Thursday, January 1, 2009

Mmmmm, sauerkraut!

Happy New Year's! Here's half of the lucky pork-and-sauerkraut combo; I remember seeing this on my grandmother's table but I know I wouldn't have touched it on a bet as a child. I've learned to like sauerkraut since then, so I might give this a try sometime.

Sauerkraut Salad
  • 1 can (1 lb. 13 oz.) sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 small can pimientos, diced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vinegar

  • Cut through sauerkraut several times with a scissors; combine with diced vegetables.
    Stir salt and sugar into vinegar to dissolve. Pour over kraut mixture. Refrigerate for 24 hours before using. Will store for two weeks in refrigerator.

    Friday, November 21, 2008

    What a name!

    My grandmother loved desserts (I think it's genetic) so her recipe book is pretty heavy on the sweets. I've been a bit amused by some of the ingredients that desserts were built around. This one is one of my favorites, if only for the name.

    Guest Charmer
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tables. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup grape-nuts
  • whipped cream

  • Mix sugar, egg yolks & cornstarch in top of couble boiler. Add milk and blend well. Cook over boiling water until thickened. Take from heat, add vanilla and grape nuts. Pour in baked 8 inch pie shell. Cool. Spread whipped cream over pie.

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    How 'bout a date?

    I remember these being on-hand anytime we went to Grandma's house. She had a ribbed clear glass plate with concentric painted circles that she used as a cookie plate when time came for a snack. I have the plate now in my cupboard; maybe I should fill it up!

    Filled Cookies
  • 1 cup crisco
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    - Cream; add 1 egg, salt, vanilla and 3 tbls. milk
    Then add 3 cups flor, 1/2 tsp. soda. Chill one hour.
    Roll out 1/8 in. thick. Make hole in top cookie to make sandwich style. Bake 375 oven in ungreased pan, 5 to 10 min.
    Date Filling
    Boil for 5 min. 2 cups chopped dates, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water.
    Add salt and lemon.
    Put between cookie, before baking.

  • Grandma noted "Eleanor" as the source. A later recipe cites "Eleanor C" and I know it's one of my Mom's recipes, so I think that just plain "Eleanor" must be Grandma's friend Eleanor K. Mom never made these cookies, so far as I know; another indication that the recipe probably came from somebody else.

    Friday, August 29, 2008

    "Fred likes these"

    My grandfather had Parkinson's. He was always quiet; I remember sitting on his lap to be tickled, and laughing with him, but I don't remember him without the tremors or the illness. Parkinson's robbed him of his strength and his voice several years before he died in 1970.

    So I was pleased to find him in my grandmother's recipe book - a little note in parentheses at the end of this recipe says (Fred likes these).

    My Favorite Cookies
    1 cup white sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup butter
    3-1/4 cup flour
    2 eggs
    pinch of salt
    1/2 tsp. cream tartar
    1/2 tsp. vanilla
    1 cup nuts, raisins or cocoanut

    Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Add sifted flour, cream tartar & salt. Add rest of ingredients. Shape in long rolls - 2 inches in diameter. Place in ice box overnight. Slice in 1/4 inch slices and bake at 350 over for 12 to 15 min.

    I'll have to try these. Maybe I'll like them too.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    For Christine

    My brother finally told me about my niece's blog (we share a fascination with chickens, though she has beaten me to the henhouse). Now, what to do with all those persimmons? I present this recipe just for you, kid! (No, I'm not going to climb that ladder either)

    This comes from Elsie's recipe book and has been published at least twice in local cookbooks. The "W" family lived at the edge of town; their house was surrounded by trees at the back of a long, dark lane. The kids were bright and lively - redhaired, freckled and pale; in my child's imagination I thought their paleness arose from lack of exposure to the sun in their shaded world. I'd always thought this recipe came from their mother, but their grandmother gave it to my grandmother.

    Persimmon Pudding
    1 qt. ripe persimmons
    1-1/2 pts. gran. sugar.
    1 qt. flour
    1 tsp. soda.
    1 tsp. salt.
    3 beaten eggs.
    butter, size of egg
    2 qts. sweet milk.

    Mix seived (sic) persimmons, sugar, eggs, butter. Then add flour, soda & salt with sweet milk. Bake in deep round kettle for 3 hours in a moderate oven, stirring every half hour.

    The 2 published versions give this additional hint:

    (circa 1972): Serve cold with whipped cream. This makes a large pudding, but it will keep a long time in a cool place or you can can it while hot.
    (1995): Serve cold with whipped cream. This makes a large pudding, but it will keep a long time in a cool place, or you can eat it while hot.

    Of the two printed copies, I'm inclined to "trust" the added instruction in the older version - first, because that version was attributed by name to the elder Mrs. W, the original source of the recipe; and second, because one hardly needs to be told that it could be eaten warm or cold. Canned pudding doesn't sound appetizing to me, but it certainly exists commercially now. What better way to preserve that glut of persimmons than to can the results?

    If nothing else, Christine, you know how to measure the butter for this! (Or do we have to know what type of chicken is involved here?)

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    The Missing Pieces

    I've read lots of cookbooks, old and new - I love to see what flavor combinations people come up with and the variety of ingredients they use. I was at first surprised by the paucity of instruction in older cookbooks. Though I first thought, "Why didn't my grandmother include "time and temperature" in Lena's Swedish Tea Ring?" the answer finally dawned on me. She didn't include it because she already knew how to make it; the recipe was just a way of recording the ingredients and their proportions.

    I'm not a proficient baker so it's not easy for me to fill in the blanks. One thing I will try, as I cast around with this, is to compare early editions of a long running cookbook standard, such as the Fanny Farmer Cookbook, to see how recipes change from edition to edition. Enough recipes move from one to the next that it should be easy (ha?) to see how the instructions change over time and what the editors felt could no longer be taken for granted.

    I've been reading Kitchen Literacy. While it focuses on marketing and purchasing foodstuffs through time, there may be some clues there. It certainly has a good bibliography to start from!

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Names taken, recipes filed

    The photo on the header above is from my grandmother Elsie's handwritten recipe book. I don't know how old it is. I suspect parts of it were written in the 1950s when "Jell-O" salads reigned supreme for putlucks and get-togethers, because there are lots of "Jell-O" salads in here.

    At any rate, she certainly made an effort to record her favorite recipes, just as I have done over the years on cards and, more recently, electronically. (I tease Saint H and tell him that when I die he won't starve because I'll leave him beautifully organized recipe files). What I find especially interesting is that she records the source of most of her recipes, be it "Esther C" or "Anna" (her sisters), "Eleanor" or "Ruby" (her daughters-in-law), or any one of her neighbors and friends. When I read through her recipes I see the entirety of small-town society reflected there.

    Funnily enough, I too give names to the recipes that I've collected through the years - and looking at all those names gives me a chance to relive parts of my life.

    I'll start as Elsie did with her first recipe, from my great-grandmother Lena. Warning: These appear just as she's written them, warts and all.

    Swedish Tea Ring
    1 cake compressed yeast
    1-1/2 cups lukewarm water
    1/2 cup melted fat
    5 cups flour
    1 well beaten egg
    1-3/4 tsp salt
    6 tablesp. sugar

    Soften yeast in water, add sugar, fat and egg. Add flour slowly, beating thoroughly after each addition, until dough is just stiff enough to knead. Turn on slightly floured board, and knead until smooth and elastic. When it has risen the second time, shape in small rolls or biscuits. Let raise again and bake.

    Nope. I don't know temperature and I don't know time. This is all she gave me, and I'll have to try it to see what I can find out.