Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Riverside Cook book

Did it belong to one of my grandmothers? Is it something I found in an antique store? Regardless of where it came from this old 64-page cookbook surfaced the other day when I was looking for something else.

The cover says it cost 25 cents, but I wonder if it was a give-away at a hardware store. Inside there is a tear out postcard addressed to the Rock Island Stove Company, Rock Island, Illinois, to be used to request more information about any Riverside Stove. The cost to mail the post card was two cents. The post card rate went from one cent to two in November, 1917. That coupled with the dress styles shown makes me think this was published sometime in the 1920's.

I know that style of dress was still being worn in the 1920's because I have this photo of my Grandma Lynam and my dad, Louis, who was born in 1917.

Doesn't he look like he would be three or four in this photo? Grandma still had a wood burning cook stove in the basement of her house when I was in high school.

I even have a very vague memory of the old cook stove that was in our kitchen when I was a child. It wasn't a deluxe model like this one, but it got the job done as well as heated the kitchen - which was fine in the winter, but beastly during the summer months.

Women in that era must have known how to cook without detailed recipes. For instance the recipe for Soda Biscuit says: "Take a saucer of flour...." What size saucer? How much flour would that be? And Black Cake. Wouldn't you guess that Black Cake had cocoa or chocolate in it? Nope. Here's the recipe: One cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup New Orleans molasses, 1 cup coffee, 4 eggs, 4 cups flour, 2 teaspoons soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cloves, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 cup seeded and chopped raisins, 1 cup currants. It does sound good, but what size pan do I use and how long do I bake it? By the way, it is a Dark Cake which has chocolate in it.

Have you heard of Currant Rusks, Potato Sponge or Timbales? Those recipes are in the Bread, Rolls, Buns and Biscuit section, which does give a bit of a clue.

Maybe great-granddaughter, Lily, would like to have Lily Cakes for her next birthday? "Four eggs beaten separately, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, sifted with one-half teaspoon baking powder. Bake on dripping pan bottom side up, butter pan lightly, drop in teaspoon and spread until three and one-half inches in diameter. While warm roll in shape of calla lily and fasten with tooth pick. When ready to serve fill with whipped cream and sweetened and flavored and stick of candied orange peel for corolla of lily." Got that Grandma Shelly or Alyssa? No, don't ask me what a 'dripping pan' is. These sound something like pancakes, so why didn't they say "bake on griddle"?

Some of the recipes remind me of dishes Mom used to make - Mammy's Chicken for instance is cut up chicken seasoned, covered with milk and baked until milk is exhausted. (How tired does the milk have to be?)  I cannot remember what Mom called this - probably just 'milk chicken' - but it was good and a change from fried chicken. I know she didn't call it Mammy's Chicken.

There are recipes I would never try like Pressed Tongue while others sound tempting if I can just figure out some of the ingredients (sago?) and other instructions. In the meantime, it is so much fun to read these recipes from almost a century ago.

Here is one I believe I could still follow. It is listed under Dainties. A Receipt for Kisses: Take a bit of dark piazza; add some moonlight -- not much, -- press, in two strong hands, a small one; add of coy reserve a touch; sift in just a pinch of folly, mixed with softly whispered sighs; of romance add two small tea cups, and the starlight of her eyes; then dissolve some pure emotion in a longing and a laugh; mix a grain of deep affection with a bit of merry chaff; add an ounce of mild resistance, two of yielding, -- then, in mute, inexpressible enjoyment, serve in quantities to suit." Or maybe that is one for Bud to try?

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