250 Cookbooks: Pastries and Desserts

Cookbook #218: Pastries and Desserts, California Home Economics Association, Press of Clyde Browne, Los Angeles, Cal., 1921.

Pastries and Desserts cookbookThis might have belonged to my maternal grandmother. There is very little handwriting in it, but what there is looks like hers. Or it might have come from Ruth Vandenhoudt, since it is from the same cookbook series as Salads, Vegetables and the Market Basket. There are a few food and age stains, but it is actually in pretty good condition for being 96 years old! I have two copies, and one is missing the cover.

I like the design of the cover and the introductory pages. Here is a scan of the cover, since it gives more detail than my photo:

Pastries and Desserts

The title page:

PastDesstitlepage

This page is opposite the title page (above) and lists books in the series. I like this: “Price: Fifty Cents. Postage: Four Cents.”

PastDessopptitlepageThe entire content has a pleasing typeface and layout, no typos, is well-organized with cross-references, and has a very useful index at the end. The content is by the California Home Economics Association, Southern Section, but who is responsible for the printing of this 1921 cookbook? I find “Press of Clyde Browne” and “Cover Design by Stanley Edwards” on the back cover:

pressofClydeBrownClyde Browne, was a self-identified printer, according to a 2014 article in KCETLink. From the KCETLink web site: “. . . Southern California bohemians, whose ideals and aesthetics were inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, valuing craftsmanship, beauty, nature, and community. Settling along the Arroyo Seco, between Pasadena and Highland Park, these inhabitants created what Kevin Starr calls the ‘Arroyoan ideal: the spiritualization of daily life through an aestheticism tied to crafts and local materials,’ that is ‘expressed primarily through the home.'” Clyde Browne also has a Wikipedia entry.

Sounds like Clyde was a Bohemian, a beatnik, a hippie, a New Age person. Someone who would be right at home in Boulder, Colorado.

I continue paging through Pastries and Desserts. Here is the foreword:

PastriesDessertsforewordThis foreword tells us that the California Home Economics Association promoted these recipe booklets as “useful gifts for many occasions”. Furthermore, it tells us about the role of women in society in the early twentieth century: “The desserts have been classified in such a way that she who hopes to plan her meals wisely will find the dessert problem a little easier”. (Dessert problem, right.)

The first recipe in the booklet is for pie crust, below. These directions represent the style of writing throughout the booklet. I’ll let you read it and judge for yourself. (This is from the era before mixers, food processors, or even pastry cutters.) Note the directions for oven temperatures: “bake in a very hot oven for about 3 minutes, and then lower the heat decidedly”. Here is how to intrepret older oven temperature descriptions to degrees Fahrenheit.

pastrypastryNote that besides the instruction “hot oven for 3 minutes”, no time is given for baking the crust. This is true throughout this 1921 cookbook. The baking recipes just say “cook until done”. Some of the recipes for steamed puddings have a designated cooking time, but the desserts cooked on the stove top do not.

Pie recipes include: lemon chiffon, berry, southern tomato, rhubarb, raisin, custard, mock mincemeat, cottage cheese, banana cream, and more. Tarts can be adapted from any of the pie recipes.

Puddings are thickened with cornstarch, tapioca, and flour. Cereal desserts are made from rice, cornmeal, bread and cracker crumbs. There are custards, fruits (raw and stewed and baked), and rose apples using red clove candies. Fruits include cranberries, oranges, apples, bananas, berries, grapes, figs, melons, pineapple, peaches, prunes. Gelatine desserts are based on plain gelatin (not jello). Baked puddings include dumplings, cobblers, and roly poly. Steamed puddings include carrot, cherry cup, chocolate, fruit, gingerbread, Hazzard Delicious (butter, sugar, nuts, flour, baking powder, milk, eggs), persimmon, plum, and suet. There are rosettes, timbales and fritters. Frozen desserts include fruit ices: ice cream from milk, cream, sugar and eggs, simply frozen, not churned, with variations including chocolate, orange, pinneapple, caramel, coffee, fig, tutti frutti, grape nut, maple, peppermint, and ginger. Mousses (a standard recipe with suggestions for flavoring) and parfaits (frozen desserts made with eggs, syrup) are included. The last section is sauces for puddings (cooked without eggs, cooked with eggs, uncooked with eggs), and sauces for ice cream.

