Welcome to the Vintage Cookbooks and Crafts blog!For over 10 years I have been writing this blog as a fond nostalgic parody of recipes and crafts from the 70's and earlier. Do you remember a trend fondly? From chiffon cakes to pom poms for roller skates, you're speaking my language.
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Molly MacRae returns this month with an interesting Ice Cream Sauce…-AA
We had a good crop of dill in our garden again this summer. By “crop” I mean volunteer weeds and by “garden” I mean the expansion crack along the edge of our driveway. That’s really the best kind of crop or garden for a busy family – totally self-directed and self-contained. The dill is pretty and it attracts pipevine swallowtail butterflies, plus it’s fantastic in cold cucumber soup.
I’m always on the lookout for other recipes using loads of dill. I’ve made dill bread, and I plan to try cheddar dill scones, but today I was looking through my mother’s seventh edition Boston Cooking School Cook Book to see if they were doing anything interesting with dill when it came out in 1945. The answer? Pickles and pickle sandwiches. So, no, nothing unusual.
But I came across something else that was interesting. In the index, right above “Dill” and right below “Dexter Canapés,” there’s something called “Dewey Sauce.” Dewey! Like the decimal system! And Amy and I both work in libraries! Even better, it’s a recipe for ice cream sauce – perfect for the last hot days of summer (plus it includes two kinds of alcohol, arguably making the sauce perfect for the last long days of summer reading at the library).
There’s no explanation in the cookbook for why it’s called Dewey Sauce. In an Internet search, I couldn’t even find the sauce. On the recipe page, the sauce is called “Curaçao or Dewey Sauce.” Is that a clue? Is the Dewey reference anything to do with Admiral George Dewey and the Venezuelan incident during the Christmas holidays of 1902, when Dewey took his battleships to Trinidad and the rest of the fleet went St. Kitts, St. Thomas, Antigua, and Curaçao? Or does the sauce have something to do with Thomas E. Dewey who ran for president in 1944, the year before the cookbook was completely revised by Wilma Lord Perkins? Or was the sauce indeed named for Melvil Dewey? Did he, in addition to inventing the decimal system for organizing libraries, also spend time in the kitchen perfecting a recipe for ice cream sauce?
If you have any information about Dewey Sauce, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise, this is a mystery I may never solve.
For the past 10 years, I’ve enjoyed blogging about vintage recipes and crafts. I haven’t been blogging as much lately, but I’ve been making cooking and booking videos (talking about cooking and books) with my sons this summer at https://www.facebook.com/AlanaMysteries/ . I hope to transfer the videos here soon, but come join me over there! You can still find many recipes and patterns here.
I have a new librarian book too, co-written with Katie and Emily again, as with our last book on Millennial programs:
Happy summer! As she is finishing her next delightful book, Molly MacRae brings us a fun post and recipe to spark your memories of vintage mold salads. In the next week, I’ll be uploading the video book reviews and posts I’ve been making on FB Live at my author page on there. My younger son, Owen, envisions himself as a YouTube cooking star and quickly took over my book review posts. You can see the posts there, too.
I came across a few beach cookbooks recently. One had pretty pictures and a good variety of recipes, but it’s too recent to be much fun. The other, from 1983, probably isn’t quite old enough to be considered vintage, but it has the advantage of being entirely about crabs. The Art of Catching and Cooking Crabs, by Lynette L. Walther, is part of The Shellfish Series published by Sussex Prints, Inc. It’s full of interesting information about crab biology, including a chapter called “The Crab Persona.” I’m a pretty good example of that persona from time to time. The real draw to the crab book, though, is the recipe for Crab Mold. Amy loves any recipe with ‘mold’ in the title, and if you say ‘crab mold’ over and over and over while letting your imagination run free, you’ll understand why.
1 ½ cups boiling water
2 Three-ounce boxes lemon gelatin
1 cup chili sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups (or two seven and one-half ounce cans lump) crab meat
Sauce: recipe follows
In boiling water, dissolve gelatin and stir in chili sauce and mayonnaise. Chill until slightly thickened. Stir crab meat, relish and celery into gelatin mixture. Turn into a six-cup mold and refrigerate overnight until firm.
Unmold and serve, garnished with black olives and cherry tomatoes and this cucumber sauce:
Mix two cups sour cream and two cups of unpeeled, well-drained, chopped cucumber, one tablespoon lemon juice and a pinch of sugar and enough horseradish to give the sauce a slightly sharp taste.
Serves 10 to 12.
