of pride.  And what is a perfect cake?  Why, everybody knows.

To begin with, the perfect cake looks right – whether round or square or loaf-shaped, it’s the shape it was meant to be, without cracks or humps or dismal depressions.  The crust is golden brown, not burned but thin and crisp.  And when you cut into it, you find it’s feathery light (unless it’s a fruit cake, meant to be freighted with goodies), and moist and mellow, with a texture like velvet.

Everybody knows a good cake, but not everybody can make one – that is the common opinion.  Aunt Jane just as a knack, Mrs. Green has a gift for it, other people have good luck.  Actually, of course, you don’t need gifts or luck, but the right equipment, including good recipes, and a laboratory degree of accuracy in doing what the recipes tell you to do.

Cake-making is a game you play by the rules.  Try to cheat the recipe ever so little, and it’s likely to make a big difference; or at least enough to explain why your last cake was almost too solidly independent, why today’s attempt turns sulky and clings to the pan.  These variations in temperament aren’t due to a witch in the oven, but – perhaps – to measuring cups and spoons that aren’t standard.  Or do you fail to sift before you measure?  Perhaps you thought that a foolish direction?  But flour, especially cake flour, packs down under its own weight.  Unless you sift first, you cup holds more, and that little more may ne the cause of coarse-textured cake with a cracked top and a tough crust.

Then it may be that you aren’t a good mixer of cake batter; you may beat at the wrong time.  Beating should be done before the dry and liquid ingredients are combined. After that decisive step is taken, stir gently to blend but don’t beat unless the directions actually specify beating or you may have a coarse, dry cake with tunnels.

What it all comes to is this: you can make a good cake if you try.  Give the matter your very best attention – it’s worth it.

Cake Pans

Correct size and shape of baking pan is important.  The capacity of the pan is exactly right when the baked cake fills the pan but does not bulge at the rim.  Some cakes are more adaptable than others and may be baked in various types of pans, with suitable adjustments in baking temperature and time.  Generally speaking, thin layer cakes and sheet cakes are baked at a higher temperature for a short time, to prevent drying out.  Thicker cakes require lower temperature and longer baking time to insure even baking throughout.

Prepare the pans before mixing the cake.  For butter cakes only the bottom of the pan should be greased.  Better volume is obtained if the sides of the pan are very lightly greased or not at all.  A piece of waxed paper cut to fit the bottom of the pan may be placed in the greased pan if desired; the top of the paper need not be greased. Pans for sponge cakes should not be greased at all unless the cake is to be baked in layer pans or a sheet pan, when the pan should be greased on the bottom only and lined with waxed paper.  Do not fill pans more than two-thirds full.”

This lovely chapter is packed full and talks about selection of ingredients from flour to leavening, shortening, sugar, eggs and liquids with very specific instructions on how to mix and bake your cake and how to cut a cake for a crowd, with graphics on how to cut a tiered (traditionally a wedding) cake.  There is even a paragraph on caring for your cakes after baking and there are 50 pages of recipes for cakes and frostings.  My favourite part of this chapter is the 12 pages on cake decorating. :-)

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 14

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 14

It is just short of 5 months since I shared a chapter from our ever loved book; The Woman’s Home Companion Book Book.  I think half the reason is due to the fact that we are nearing the end of the book so I am trying to make it last.

The chapter on Pastry reads:

“Even in the movies people like pies; but here our concern is with pastry to be eaten, not tossed at comedians.  It is saddening instead of funny that, in homes as well as in restaurants, the great American yearning for pie is so often thwarted by pastry that armorplates a delicious filling.  Sometimes the cruel crust is of the anaemic variety, place, underbaked, in need of a little healthy oven-tan.  Or it may be of the cardboard type, thick and doughy, of unappealing texture and lacking in flavor because it has been cheated on shortening.  Or it may be tough and leathery, requiring main force to pry it apart.  In the last case the cook has used too much water, or worked so hard in mixing that the eater must work, too.

In happy contrast, good pastry is tinted golden brown, with a blistered surface.  It is light, crisp and flaky, tender enough to break easily, but not so tender that it crumbles when cut.  Undercrusts should never resist the fork, but neither should they be soggy absorbers of filling.

This hight standard is achieved by combining ingredients in the proper proportions, by chilling and careful handling of the dough and by watchful baking.  Recipes which follow were carefully tested to give you the best of many methods, but in no other baking is your own manipulation of materials so important as it is in pastry-making.

Ingredients

Flour, slat, shortening and water are the basic ingredients of pastry,  Others may be added in special instances – herbs in meat-pie crusts; spices, chopped nuts, grated orange or lemon rind or fruit juice in place of part or all of the water in the crusts for pumpkin or fruit pies; sugar in pastry shells and the crusts for dep-dish fruit pies; grated cheese to take the place of part of the shortening in apple-pie crusts.

Shortening:  Vegetable shortening, lard or vegetable oil may be used in pastry.  If vegetable oil is used a special procedure is recommenced.  If an extra flaky crust is desired the shortening should be well chilled.

Lard makes a very short or tender crust, but its flavor is objectionable to some people.  Certain brands of lard, however, are now given  a special treatment which makes the flavor less strong and improves the texture and keeping qualities.

Chicken fat produces a tender and beautifully brown crust, but its distinctive flavor is more suitable for meat-pie crust than for dessert pastries.  It should be rendered over hot water, strained and thoroughly chilled before using – then handled quickly, for it liquefies at room temperature.

Vegetable shortenings, with their bland flavor and creamy texture at room temperature, are suitable for all types of pastry.

Butter, unless used in large proportions and given special treatment as in puff paste, tends to make a hard brittle crust.  But a little butter may be added for flavor. brush butter melted and cooled over the surface of the pastry after it has been rolled and placed in the pan.

