Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

RRC: Your Mother Should Know---The Round-Up


I am very fond of the Laura Rebecca's Retro Recipe Challenge. From the first time I heard about it, I knew this was my kind of event.

Unfortunately, I managed to miss most of them. Too much going on, not seeing the announcements...my list of 'whys' could go on a bit.

So when she sent out a request for hosts, I had one of those 'ah-ha' moments: if I were actually running the event, odds are I'd remember to make something for it!

I'm not entirely sure why I choose 'Your Mother Should Know' as the theme; I'd been listening more to Bif Naked than the Beatles. Perhaps it was that box of recipes from my Grammy, recently delivered by my parents, which inspired me. Old recipes, things our moms would have grown up on. (And by the look of my Grammy's collection, my mom grew up eating a lot of zucchini bread.)

And we certainly got some interesting entries this time! Recipes ranging from the middle of the 20th century to the 18th!

It's a good group of dishes, and you all came through. Let's see what was a hit before our mom's were born, OK?

Fruit Tart kicks things off for us with, appropriately enough, a fruit tart!
Looking to some sale finds, and channeling 1947, she took a recipe for Orange Filling and turned it into a Dreamsicle Tart. Just lovely!
Like Fruit Tart, I have a few old cookbooks with clippings and notes included, and you can't help but wonder about the lives of the women who first used them. And yeah, he probably didn't pay her back.

Becke's next, and she too turns to the 1940's for her dish. Something I've found while reading my countless 'old' cookbooks is there's almost nothing they didn't turn into a sandwich filling, although not all of them were what I'd call appetizing. Fortunately, Becke went with a Classic Club Sandwich, which is much more desirable than the boiled tongue offerings in most of my books!
And despite it's simplicity, I think a club sandwich is one of the finest combinations found in sandwich form. And yes, it's very retro!

Now it's Cakelaw turning back the clock, with a hearty stew from 1933. Like Cakelaw, I love reading the tips and instructions from these old books. i can't imagine a life where I have three or four pigs around, for curing. Or the parts of one of my books, telling you how to survive a dinner party if you only have one servant. Different days, for sure.
Her Exeter Stew left her a bit flummoxed, though; something I've discovered from these old books? You're expected to just KNOW what to do! Much is implied, which is probably where the vinegar plays in.
But, you're stew sounds perfect for a cold day.

One of the benefits of hosting blogging events is getting to meet new people. So, hi Johanna!
She gives us a very nice history lesson (something we love in our house) about ANZAC biscuits, and their origins.
I'd heard of them before I took to blogging, and learned a great deal more once I knew some Australian foodies, but I had no idea the name was protected!
And tying it all together, Johanna got her recipe for these 1920-s ANZAC biscuits from her mother!

Another new 'face', DebinHawaii brings some sun & sand, and some 1925 cooking, with here. Not only is she taking on the RRC challenge, but her own baking-phobia!
Despite that, she came through with a lovely, autumnal-colored Mystery Cake; the secret ingredient being...Campbell's Tomato Soup!? How wonderful. Why not? If cereal can be a cookie, why can't soup be a cake?

Marye had to reach back a bit earlier, as her mom was born prior to 1920. But Marye never shirks from a challenge, and she did a little research of her own, coming up with these fabulous Famous Salvation Army Doughboy Doughnut, from 1917! How fun. And fried dough is always a hit, isn't it?

Lidian, and her fittingly-named blog, are next, and she veers away from main dishes or baked goods, with a summery offering from 1911!
Her Blue berry Ice looks divine, doesn't it? Not what you think of from that time, but I'd gladly have some today!

Judy's up, and she not only takes us back a century, she goes presidential on us!
Looking back to 1887, Judy turns to her grandmother's time and presents us with Steamed Brown Bread.
Judy, my husband has a recipe from his grandmother listing among the ingredients a '15 cent bottle of olive oil'. So, I feel your pain!

Not to be outdone, Lysy took her love of food & history to heart, and nabbed a recipe from 1759!! If anyone was going to do it, I knew it would be you, Lysy!
So, to add to our recipes, enjoy a bowl of Pease Pudding; which, remarkably, is much more appealing than I'd expected!

Much to my surprise, I struggled with my own entry. My mom was born in the later-half of the 20th century, giving me slightly more modern options. Yet, nothing I looked at seemed 'right'. I have a shelf filled with cookbooks printed before I was born, before my mom was born. Booklets, pamphlets, from baking powder & rice companies, from the a group of doctor's wives, you name it. All wonderful in their own way, but somehow, not meeting my needs.

Finally, I gave up and picked up my 'baby', my pride and joy. The Victory Binding of the American Woman's Cook Book; the impetus of (neglected) Wartime Wednesdays.
A marvelous tome, originally published in 1938 and reprinted many times till my copy from 1943; my grandmother hadn't graduated from high school yet!
Close to 900 pages of meal planning, budgeting, cooking and entertaining tips, as well as recipes for just about anything you could imagine, and some you'd prefer not to (breaded calves brains, anyone?).

The books resembles fireworks in the sky, somewhat, with it's liberal application of multi-colored sticky tabs. So many recipes to choose from!

I started at the end, and worked my way through the Wartime offerings, a large section on entertaining (heading such as 'Buffet Service', 'The "Rumpus" Room', 'Outdoor' and 'Formal' Parties), things to cook at the table (Crab Rarebit), casseroles, beverages, French recipes, pastries, frozen desserts, and so on to meat and poultry, fish, sandwiches, breakfast, appetizers, and breads.

I was drawn to a couple of breakfast recipes, things to do with eggs I knew Matt would enjoy. But instead, I opted to make the Turkish Delight.

A simple, and somewhat cheater's house-wife recipe: water, sugar, gelatin, something to flavor it.

I substituted agar agar powder for the gelatin, making it accessible to both Alex & me, and orange & lemon rind and juice were listed for flavoring, with red and green food coloring. However, alternate flavorings were offered, and that's what I used.

Ok, it's possible they didn't have grapefruit & lime oils back then, but I loved the idea of multiple flavors.

I made grape, blueberry, raspberry, mint, orange, lime, lemon, and grapefruit. Basic food coloring.

Rolled in powdered sugar, they have a lovely flavor, with a texture not unlike the Chuckles candy, but softer.

Thanks to everyone who joined, and apologies for getting this up so late!

This month, Blog Party is having a Buffy Bash! The whole party devoted to everyone's favorite Slayer, with appetizers and drinks based on, or taken from, the show. So put on some season 3 DVD's and get those entries in before This Thursday, the 15th. Hope to see you there!

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6 Thoughts for food:

At 7:05 PM, Anonymous marye said...

Great round up! As always....
ANd I am very impressed with the turkish delight!
Everything looks so good..think I will head to the kitchen now...I am hungry.

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Marye!

The TD was really easy to make; just boil the sugar, agar and water to the right temp, add in color and flavor, and chill.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Natashya said...

Beautiful submissions, and what a great topic! I think I'll start with the dreamsicle pie. Mmmm.

At 3:22 AM, Blogger Johanna said...

thanks for a great round up stephanie - it is a fantastic mix of older recipes - I am pleased to finally participate in a RRC as I only discovered them recently but the idea appealed to me!

At 1:54 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Johanna...you're welcome!

I do that, too...see something really interesting, but never manage to get involved. Glad you could join us!

At 1:55 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Natshya; we really did get a neat group of recipes, didn't we?


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