Molly MacRae takes time to share a great recipe with us today in the middle of writing her next book in the Highland Bookshop Mystery series. These sound delicious! -Amy
My mind is on scones these days, as I race to finish the manuscript for Scones and Scoundrels, the second book in my Highland Bookshop Mystery series. Scones are a fairly fast treat to make, and that’s good because the deadline will be here before I know it. Here’s a recipe from a booklet called Let’s Try Some Scottish Cooking, put out by the National Trust for Scotland in 1977. According to the inside front cover, Patricia Blacklock, the author, is “an excellent cook and a professional curtain maker.” Doesn’t that make her sound trustworthy? I doubt that scoundrels ever make it as professional curtain makers.
Wheaten Meal Scones
¼ lb plain flour ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ lb wheatened flour 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
½ oz butter or margarine ¾ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon castor sugar a little milk
Sieve the plain flour and add the other dry ingredients. Rub in the butter and add enough milk to form a soft consistency. Roll out on a floured board to ¾ inch thick. Cut in rounds of 2 inches and bake in oven Gas 6 or 400º for 12-15 minutes or until slightly browned.
Ready for another minty recipe? In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and my new novella, Struck by Shillelagh, I’ve been posting some minty recipes. Do you have a favorite?
This is from my 1976 Cookie Jar cookbook. Lots of favorite, easy, common sense recipes here.
1 cup butter (I didn’t say healthy.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream butter with extract; add brown sugar gradually, beating until fluffy. Add egg and beat thoroughly. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together; add to creamed mixture in fourths, mixing until blended after each addition. Turn mixture into ungreased 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan and spread evenly. Bake at 350F 20 – 25 minutes; cool. Spread glaze over cooled cookie base and sprinkle with chopped pecans (optional). Cool; cut into diamond shapes.
Chocolate-Mint Glaze: Melt 6 oz. (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate pieces with 1/2 tsp. mint extract over hot water. Cool slightly.
What are you making for the big green holiday this week? If you are looking for more ideas, search under St. Patrick’s Day on this blog. I’ve posted dozens of recipes. Enjoy!
Molly MacRae joins the minty celebration this month with this very interesting concoction…-Amy
This dessert doesn’t start out minty, but the recipe calls for “flavoring” and leaves the choice of that flavor up to us. So let’s join Amy’s minty celebration of her new Alana O’Neill mystery, Struck by Shillelagh, by making this a Minty Irish Moss Blancmange.
The recipe comes from Dutch Oven: a cook book of coveted, traditional recipes from the kitchens of Lunenburg, compiled by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Lunenburg Hospital Society in 1953. A dear friend in Nova Scotia sent the book to me. Every recipe in it is handwritten, and many of them are illustrated with charming line drawings. The book is a gem. So is Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, by the way. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, being the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America.
I’ve loved the idea of blancmange ever since seeing the Monty Python sketch where intergalactic blancmanges plot to win Wimbledon by turning people into Scotsmen.
Before reading the recipe, I hadn’t put a lot of thought into Irish moss, otherwise known as Chondrus crispus. By “hadn’t put a lot” I mean “hadn’t put any.” I didn’t even know Irish moss is seaweed. In fact, it’s the kind of seaweed that releases the gelling agent carrageenan when you boil it. And when you think about how often you see that ingredient in readymade puddings and ice cream, etc., then the idea of Irish Moss Blancmange makes perfect sense. It even sounds tasty. Here’s the recipe:
Irish Moss Blanc Mange
¾ cup Irish Moss
1 quart water
1 16oz. tin evaporated milk
1 teaspoon flavoring
Wash Irish moss and soak for thirty minutes. Using a double boiler. To the Irish moss add one quart water. Boil until thick. Strain, add milk, salt and flavoring. Pour into molds to set. Serve with sugar and cream. Fruit may be added if desired. You can obtain Irish Moss at low tide off the Nova Scotia coast. It grows on rocks and ledges.
Recipe from Jennie E. Smeltzer (Mrs. E.S.)
The last time I was on the coast of Nova Scotia at low tide, 41 years ago, I didn’t get around to foraging for Irish moss. But you can bet the next time I go I’ll be checking out those rocks and ledges. I’ve put it on my bucket list – and I’ll be sure to take a bucket.
For information on Irish moss and a similar recipe from the Atlantic Holdfast Seaweed Company, Penobscot Bay, Maine, click here: http://www.atlanticholdfast.com/irish-moss/
For the Monty Python blancmange sketch, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVbb6pZLfzU
Struck by Shillelagh, the 5th Alana O’Neill mystery with recipes, is now available on Amazon for ereaders.
