250 Cookbooks: The Heinz Book of Meat Cookery

Cookbook #198: The Heinz Book of Meat Cookery, H. J. Heinz Company, Pitsburgh, Penna., 1937.

Heinz cookbookWow, this is another vintage booket! I didn’t have the publication date – 1937 – entered in my cookbook database so I thought it was one of my mother’s 50s-era booklets. And I thought it was missing the cover. But I found the publication date when I carefully searched the booklet, and by comparison with photos online, I find this booklet is not missing the cover. Here it is laid open, with both front and back covers showing:


Henry J. Heinz established the Heinz company in 1869. In 1937, 68 years later, this excerpt from The Heinz Book of Meat Cookery shows that the company is proud of its reputation:

Heinz company information

Note: “Heinz Foods are Pure. Where sweetening in any one of the entire 57 varieties is required, only pure granulated sugar is employed – no substituties. Absolutely no artificial preservatives, in fact, are used in any Heinz Product.”

Sounds like today’s natural food claims. Let’s see, does the bottle of Heinz ketchup (I always choose Heinz ketchup!)  in my cupboard still lives up to this claim? Judge for yourself – here is the list of ingredients for Heinz Tomato Ketchup (“grown not made”): tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder, natural flavoring. No preservatives, but high fructose corn syrup instead of pure granulated sugar.

Heinz is one of the longest-running food companies in the US. (I’ve covered quite a few of the American brands because a large portion of my cookbook collection is manufacturer’s cookbooks.) Established in 1869, Heinz remained a company under that name until 2013, when it was purchased by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, resulting in the Kraft Heinz Company. Accoding to Wikpedia, this company is currently one of the 5 largest food companies in the world.

Heinz brand products have a “57” on the label – the Heinz “57 Varieties” slogan. Excerpted from Wikipedia, accessed 2017: “Henry J. Heinz introduced the marketing slogan ’57 Varieties’ in 1869 [although over 60 varieties were offered at that time]. He later claimed he was inspired by an advertisement he saw while riding an elevated train in New York City (a shoe store boasting ’21 styles’). The reason for ’57’ is unclear. Heinz said he chose ‘5’ because it was his lucky number and the number ‘7’ was his wife’s lucky number. However, Heinz also said the number ‘7’ was selected specifically because of the ‘psychological influence of that figure and of its enduring significance to people of all ages’.” Now, “57 varieties” is a general term for a mixed bunch, like a mutt dog.

The Heinz Book of Meat Cookery, 1937, lists these 57 varieties:

Heinz 57 varietiesA good proportion of the varieties are canned soups. The “cream of” varities are asparagus, celery, green pea, mushroom, oyster, spinach, and tomato soups. (I think their “cream of tomato” variety is what we now call canned “tomato soup”.) Other soups are chicken soups, clam chowder, turtle (!), onion, pepper pot, and vegatable beef. Only some of these soups are available today, and they are no longer Heinz brands.The above list also includes baked beans (several varieties), mincemeat, puddings, olives, cooked spaghetti and cooked macaroni, peanut butter, breakfast wheat, and jams. Most of items in the above list, except Heinz condiments: ketchup, chili sauce, steak sauce, mustard, and vinegar. (I only buy Heinz ketchup and chili sauce, and I keep them in my pantry at all times!)

Heinz ketchup and chili sauce

What to cook from this book? The recipes are not my style of cooking. Here are some typical examples (the notes on these are my grandmother’s writing):

Heinz recipesHeinz recipes

Note the “Left-Over Pork Roast with Spaghetti”. It calls for “Heinz cooked spaghetti in tomato sauce”. Even if I could find canned spaghetti, I would not make myself eat it.

Near the end of the book I find some sauce recipes:

Heinz sauce recipesI like the “Cocktail Sauce–No. 2”. This is how I usually make cocktail sauce, except I use lemon instead of vinegar (and I never measure anything!). I like to add a little Lea and Perkins Worcestershire sauce, a current Heinz brand, so I’ll add a few drops. I’m not sure “evaporated horseradish” is available; I’ll use prepared horseradish.

This is a good sauce for dipping shrimp. I don’t keep bottled cocktail sauce in my pantry, because it is so easy to make. In the below version, I’ve halved the above recipe, and it made enough to dip about 2 pounds of cooked shrimp.

Cocktail Sauce

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (or use lemon juice)
  • a few drops of hot sauce (like Tobasco) or some cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish
  • a few drops of Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients. Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired.

Cocktail Sauce

Yummy, as usual! Nice excuse to get some cooked shrimp from Whole Foods.

I’ll keep this cookbook, but this time I will shelve it with my other “vintage” cookbooks!

250 Cookbooks: Southwestern Grill

Cookbook #171: Southwestern Grill, Michael McLaughlin, the Harvard Common Press, Boston, MA, 2000.

The Southwestern Grill cookbookI bought this cookbook for myself and have always enjoyed it. Such refreshing ideas! Grilling with spices and fresh ingredients. A pleasure after some of my aged cookbooks.

I grew up in the Southwest (southern California), and tacos and enchiladas were part of our everyday meals, especially from the time I was a teen. How did this author develop his own interest in southwestern-style foods? On Wikipedia, I learn that Michael McLaughlin was born the same year I was, in Wray, Colorado. He moved to New York and became a chef. There he met Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, and helped them publish The Silver Palate Cookbook in 1983. This cookbook encourages homecooking with fresh ingredients, and has sold in excess of 2 million copies. (Why have I never heard of it? Sounds right up my alley.)

McLaughlin moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he owned a restaurant for a time. His interest and expertise in fresh foods and grilling expanded to include bright, spicy Southwestern flavors. He became a food writer for Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine magazines. McLaughlin authored (or co-authored) over 20 cookbooks. I was sad to learn he passed away in 2002.

