Molly MacRae: The Case of the Mysteriously Named Ice Cream Sauce

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.

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2 Responses to Molly MacRae: The Case of the Mysteriously Named Ice Cream Sauce

  1. Kathleen Thomas says:

    Interesting! And I hate that your dill continues…..mine was all eaten by caterpillars.

  2. Molly MacRae says:

    Oh, sorry about your dill, Kathleen! Will it come back next year? Let me know if you need seeds.

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