Flour:  All-purpose flour is very satisfactory for pastry; the recipes in this chapter are based upon it.  One cup of sifted all-purpose flour to 1/3 cup of shortening is the proportion which gives the ideal crust if manipulation and baking are correctly done.  When pastry flour is used the proportion of flour to shortening can make the difference between a crisp tender flaky crust and those that fall short of this ideal.  To little shortening make a thick doughy crust; too much makes a too-delicate crust.

Water:  With too little water the dough will be crumbly and will not hold together when rolled; with too much it will be sricky and hard to roll, and as the proportion of water is increased the finished pastry will be increasingly tough.  About 3 tablespoons of water to 1 cup fo all purpose flour and 1.3 cup of shortening is the correct proportion.

Mixing

Standard Method:  Correct mixing is as important as correct proportions of ingredients.  The flour and salt should be mixed and the shortening cut in with a pastry blender or two tables knives.  Cutting the shortening in very thoroughly gives a tender crust, cutting it in coarsely a flaky one; the manipulation described under plain pastry suggests that half of the shortening be cut in until the mixture resembles corn meal – this for tenderness; and the remaining half be cut in only until the particles of fat are about the size of navy beans – this for flakiness.

The water should be sprinkled a little at a time over the surface of the flour and fat mixture, then blended by pressing the wet particles of flour together and tossing them to one side while a dry portion is sprinkled,  Never use a stirring motion.  The tines of a fork rather than a spoon should be used for this purpose.

When the dough has all been moistened it should be gathered together in a ball with a fork or fingers, then pressed together, avoiding a kneading motion.  An easy way to do this is to turn the dough out on a piece of waxed paper, wrap it up and press.

Too much mixing or too much handling after the water has been added makes a tough crust with a smooth pale surface.

The dough may be rolled out immediately or it may be chilled before rolling.  Chilling helps to make a flakier pastry.  Care should be taken, however, not to overchill it, especially it it is put into a mechanical refrigerator.  Twenty minutes to a half-hour should be enough.

New Method:  A recently developed method for mixing pastry features an exact measurement for the water.  The standard method necessarily leaves the amount of water to personal judgement – not always an accurate guide.  In the new method the water is combined with part of the four to make paste, the fat is combined with remaining flour by the standard method, then the two mixtures are combined, taking care to avoid overmanipluation.

Rolling

Deft, light strokes of the rolling pin and not too much flour on the board are the essentials.  Place a ball of pastry dough on a board lightly floured to prevent sticking.  A correctly mixed pastry may still be turned into a tough streaked doughy crust by letting it take up too much flour from the rolling board.  A pastry cloth or heavy canvas  cover for the board and a stockinet cover for the rolling pin take all the risks out of rolling pastry.  Flour canvas and stockinet liberally – more flour may be used than with the uncovered board and rolling pin because the flour sticks to the canvas so that less is taken up into the pastry.

Roll quickly and lightly, always from the centre out, until the dough is about an eighth of an inch thick.  As the rolling pin approaches the edge of the dough on each stroke, it should be lifted, never rolled over the edge.  Rolling over the edge makes the edge too thin, hence gives it a tendency to split.  Any split that does occur should be pinched together before the rolling is continued.

If the dough stick to the board it should be loosened with a spatula slipped under it and a little flour sprinkled on the spot.  the dough should be lifted frequently during the rolling, but should not be turned over.

Panning Piecrust

When the dough has been rolled to a shape and size to fit the pan in which it is to be baked, fold it in half and lift it carefully into the pan, with the fold in the centre (a very large piece of dough may be folder in half again before lifting).

Unfold the dough and fit it loosely into the pan, taking care to make it fit snugly into the seam where the sides and bottom of the pan join.  Stretching the dough in the pan will make a pastry shell shrink during baking.  When the dough fits properly, pat it all over its surface to eliminate any air pockets underneath - a little ball of dough is useful for this.  Then the edges should be cut according to the kind of pie.

Baking

Pastry Shell:  Prick the pastry shell with a fork to allow the escape of any air between crust and pan.  Bake on the upper shelf of an oven preheated to 450 °F to set the edges quickly and prevent the shell from shrinking.  Transfer to the lower shelf of the oven after the crust is et if the edges are in danger of getting too brown before the rest of the crust is baked.

If the shell bulges during the first moments of baking despite the preliminary pricking, prick it again and it will lie flat.  Once the pastry has set it will l not bulge.

Another way to prevent bulging is to place a second pie pan of the same size inside the pastry-lined pan  - or a double layer of dried beans will hold the pastry flat.  The pie pan or beans should be removed before the shell is fully baked to allow the bottom to crisp.

Filled Pies:  Pies filled before baking should be baked on the lower shelf of an oven preheated to 425°F to allow the filling to cook through before the crust is too brown.  Brushing the top of a double-crust pie with milk or diluted egg yolk will give it a rich brown color when baked.

The greatest problem in baking pies with a soft filling, such as custard, pumpkin, and fruit, is the prevention of a soggy undercrust.  The method which work best with the least trouble are the following:

Custard Pies:  Have the shell thoroughly chilled before putting in the filling.  Having the filling hot and put it in the shell at the last moment before the pie goes into the oven.

Fruit Pies:  Mix the flour and sugar in the proportions recommended in the individual recipes.  Spread half of the mixture over the bottom of the pastry-lined pan.  Add the fruit and sprinkle the remainder of the flour-sugar mixture on top.  the flour and sugar under the fruit catches the juices of the fruit as they run out and thickens them before they are soaked up by the pastry.”

So there you have it, everything you will ever need to know about making pastry.  The chapter has 29 pages of wonderful recipes ranging from grape pies to rhubarb meringue pies and orange custard pies plus loads of tarts and specialitiy pastries.