When her friend is arrested for attempted murder of the Mayor at the St. Patrick’s Day parade, Alana O’Neill tries to learn who really hit the unpopular politician with the black thorn shillelagh.
A new booth owner with a questionable past, a secret author featuring the antiques mall and recipe failures are unable to distract Alana for long on her quest for justice. Vintage recipes include Edible Blarneystones, Refrigerator Cake, Lime Ribbon Delight and more. Also included – Thankful for Pie: In this Thanksgiving holiday novella, Star tries to learn who is sabotaging her family’s struggling bakery. She also wonders why her new karate instructor drives her so crazy.
I’m posting minty recipes for the next few weeks to celebrate. I’m adjusting this handwritten Triple Fudge Cake to make it minty as I flavor recipes often. Yum!
1 pkg (4 oz.) pudding & Pie filling (not instant)
1 pkg. Devil’s Food Cake mix
1/2 tsp. peppermint flavoring
1/2 C semisweet choc chips
1/2 c. chopped andes’ candies (or other chocolate mints, or mint chips)
Heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour 9×13 pan. Add hot pudding to cake mix. Blend with mixer 1 – 2 minutes. Pour into pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and mint candies. Bake 30 – 35 min.
Struck by Shillelagh, my new Alana O’Neill mystery, will be coming out in a few days and to celebrate, I will be posting minty recipes from now through St. Patrick’s Day. Do you have a favorite?
This is from the 195 Table Talk cookbook, signed by Frank Decatur White. This gentleman led workshops in association with appliance companies as far as I can tell, and his cookbooks seem to have been very popular.
Here is Frank’s Mints:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 kitchen spoon corn syrup (love that measurement)
1 tsp. butter
4 drops oil of mint
Mix all well, heat over slow fire, stirring until dissolved. Wipe side of pan with damp cloth. Turn fire high and cook well two minutes. Pour on ungreased platter, let cool then beat until creamy. When too hard to beat turn out on marble slab and work well with the hands, adding mint and any color desired. Melt Fondant in double boiler and drop on oiled paper.
Slow and high fires are vague descriptions, though working on the marble sounds fun. This seems like a cross between traditional fudge making and praline work. Have you made anything like this?
I’m so excited to announce the publication of A Delicious Dessert, a romance anthology with recipes. It was put together in honor of author Mary Welk, an author friend of mine (who posted on here!) who passed away late 2015. I have a story “Flirting with Fondue,” under my Julia Curtin pen name. All proceeds go to the American Heart Association. Here is the link to purchase eleven novellas with recipes for $2.99, while helping a great organization!
Enjoy this recipe for Apple Squares today too, from my handwritten recipe collection:
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup shortening (margarine)
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup cold water
Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening as for pie dough. Combine egg yolks, lemon juice and water and add to flour mixture. Mix thoroughly. Dough will be very moist. Do not add more flour. Divide in 2 parts. Roll out on WELL FLOURED (as on card) board and line bottom and sides of a 15 x 10 inch pan.
Apple Filling: Pare and slice 8 large apples thinly. Using hands, coat thoroughly with mixture of 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and dash of nutmeg.
Arrange in crust lined pan and cover with top crust. Seal edges. Make decorative slits. Bake in 375F oven 1 hour. While warm ice with mixture of 1 cup conf. sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. For easy serving, cool before cutting into squares.
Molly MacRae kicks off a fun February on this blog with her post on some comfort food. Perfect thing for a February Monday!-Amy
One of my favorite cookbooks is the paperback copy of Joy of Cooking my husband had in college. It’s the 1973 edition and it cost $3.95. As you can see from the picture, we’ve loved it into a loose-leaf format. It has no spine anymore, but all the pages are there and intact. Some of the recipes we’ll never make (Peccary, beaver, or bear? No.) But a few we make quite often. One of those is scalloped potatoes. But just as the cookbook is now loose-leaf, our adherence to the recipe is pretty loose, too. We add sharp cheddar cheese in place of butter. We put vegetable bouillon in the milk. We use three potatoes and don’t bother to measure how many cups that comes to. And sometimes we use the 10-inch by 10-inch dish and other times a deeper one that’s more like 6-inch by 6-inch. And oven temperature? Sometimes we rev it up to 375º F. to get supper on the table a little sooner. However you make them, though, these scalloped potatoes are good comfort food for cold February days.