250 Cookbooks: One Dish Meals

Cookbook #29: One Dish Meals, The Easy Way. Reader’s Digest, The Reader’s Digest Association, Pleasantville, NY/Montreal, 1991.

One Dish MealsAll of the recipes in this cookbook use “the convenience of serving a complete meal in a single dish” (from the preface). The chapters include cooking basics, soups, meat, poultry, fish, vegetarian dishes, pasta, salads, appetizers, desserts, and more. Each recipe includes nutritional information, touted as “weight-watching calorie counters”, as well as suggestions for cutting fat and calories. The book is nicely laid out, the recipes easy to follow, and the photos are great.

This was one of my mother’s cookbooks. She noted on the inside cover that it is “from Reader’s Digest contest, May, 1993”. I’m not sure quite what this means; maybe she entered a contest and the book was the prize? I’ll never know.

My mother marked several recipes as “tried” in this book. Minestrone with Turkey Meatballs is marked “Delicious” and also as having “great directions”. Mozzarella Meat Loaf Pie was “not great”. Chicken Breasts Catalan was “good but not worth the fussing with”. Turkey Sausage Succotash is marked “very good”. This reminds me of my parents liked lima beans in soups and also succotash. She had marked a recipe for Ham and Lima Bean Soup to try.

I found it easy to find recipes for myself to try in this cookbook. Note that plural: recipes! A lot of them have over 600 calories per serving, but if that’s the entire dinner meal, it’s not terrible. Some, though, have over 900 calories, a bit daunting to fit into a low-calorie plan.

I chose a recipe for “Sweet Corn Chowder with Shrimp and Red Peppers”. It has only 280 calories per serving, and I have some very good frozen shrimp in the freezer. I also have a jar of roasted red peppers in my pantry that needs to be used. I am impressed that the instructions direct you to cook the shrimp only 3 minutes – it shows that they know what they are doing.


It’s hard to read the above scanned-in recipe, but I wanted to show you the great photo layout of this book. Here’s an enlargement of the recipe:

recipeI made a half recipe as per the typed-in recipe below.

Sweet Corn Chowder with Shrimp and Red Peppers
(recipe for 3 people)

  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small potato, peeled and diced (I used a russet)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • scant cup chicken stock (canned or homemade)
  • 7 ounces cream-style corn (sold in 14-oz. cans 2013)
  • 5 ounces frozen corn kernels (about half a cup)
  • scant cup milk
  • black pepper and salt to taste
  • 3 1/2 ounces canned roasted red peppers, drained and thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined

Cook the onions in a few drops of vegetable oil, sweating with a little salt, until the onions are limp – about five minutes.

Add the potato, bay leaf, marjoram, nutmeg, and stock, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the potato is just tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the cream-style corn, frozen corn, milk, and black pepper, and bring to a rapid boil. Lower the heat to moderate, add the red peppers and shrimp, and boil gently, uncovered, until the shrimp are just cooked through – about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaf before serving.


This soup was good, and I might make it again. It was easy to put together, although it sure did require gathering a lot of ingredients! (Gee, I could have opened a can of soup instead!)

Soup IngredientsBut the finished soup was worth the trouble. If you like corn and shrimp, you will like this soup.

Corn Chowder SoupI served it with grilled cheese sandwiches, since the soup itself was low in calories. My method of making grilled cheese sandwiches is constantly evolving, but I’ll share how I made them in April 2013:

Grilled cheese sandwiches

I took a cast-iron grill pan, very heavy, and put it on my electric stove top and heated over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. (It’s important to heat the pan long on low heat.) I set a metal measuring cup with a small amount of butter in it on the grill pan. When the butter had melted, the pan felt hot to a hand held an inch above the pan. Time for the sandwiches.

I took rosemary-sourdough bakery bread and stuffed grated sharp cheddar cheese between two slices to form sandwiches. Then I brushed the tops of the sandwiches with melted butter and carefully flipped them to place them butter-side down on the heated grill pan. Then, I brushed the other side of the sandwiches with butter.

I peaked at the bottom sides and turned when golden. When both sides were golden and the cheese melted, time to eat! You can see them in this photo of the soup, dripping cheese and golden.

grilled cheeses

250 Cookbooks: The Settlement Cook Book

Cookbook #28: The Settlement Cook Book. The Settlement Cook Book Company, 3rd edition, Simon and Schuster, NY, 1976.