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 13

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 13

It has been far too long since I shared a chapter of our every love Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book, so with no further ado:-

The chapter on Frozen Desserts reads:

“Take  one sweltering summer day.  Add a lime sherbet, frosting its glass, or a fruit  cup topped with a spoonful of orange ice, or a snowy peak of ice cream stained rose-pink with the juice of freshly crushed strawberries.  Serve by spoonfuls, and say, “Ah!”

In Neros day the Romans knew that snow from Alpine passes, flavored with fruit juice, made life more pleasant in warm weather.  Frozen milk ices came to Europe from the East, and  a French chef made “cream ice”, the favorite dessert of Charles I.  From England the idea crossed to pre-Revolutionary America, where the name was reversed.  Half a century later Dolly Madison put ice cream on the White House menu.

Frozen desserts are still the approved end for formal dinners, but are no longer a luxury reserved for such special occasions.  the whole range from easily mad inexpensive water ices and sherbets to rich mousses and parfaits can now be made at home, and they are the one dessert of which most of us never tire.

When you plan the meals, don’t say”I’ll take vanilla”,; try the adventure of new flavors and new combinations.  Use fresh fruits in season, or frozen fruits out of season.  Experiment with left over fruit juices in non fattening ices and sherbets.  Try new blends in flavoring, and new toppings for the familiar flavors.

Frozen desserts fall into three classes: (1) ice creams, (2) ices and sherbets, (3) mousses and parfaits.

Ice Creams:  A mixture based upon either cream or custard beaten or churned during freezing is called an ice cream.  PLAIN OR PHILADELPHIA ICE CREAM is an uncooked mixture of cream, sugar and flavoring, often with gelatine or some other binder added, but rarely with eggs.  FRENCH OR NEAPOLITAN ICE CREAM contains eggs and is virtually a frozen custard.  All ice creams are variations of these two basic types.

Water Ices and Sherbets:  A mixture of fruit juices and sugar with various additions of spices, ground fruits, etc., is called an ice.  A sherbet is a water ice to which milk, beaten egg white or gelatine is added to change the texture and flavor.

Mousses and Parfaits:  An exceptionally heavy cream – usually whipped – is the basis of a PARFAIT, MOUSSE GLACÉ,  BOMB OR FROZEN PUDDING.  Eggs may or may not be added.  The mixture is frozen without beating.”

So there you have it – frozen desserts in a nutshell.  There are 22 pages with up to 8 recipes per page for these cold puds.  There is even a page dedicated to directions for freezing ice cream in a dasher freezer – not quite sure what that is all about.

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 12

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 12

The chapter on Desserts and Dessert Sauces reads:

“Some people look ahead to the last chapter to make sure the book ends happily; others ask what there is for dessert before beginning dinner.  Those who ask about dessert have reason on their side, for a dessert should be planned to complement the meal.  It the main course is a sumptuous and filling one, top it off with something light and easily digested.  When the rest of the meal skimps on calories and protein, you have a chance to do your bit nutritionally with a really satisfying sweet.

Nowhere in the realm of food preparation is there a wider choice for the planner of menus.  The biscuit desserts, shortcakes, pandowdies and Dutch apple cake offer variety for seasonable fresh as well as canned and quick-frozen fruits.   Bavarian creams, charlottes and refrigerator cakes are cooling and pleasing on a summer evening; on cold winter evenings spicy hot puddings have their turn.  The many different gelatine desserts are year-round favorites, while custards, tapiocas and other milk desserts help use the milk quota.

In the range from bread puddings to strawberry shortcake, you can find not only the proper nutritive balance but the dessert that balances in time and expense.  If meat for the main course has strained the budget, choose an inexpensive dessert, attractively served; if other courses are time-consuming, let the dessert be one that takes only a few minutes to prepare.

Here again, if all is to end well, ‘Follow directions carefully’.  Overcooking or too hight a temperature will curdle the custard.  The texture of gelatine desserts depends upon the proper proportion of gelatine to liquid and the temperature at which it congeals; the successful shortcake must be made with a light tender biscuit.

Remember that cold desserts should be served well chilled, and hot desserts should be hot when they reach the table.”

The chapter has 49 pages of desserts including Apple Pandowdy, Floating Island, Coffee Jelly, Spiced Apple Snow, Prune Soufflé, Molasses Coconut Pudding and sauces such as Gold, Benedictine, Foamy, and Hard.

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 11

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 11

The chapter on Salads and Salad Dressings starts:

“Once the phrase “salad days” stood for youth.  Perhaps it still does.  For, in an era when salads are more popular than ever before, people have discovered that they mean slim waistlines, fresh complexions, a youthful zest for living and a youthful point of view.

No longer a mere dietary relief from the roast, salads now often appear as the main course.  They may mark the beginning of the meal or, doubling for dessert, its end.  The main thing is that, to please both dietitians and public taste, the salad bowl with its crisp greens has won a place on the American table at lunch, supper and dinner.

The secret of a successful salad is thorough crisping and chilling of all ingredients.  Salad greens should be thoroughly dried; fruits and vegetables well drained; meat, fish and cheese cut into bite-size pieces of uniform shape.  If you like onion or garlic you will add a touch of it, grated or sliced, to any except fruit salad.

Eye -appeal is important.  A colorless salad can be improved by a garnish of crisp radish roses, celery curls, carrot straws or curls, olives, pickle fans or parsley.  An orderly arrangement of the ingredients also improves the looks of a salad.

The Main-Course Salad: A salad used as the main course of a meal should contain some protein-rich foods such as chicken, meat, fish or cheese, and vegetables either raw or cooked.  for best results marinate meat or vegetables separately in a tart French dressing and combine them just before serving.  Mayonnaise or cooked dressings give added food value and body to salads of this kind.

