Jack Frost in the Kitchen

With the holidays just around the corner, fall and winter baking season is here! (It’s baking season almost year round if you’re me, but this time of year can be especially popular.) And, in the past, we’ve talked a fair bit about flour and baking powder on the blog, but we haven’t said much about another staple: sugar!

This 1930-ish pamphlet belongs to the large family of advertising publications and icons in our collection. Eighteen Unusual Recipes has a center image, so each page has a half moon cut out, allowing Jack Frost and a few of his products to shine through. He’s framed by recipes that may not all seem that unusual. We have things like cakes and dessert loaves, and “Sea Wave Candy” (which may sound a bit strange, but isn’t really, when you see the ingredients). For the time, we might consider “Spanish Marmalade” and “Chutney Sauce” to be a bit out there. Perhaps more importantly, though, is convincing people to buy the right product. And, with as diverse a set of sugar products as the company made, they were certainly targeting a wide market. (I particularly like the little individually wrapped sugar tablets in the center of the back page.)

The National Sugar Refining Company of New Jersey isn’t called that anymore. It has long since become part of a larger company. But you might still see Jack Frost on a package or two, depending on where you live, continuing to bring you granulated sugar for all your goodies!

Mrs. Scott’s Seasonal Summer Cooking

Since summer is in full swing, this week we’re again featuring, well, summer recipes. This time, from Mrs. Scott’s North American Seasonal Cook Book: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter Guide to Economy and Ease in Good Food, 1921. (Perhaps we’ll revisit other portions of the cookbook later in the year, too!)

Front cover
Front cover

From the introduction:

This is the first cook book ever planned to help the housewife take advantage of Nature’s changing supply of foodstuffs from season to season, tho such timeliness is the chief determining factor in the economy, palatability and healthfulness of many articles of diet…The average woman who never thought of the matter in this light will be astonished at the usefulness of this Seasonal Cook Book. It will enable her to make timely use of what is in market, and by so doing will help not only to reduce the cost of living, but at the same time increase the pleasure of the table.

The summer recipes include recipes for hot and cold soups; fish and clams; beef, lamb and combination dishes; egg dishes; cheese receipts; vegetables; salads and dressings; fruit desserts; puddings; frozen dishes; seasonable cakes; jams; home flavors; breads; beverages; jellies; canning; and sandwiches. Personally, I got stuck in the sandwich section at the end, surprised at how many different things one can combine with cream cheese to make a filling, especially when it comes to olives…

Mrs. Scott’s point, though, is that you can do a great deal with what is on hand during a given season. Good advice for any age where cooks may be seeking economy, simplicity, and efficiency. And there are at least some options for those hot days when turning on an oven might be the last thing on your mind!

Frozen Desserts and Virginia Dishes–Just in Time for July 4th!

While hunting for either a) July 4th themed recipes or b) summery desserts for the holiday, I stumbled upon Frozen Desserts: A Little Book Containing Recipes for Ice Cream. Water Ices, Frozen Desserts Together with Sundry “Famous Old Virginia Dishes,” by Mrs. Clement Carrington McPhail. (Quite a long title for 16 pages!) It probably dates to the early part of the 20th century. What’s more intriguing, though, is the combination…

Front cover
Front cover

It’s hard not to look at this more like two 8 page publications by one author that were sort of stuck together. There isn’t a real connection between, say, Frozen Banana Bisque and Old Virginia Hoecake, but what cook doesn’t have a diverse knowledge of foods. I suppose Mrs. McPhail was just sharing what she knew.

So, whether your three day weekend needs some tutti frutti, pineapple ice, apple dumplings, or wild duck, take a little inspiration from Virginia past. (Though you may want to skip the frozen mayonnaise, whether you’re picnicking or not!)

Happy July 4th!

Cooking with Dromedary (NOT Camels, I promise!)

…Although the idea of cooking with a camel in one’s kitchen (not as an ingredient, but as a helper) is worth a giggle. Rather, our feature this week is from the Hills Brothers Co. of New York. Dromedary was the label of a variety of products, includes dates, figs, coconut, fruit butters, and tapioca. This particular cookbook comes from 1914. At 100 years old, it needs a moment in the spotlight.

