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!

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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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The Return of Mrs. D. A. Lincoln

There’s a lot of culinary news this week, especially if, like me (archivistkira, that is), you try to keep up with around 20 culinary/nutrition/food news blogs. And let’s not get started on the hundreds I don’t have time to follow.  I can’t say I read every article every day, but I try my best to stop and skim things that strike me. This week, it seemed there was plenty of inspiration to be had. NPR’s The Salt has a post on old ketchup recipes. We’ve blogged about the history of that favorite condiment before, but it’s hardly a smiple subject. There was plenty of talk about Smithfield Foods and the expected buy out by Shuanghui International, which got me thinking about a pork-based post of some kind. The Epicurious.com food blogs covered everything from fresh vegetable recipes to hostessing tips, topics certainly not absent from our collection. And Eatocracy featured recipes for food holidays (cocktails and blueberry muffins, among them), highlighted food from around the world, and reported on national food news.

But, in the end, July is, among other things, National Ice Cream Month, and my mind kept rolling back to Mrs. D. A. Lincoln and her product pamphlets. Last month, we featured Frozen Fancies from 1898.  This week, we’re taking a closer look at Frozen Dainties: Fifty Choice Receipts for Ice-Creams, Frozen Puddings, Frozen Fruits, Frozen Beverages, Sherbets, and Water Ices…. Published in 1899, this pamphlet was produced for the next generation of home ice cream freezers created by The White Mountain Freezer Co. of Nashau, NH.

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While there is some obvious re-use of recipes, the 1899 publication is an expanded edition for a new piece of equipment. And there are a few things that might make you stop and wonder, for better or worse.

This versions sees the addition of some new flavors: Brown Bread Ice-Cream, Mock Pistachio Ice-Cream (tinted with spinach coloring!), and Pomegranate Sherbet (that doesn’t contain pomegranates, but uses blood oranges). There are directions for creating frozen beverages–essentially coffee, tea, or eggnog slushes.

And there are some interesting techniques here, too. The “Ice-Cream en Deguiser” on page 24 is really what we know of as Baked Alaska. And although Mrs. Lincoln devotes half a page to the instructions, the recipes ends with “This is recommended chiefly for its novelty.” Hardly an overwhelming endorsement. The “Glace Cream” involves making both ice cream and candy before combining the two.

Technique and oddities aside, there are plenty of basic recipes for your pleasure while finding ways to stave off the summer heat. After all, we all scream for ice cream, right?

Mrs. D. A. Lincoln and a Favorite Summer Treat

June has arrived! The weather lately in Blacksburg has been hot, cold, sunny, rainy, cloudy, and everything in between. Summer is nearly here, though, and it’s as good a time as any to start thinking about ice cream.

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Mrs. D. A. Lincoln (aka Mary Johnson Bailey Lincoln) was a well-known cookbook author and cooking instructor. In addition to cookbooks, she authored articles, pamphlets, and a newspaper column. She served as the first principal of the Boston Cooking School beginning in 1885. She also edited a culinary periodical during the 1890s.

Like many of her Boston Cooking School colleagues, she also lent her name to products and brands, including The White Mountain Freezer Co. From 1888 to 1905, Lincoln produced several editions of freezer related pamphlets, including Frosty Fancies from 1898 and Frozen Dainties (of which Special Collections has the 1899 edition). Like many small publications we’ve seen before, this one is a combination recipe book/advertisement.

While the product itself is a single-task kitchen appliance, Lincoln does provide remarkable variety, from favorites like vanilla or chocolate to the more unique “hollipin” (vanilla or almond with wafer cookies) and apricot. From there, she goes on to briefly discuss sherberts, sorbets, water ices, granites (sometimes called granitas), macedoines, and even frozen punches. (Basic ice cream has a LOT of distant and not-so-distant cousins!) The actual recipes supplied are for sherbets, but with an understanding of the differences, it’s assumed one could produce any variant at home. The last page of recipes contains directions for freezing fruits, useful for breakfast, but likely also good along side ice cream….except maybe for the tomatoes. You might want to eat those alone (or save them for your gazpacho, if you need a creative way to keep it cold?).

If you’re not a fan of ice cream, that’s okay, too! There are plenty of summer favorites out there and we’ll be sure to feature some more in the next few months. And if we’ve made your mouth water, it’s okay. Go have a little ice cream–we won’t tell.

Receipts, Remedies, and Testimonies

During last couple months of 2012 we acquired some exciting new finds for the History of Food & Drink Collection (though I think almost every item has something interesting about it!). Among them was a small publication from 1893, Household Receipts, published by Joseph Burnett & Co.

Before you even  make it to recipes, you might notice a surprise or two. Although primarily a recipe book, there are subtle and not-so-subtle ads for other Burnett & Co. products throughout, starting with the hair treatment featuring cocaine. Opiates have a long history in home remedies, from treating baldness to headaches to hysteria. (Widespread use of aspirin for pain relief wouldn’t take effect for another 6 or 7 years after this publication and patent medicines to treat all manner of problems were common well into the 20th century.)

The recipes exclusively feature Barnett’s extracts (mostly lemon or vanilla, but also some spices like nutmeg and cinnamon) in the variety of desserts that follow: puddings, pies, cakes, ice creams, preserves, and sauces. One can only assume that Barnett’s extracts were of the high quality so extolled to the “Mistress of the House.” In the spirit of economy (see the publication’s subtitle), there are a number of “mock” recipes that we see many times on this blog. In this case, it’s mock cream pie  and mock green apple pie (made with soda crackers and no fruit–think on that).

Toward the end of the publication, there’s a sudden recurrence of testimonials. And while advertising for other products your company sells in a recipe book makes sense at first, you may need to be careful exactly how you do that. Contemplating pudding sauce recipes is one thing. Contemplating pudding recipes only to be confronted with an unexpected note about the curative powers of “Burnett’s Kallison” in regards to “itching piles” is bound to give any housewife a moment’s pause. Still, it is certainly an attention-grabber…

Advertising in a pamphlet was nothing new by the 1890s. Our edition of Household Receipts in 1893 is already the 14th and we’ve had plenty of other examples on the blog to date. Household management guides and recipes books included ads, hints, and testimonies decades earlier. However, that may be the very point of acquiring items like for our collection: Recipes do not exist in a vacuum. They rely on ingredients, which makes cookbooks ideal for advertising food items. And the increasing 19th century interest in convenience at home makes these recipes books the perfect place to advertise ready-made products for the home or kitchen. Plus, the “how” and “why” of combining advertising and recipes was (and is) ever-changing. Our collection is just beginning to scratch that surface. 

Next week, we’ll look a little more at recipes for some not-so-ready-made “mock” dishes, with the exploration of an early 20th century vegetarian cookbook by a religious organization. (It may even turn into a two-part series, since we have similar cookbook by a different religious organization.) You may want to get your fill of meat before then…

Ice Cream…from George and Martha Washington?

Ice Cream…from George and Martha Washington?

To start President’s Week off right, here’s a post from NPR’s food blog, The Salt, about enjoying ice cream, the Washington way, and the new exhibit at Mount Vernon, “Hoecakes and Hospitality.” Seems fitting, given the local weather. You might be able to get ice from just about anywhere…

And it’s worth noting, Martha Washington’s ice cream recipe comes from early cookbook author, Hannah Glasse.