The Mixed Green Salad:  A green salad served before, after or with a hearty main course should be light and tangy, the servings small, the dressing tart.  many salad greens are available – several kinds of lettuce, chicory, escarole, endive, tender young spinach and dandelion  leaves, water cress, sorrel and Chinese or celery cabbage.  Vary the greens and prepare them any way you wish – shred the leaves, tear them into bite-size pieces or serve them whole.

The green salad is a good place to get in the raw vegetables so strongly recommended by nutritionists.  With the greens mix sliced radishes, onions, cucumbers or tomatoes or shredded carrots or cabbage; and from time to time use something more unusual, such as thinly sliced cauliflower or broccoli flowerets, thinly sliced raw beets or shredded or julienne turnips.

The Salad Bowl:  Many mixtures are adapted to a salad bowl, which may be of wood, glass, pottery or china.  Green salads are especially suitable.  Pile the greens lightly into the bowl and sprinkle them with the dressing.  Toss them several minutes t coat the leaves well – a process which the French call “fatiguing” the salad.  A wooden spoon and fork are better than metal ones for this purpose.

A wooden salad bowl should never be washed.  After each use wipe it out thoroughly with a clean dry cloth, then with a piece of bread to absorb the oil.  Before adding the salad ingredients season the bowl by rubbing well with warm olive or salad oil, then with a cut clove of garlic.

Care of Salad Greens:  Salad greens should receive immediate care after purchase,  Separate the leaves and wash them, then put them immediately in the refrigerator to crisp thoroughly.  If you have a covered refrigerator pan, pile them lightly in it; otherwise wrap them in a clean cloth.  Dry them thoroughly before using them in a salad.

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 10

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 10

The chapter on Sauces, garnished and accompaniments starts:

“The days are long gone when a French visitor could complain that Americans know only one sauce – white sauce.  We are well aware that a sauce chosen with discretion to bring out the flavour of the food it accompanies is a culinary triumph.  As a nation we like to preserve the natural flavor of many of our foods, but we know that many others are enhanced by the addition of a sauce.  There are even people who eat lamp only for the mint sauce that goes with it and feel cheated if fillet of sole is served without tartar sauce.  And what would boiled beef be to any of us without horse-radish?

Leave the cream sauce off the potatoes and serve asparagus with plain butter if you like, but if you add lemon juice to the butter, technically you have made a sauce.  From these simple beginnings sauces range through ketchups and chutneys to the elaborate blendings of mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and peppers which go with Creole cooking.  Whatever or not a sauce accompanies the main course, remember that relishes and garnishes afford contrast to the palate and appeal to they eye.

Sauces

The basic sauces are white sauce, brown sauce, velouté sauce and hollandaise.  Different seasonings and added ingredients furnish endless variations of these.  Flour is the usual thickening agent in sauces, but the hollandaise family are thickened with egg yolks instead.  In sauces thickened with flour, a smooth creamy texture should be the same, accomplished by thorough blending of fat and flour and gradual adding of the liquid with constant stirring.  If the pan is removed from the heat while the cold liquid is added, the risk of lumping is lessened.

Flour-thickened sauces may be kept hot by standing over hot water tightly covered to prevent evaporation and the forming of a kin over the top.  Sauces thickened with egg yolk should be served immediately.  If they must stand they should be allowed to cool, then reheated over hot water just before serving.

Milk, cream, stock, consommé and tomato juice are the liquids used in sauces.  Canned consommés and bouillons and bouillon concentrates dissolved in water can be substituted from stock in brown or velouté sauces.  Wine, vinegar or lemon juice used as part of the liquid makes fo piquancy.  Wine should be added just before serving.

Garnishes and Accompaniments

Relishes add piquancy to the main course and also serve as garnishes.  For instance, stuffed apples may be used as a garnish around a port roast.  When a relish is to be served from the meat platter, the platter should be large enough, so that the garnish will not hinder carving or make serving difficult.”

There is a myriad of sauce recipes over 22 pages.

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 9

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 9

I cannot believe that is has been almost 3 months since I last posted from this grand old book!  Sorry about that – time really has just flown by.

Without further ado, here is an excerpt from the chapter on Meat:

“In shining refrigerators modern-processed, government-inspected cuts of meat are ready to supply a slimming chop for the Hollywood diets, steaks to be smothered in onions or thick slices of ham to swim in gravy.  In smoking pits by roadsides or in picnic grounds barbecues still invite a primitive finger-licking enjoyment of cooked meat that  recalls Lamb’s famous legent of the first roast pig.  We burn no housese to cook the roast; we do not need to for nowehere is good meat of every kind as plentiful and as cheap as in America.  Nowhere do more people eat it every day.

To the standard roast beef and mutton of the Old World we have added such native delicacies as spareribs, hot dogs and country sausage.  We have invented frozen steaks and sizzling platters.  From filet mignon to corned-beef hash and chili con carne, there are meats for every American taste and purse; and often those relatively easy on the budget are the most popular when they are properly cooked.

Care of Meat

Fresh Meat:  Immediately upon arrival from the market, fresh meat should be unwrapped, scraped and wiped off if necessary – never washed – and store in the refrigerator.  If your refrigrator boasts a meat compartment or pan, store it there uncovered.  Otherwise put it on a shallow dish or plate and store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator – preferably uncovered; at the most, lightly topped with a piece of waxed paper.

Cooked Meat:  On the other hand, cooked meat should be kept covered in the refrigerator to prevent the surface from becoming hard and dry.

Smoked Meat:  A dry cold place is sufficient for the storage of smoked meats.  If they are kept in the refrigerator it need not be the cold part.  Bacon should not be allowed to stand at room temperature for any length of time or its keeping qualities may be impaired.

Frozen and Quick-Frozen Meats

Frozen meats may be thawed or not, as desired, before booking; they may be thawed at room temperature r in the refrigerator.  Although thawing in the refrigerator takes longer, the loss of juice is less than in meat thawed at room temperature.  Once thawed, the meat should be cooked as soon as possible.