Very few recipes in this booklet include chocolate!

I decide to make Tapioca Cream for this blog. Our grandson will join us for dinner and I think this is a fairly nutritous dessert because it includes milk and eggs, is relatively low in sugar, and has no added fat.

Tapioca is a starch made from cassava root. In the US, it is mainly used as a thickener, but in triopical areas of Africa and Asia, cassava is a staple food. Cassava is low in nutrition: it has no protein or fiber, is low in calories (important in areas of the world where food energy is a plus), and has insignificant amounts of viatmins and minerals. In the US, tapioca is sold as “minute tapioca” (and has been sold that way since at least 1921). I’ve also tried pearl tapioca – big round lumps of tapioca.

Here is the Tapioca Cream recipe from page 26:

Tapioca Cream recipe

As you see, the mixing and cooking instructions are not given in the Tapioca Cream recipe. It says: “mix same as for cornstarch pudding”. Those instructions are six pages previous – page 19:

tapioca pudding instructions

I learned that you do not have to scald milk from my book Kitchen Science. Therefore, I will simply mix together the tapioca, sugar, salt, and milk. Shall I use a double boilier to heat this mixture? I suspect that in 1921, you needed to cook in a double boiler to control the stove top temperature – note that the recipe says “remove from fire”. “Fire” sounds harder to control than today’s stove top burners! So I won’t use that step, but simply cook it in a saucepan on the stove top. Also, I will beat the egg whites with 3 tablespoons sugar, according to the instructions on my current package of minute tapioca. The modern recipe calls for 2 tablespoons less sugar and leaves out the nuts.

Tapioca Cream Pudding
serves 3-6

  • 1/4 cup minute tapioca
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • dash of salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the tapioca, sugar, and salt in a cool pan, then add the milk and egg yolk. Let stand 5 minutes.

Heat the mixture to a full boil on medium heat, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Let stand 20 minutes to cool.

Beat the egg white on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 3 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form.

Fold the egg white mixture into the tapioca-milk mixture. Fold in the vanilla.

You can divide the pudding into single servings or not; you can serve warm or chilled.

tapioca puddingI made only three custard cups, and it served three people! It was so good – I hadn’t made it in years and it’s a comfort food to me. I put some sliced strawberries on top and served it with cookies. My grandson liked to dip those cookies in the pudding!

Note: I used 3 tablespoons tapioca, as it stated on the package. But I would have liked it a little thicker, so I’d suggest the 4 tablespoons tapioca as written in Pastries and Desserts.

oven temperatures

Aside

Many older cookbooks refer to oven temperatures as very slow, slow, moderte, hot, very hot, and extremely hot. In my Encyclopedia of Cooking, Volume 11, I found this handy table that translates these terms into degrees fahrenheit.

oven temperatures

250 Cookbooks: Encyclopedia of Cookery, Volume 11

Cookbook #217: Encyclopedia of Cookery, Vol. 11, Sou-Ton, Woman’s Day, Fawcett Publications, NY, 1966.

Encyclopedia of Cookery Vol. 11

I have a set of twelve Encyclopedia of Cookery volumes and this is the eleventh of that set – I covered the first ten in previous posts. This volume covers curious and helpful information about foods from (sou)fles to (ton)gue.

Souffles. We do like my Cheese Souffle, and I always follow the recipe in my Joy of Cooking. I usually add ham to it too. I have been making this souffle for decades. The trick is to have everyone ready to eat as soon as it comes out of the oven – because souffles always fall quickly. And this fact is reiterated in the Encyclopedia of Cookery:

“When the cooked souffle is taken from the oven, it should be taken to the table and served at once. It is a rule of the kitchen that a souffle should be served immediately. If there is any waiting to be done, let it be by the guests.”

