Posted in Food, Funny Stuff, Life, Recipes

Don’t Eat This

I love old cookbooks. They’re a little bit of history, right in your hands. You could tell what was scarce and what was plentiful. My 1918 copy of The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook – known in its current iteration as the Fannie Farmer Cookbook – has wartime recipes to accommodate the lack of white flour, sugar and butter. Presumably, those items were first up to feed the men in uniform. That would have been WWI.

The recipes are another story. Let’s just say we don’t eat like we used to. Who would like a tomato and pineapple salad, with mayonnaise and nut meats? Yes, ‘fraid so: it’s in there.

Tomatoes Stuffed With Pineapple

Peel medium-sized tomatoes. Remove thin slice from top of each and take out seeds and some of pulp. Sprinkle inside with salt, invert, and let stand one-half hour. Fill tomatoes with fresh pineapple cut in small cubes or shredded and nut meats, using two-thirds pineapple and one-third nut meats. Mix with mayonnaise dressing, garnish with mayonnaise, halves of nut meats and slices cut from tops cut square. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves.

I can’t imagine the combination of tomatoes and pineapples, not to mention nut meats and mayonnaise. I’m not quite I’d ever be the same again, although I do happen to like tomatoes and mayonnaise. But, pineapple? You can have mine, thanks.

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Fannie Farmer’s Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

Another winner from the estimable Ms. Fannie Farmer! This version also includes oats for additional taste and texture. The video is next!

  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups white flour
  • 1 cup oats

  1. Bring 1/2 cup water to the boil. Mix it with the milk, sugar and salt in a heavy-duty mixer bowl (with paddle attachment and dough hook). Cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a separate bowl measure 1/2 cup warm water and sprinkle yeast over it. Let it stand for five minutes to dissolve.
  3. Add the yeast mixture, whole wheat flour, oats and 1 cup white flour to the liquid ingredients in the mixing bowl. Attach paddle mixer and stir to combine, adding flour until the paddle can no longer engage the dough mass.
  4. Remove the paddle mixer, scrape down, and insert the dough hook. Mix on slow speed, adding white flour gradually until dough is smooth and elastic. It will have a rougher texture than a white flour dough. Remove from bowl when dough no longer sticks to bottom and sides of mixing bowl. Finish kneading by hand if desired.
  5. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm spot until double in bulk. Punch down the dough and shape it into two loaves. Place in greased loaf pans and let rise until almost double in bulk.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. When the dough is risen in the pans, bake for about 45 minutes. Remove from pans when finished and let cool on rack.

Fannie Farmers Whole-wheat Oatmeal Bread @ Group Recipes

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Fannie Farmer’s All-American White Bread

At least! I finally got around to transcribing it. It's a wonderful loaf. Hope you enjoyed the video!

  • 2 tbs shortening
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 6 cups (approximately) white flour (unbleached bread flour preferred)

  1. Mix the shortening, salt and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer (one that has a dough hook and flat paddle attachment). Add the hot milk and 1/2 cup hot water. Cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a small cup or bowl mix the yeast with 1/2 cup warm water and let dissolve, about five minutes.
  3. Add the dissolved yeast and 3 cups of the flour to the mixing bowl with the liquid ingredients. Using the flat paddle attachment, mix until blended. Continue to add flour until the paddle can no longer grip the flour mass.
  4. Remove paddle mixer, scrape down, and replace with dough hook. Mix dough on slow speed, adding flour until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should not stick to the bottom of the mixing bowl. If desired, you can do the final bit of kneading by hand.
  5. Put the dough in a large, greased bowl, cover and let rise until double in bulk.
  6. Punch down the dough, remove from bowl, and divide in half. Shape into two loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Cover with waxed or parchment paper.
  7. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  8. Let dough in pans rise again until double in bulk. Put into preheated oven and bake for 15 m inutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for another 25 – 30 minutes.
  9. Remove loaves from pans and cool on racks.

Fannie Farmers All-American White Bread @ Group Recipes

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Evolutions

I'm fascinated by history, at least the type that clues you in to what life must have been like in the far-gone days. That's why I'm so fascinated with the reprint I have of the original "Fannie Farmer" cookbook. I also have a reproduction of a Sears catalog from 1895.

I live in an old home, built around that time. It's an elegant and sturdy house, with charming little nooks and crannies and a gorgeous old staircase winding all the way to the third floor. The house needs a face life, but wouldn't it look amazing if it got one! I got the Sears catalog to see what kind of furniture would have been in the house at first: draperies, furniture, items for the kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms as well. We still have the original claw-foot bathtub and, in the basement, an old toilet that's been disconnected for years now. It's got a wooden seat (now splintered – I sure wouldn't sit on it!) with lathe-turned legs and a flush compartment above. There's also a round toilet paper holder that's formed like a cast iron half-circle. Elegant and beautiful. We have cast iron duct covers with scroll work, and some original drawer handles and door knobs. Our dining room has an old, built-in china cabinet with leaded glass doors. There's also a closed off "pass-through" from the ledge beneath the cabinet to the kitchen pantry on the other side.

The basement floor still has the "footprint" of the old, coal-burning furnace. When we moved in the old coal chutes were still there too, although my husband took them down. We still have a few stray pieces of coal in an old coffee can. There's a second pantry leading into the house from outside. At one time it obviously had an ice box in it. There's a recessed place right there for it.

It's a mystery, really, reconstructing the day to day experiences of people and eras long since gone. What did their clothing feel like? How heavy were the pots and pans they handled on top of a coal-burning stove?

And what the devil is a "Dover egg beater?"

Going back to Fannie Farmer again, the Dover egg beater (made by the Dover company) seemed to be the ancestor to modern day hand-held beaters, the kind you use to whip up eggs if you don't feel like fork-blending them or dragging out the mixer. I saw a very faded picture of it in the book and decided to go online to see if I could learn more about them. Well, you can certainly see the family resemblance:

Evidently there are several types of these hand-cranked work-horses. The picture above, which was the only one I could snag from the internet (those antiques websites definitely have a thing about copying and pasting their photos!) has a rather small beater at the bottom. Other models have a wider base. In fact, I saw three separate types of them, differentiated by beater size.

Don't you just love that fancy gear wheel? I have to imagine, though, that it was probably pretty awkward to hold, given the position of the handle.

"And tonight, class, we shall learn of the properties of albumen" *raps stick on back of chair. Class shuts up immediately and turns to the blackboard with hands folded in front of them.*

"One may prepare a mixture of albumenized milk for the sick and serve where solid foods cannot be taken, thus:

1/2 cup milk
White one egg

Put white of egg in a tumbler, add milk, cover tightly, and shake thoroughly until well mixed.

There now! Have you any questions?"

*class responds* "No, m'am."

Fast forward to the 21st century. My, that was tasty! And with a raw egg, too. Very healthy. You've got to try the oatmeal water. I guarantee you'll never forget it!

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