Any frozen meat is cooked int he same way as the equivalent unfrozen cut.  The cooking period must be increased if the meat is not thawed first – generally speaking, about 15 minutes more per pound for beef and port raost; 10 to 15 minutes for beefsteaks and pork chops.  See directions on label if packaged quick-frozen foods are purchased.

Buying Meats

To assist the shopper in identifying the different cuts of meat, charts have been prepared showing cuts of beef, lamp, pork and veal.  In addition the charts give the method of cooking best adapted to each cut.  From them the shopper can learn to recognize the different cuts by their shape, the bones they contain, and by the structure of the muscle.

Tender and less tender cuts are about equal in food value, and may be equally palatable if each is prepared by the method best adapted to bring out its qualities.  Generally speaking, the tender cuts lie along the supporting muscles of the backbone – muscles which are little exercised.  The less tender cuts are those from the much-exercised parts of the animal, such as the leg, shoulder and neck.  In small animals like the pig and the lamb nearly all the cuts are tender; the same would be true of veal if it did not contain such large amounts of connective tissue which must be softened by long slow cooking.”

There are a further 58 pages on the meat chapter which give great detail on different cooking methods and loads of recipes.

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 8

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 8

The chapter on Fish and Sea Food reads:

“Lake Trout, deep-sea mackerel, New England clams, Florida pompano and shellfish from Chesapeake Bay – surely the people of a country bounded by two oceans, great lakes and a gulf were meant to like fish.  Today, refrigeration carries the catch, icy-fresh, to all inland America; and ‘Oyster R in season’ the year round as frozen food.

Adventures almost as breath-taking as that of the man who ate the first raw oyster still reward those courageous enough to try new varieties of sea food.  You may never eat an octopus and never really care for caviar or herring.  But how about deviled crabs, shad roe, flounder, scallops and smelts?  How about new ways to serve the familiar salmon, tuna, shrimp and cod?

Buying Fish

Season, locality and method of cookery must be considered when buying fish.  Modern refrigeration and the quick-freezing process make many fish available out of season and in localities remote from the source of supply.  Salted, smoked and canned products offer additional variety.  In a whole fish look for bright bulging eyes; fresh bright red gills; firm elastic flesh which springs back when lightly pressed.  In fish which are cut, boned and otherwise prepared before sale; freshness is best determined by general appearance and odor.  The flesh should appear firm, elastic and moist; the fish should smell fresh.

Cuts of Fish:  A FILLET is a side of fish or section of side cut length wise, with bones and usually skin removed.  Its thickness will depend on size and variety of fish.  The fish most commonly filleted are: cod, haddock, mackerel, perch, halibut, whiting and flounder, often called sole.  The true sole is an English fish; in this country certain kinds of flounder go by the name sole.

A STEAK is cut crosswise from a whole large fish, scaled or skinned.  A steak is usually ¾ to 1 inch thick.  Commonly used steaks are salmon, halibut, swordfish, bass and cod.

Amount to Buy:  Allow about ½ pound of whole fish or ¹/³ pound of fillet or steak for each serving.

Quick-Frozen Fish:  Quick-frozen packaged fillets and steaks are read to use with or without thawing as directed on the package.

Preparing Fish

The marketman will scale and clean the fish ready for use; he will skin it and remove fin bones and large bones if requested.  In that case a whole fish need only be washed before cooking; cut-up fish should be wiped with a damp cloth.  If the fish is frozen it may first be thawed just enough to melt the ice.

The following directions for preparing fish are for the benefit of the homemaker confronted with fish direct from the water.

Scaling:  Hold the fish by the tail and with a short heavy knife scrape against the scales.  Do this outdoors if possible, since the scales will fly, or hold the fish under cold running water while scaling.  Insert a sharp pointed knife along each side at the base of the fins to free the fin bones; then pull out fins with the small fin bones attached.

Cleaning:  If the fish is to be cooked whole, make a small opening under the gills, just large enough so that entrails may be removed.  If it is to be but up it may be split along the bottom from head to tail.  head and tail may be removed or not as desired.  Wash the scaled and cleaned fish with cold water and wipe dry.

Skinning:  Skinning is not usually desirable because the skin helps to retain flavour and juices and is often necessary to keep the delicate fish from falling apart during cooking.  Some fillets, however, such as cod and flounder, are usually skinned.  Have the fish scaled and cleaned, but do not remove heat and tail.  Cut out the fins.  Slit the skin down the back and underside from head to tail.  Cut through the skin all around the head.  Using a pair of pliers, grasp the skin near the head and pull off from  head to tail on each side, working carefully to aoid the flesh.  With a flat fish it may be easier to work from tail to head.  Steaks and other cuts of fish may be skinned by loosening at one end and carefully stripping from the flesh.  Cut off head and tail after skinning.

Boning:  Clean the fish, splitting it on the underside all the way from the head to tail so that it will lie flat.  With a sharp knife cut close to the bone all along each side and remove the backbone.  Pick out small bones with tweezers.  Some fish have so many small bones that it is not feasible to attempt to remove all.  Fillets are prepared y separating the two length wise halves of boned fish.  These may be skinned if desired, but for some fish, such as haddock, mackerel and perch, it is preferable to leave the skin on to hold the meat together during cooking.  Head, tail, and all small bones should be removed.

Using the Trimmings:  Unless the fish is to be poached, a fish stock my be made from the trimmings – the head, tail, fins and bones.  Place in a saucepan with salted water to cover;cover and simmer about 30 minutes.  Strain and use for soups and sauces.

Storing Fish:  Fresh fish should be kept in the coldest storage space in the refrigerator, well wrapped with paper to prevent the fish odor from spreading to other foods.  If the fish is not to be used soon, it may be lightly sprinkled with salt and pepper.  If it is to be thawed before cooking it should b exposed to room temperature no longer than absolutely necessary.  Salt fish and light smoked fish require cool air but not necessarily refrigeration, except in warm weather.