McLaughlin writes about two “very good things” that happened in the 1980s-2000. First, grilling, “formerly a casual backyard art form, evolved into an accepted and respected cooking method.” And “second, the food of the Southwest escaped from its regional confines and swept like a mesquite brushfire across the country.” The two combined and now both chefs and home cooks grill southwestern dishes, full of heat, spice and savory smoke. “Grilling has grown up . . . liberally seasoned with a dose of the special magic that is the unique culinary contribution of the American Southwest.”

Here is a sampling of recipe titles, to give you an idea of the variety in this cookbook: Steak and Grilled Green Onion Quesadilla, Cafe Pasqual’s Grilled Salmon Burritos with Cucumber Salsa, Grilled Chicken Totopo Salad, Warmed Grilled Chile-Lime Beef Salad, Arracheras with Crunchy Vegetable Garnish, Heirloom Bean Salad, and Grilled Tequila-Cured Salmon with Mango Pico de Gallo.

Some recipes are a bit “out-there” for my own cooking, partly because I’m not sure I could get some members of my family to eat them, for instance: grilled cactus, grilled eggplant dip, and portobello mushroom burgers.

I like the Salsas, Sauces, and Condiments chapter a lot. For one, many of the recipes in this cookbook refer to this chapter for sauce/salsa/rubs recipes (for example, see the scan of the Grilled Fish Tacos recipe). And too, it allows the cook (me!) to be creative, adding a fresh salsa to “same old” tacos, for instance.

I am going to share a couple recipes that I love from this cookbook. I know, I usually try something new from a cookbook, but the rules are mine, and I can bend them! I have made the “Grilled Fish Tacos with Citrus Slaw” many times.

Grilled Fish Tacos recipeCitrus Slaw is a separate entry.

Citrus Slaw RecipeAnd so is the Lime Cream.

Lime Cream recipeI made these exactly according to the above recipes. And they were good, as always!

Fish TacosThank you Michael McLaughlin for this wonderful recipe! If you want to make them for yourself, pick up a copy of his book, or use my scans, above.

250 Cookbooks: Salsas, Sambals, Chutneys and Chowchows

Cookbook #37: Salsas, Sambals, Chutneys and Chowchows. Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, Hearst Books, 1993.

Salsas, Sambals, Chutneys and ChowchowsThis is a great cookbook, one of my newish favorites. I was surprised that the publication date was 1993, since this is a very contemporary book. I bought it sometime in the 2000s for myself, probably at Peppercorn. It’s still for sale, new, on Amazon. Because of copyright issues, I’m just going to take a photo to show you the lovely layout of the book instead of scanning in a recipe.

All the recipes in this book are “little dishes of intense flavor”. I’ve used the salsa section more than any other section of this book. The authors define salsa as a Mexican/Latin American version of a little dish. Salsas are made from different combinations of a variety of ingredients, such as cilantro, oregano, cumin, chile powder, corn, tomatoes, jicamas, pineapples, mangoes, black beans, tomatillos, limes, and hot chile peppers. “The most important thing to remember about salsas is that, like the Latin dance that shares their name, the best ones are wild, loose, and loud.” “Just mix ’em up and enjoy the taste. In this case, everyone can dance.”

This book taught me to add fruit to a salsa. Or corn and avocado and black beans. I used to use only peppers, onions, and tomatoes. The authors remind me to toast cumin seeds before use to brighten their flavor. These tricks have given a new world of flavor to my salsas!

Chutneys are a bit harder to define. They originated in India and can be raw or cooked, chunky or grated, and can contain a variety of fruits, vegetables, and spices. Traditionally, they go with spicy foods (like curries). The chutney recipes in this book usually include a sweetener like molasses or sugar, a fruit and/or vegetable, ginger, garlic, and spices such as star anise, mace, coriander, or curry. I like that they cover spices, such as star anise, with a two-page layout of a description, tips, and photos. I’ve made a couple of the chutneys, but since my dining partner does not like curry, I don’t make them very often.

Blatjangs, atjars, and sambals are chutney-type dishes from Africa, East Indies, and Southeast Asia. Chowchows are pickled relishes – mixtures of vinegar, spices, and vegetables. The book includes recipes for chowchows of the American South, a light version of kimchi (Korean), and spicy pickled grapes. I probably won’t try too many of these, but the pictures are pretty and the ingredients always fresh and full of flavor.

The title of the book is misleading, because more than salsas, sambals, chutneys, and chowchows are covered in this book. There are also sections on relishes, catsups and other condiments. The final section is “pantry”, in which some of the more unusual ingredients are discussed (along with great photos).

Creativity is the theme of this book. In this spirit, I created a salsa based loosely on “Papaya Salsa”. I used cantaloupe and mango instead of papaya, green and red bell pepper instead of just red, and added enough red onion so that it “looked right”.

Fruit Salsa

  • about a cup of chopped fruit – I used half cantaloupe and half mango, but use papaya, peaches, pineapple or any fruit you have around
  • about a quarter of a red bell pepper, sliced into short, thin slices
  • about a quarter of a green bell pepper, sliced into short, thin slices
  • about half of a medium-sized red onion, sliced into long, thin slices
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice (or orange or any other type of sweet juice)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 of a jalapeno pepper, very finely chopped (you can include the seeds)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together well. Taste and adjust seasonings and/or amounts of onion and jalapenos. It keeps 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Fruit SalsaSalsas are great in the summer. On a hot night, they perk up a taco, wrap, sandwich or grilled meat or fish. I used this Fruit Salsa on pulled pork, folded inside some thick pita breads from the Mediterranean Market in Boulder. Yum!

This photo is an example of the layout of this book.

inside page