Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bargain Book Bonanza (4)

BBB is a linky party to showcase all the great books (new, used, vintage, electronic, audio) that we book lovers score on sale.

Each Monday through Thursday, all book lovers are invited to carouse, make merry and revel with bargain book abandon!

Want to join the party? Just visit the Bargain Book Bonanza page for the particulars. 

Leslie's BBB

"I got you something. It's a book. Ey! I got you a book. It's a cookbook. I want you to make something from it."  That was what my dear hubby, Manuel, told me when he got back into the car. "There are lots of books inside. You can go check while I wait with the kids."

I had been waiting and waiting for him while he talked to his client. His client was holding a garage sale at the same time and Manuel was browsing. He always checks through any books because he knows how much I love books. I would have gone in, except that the kids by this point were very squirmy and whining pleading to go home.

I eagerly snatched the book. What could have caught his eye? It must be good! 

I burst out laughing. But pretty soon, I got engrossed...and in some cases, grossed out...with these recipes!

This book was printed in MCMXL. Right? So long ago the years weren't numbers! Oh wait. After Googling extensive research, I discovered it is 1940. Sheesh. Couldn't they just put that in the first place?

Anywho. This is supposedly the best and most typical dishes from each of the 48 (!) states.

Each state starts with a little intro about the cultural influences of the local cuisine. It's actually very interesting and enlightening. The authors seem to really enjoy these multi-cultural references.

I have to say, I have a sneaking suspicion they "exotic-fied" up the names of some recipes to make them seem more, I don't know, unusual. For example, basic bean recipes were given Native American names.

So, some recipes I found under Texas:

"Sweet Potato Chiffon Pie"...Chiffon...ooh la la! 

"Ground-Cooked Calf's Head": Buy a head with the skin on. Dig a hole wide enough to hold the head and all its wrappings, and at least 3 feet deep...

Like I said, fairly typical.  

Other recipes have some interesting instructions as well. "Hack meat slightly...";  after washing 2 cups pinto beans, "Put in a bucket which has a tight-fitting lid..";  and oven temperatures are never given - just moderate oven, medium oven, etc.  I guess temperatures were added for later "spoiled" generations!

And some recipes call for things the cook should just know, like "1 bowl standard fritter batter" - no actual ingredients listed!

Ample amounts of lard AND butter in many recipes, heavy creams, and sugar! Fantastical dishes like, Schuylkill Dandelions, Elderberry Blossom Cakes, Braised Antelope, and Midnight Cake. It almost sounds like Alice in Wonderland, doesn't it?

While I will probably never use this book, it has been a lot of fun to look through. These people ate everything! And it is fascinating what a history lesson you can receive from cookbooks. The world wars and the depression greatly influenced how Americans cooked and the food that was available. This is like stepping back in time!

The book was torn and not very pretty, no photos or pictures. It's actually a very ugly book, and an olive drab color. I am surprised my husband even noticed it. But I am glad he did. It's been a hoot! much was this little gem? Well, the asking price was a DOLLAR...but somehow my dear hubby got it FREE. Yes. He did. He has no shame. He askeths and usually receiveths. 

So, my dear little Muttonettes (that's another recipe), my apologies for un-colorful pictures, but the treasure here, truly, is in the words!

Do you enjoy reading funny old cookbooks?

Can't wait to see ya'lls Bargain Book Bonanzas!


  1. Ooh, I want some braised antelope. In which state is that a popular dish, I wonder?

  2. Well, of course,it was Wyoming! That's what they are famous for!
    Hee hee hee!

  3. I want some elderberry blossom cake-- that sounds yum.

    I can just see the rednecks around here saying they were headed to the Rockies to hunt antelope. Is that like snipe hunting? haha

    Love love love your BBB! Old cookbooks are so fun-- I love reading them. Doesn't everybody soak their beans in a bucket?

    Thanks for posting the Ok page--- that there squaw bread is what Okies call fry bread. It is used for Indian Tacos or as dessert with honey like sopapillas.

    I guess Bob Whites are quail but I've never heard of sparerib pie.

  4. Hi Lesa,

    What a great post! You are so funny. I do have old cookbooks, but I don't read them that often. Thanks for the tip on how to figure out those Roman Numeral dates; I will use that a lot.

    As far as the oven temps, they might be for woodburning cookstoves! I do have one cool cookbook all about those.

    What are some famous receipes for Oregon, I wonder? Thanks for hosting, and have a wonderful week.



  5. I truly could have copied the whole's really fun!
    Yes, that baked bean recipe is called "Cheyenne Baked Beans" - add *pink cake coloring*. That's the only thing different from plain ole baked beans.

  6. +JMJ+

    So which ones have you tried? Do they live up to their names? (LOL!)

    I run into quite a few old cookbooks myself, but am dissuaded from buying them by the lack of illustrations. I'm not the most confident cook in the world, so I need pictures to let me know how the finished dish should look.

    And I agree that there is so much history in food! I have some essays on Philippine history which include analyses of what the introduction of certain crops and cooking methods did to revolutionise the entire country, and a short chapter on the surprisingly sophisticated menu served during the ratification of the first constitution. I think the author was less fascinated by the constitution than by the menu!

    This is a great post, Leslie! =)

  7. Oregon Kathy: It is a great post but I can't take credit-- Leslie wrote this one!

    Thanks for joining in again!

    Yes, I bet you are right-- the oven temps might be for a woodstove. My E Texas grandmother had a wood cookstove and a gas stove. Watching her use the wood cookstove was fascinating-- there was always beans/peas or soup on top and a cornbread/cobbler/pie in the oven. Food tasted better out of the wood cookstove.

  8. Hmm.. pink baked beans. Wonder why they ate pink beans in the 40s?

  9. I'm from Oklahoma so I love that you highlighted the page on Oklahoma with the Squaw bread. What an amazing and fun find. :)

  10. Very cool, Dragonfly!

    Well, I had a request for Oregon: (and I am NOT making this up)
    -there is no other history or cultural lesson-

    Loganberry Cup (loganberries served in cantaloupe halves)
    Baked Salmon with Maitre d'Hotel Sauce
    Potatoes with Parsley Butter
    Stewed Oregon Celery
    Cucumber Salad in Lettuce Cups
    Deep-dish Hood River Apple Pie
    Tillamook Cheese
    Coffee with Cream

    Pretty fancy, Oregonions! Maybe I might make my way to try some of those!

  11. @E, nooo, I tried. I even bought some antelope and a few calves' heads...but they are still in the freezer!

  12. Yum Yum! Let's all meet at Kathy's house for supper!!

  13. Just where do you buy a calf head with the skin on. I haven't seen any in the grocery section of Walmart or Target.


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