The chapter has 40 pages for fish dishes, including shellfish.

I am very excited about being at home for the variety of wonderful fesh fish available that I know how to prepare.  I was not very adventurous while living on Mauritius with the fish available as there was a lot of very colourful skinned fish which I have been taught is poisonous so I was nervous to buy it and it was also extremely expensive so I only occasionally bought  snapper and Capitaine which I pan fried in a little butter and olive oil.

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 7

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 7

The chapter on Vegetables reads:

“Green Sauce, sometimes ‘garden sauce’, vegetables were called in the day when meat and game formed the major part of the daily diet.  Today vegetables are no mere accompaniment to meals.  Dietitians demand two a day, not counting potatoes, and suggest that one at least of the two should be leafy, green or yellow, and preferably served raw.

It is hard to improve on the simplest way of serving cooked vegetables – proper cooking, and seasoning with salt, pepper and butter.  But variations in method are well worth trying if only to change the menu and, by combinations, to use leftovers.

Vegetables buyers have cause for rejoicing in that old favorites are low-priced and, nowadays, available the year around.  But in no filed of marketing are there more rapid fluctuations, more innovations, more opportunities for the canny purchaser to know her onions, her artichokes and her current prices.

New potatoes, baby carrots, and other first-o-the-season vegetables are usually a safer buy than first fruits and furnish seasonal excitement for the menu.  Age is seldom a help to any vegetable; all except the root vegetable should be bought in small quantity, as used, from a dealer who keeps fresh stock.  Potatoes, onions and other roots may be stored in a cool dry well-ventilated place.

Vegetables, like fruit should be washed carefully, not only to remove dirt but to cleanse them from poisonous sprays.

Canned Vegetables:  Convenient and often more economical than fresh vegetables, canned products retain more nutrients than fresh vegetables which have been improperly cooked or kept too long.  In preparing canned vegetables, plan to use or save the liquid in the can; one method is to boil it rapidly, uncovered, in a saucepan and heat the vegetable in the concentrated liquid.  Soups or sauces offer other opportunities for using leftover juices.

Quick-Frozen Vegetables:  These are ready to cook, and will be done in less time than fresh vegetables because the packing process includes quick blanching.  Follow directions on the package.

Boiling

Standard Method:  Cook the vegetable as quickly as possible in a small amount of rapidly boiling water in a covered pan.  Have the water boiling when the begetable is added and bring it back to a boil as rapidly as possible.  Cook the vegetable until just tender – no longer.  Some types of vegetables present individual problems and must be handled with slight variations (see below).

The cooking time of large vegetables may be considerably shortened by cutting them into smaller pieces – shredding cabbage, separating cauliflower into flowerets, cubing turnips and the like.  When cabbage , cauliflower and other large vegeatbles are left whole, a large amount of water, sufficient to cover, is necessary.

Green Vegetables:  The green color in vegetables is destroyed by acid.  Since all vegetables contain some acid which is dissolved in the cooking water, loss of color cannot always be completely prevented.  The answer to this color problem is to cook in the shortest possible time, for the acid does not work fast.  The standard method should preferably be used, but the vegetables may be left uncovered during the first few minutes of cooking so that any volatile acids may pass off  in steam.  Some people prefer to cook green vegetables in a large amount of water.  This method dilutes the acids so that they have a weaker action; hence less color is lost.  On the other hand, cooking vegetables in a large amount of water takes longer and causes greater lostt of nutrients and flavour.

Use of soda to preserve green color is not advised under any circumstances because soda destroys vitamins and has a bad effect on flavor and texture.

Yellow Vegetables:  Carrots, turnips and other yellow vegetables present no problem because they retain their color well.  The standard method of cooking gives best results.

Red Vegetables:  The natural colour of red cabbage tends to change toward blue unless the cooking water contains some acid.  Lemon juice, vinegar or tart apple is commonly used for this purpose.  Beets contain enough acid in themselves to void a disagreeable change in color.  However, they also present a problem in that their coloring matter tends to dissolve into the cooking water, resulting in a pale pinkish colour.  Cooking the whole beets in their skins, with an inch or two of stalk left on, helps retain the color, but requires a longer cooking time.  If beets are cur up the smallest possible amount of water should be used.

White Vegetables:  These usually retain their color very well if cooked rapidly in water to cover.  If the cooking water is very hard, white vegetables may turn yellowish.  To correct  this add a little lemon juice or vinegar to the water before cooking.  Overcooking white vegetables causes an ugly grayish color.

Strong-Flavored Vegetables:  This title for cabbage and for some other vegetables is misleading, since they develop a strong flavor only through improper cooking.  When they are cooked qiuckly until just tender the disagreeable odor and color do not appear.  These vegetables may be cooked by the standard method or in a large amount of water, uncovered, as preferred.

Baking and Oven-Steaming

Vegetables baked in their skins retain more nutrients than those cooked by any other method.  Unfortunately, relatively few vegetables are adapted to this method of cookery

Most vegetables may be oven-steamed.  Prepare them as for boiling, place in a baking dish with a small amount of water or other liquid, sprinkle with salt and pepper, dot with butter, cover tightly and bake until tender.  This takes longer than cooking over direct heat, but it saves fuel when the oven is in use for roasting or baking other foods, and loss of nutrients is small since a minimum of liquid is used.

Steaming

Strong-juice vegetables, such as cabbage and onions, have a stronger flavor when steamed; green vegetables – with the exception of baby peas and spinach – lose color.  Hence streaming is not recommended for vegetables of these types.  For all other vegetables, however, steaming is the method of cooking in water which best preserves the nutrients.  Prepare as for boiling and place in a perforated pan over boiling water; cover and steam until tender.  Steaming takes longer than boiling, but there is no cooking water to dissolve nutrients.