The Settlement Cook BookMy copy of The Settlement Cook Book is in nearly mint condition. None of the recipes in this book look familiar, or are marked or used (e.g., no food stains). I forget why or when I bought it. Why is it on my shelf, and why have I never used it?

Okay, time to settle in with this Settlement book and figure out what it is about.

I begin with the preface. The Settlement Cook Book “all started in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, around the turn of the century.” At that time, “there were vast migrations of people from Europe seeking freedom and a better life…” A group of volunteers organized classes in American life and ways, the English language, citizenship, sewing, and cooking. These classes were held at a neighborhood house called “The Settlement”.

Mrs. Simon Kander (Lizzie Black Kander) was in charge of the cooking classes. So that her students wouldn’t have to copy recipes from a blackboard, she decided to have them printed. In April 1901, a 174-page book titled “The Way to a Man’s Heart . . . The Settlement Cook Book” was produced. The profits from sales of the book were put back into the Settlement House project. Seventy-five years later (1976) one and three-quarters million copies of The Settlement Cook Book in revised and expanded versions had been sold.

This cook book has a ton of recipes. It’s long – 757 pages, including an index of about 100 pages. The book has tips on menu planning, illustrations on the cuts of meat, cooking term definitions, weights and measures, and here, on infant feeding:

“Usually a newborn is allowed to rest for the first 12 hours after birth. Then he is offered sweetened water. His first drink is prepared by measuring 3 ounces of water (6 tablespoons) into a bottle. Add one teaspoon of sugar and shake gently to dissolve. Put the nipple on and boil the entire bottle and contents for 10 to 20 minutes.”

Well, that’s a good illustration of how dated this book is. Following are some more examples of instructions and recipes in The Settlement Cookbook.

“Fried Eggs” tells you how to fry an egg, and the next recipe is how to cook bacon. In a later chapter are instructions on how to make ice cream sundaes and root beer floats. I seem to have been born already knowing how to cook eggs and bacon and make sundaes and floats, and don’t need these recipes. Advice is given for serving drinks at midday: drinks notable for their smoothness are Clover Leaf (gin, strawberries, lime, egg white) or Pink Lady (gin, apple brandy, lime, grenadine, egg white) cocktails. If you need to start a wood fire, you can find instructions on page 646. The book also tells you how to wash dishes by hand. And how to arrange dishes on a buffet table.

deep-frying chart

This chart is typical of the many useful charts throughout the book.

The entree recipes are typical Americana: lots of casseroles prepared by opening soup, bean, and vegetable cans and mixing with some sort of meat. A “Chicken Stroganoff” recipe is made from cooked chicken, canned mushrooms, and cream of mushroom soup. Boring, and not as good as my own good stroganoff. “Southern Spaghetti” has pasta, bacon, onions, raw beef, kidney beans, peas, tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers … it serves 15 people! How about a baked trout loaf, or tuna a la king? There are many recipes for cookies, cakes, and pies but they are pretty basic, nothing like the Pillsbury Bake-Off recipes.

This book could be used by someone researching the history of American cooking in the first six or seven decades of the twentieth century. But the recipes hold little interest to me. If this book had been in my family for years, I might be “tied” to it, but that isn’t the case. I will take The Settlement Cook Book to a local library or used book store for recycling.

I still need to cook a recipe from this book, that’s my “deal” with myself. Page after page I turn, shaking my head at recipe after recipe. I finally settle on a breakfast item: “Gingerbread Waffles”.

Gingerbread Waffle RecipeThese turned out pretty good. As suggested in the recipe, I added a teaspoon of cinnamon (but not cloves). I used vegetable oil instead of melted shortening. And I served them with maple syrup (and fried eggs) and they were quite tasty. They tasted like, well, gingerbread. But they weren’t very light. I won’t make them again, and thus I won’t enter this recipe into my recipe index.

Gingerbread WafflesIf you want to try the recipe, follow the scanned-in directions (above), but separate the eggs. Put the yolks in the batter with the other liquid ingredients, then beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them in gently at the last minute. “Sour milk” can be made by putting a teaspoon of vinegar in a cup of milk; my suggestion is to use buttermilk instead, and oil instead of melted shortening.

Settlement Cook BookUpdate May 2013: After I posted about the Settlement Cookbook, a woman from the Jewish Museum Milwaukee contacted me and asked me if I would like to donate the book to their archives. She said “I can promise it will be loved!” So, I sent it off to it’s new home, and feel really good about it.