I love that: “a rule of the kitchen”! This volume of the Encyclopedia of Cookery has a lenghty and good explanation of how to make a basic entree souffle, suggesting many variations. And, it includes a recipe for Liqueur Souffle with suggested variations.

The Soup Cookbook is 8 big pages long. The last entry is a soup garnish called “Twist Toast”.
Twish ToastSour Cream in its simplest form is “unpasteurized heavy sweet cream that has been allowed to stand in a warm place until it has become sour”. Commercial sour cream is made from “sweet cream chemically treated with lactic-acid bacteria to produce a thick cream with a mild tangy flavor”. The South American Cook Book begins with an interesting essay by Jean Gormaz on the widely varied cooking of this continent of many climates. Vatapa, a fish stew from Brazil, illustrates the variety of ingredients in South American cookery.

VatapaVatapaCook books called Southeast Asian Cookery, Southern Cookery, and Southwest Cookery follow each other with no short entries between. (This volume of the Encyclopedia of Cookery sure has a lot of cook books in it.) The Southwestern cook book  includes few dishes familiar to me, except chili sauce, tacos, and sopapillas. Carne Adobada is an example of a recipe I have never heard of before, and it takes days to make.

Carne Adobada

Finally, I come to a short, non-cookbook entry: Soybeans. “The soybean is one of the world’s oldest plants. It has been cultivated in China for over 4,000 years.” “Bean curds” are mentioned, but are not called tofu. Most of the recipes in this section include soy sauce as the “soybean” ingredient.

Spaghetti, Spanish Cookery, spare rib, spearmint, spice. The spice section is rather short, recipe-wise. It has a two-page illustrated chart, but only includes 12 spices. “Spices – Nature’s Flavor Magic” is an essay on the importance of spices in history.

A sprat is a small herring, often sold canned or smoked. A squab is a young pigeon that is not allowed to fly before it is eaten. Squirrels are found in the US and “occasionally eaten as food, particularly in some rural sections. The flesh of sqirrel is light red or pink in color and has a pleasing flavor.”

The section on steaks includes a charcoal broiled cookbook. It’s writtten by Philip S. Brown, and I like it. He comments in the first person throughout the recipes. I’d like to try his “Teriyaki”, made from marinated round steak strips woven back and forth on skewers and grilled.

Sterilize, stew, stir (entered as “stir, to”), stock. Stollen is a sweet, fruit-filled yeast bread baked in the form of a folded-over roll. That sounds like a recipe up my alley.

Strawberries are native to both the old and new world. The Encyclopedia of Cookery claims wild strawberries are the best – I’ve never had a wild strawberry! I have had small-farm grown fresh cultivated strawberries, though. I grew up in Southern California, where strawberry fields were abundant. Strawberry shortcake was an oft-made dessert at our home.

Strudel, stuffing, sturgeon, sucker (a fish), suet (hard fat from around the kidneys), sugar, sundae. A cookbook on Swedish Cookery. Sweetbread is “The thymus glands of lamb, veal, or young beef (under 1 year; the thymus disappears in mature beef). Sweetbreads consist of two parts: the heart sweetbread and the throat sweetbread.” According to the entry, sweetbreads are widely available year round fresh and frozen. I’ve never seen them in stores. Then again, I’ve never looked.

Sweet potatoes are the root of a perennial vine of the morning glory family. Sweet potatoes are not yams – yams are a completely different botanical species. Sweet potatoes are native to America. Many recipes are in the Sweet Potato Cook Book. Sweetsop refers to both a small tropical American tree and its sweet pulpy fruit, also called the sugar apple. Swiss Cookery is a collection of recipes authored by James A. Beard.

Syrup is a sweet, thick, sticky liiquid. It is made from a concentrated solution of sugar and water, and can be flavored with chocolate or the juice of a plant, for example, corn syrup, or from the concentrated juice of plants like sugar cane or maple trees. (It does not mention 100% maple syrup.) The taffy entry has a recipe for homemade taffy.

