Friday, December 9, 2016

"If You Have Cake Troubles"

And by golly, who doesn't?! My main Cake Trouble is that I eat too much of it, but that is a story for another day. This post is about cookbooks. Or rather, one cookbook in my collection. 

If there is anything more wonderful than a vintage cookbook, it's a vintage Church-Lady cookbook. This one is from the 70s, from the Bethel Christian (Dutch) Reformed Church in Saskatoon.

I love the mid-century food photography

Where on earth do you find a SQUARE cut-glass pedestal cake platter?
I've never seen one in all my thrifting/vintage shopping expeditions.
Nothing says Partay like cheese, crackers, pickles and olives.
Takes me back to Grad 1974!

And the graphics: 

Oops! Trigger Warning! Cultural Appropriation/Racism Alert! 

Helpful tips galore! The aforementioned Cake Troubles:

First you have to find out what the terms "slow oven" and "fast oven" mean...

And of course, it's not all about cake. Pie matters too. 

When the inevitable happens, and you eat too many cakes and pies. 
This is the first of six pages of Diet advice, including sample menus. 

Another mark of the accomplished mid-century homemaker: Quantity Cooking!

Just in case you plan to drop into catering... or come from a large Catholic family (with--at last count--over 100 members, including grand and great-grandchildren) who like to get together occasionally for meals. And yes, we rent the church hall.

Only in Saskatchewan. 

Church Schedule also included: 

Check out Friday at 7:00 pm. If you're a teenage girl, what could possibly sound more appealing than the "Calvinettes"? I wonder what they did for fun: under strict Calvinism, music, drums, playing cards, dancing, novel-reading, fancy hairdos (to say nothing of makeup, you painted hussy!) and theatricals--unless on a Biblical theme-- were verboten. Oh well, those rules probably loosened up considerably by the 1970s. 

Then, of course, the Main Attraction: the recipes themselves. I am of Slovak descent (on both sides) married into a family with German ancestry, and grew up in a predominantly German-descent community, so I am not familiar with Dutch cooking.  I have found this book to be excessively diverting, and that was before I ever tried out a recipe. Even reading the names of the recipes is fun: "Balkenbrie" (some kind of pork & flour combination); "Frikadellers" (meatballs); "Oliebollen" (fried dough balls); "Roggebrood" (appears to be baked Sunny Boy cereal with molasses--yum!); "Gevulde Speculaas" (spiced shortbread cookies); "Holontbijtkoek" (honey cake), and the ever popular "Bokke Pootjes" ('Goat Feet'--relax, it's a meringue-like cookie).

They were multicultural even in those days, including such recipes as "Rumanian Cabbage Rolls", "Jiffy French Onion Soup", "Chicken Korean Style", and "Czechoslovakian Cookies". (I will have to ask my Slovak sister-in-law whether that cookie is actually Czech or Slovak, since the two ethnic groups have always been separate. 'Czechoslovakia' the country was a socio-political experiment.)

Naturally there are plenty of North American-sounding recipes as well, but they're not nearly as fun: "Pork Chop Dinner", "Hearty Noodle Casserole", "Ginger Snaps", "Apple Betty"... Oh wait!  "Man-Size Meat Loaf" sounds interesting, as does "Kitchen Cupboard Quickie" (*cough* that's a casserole, not ...well, it's a casserole).

My go-to, I-need-a-choclate-fix, fast-dessert recipe is Magic Cookie Bar, where you mix everything in one pan (note that they don't mention the nuts in the directions. You are on your own as to when to layer them in.)

But be forewarned, if you want it to come out in slices/bars, you have to let it cool a lot longer than 15 minutes... like maybe overnight. When it's warm, it's crumbly. But that's fine if you plan to eat it with ice cream, or straight out of the pan.

The directions (and even the recipes themselves) of these self-published cookbooks are notorious for leaving out information, or just being vague. What, for example, is a "fairly large" saucepan? I've always wanted to try this cake recipe below, because it sounds patriotic and frugal, and contains no sugar.

It is continued on the next page, but they don't tell you what size of pan to use, or whether or not to grease and flour it.

Lastly, there are the ads at the back of the book. (Word: GRAPHICS)

"Truck Needs"
 (Am I the only one who finds that phrase funny?)

BWAHAHAHA. Spot the Irony. 

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