250 Cookbooks: Pillsbury’s Bake-Off Recipes 1963

Cookbook #27: Pillsbury’s 14th Grand National Bake-Off Cookbook. From Pillsbury, 1963.

Bake-Off CookbookThis is another of my mother’s Bake-Off Cookbooks. So far I’ve done two Bake-off years: 1964 (Cookbook #4) and 1959 (Cookbook #10). I refer you to the 1964 blog post for a more thorough discussion of these booklets and an explanation of Mother’s rating system for recipes.

In one of the bake-off cookbooks I found a favorite recipe that I had copied for myself after I left home: Angel Squares in the 1964 booklet. And in the odd Spry booklet I found (and scanned) the recipe for Tom Thumb Bars. So as I page through this booklet, I wonder if I will find another old favorite …

Here are the recipes Mother marked as tried: Lemon Luscious Pie, Caramel-Nut Surprise Pie (“kinda rich”), Treasure Chest Bars (with a note to check out the Jim Dandies in the 10th Bake-off), Bake and Slice Chocolate Swirls, Butterscotch Best Cake, Apple-Scotch Cake, English Toffee Cake, Cherry Streusel Special, Sunshine Dream Bars, … Fudge Nut Layer Bars … I know those! Mother called them “Fudge Nut Bars”, and they are one of my favorite cookies. I have the recipe on a card! Here is the original:

Fudge Nut BarsOne recipe is marked as double-underlined “delicious!” by none other than: me! The recipe is for “Chocolate Coated Macaroon Bars”. I seem to remember making a cookie that tastes just like a Mounds Bar, and I think this must be the recipe.

Chocolate Macaroon Bars

I wrote the “delicious!” on this recipe decades ago.

I’m tempted to try the recipe for “Cheeseburger Casserole”. In it a mixture of hamburger, tomato soup, peas, and onions is topped with chunky-cheese-filled homemade biscuits. What great comfort food! Maybe some day when I hanker for a guilty pleasure I’ll make it for dinner. But not this week. (Here’s an updated version of the recipe below.)

Cheeseburger Casserole

The biscuits on top have large chunks of cheese baked right in them!

I decide to try the “Bake and Slice Chocolate Swirls”. Cookies are a better idea because extras are easy to give away or freeze.

Chocolate SwirlsChocolate SwirlsBake and Slice Chocolate Swirls

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Combine the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and shortening and heat in the microwave (or on the stove top) until the chips melt. Cool slightly.

Cream the butter with the salt, vanilla, and brown sugar. Blend in the flour and mix well. Add a little milk if the dough does not hold together (I added about a tablespoon of milk).

Divide the dough in thirds. Roll each third out on a floured surface to a 10×6-inch rectangle. Spread with filling and sprinkle with the walnuts. Roll up, starting with the 10-inch side. Place the three rolls on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350˚ for 20-25 minutes until light golden brown. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cool; wrap in plastic wrap.

To serve, cut into slices about 1/4-inch thick.

Chocolate SwirlsThese are indeed, “very good”. I’m not surprised: how can you go wrong with cookie dough and chocolate and nuts?

I just have to share one more page from this book. Below is a pie recipe that has a caramel layer topped with a cream layer. My mother says it’s “kinda rich”. Cracks me up. (I still wonder how she made so many pies and cakes and cookies and still kept her weight down.) Note that in spite of the fact that it’s kinda rich, she still put cool whip on top. Ah, those were the days.

Caramel-Nut Surprise Pie

Favorites: Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

“Muffins are one of my favorite breakfast foods. You can bake up a batch on the weekend, freeze them, and microwave one for breakfast direct from the freezer.”

The above was written by me for my 1990s blog, and it’s still true! I have over 40 muffin recipes in my personal “Muffins” document!

I published this recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins in my old 1990s blog. I call this recipe “my own”, since I pooled several recipes and tweaked the ingredients until we all thought them perfect.

I don’t make these muffins a lot any more. They come with a pretty high calorie and fat content (about 225 calories/muffin), and it’s hard to eat just one of these. And today I choose butter over margarine, and usually try to use a vegetable oil instead of butter. Saturated fats and all that. Finally, I like my breads to pack more of a fiber and nutrient wallop, and these muffins offer little of either.

I save these muffins for special occasions, when we have company or when I’m in the mood to through caution to the wind. Or when I commit to extra 10 minutes on the stair climber.

I guarantee, these are great muffins.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (preferably fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cream margarine and sugar until fluffy, then add eggs one at a time. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla; beat until blended. Fold in poppy seeds and lemon peel.