This entry is for my daughter:

tamara

A tangelo is a hybrid of the tangerine and garpefruit. Tangerines are named after Tangiers, but originated in China. Tapioca is made by heating the starch of the manioc tuber. I find that manioc is also known as cassava and yuca. Tarts are filled pastries, often sweet, but also savory. Here is a recipe for Frankfurter custard tarts.

Frankfurter Custard TartsI would never make these, they do not sound tasty to me. And “taste” is an entry: “one of the senses of man”. Tea is honored with an essay by James Beard on “the pleasures of tea drinking”, and I like his era “B. T.” – before tea:

teaTetrazzini is a dish I discussed in All-Time Favorite Casserole Recipes. Thanksgiving includes an essay and many traditional recipes.

Toast again! Toast was really popular in the 1960s. The “Toast Cook Book” is 5 pages long. A tomato is a fruit native to South America, and the Tomato Cookbook gives lots of recipes for its use.

Tongue is the last entry. It is a “nourishing and appetizing food, good hot or cold”. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked or eaten it. But according to the Encyclopedia of Cookery, it is an “old favorite”. “Tongue Twisters” is a collection of recipes by Iris Brooks: “No, nothing to do with P. Piper and his produce, but new twists on that old favorite, tongue. Have it pickled or corned, smoked or fresh; canned or in jars, plain or in vinegar; beef, calf, pork, or lamb; but by all means, have it. Whether hot or cold, whole on the platter or in even pink slices, tongue is always a delight to the eye and a joy to the palate.”

Well. On that note, I end volume 11 of the Encyclopedia of Cookery.

Now, what to make for this blog? I decide on “Strawberry Shortcake”.

Strawberry Shortcake recipeWhy did I choose this recipe? I have been making strawberry shortcake for years. But I have always started with my mother’s basic biscuit recipe, and just added “a bit” of sugar. This is an actual “shortcake” recipe. Plus, I like the way the dough is rolled out into a big circle and baked in a cake pan. Saves a step in cutting out the biscuits. And finally, I had some strawberries in the refrigerator looking to be used!

I made a one-third recipe for the two of us and had enough for dessert for two nights.

Strawberry Shortcake
serves 4

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/6 cup vegetable shortening (2 2/3 tablespoons or 32 grams)
  • 1/2 egg (whisk one egg, put in a measuring cup, and use half)
  • 1/4 cup milk, about
  • strawberries
  • whipped cream

Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening. Mix the half egg and milk, then add to the flour mixture slowly, mixing with a fork, just until it makes a soft dough.

On a floured board, knead the dough lightly for about 20 turns. Roll or press into a 9-inch circle. Place in a lightly greased 9-inch cake pan.

Bake at 450˚ for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.

shortbreadMeanwhile, slice the strawberries and add a tablespoon or so of sugar. Stir and allow to macerate until you serve the shortcake.

To serve, split the baked shortcake into two layers. For us two, I first cut the shortcake into two half circles, then quarter circles. I took two quarter circles and split each quarter into two layers.

Layer one shortbread, half the berries, another shortbread layer, the rest of the berries, and then put whipped cream (real or fake) on top.

Strawberry ShortcakeThis was excellent! I like the egg in the dough, and I like rolling it into one circle instead of biscuits. My dining partner said “yum, but not enough!” I take that as a thumbs up.

250 Cookbooks: Crockery Cookery

Cookbook #216: Crockery Cookery, Mable Hoffman, H. P. Books, Los Angeles, CA, 1975.

Crockery Cookery cookbookI just now realized: This paperback book has the same title and cover photo and publication date as my hardcover book Crockery Cookery. This paperback is from my own collection, while the hard back version was my mother’s. I didn’t mark or note any of the recipes in the paperback. The information on the use of different brands of crockpots is the same in both, but some of the recipes are different. And, the hardcover edition is better illustrated.

In all, I have eleven crockpot cookbooks in my database. See my first crockpot blog entry for a little on the history of crockpots.