Pressure-Cooking

Modern pressure saucepans make it possible to cook vegetables in a minimum of water and in a fraction of time required for regular boiling.  Follow directions which accompany your saucepan.  The pressure cooker may be used for vegetables which require long cooking, especially for large quantities.”

The chapter has 61 pages for vegetables dishes, some of which sound fabulous and a couple of ideas I would never have thought of.  Now if I could just get around to making some of the recipes for the chapters I have shared with you.


Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 6

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 6

With the low temperatures in the southern hemisphere at the moment I thought it apt to share a portion of the Soups chapter.

The chapter starts:

“The Mock Turtle sang for Alice a song that makes sense, as well as famous nonsense:

‘Beautiful soup, so rich and green!
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the Evenin, beautiful Soup!’

Beautiful soup indeed, whether it’s romantic consommé, transparent and sparkling, or a bisque swimming with cream and the riches of the sea.  We might extend the praise to include not only soup of the evening, but soup at noon, although few Americans will follow the lead of the French premier who liked onion soup for breakfast.

Soup is a cosmopolitan dish with a long history.  Many centuries ago European peasants were living on one-dish meals of meat and vegetables cooked together; resourceful fishermen’s wives made chowder and bouillabaisse from that share of the catch spared for home consumption and gypsy cooks threw into the soup pot whatever the passing countryside had to offer.  These hearty soups of peasant origin – minestrone, oxtail, petite marmite are, like stews, a meal in themselves.

Thin clear soups, so light and savoury that they give edge to appetite, were devised to precede elaborate formal meals.  They have come into common use only with the wider extension of luxuries in modern times.  Jellied consommé, since it requires refrigeration, is an even more recent addition to the popular menu.  Cold fruit soups are, so far, foreign novelties not yet at home in all sections of this country.

Since their purpose is different, thin soups can never replace chowders, stew and other soups of substance.  Thick or thin, each in its own time and place is a beautiful soup.”

The chapter has 26 pages of recipes for all kinds of soup including rhubarb and fruit juice soup.

No soup should be served naked so there was a comprehensive list of garnishes.

The thin clear soups take to dressing up better than the thick hearty ones, but a dash of paprika or some finely chopped parsley will improve almost any soup.

Clear Soup Garnishes:  A thin slice of lemon sprinkled with parsley; a few slices of stuffed olive or slivers of cucumber pickle; cooked vegetables such as thinly sliced mushrooms, tiny slivers of carrots, asparagus tips; shredded salted almonds; macaroni or noodles in fancy shapes.

Jellied Soup Garnishes:  Chopped olives; slivers of pickle or relish; sieved hard-cooked egg; chopped water cress, mint or parsley; slices of lemon.

Cream Soup Garnishes:  Croutons; cereal croutons; egg dumplings; diced cooked vegetables; pimiento strips; shredded salted almonds; crisp cooked diced bacon; grated cheese; butteed popcorn; salted whipped cream or rosy cream.

Hearty Soups:  Buttered popcorn; slices of smoked sausage or frankfurters; crisp cooked diced bacon.”

There are also recipes for Clear Soup Garnishes – choux puffs, cracker-crumb dumplings, egg dumplings, forcemeat balls, marrow balls, royal custard, threaded egg as well as whipped cream and rosy cream.

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 5

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 5

 

I absolutely love snacky food so I was looking forward to the chapter on Appetizers.  It has 24 pages of lovely definitions and loads of recipes for canapés, hors d’oeuvres, dunking trays which accompany hors d’oeuvres, plus recipes for cocktails juices and ways of garnishing fruit cups.

The Chapter starts:

“Though Socrates argued that hunger was the best appetizer, the ancient Greeks and their Roman conquerors munched celery, chicory and endive before meals, and the custom of eating to encourage eating has continued.  To crisp salad greens, Europe added more elaborate introductions – Russian caviar, Italian antipasto, French pâté de foie gras, cheese or or smoked sausages, and Scandinavian pickled or smoked fish or smögåsbord.  America adopts them all and adds Yankee inventions involving shellfish, or California premières of fruit.

Hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and light canapés, clear soups and introductory salads serve as teasers, their purpose to excite rather than satisfy hunger.  They are, in a sense, advertisements of the dinner to follow; hence they should be carefully prepared and attractive to look at.  Don’t begrudge the tie it takes to make them subtle harmonies of colour and flavor; first impressions are important.  On the other hand, don’t forget that some guests will prefer the simple potato chip or unadorned olive to the most elaborate achievements in canapé design.

Canapés and hors d’oeuvres made to eat with fingers instead of forks are the thing to serve with cocktails before dinner.  Sea-food  cockctails, fruit cups, first-course salads and appetizer soups are served at the table.

Parties, whether afternoon or evening, also call for canapés and hors d’oeuvres; and the heartier sort of appetizer may do duty as the main dish of the buffet supper.”

There are some recipes that are new to me in this chapter so I am looking forward to trying them out.

 

 

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 4

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 4

 

 

The chapter on Eggs starts:

“Any good cook can solve the old riddle; the egg comes before the chicken. For chicken, popular as it is, is only one solution to the dinner or midday meat course; while eggs do duty at at every meal, from the boiled egg at breakfast to the lunchtime omelet and the dinner meringue.  Invisible but important, eggs thicken, leaven and enrich other foods.  In supporting roles they garnish salads, fluff soufflés and top pies.  Present-day cooks may smile at hold recipes beginning, ‘Take the whites of two dozen eggs’ but they heed nutrition experts who recommend one egg a day fro every member of the family – or at least four a week.  Insist on that, say the dieticians – be hard boiled about it!”

Eggs of yesteryear were graded and classified as Fancy, Grade A, Grade B and Grade C.  Can’t say I have heard of the grade fancy before and it seems you had to be from a family with a liberal budget to be able to afford them.