Not surprisingly, then, the recipes in this little volume tend to highlight dates, figs, and tapioca. But, we can’t escape without our share of unique fillings (“Sweet Green Peppers Stuffed with Figs” and “Thanksgiving Squash Pie”), fried goodies (date AND fig fritters, plus croquettes), and curiously named recipes (“Golf Balls,” “Camel Fig Mousse”–named after the brand, and “Masked Apples”). Still, there are LOTS of great ideas for dried fruit in here and the recipes are diverse. It wasn’t all desserts, as I expected. So go on, try a “Delicious Sandwich”– It’s camel approved. 🙂

Some New Pamphlets!

We’ve acquired lots of new pamphlets lately, devoted to various food products, ingredients, and other goodies. This week’s post is a short teaser slideshow, featuring the covers of some new acquisitions. You’ll have to visit us to catch the real thing! But, whether you’re looking for Quaker Oats to entertain the kids with puzzles, a salad recipe on a bowl-shaped page, or an idea for all those cranberries, we can help…

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Frosted Sandwich, Part 3: Son of Frosted Sandwich

As I sat here contemplating a blog post for the week, I had a sudden realization: The blog turned two on September 14 and the day snuck right past me! So,

HAPPY SECOND BIRTHDAY, WHAT’S COOKIN’ @SPECIAL COLLECTIONS?!”

That being said, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with some festive, monochromatic (and occasionally polychromatic) party recipes…and the return of the frosted sandwich (It’s been a while, I know)!

Today’s images are from Good Luck Color Scheme Parties. Published in 1931, this 32 page pamphlet features creative recipes in a range of colors and flavors. It covers not only holidays, but also card and occasional parties, all while, of course, promoting John F. Jelke Company products like Good Luck Margarine and Evaporated Milk.

This plain cake is separated by layers of jam. Sad marshmallow clown aside, we needed a (belated) birthday cake image to celebrate the blog.
This plain cake is separated by layers of tasty jam. Sad marshmallow clown aside, we needed a (belated) birthday cake image to celebrate the blog.

So, here’s looking forward to another year of posts and LOTS more learning about the History of Food and Drink Collection! It may just be your year to pay us a visit, too!

Breads and Summer Drinks–Where’s the Connection?

This week, we’re featuring another item with some summer treats…and some raised breads? While this may seem an unlikely combination at first, these two categories do have something in common: yeast. Or, the particular case of this corporate pamphlet, Fleishmann’s Yeast…

This pamphlet dates to about 1915, but by then, the Fleishmann Company was well established. Founded in 1868, it remained its own company until a 1929 merger with Standard Brands. After 1981 Standard Brands merged with Nabisco Brands, Inc. The Fleishmann Yeast brand has since been sold two more times, but it has stood the test of time at a 145 years and counting!

While the majority of the publication focuses on the variety of breads and breakfast goods to be may with yeast, the subtitle “Also directions for making Refreshing Summer Drinks” is a bit eye-catching. If you don’t spend a lot of time pondering early 20th century summer beverages, the connection may not be immediately clear. But yeast possesses the ability to make drinks effervesce. So, while a good bread is something of great value, it’s these last three page that interest us today…after all, summer is here!

One of the great joys of the History of Food and Drink Collection is the ability to look back and see what people ate or drank, how they entertained, how they manage the home, or how they prepared food at any given time. These recipes are a perfect example. Root beer, by 1915, was common enough that you could buy an extract, rather than prepare it from scratch. The “Lemon Pop” recipe, with its crushed ginger root, suggests more of a cross between modern ginger ale  and lemonade, than a strictly lemon drink. Whether it’s more economical to produce at home (as the pamphlet suggests), Dandelion wine, effervescing or not, is more likely to be made locally or at home these days than in an commercial setting. And as for “Kumyss,” that’s definitely not something you would expect to see in stores.

This pamphlet was produced in updated editions over the course of the 1910s. Special Collections at Virginia Tech includes editions from 1910, 1912, 1915, 1916. Holdings at other libraries suggest there were at least three more editions with this title, published in 1914, 1917, and 1920. If you’re curious, come on by and take a look. Our Culinary Pamphlet Collection also includes more Fleishmann-related ephemera from 1939, 1941, and the late 1960s!

Keep on enjoying that summer, whether it features root beer, dandelion wine, and, for the adventurous, maybe even some kumyss…