Before I realized that this cookbook was a duplicate, I spent some time poring over the recipes. This time they struck me as “definitely severnties” in content. For better or worse! To me, seventies style foods can be both comfort foods and over-fatty over-packaged over-salted foods to avoid. Today I will take them as comfort foods. I choose to make “Hungarian Goulash”, with ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, mustard, paprika, and garlic and onion.

Hungarian Goulash recipeThe recipe calls for beef stew meat, but I have a quantity of pork loin in the freezer so I decide to use that instead of beef.

Hungarian Goulash
serves about 4

  • 2 pounds beef or pork stew meat (I used cut-up pork loin)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup flour mixed into a small amount of water

Put the meat in a crockpot and then add the onion. In a bowl or measuring cup, combine the garlic, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt, paprika, mustard, and 1 cup water. Stir to combine,then pour over the meat/onion mix in the crockpot.

Cover and cook on low from 9-10 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours, until the meat is very tender. Taste and add salt and pepper to your taste. Then, with the crockpot on high, add the 1/4 cup flour mixed with a small amount of water. Stir in, then cover and cook on high for 15 minutes, until the sauce is thickened.

Serve over noodles or rice.

Hungarian GoulashThis was very good. I’d make it again!

I am going to recycle this paperback, though. The hardcover version is more pleasant to use, largely because of the color photographs.

250 Cookbooks: Handbook of the Nutritional Contents of Foods

Cookbook #215: Handbook of the Nutritional Contents of Foods, prepared by Bernice K. Watt and Annabel L. Merrill for the United States Department of Agriculture, Dover Publications, Inc., NY, 1975.

Handbook of the Nutritional Contents of FoodI bought the Handbook of the Nutritional Contents of Foods for myself new or used, I think sometime in the eighties. Around that time, I was developing a basic “eating plan” for myself, or maybe I should say “dieting plan”. You see, for years, I would diet strictly for months, eat sensibly for a short time, overindulge for weeks, then repeat the cycle. I drew up my first plan based on a diet given to me in the early seventies, before I left California. Later, The Calculating Cook influenced my diet plan, as well as The Glucose Revolution Pocket Guide to Losing Weight. Those books taught me how to judge food choices as good sources of protein and good or bad carbohydrates. Handbook of the Nutritional Contents of Foods gets down to the dark and dirty of the calories and nutrients in thousands of foods.

I went through a period of counting calories. And I don’t mean simply “counting calories”. I wrote down exactly what I ate each day and calculated the number of calories in each portion of food. At first, I measured portions with measuring cups; later I used a kitchen scale. When I discovered computer databases in the late eighties, I went crazy. I kept computer records of everything I ate, calculated the numbers of calories per day, and correlated it with my weight. I even graphed results. And, I rarely ate out when in a strict dieting phase because it could add an unknown number of calories.

This continued for a long time and the Handbook of the Nutritional Contents of Foods was my ultimate resource for years. This is a very serious, scientific type book that appeals to my scientific nature. More than just calories, I studied my diet to make sure I was getting enough of the nutrients considered essential. I found a page tucked into this book where I listed vitamins and good sources of each.

Here is another sheet of paper I found tucked into this book. It’s a calculation for the total calories I ate one day (and I found a mistake in my calculations):

calorie calculationOne thing I recall about looking up calories in this book is that it was difficult to find the calories in meats. I think maybe it was because I didn’t have a kitchen scale at the time, and would have to estimate the calories from the meat package label, using the amount sold (raw) and estimating the size of the portion I cut for myself.

Am I counting calories today? No! Life and food are too much fun, and I want to enjoy both. But, I do know to limit portions and usually do so.

Other books I own and have used to develop a sensible eating plan:

Handbook of the Nutritional Contents of Foods is available on Amazon as a used book: apparently it was never updated. Full text is available on Google books (the cover of the online book is a little different from the cover on my copy.)

