Thursday, January 21, 2010

Vintage Cooking

I like to combine things I already like to make an activity or thing I just might love.  "An example!", some of you may demand.  Yes, indeed. Here is just such a thing.  And now another.   
I really, really like vintage cookbooks.  Really now, what's not to love?  For many of us just the covers of these cookbooks bring back fond memories. Of Grandmother, Mother or Auntie's kitchen.  Before food processors, microwaves and blenders.  A warm kitchen filled with delicious scents.  You, standing on a step-stool to reach a flour-covered counter to learn to roll a pie crust. Aprons were de rigueur. Even the kitchen tables wore tablecloths. And they were ironed. Home-making was an art.  

And so, I collect these volumes filled with nostalgia. I like to look at them, read them.  I also like to cook.  And so, I vintage cook. Armed with our present day knowledge of what is "bad" for us, these recipes can cause a shiver to run down the spine of any nutritionist.  Happily enough, I am not plagued with butter-guilt.  I am tickled pink by a recipe that contains lard in the ingredients.  The new-fangled item of that era, Miracle Whip, delights me. And so I delve into these recipes with gusto. We are talking serious  comfort food.  I cook from these gems a few times a week. Not every night.  The members of the Priory do not wish to be comforted to the point they must live at the gym.  Goodness, no.

I will close with a favorite of mine. A recipe that is stunning in its simplicity.  It is from The Way To A Man's Heart.  So perfect.  This cookbook was put out by The Gas Service Co. and was first published in 1938.   

Cheese Souffle
1 C thick white sauce (recipe below)
1 C grated cheese
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
Add cheese to white sauce and stir until melted.  Cool slightly.  Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored, and add slowly to white sauce mixture. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.  Pour into oiled 1 quart baking dish filling not more than 2/3 full.  Bake.  Temperature---350 degrees F.  Time----45 to 60 minutes (or until a sharp-pointed knife comes out clean).  Serve at once from baking dish. Amount-----4 servings

White Sauce
Type            Butter or Fat          Flour          Milk
Thin             1 Tbsp                  1 Tbsp        1 cup
Medium        2 Tbsps                 2 Tbsps       1 cup
Thick           3 Tbsps                 3 Tbsps       1 cup
Melt  butter over simmer burner; add flour and blend.  Add milk and cook over simmer burner until thick, stirring constantly.  Add 1/4 tsp salt.
Use:   Thin; cream soups.  Medium;  creamed or scalloped dishes or gravy.  Thick;  croquettes.

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