Put into 12 muffin cups and sprinkle tops with sugar if desired. Bake at 375˚ for 18-20 minutes.


250 Cookbooks: Diamond Walnut Recipe Favorites

Cookbook #26: Diamond Walnut Recipe Favorites. Diamond Walnut Growers, Stockton, CA. No publication date given.

Diamond Walnut Recipe Favorites CBThere is no date in this booklet, but my guess is that it was printed sometime in the 80s or 90s. It was my mother’s. Since it was produced by the Diamond Walnut Growers (in California, where I grew up), I think it is mostly a gathering of recipes that had appeared on the packages of Diamond Walnuts over the years.

My mother did not mark a single recipe in this book. I had a hard time finding a recipe to cook since most are high in calories (even the few entrees). I’m not going to keep this book, it will go to the recycle pile. Someone might appreciate it. The recipes are not bad, they just aren’t very different from the many cookie, cake, and bread recipes that I already have.

I decided to make the “Walnut Lemon Muffins”. I will substitute vegetable oil for the melted shortening, add vanilla, and add a bit more lemon juice and rind. Also, I learned from Alton Brown’s Good Eats that sugar is to be treated as a liquid, so I added it to the wet instead of the dry ingredient mixture.

Walnut Lemon MuffinsWalnut Lemon Muffins

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • topping: 2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel (to top the muffins)
  • optional: 12 whole walnuts for the tops of the muffins

Prepare 12 muffin cups, either by lining the cups with paper muffin cups, or by spraying a non-stick pan with non-stick cooking spray. Heat the oven to 400˚.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Beat the egg lightly, then add the sugar and beat well. Mix in the milk, vanilla, 1 teaspoon lemon peel, lemon juice, and oil. Stir in the dry ingredients just until all of the dry ingredients are moistened, then add the walnuts. Do not over mix.

Put into the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the muffins with the sugar-lemon peel mixture and then top each with a walnut half. Bake at 400˚ for about 20 minutes, until browned.

Walnut Lemon MuffinsThese are very good! We had them (first) for Sunday breakfast. Even with my extra lemon, they aren’t very lemony-tasting, but the walnuts make them great. Don’t skip the lemon-sugar topping – it really brightens the flavor and appeal of these muffins.

These reminded me of how much I like my own Lemon Poppyseed Muffins. It’s a recipe I tweaked until perfect, then added to my old 1990s Blog. It includes 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and they are definitely lemony-tasting.

250 Cookbooks: The Soybean Cookbook

Cookbook #25: The Soybean Cookbook, Adventures in Zestful Eating. Dorthea Van Gundy Jones, ARC Books, NY, Fourth ARC Printing, July 1971. ©The Devin-Adair Company, 1963. Soybean CookbookI pull The Soybean Cookbook off the shelf, and sigh at the images that flash through my mind: a much younger version of me gleefully boiling pots of soybeans, trying to get them cooked soft enough to eat, and then trying to get them seasoned into a hot chile so we could stand eating them. The picture of myself that comes to mind is me as the crazy chemist in tattered blue jeans in the kitchen of our trailer. Well I was a crazy chemist, but this is me as a crazy kitchen chemist. I was determined to make those soybeans palatable. And I knew I wanted to do this because one of the current health-fads was the soybean: high in quality protein and other nutrients and perhaps able to stave off coronary disease and maybe even cancer.

Eventually I gave up trying to cook whole soybeans. Much to the relief of my partner, I’m sure. By the time our kids came along, soybeans were no longer a staple in my kitchen.

I take the small paperback that is The Soybean Cookbook to my favorite chair and settle in. What the heck can I find to cook from this cookbook? Perhaps to avoid looking at the soy recipes, I start reading the title page, prefaces, and the chapter on the history of soybeans. Hey, there is a mystery here!

Mildred Lager and Dorothea Van Gundy Jones

On the book’s title pages, the author is given as Dorothea Van Gundy Jones, the copyright date is 1963, and my copy is the 4th printing, 1971.

Two prefaces come after the table of contents. The first preface is titled “preface to the first edition” and the author is “Mildred Lager”. Who is Mildred Lager? She is not listed on the title page.

The second preface is titled “preface to the revised edition” and the author is Dorothea Van Gundy Jones. She does not mention Mildred Lager in her preface.


The first chapter is titled “History of the Soybean”. The author writes: “The father of one of the authors, T. A. Van Gundy, became interested in the nutritional value of soybeans while attending the World’s Fair in San Francisco in 1915, where they were featured in the Oriental exhibits.”