The book contents

Handbook of the Nutritional Contents of Foods is a large book (8 3/4 x 12 inches) of 190 pages. It is almost only tables, as described below.

Table 1: Composition of Foods, 100 Grams, Edible Portion. This table gives values for: water content, food energy (calories), protein, fat, carbohydrate, ash, calcium, phosphus, iron, sodium, potassium, Vitamin A, thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). For many foods, such as meats, values are given for both cooked and uncooked portions. Here’s a photo of a sample page, just to show you how it’s formatted. It’s hard to follow the values for a specific food without a ruler as a guide. Here is a photo of a sample page:

table page

Table 2: Nutrients in the Edible Portion of 1 pound of Food as Purchased. This table gives the same values as Table 1, but for packaged foods rather than standalone foods. This table is not very useful today, because offered backaged foods have changed in the last 41 years, and because we now have nutrient content labels on most packaged foods. This excerpt my own post on Calories and Carbohydrates discusses the introduction of nutrient labels:

“Food products were sold without a nutrition content label. Thus this book once provided a great service. Beginning May 8, 1994, food companies were required by law to begin using nutrient content labels on packaged foods, a label mandated for most food products under the provisions of the 1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA), per the recommendations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

Table 3: Selected Fatty Acids in Foods. Useful if you are carefully watching your saturated and unsaturated fatty acid intake. Cooking olis are listed, but the focus is on the food product, be it a fish, meat, dairy product, vegetable, fruit, or bread product.

Table 4: Cholesterol Content of Foods. One page only.

Table 5: Magnesium Content of Food. Ten pages.

The final pages are notes, small tables of miscellaneous values, explanations of where the values for the book were found, and a bibliography.

Will I keep this book? Yes, but mostly for curiousity. The book is over forty years old, after all. And of course, the values are so, so much easier to look up online. I have a few favorite go-to sites for food values, but basically, all you have to do is type the name of a food into a search engine and the food value will pop up.

And what shall I cook for this blog?

There are no recipes in this book. But my last post, PastaMatic MX700, sparked my interest in buckwheat. I had always thought “buckwheat” to be related to “wheat”, but instead it is in the rhubarb family. It is a gluten free grain. I look up the entry in Handbook of the Nutritional Contents of Foods:

Buckwheat flour, dark: 333 cal, 11.7 protein, 2.5 g fat, 72.0 carbs1.6 fiber, ash 1.8, 33 mg calcium 347 phpsphorus, 2.8 iron, no sodium, 0 potassium, 0 A, .58 thiamine .15 riboflavin, 4.4 niacin, no vit c

As a comparison, I look up the values for all purpose white flour: 364 cal, 10.5 protein, 1.0 g fat, 76.1 g carbohydrate, .43 g ash, 16 calcium, 87 phosphorus, .8 iron, 2 sodium, 95 potassium, 0 A, .06 thiamine, .05 riboflavin, .9 niacin, 0 vitamin C.

The only noticeable difference is potassium. But a big difference between white flour and buckwheat flour is the glycemic index. Buckwheat’s GI value is 47, whole wheat flour is 51, and white flour is 66. Any value less than 55 is considered “low glycemic index”. (I found these values from a Google search engine search.) Also, buckwheat flour is gluten free. (Note: in general, when you eat the full grain, such as “groats”, the glycemic index is lower than the value for the flour from the same grain.)

I made My Daily Bread, using 1 cup buckwheat flour, and making to 12 ounces with gluten flour and all-purpose unbleached flour. The buckwheat flour gave a lovely blue-purple-tinged to the loaf. It rose nicely:

risen buckwheat breadAnd it baked into a beautiful loaf. Here is a slice, showing the blue hue and the great texture:

slice of buckwheat breadI sniffed the loaf like I always do. Pee-yoo, it stinks! Something about the smell really turns me away. I ate a big bite and it tasted like it smelled. Yuck.

I was able to eat a slice with a lot of Whole Foods peanut butter and my own homemade Colorado apricot jam. It was very filling and left me with no lingering stinky after effects. But buckwheat is not for me.