Cooking like a First Lady, circa 1965?

This is one of my vintage cookbooks and I recently thought I’d look a few things up.

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It’s from 1965 and the first thing I wanted to see is what the President’s wife contributed to the book.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a recipe for one of my favorite things to eat, Popovers!  Now I don’t know why, but hardly anyone ever makes them anymore.  If you’ve ever read Little Women, you’d know that the girls take their precious breakfast popovers to the poor family and Amy is upset by the loss!  Also, when I was a youngster, my father used to take us to a lovely restaurant, called The Proud Popover.da4d031395c932ff4cdebe4c2d5e3ae6

This restaurant was a colonial in theme, with big pewter mugs and plates and gigantic popovers.  I was addicted to those things.  I’d drench them in butter and honey.  Wonderful.    Our family wanted to make them at home, but as my mother had passed away, and we kids were not the best cooks yet, my dad found a mix that he’d buy and they were as close as possible to heaven for a couple of 70’s era kids.

Well, now I make these from scratch, because really, what could be easier and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson’s recipe is practically the same as anyone you might find online.  (I don’t like that tradition of the ladies going by their husband’s names as if her only identity is through the husband, but that’s for another blogger to write about.).

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I don’t use melted shortening, however, I use canola oil , but everything else is the same!  Also, she tells us you can use a regular muffin tin, but to get that true popover height, you need a good iron popover pan.  I found mine at…you guessed it!  Resale!

You have to eat them right out of the oven.  The crispy outside and the almost empty middles, make a perfect vehicle for adding veggies or casseroles if desired, but I prefer them as I did when a child, with butter and honey.  Here.  Have one.

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Let me feed you.

 

 

Apparently I’m “cool”.

My teenaged son just called me cool.  If any of you have teenagers, you understand what high praise that is.  You are probably wondering what I did to deserve it.  Did I buy him booze?  Nope.  Let a girl stay in his room?  Nope.

I made jello.

Actually, I made one of the recipes from an old 1930’s era pamphlet from Royal Jello.

Back when the kids were very young, I made jello more frequently, because it’s inexpensive and “there’s always room for jello!”, but honestly, it’s empty calories that could be used for something better. (like wine.)

However, when thinking over what sort of things I could make from my old booklets, I kept coming back to a gelatin dish of some sort.  Nothing too strange, though I’ve had the experience of diving into a delicious looking dessert, only to find myself munching on raw, shredded carrots.  That was NOT an experience I wanted my family to share.

It was a pretty big deal when gelatin powders came out.  Up until then, it was a tough thing to make.  Long hours over a hot stove, boiling animal bones meant that mainly the wealthy, with servants, had the ability to serve it.  It was quite elegant to be able to present your guests with a pretty aspic or jelled treat.

In the years following the commercial success of Jell-O, these, once rare dishes were everywhere.  Even when I was growing up in the 70’s, it was not a party unless you had a jello dessert and I still make a 7-layer jello for special occasions!

So here’s my lovely Royal Cherry Monticello.

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Not as pretty as pictured, through only my own fault,  I was rushed for time and incorporated the whipped cream before the gelatin was sufficiently thickened.  I actually had to make a thrift store run this morning to get the mold.  What modern woman has a bunch of random molds?  Well, actually, I do now…

So, long story short, how do you get a teenaged boy to call you “cool”?

Make jello, or come on over here.  I have LOTS.

Let me feed you!

 

 

 

The way Grandma used to cook

Do you collect something?  Most people do.  Seashells, beanie babies, shoes, maybe?  I collect old cookbooks and cooking pamphlets.  I have hundreds of these little booklets and it is just so fun to page through them.  It’s even educational!  Like a little walk through history.

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Here are a few of my books.  You can pick these up very inexpensively at used book sales, antique stores or garage sales.  Most of them will not set you back more than a few dollars.

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I just love the Settlement cookbooks subtitle, “Way to a Man’s heart.”  This cookbook is not the original from 1901, but rather a much-loved 1928 edition.   To tell the truth, I prefer the loved copies best.  It’s delightful to read another housewives notes and clippings.  My copy has a handwritten recipe for Tuna Surprise (yeah, no thanks), and a handful of articles from the local newspaper, including one entitled, “Old-Fashioned Roast Cookery is Unpatriotic” from a 1942 Chicago newspaper!  These little articles are valuable to me!  As you can see, sometimes the backs are more interesting than the front!  Wouldn’t you love to “Dine and Dance” at Chateau D’Jean?     36836416_10212678631906808_1469070512507322368_n

My oldest book is the White House Cookbook, which I inherited from my Aunt.  It was her Mother-in-law’s book and started me on my quest for more like it!  The book is EXTREMELY fragile and rarely removed from its safe haven.  It’s been well-used in its many years of existence.  I actually had an American Family cookbook from the same year, but it was even more fragile, so I donated it to the local historical society here in town.

So my idea, what with all these lovely books, is to make a few recipes from some of them and show you how they turned out!  I’m looking them over and in the next few days should have some interesting ideas.

My husband is terrified.  He’d much rather YOU would

let me feed you!