Okay, so Dorothea Jones admits that the book has more than one author, who I figure must be Mildred Lager.

Time to google “Mildred Lager”. Here is what I found.

Mildred Lager (1900-1960) was one of the pioneers of the natural foods and soyfoods movement in Los Angeles. She encouraged soybean use through recipe books, a heath food store, and a radio program. She also was the president of the Health Food Dealers of Southern California and the vice-president of the National Dietary Association. (Reference, SoyInfo Center website: Mildred Lager – History of Her Work With Soyfoods and Natural Foods in Los Angeles.)

A little digging on the SoyInfo Center reveals:

  • 1960 Jan. 25 – Mrs. Edwin S. Jones (Mildred Lager), age 59, dies at her home at 4114 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California. She leaves her husband, Edwin S. Jones.
  • 1960 Aug. 7 – Edwin S. Jones (age 69) marries Dorothea Van Gundy (age 57). It is her first, his third. They revise and update Mildred Lager’s books, then both work hard for many years to keep them in print – in part as a source of family income.

So Mildred Lager’s married name was “Mrs. Edwin Jones”, she died in 1960, and a half year later her husband married Dorothea Van Gundy. More from the SoyInfo Center:

“After Mildred’s death, in August 1960, Ed Jones married Dorothea Van Gundy, a former sweetheart, and encouraged her to revise Mildred’s soyfoods book and bring it out under a new title, The Soybean Cookbook, which subsequently became a best-seller.” “In 1981 Mildred’s fine book The Useful Soybean, was very difficult to find (it should be reissued), but The Soybean Cookbook was widely available.”

Mystery solved! Mildred Lager wrote The Useful Soybean which fell out of print, and Dorothea revised and updated it as The Soybean Cookbook. I think it’s fitting that she includes Mildred’s preface and it all makes sense now.

(Reference: Mildred Lager: Work with Soyfoods in Los Angeles – download the entire book here.)

Interesting points from the prefaces

Here is a quote from Mildred Lager’s preface in The Soybean Cookbook:

“For many years I had the privilege of being on a crossroad of nutrition, working with every phase of the healing art. That was when soybeans were literally thrust upon me. I experimented with them as a food, secured various soy products for special diets, made up recipes, and taught the use and cooking of soybeans when they were practically unknown. In 1942, when the beans came into the limelight as a war emergency food, a collection of my recipes was published under the title of 150 Ways To Use Soybeans. In 1945 McGraw-Hill published my complete book on soybeans, their story as well as recipes, called The Useful Soybean.”

Note the publication date of Mildred Lager’s first soybean cookbook: 1942. My previous post in this 250 Cookbooks blog was about Aunt Jenny’s odd cookbook praising the merits of Spry, a solid vegetable shortening, a book also published in 1942. Two totally different takes on war-time cooking. (I’d go with the soybeans as the best choice for nutrition.)

Mildred Lager continues:

“I believe that proper nutrition and common-sense living are man’s best medicine. I also believe that science cannot equal the Master Chemist and that therefore natural foods are better than the refined.”

Master Chemist! I love that! By the capitalization, we all know (hint, hint) who or what she is talking about. And the “chemist” reference speaks to me in itself, as that was my career. (Besides being a cook/witch stirring a bubbling pot.)

Dorothea Van Gundy Jones’ preface does not speak to me as does Mildred’s. She writes that new methods have been worked out for removing “too-positive soy flavor”, and adds that no pepper or hot spices are included in the recipes because of their “irritating effect on the delicate tissues in the digestive tract”. (This tells me why I don’t like many recipes in this book: I like spicy foods.)

What I learned

The “health food craze” in the US did not begin with the hippies in the 60s. The pioneers of healthy eating were at work long before the first young man grew his hair long, before the first young woman burned her bra.

Soybean history

If you have a real interest in the history of the soybean, by all means go to the SoyInfo Center, an amazingly comprehensive and accessible website (accessed 2013). The bullets listed below are only the topics discussed by the authors in the chapter on soybean history.