The paragraph Refrigeration reads:

“It is worth while to shop around and find a market where eggs are kept in a refrigerator, not on the open counter.  Eggs contain much the same food substances as milk  and meat; yet some people who would not dream of letting milk and meat stand around at room temperature still hold the notion that cold air is bad for eggs.  As long as grocers leave eggs on the open counter, especially in warm weather, consumers cannot be sure that the eggs they buy are of the highest quality.”

And under the paragraph about Care of Eggs, the following was advised:

“Place eggs immediately in the refrigerator – in the humidity controlled section if you have one.  It is money thrown away to pay for a well refrigerated eggs, then let them stand at room temperature at home.  The busy grocer at least has a rapid turnover of his stock; the home-maker’s box of a dozen eggs may stand around for a week.”

Amongst the recipes for scrambling, frying, poaching, baking and making souffles, is a recipe for a Rum Omelet, and once cooked reads:

“Turn omelet onto a hot platter and pour 2 to 3 tablespoons rum around; ignite and serve. Sprinkle with sugar if desired.  (Good as a late evening snack.)”

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 3

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 3

 

 

What I know about bread apart from baking the occasional basic loaf is I thoroughly enjoy eating it.

I have just read some interest facts and learnt a few new things in the Bread chapter, which spans 75 pages (including recipes).  It seems bread baking is an art form and there is a very delicate balance between a good and bad loaf with so many different things than can go wrong.

Under the heading Liquid,  I learnt that:

“Milk adds to the keeping qualities of bread; bread containing milk usually makes better toast.  Fresh milk or buttermilk should always be scalded and cooled to lukewarm before combining with the yeast.  This scalding stops enzyme action in the milk, which might cause some softening of the dough.”

I also read that salt helps control the fermentation of the dough and that too much salt may retard rising and that insufficient sugar will slow the rising process and the bread may bake without browning.

And here is the full explaining about the importance of Kneading:

“Kneading thoroughly mixes the flour and liquid, distributes the yeast evenly and develops the gluten.  The gluten myst be stretched to make a network which will hold the gas formed when the dough is rising.  If the dough is insufficiently kneaded part of this gas may escape making the bread heavy.  If kneaded too long or too vigourously the dough becomes very difficult to handle and shape and the bread will again be heavy.”

It seems the Rising process is quite a science too.

This chapter also included instruction and recipes for rolls/buns, various “flavoured” loafs, scones, muffins, quick loafs, a variety of griddlecakes(pancakes), waffles and doughnuts and 3 pages on toasted breads, including melba toast, French toast, croutons and bread crumbs.

All that being said, I will still try my hand at some of the wonderful looking recipes, starting with the Crusty Rolls.

 

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 2

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 2


 

I have read a few more pages of this wonderful old book and found the most amusing paragraphs about Cereals.

“Gone forever are they days when persuading Junior to eat his porridge was a major diplomatic feat.  Now, so many are the variations on the basic cereal foods – wheat, corn, oats and rice – that Junior’s father eats a breakfast cereal, too, and the only family argument is over which cereal to serve.  The answer is usually, “Keep several on hand.”  Certainly this should be done when cereals form both the morning and the evening meal of young children.”

Under the heading Cereal Cookery was the following advice:

“Experiments have proved that prolonged cooking does not, as once was thought, make cereals more digestible.  Once a cereal is cooked through there is no point in prolonging the cooking period.”

And under the heading Tempting Ways to Serve Cereals they provide suggestions on how to get Junior to eat cooked cereals with examples like:

“Sprinkle some of the flaked ready-to-eat cereals over a bowls of cooked cereal, or mix grapenuts with it.  Serve with light cream and brown sugar.  This will tempt the child who turns down cooked cereal for ready-to serve.”

There is even a substantial list for use of leftover cooked cereal, including adding a cup to scrambled eggs before cooking.  Hmm, I’m not sure I would enjoy that.

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 1

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 1

On our recent visit back home, I borrowed a cookery book from my mom, which originally belonged to her mom.  It is a little worse for ware but is filled with just short of 900 pages of 26 chapters of information and 2 600 recipes.  I have not yet had the opportunity to sit down and read through the book but on a brief glance I have found loose pieces of newspaper clippings for various recipes, some scribbles which I am sure were made my mom, her brother and sister, a template for a 5 inch cookie star and some handwritten recipes in the back pages with pounds (lb) and ounces (oz) measurements.

I was amused to spot the following in the second chapter “Table Setting and Decoration” under the do’s and don’ts:

Don’t try to be grand.  Everyone sees through it and nothing is so forlorn as a pretentious party.  The most distinguished entertaining is simple, done with ease and naturalness.”

Do put cigarettes and ash trays on the table.  In spite of the custom of passing these after the salad course, people will smoke throughout the meal and you might as well be prepared.”

There are also some antiquated amusing reads like:

Service of Dinner: If you are so fortunate as to have a well-trained maid your role is an easy one.  But it is the hostess without skilled help, who still manages to entertain with grace and distinction, who is the everlasting envy of her friends.”

After-dinner Coffee: After dessert the coffee is served in the living-room.  The cups, already filled and on a tray, may be passed by the maid to each guest.  Or the hostess may prefer to pour the coffee herself, in which case the maid brings in a tray holding after-dinner coffee service and cups, waits while the hostess pours and then hands the cups to the guests.  Small lumps of sugar but no cream are served.”

How things have changed!  I would be really taken to task by the writers of “Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book” if they saw our casual braai evenings with family and friends!

I am looking forward to reading through this weighty book (1.566kg to be exact), page for page and sharing more fun and interesting things with you from yesteryear.  The book was copyrighted for the years 1942 through 1945 and even includes a Wartime Postscript.

It seems there are hundreds and hundreds of great recipes to try too!