  • Soybeans are one of the oldest crops grown by man. They are mentioned in Chinese records from  beyond 2000 BCE.
  • Although the authors give 1804 as the year that soybeans were brought to the US, the SoyInfo Center differs, stating that the earliest known references to soyfoods in America were by Samuel Bowen. He brought soybeans to Georgia, where they were first planted in 1765. (SoyInfo Center)
  • W. J. Morse is sometimes called the “father of the soybean”. (SoyInfo Center)
  • J. A. LeClerc, a research worker connected to the USDA, helped promote soybeans.
  • In 1920, the American Soybean Association was organized.
  • Henry Ford saw the possibility of the use of soybean plastics in the automobile industry (SoyInfo Center)
  • T. A. Van Gundy is the father of Dorothea Jones. Mr. Van Gundy developed palatable soy products and went into business selling them. (SoyInfo Center)
  • H. W. Miller was a missionary doctor in China soy milk and infant feeding (SoyInfo Center)
  • Clive M. McCay, a professor of nutrition at Cornell Univeristy, and his wife “did much research and experimental work to find palatable ways of incorporating soybeans into the American diet. They made a real contribution in popularizing this little-known and highly valuable protein food.” (SoyInfo Center)

The recipes

Okay, I have stated that I am not a fan of cooked whole soybeans, but the book uses products other than whole beans, such as tofu, ground beans, sprouted beans, soy flour, and soy milk, with recipes from salads to desserts. Surely I can find something to cook, some recipe to try.

I frown at recipe after recipe. Soybean burgers and loaves, soy souffle, soy-stuffed bell peppers, tofu casserole . . . all with very few seasonings other than salt, pepper, and MSG (!). Finally, in the baked good chapter, I find a recipe for “Fruit Nut Bread”. Soy milk and soy flour are used in the batter for this yeast-leavened quick bread. It’s low in fat and high in protein. I’m going to add cinnamon to it, though!

soy flour

this soy flour is simply “powdered soybeans”

reciperecipeFruit Nut Bread

  • 1/2 cup soy flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pkg. dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or shortening: you can use Spry!)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla-flavored)
  • 1/2 cup dates, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind

Mix the flours, yeast, salt, and cinnamon.

Cream the vegetable oil and sugar; add the egg and then the soy milk, mixing well. Add the fruits and nuts and orange rind, then add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Place in a well-oiled 8″x4 1/2″ loaf pan. Bake at 350˚ for 50-60 minutes, until it tests done with a toothpick.

Fruit Nut Bread

The loaf is a bit broken and lopsided, but it tasted really good. We had it at breakfast, and it’s a lot like a fruit cake. It’s dense, but flavorful. No one would guess that it has soy in it. And it’s full of protein while being relatively low in fat. A slice of this bread along with a scrambled egg and milk kept my appetite at bay for hours.

I thought it odd to add the dry, undissolved yeast to the batter and cook the bread immediately. Throughout The Soybean Cookbook, yeast is used in this manner instead of baking powder or baking soda, and I don’t understand why. Author’s preference? Anyway, if I try this again, I would dissolve the yeast in a little of the soy milk, warmed, then add it to the batter. Then I would let the loaf rest in a warm place to rise until it lightens a bit before baking. That way, it might be lighter and less dense.

Fruit Nut Bread

 Shall I keep this book?

I am going to keep the book, but mostly for its historical value. I don’t mean it’s worth any amount of money, it’s that it was one of the important books that helped incorporate soybean products into American cuisine.

I decided to go on a field trip and find how many soy products I could easily find at three local markets. Tofu was easy to find, it’s everywhere. I like tofu, plain or in stir fries or added to breads. Soy milk, too, is prevalent, both shelf-packaged and refrigerated. I bought a carton of fresh vanilla-flavored soy milk and found that I really like it. There is also soy coffee creamer. And soy ice cream. Soy flour was only in 2 of the 3 stores that I searched. All three stores had edamame (green soybeans) in the frozen section; I’ve had edamame before, but had forgotten about it. I brought some home and put a handful in a soup and it was great. I picked up some tempeh and tried it; I’m not much of a tempeh fan. I had to really search to find dry soybeans, but did find them at the third store. Soy crisps! I like these little high protein crackers that stave off hunger. (Beyond the mentioned soy products, I’m sure if I looked at the labels of packaged foods, I’d find soy listed as an ingredient in a lot.)

This has been a good exercise for me. I started this blog thinking that I was no longer a “soybean nut”. But I was wrong. I may not begin with whole soybeans, but I use soy products all the time. And now that I have rediscovered soy, I plan to re-incorporate soy flour, milk, and edamame into my weekly breads and meal plans.

Mildred Lager would be proud.

old soybeans

This dusty jar of soybeans has been on my soffit for probably 20 years – I thought to look up there when I was looking for dried soybeans – crazy me – they were hiding in plain sight!