Saturday, August 21, 2010

Weekend Cooking: My mom's old cookbook and a unique recipe

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

This week I am highlighting my mother's oldest cookbook. It's in such deplorable condition but I still treasure it mainly for sentimental value not for too many of the recipes. The cook book is titled The American Woman's Cook Book published by the Culinary Arts Institute of Chicago in 1948. Actually, I think my mother originally purchased a set of classic books and this cookbook was the "bonus" gift but she used it constantly. She never made the recipe at the bottom of this post but you might find it interesting.

Any fan of cookbooks would like this one just from an historical perspective. Some of the illustrations are just fascinating; probably the height of modernity when the book was published. The women shown in the book definitely have that 40's look. What is interesting to me is not just the recipes but all the info that is included; methods of preparation, time tables, carving instructions, table settings, measurements and much, much more. I just thought I would include this segment on monogramming.

"The pattern or design of the cloth and napkins and the type, design, and size of the monograms embroidered on them should make a perfect unity.

For table-cloths, the size of the monogram should be two and one-half to five inches. For dinner napkins from one to two inches. For luncheon and breakfast napkins and doilies, from three-quartes of an inch to an inch and a half.

When the bride-to-be is marking her trousseau linens, it is best form for her to use the initials of her maiden name. However, there is no hard and fast rule for this marking, and she may if she prefers use the initials of the first and last names of her maiden name and the initial letter of the groom's last name.

If an initial is used instead of a monogram it should be the initial of your last name. When only one letter is used, it is usually a block letter - sometimes ornate - since a single letter in script is not very effective-looking. "

The next segment gives instruction on how to measure for the placing of the monogram. Somehow, I can't see today's brides doing this. Different times, indeed! Even 44 years ago (honestly, I was a child bride) I didn't do this!

Just to show the scope of this book, I am including a recipe for Roast Squirrels ( just in case you had a real hankering for them this week) I am omitting the instructions on how to insert a bicycle pump into the skin and blowing it up to remove the fur. I thought you could live without that!

Anywhooooo, here's the recipe:

3 small squirrels
3/4 c salad oil
1/4 c lemon juice or vinegar
2 c bread crumbs
1/2 c milk or cream
1/2 c diced and sautéed mushrooms
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion juice
4 tbsp olive oil or bacon fat
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Dress and clean squirrels. ( *gag*, get past this and you're good to go) Wash in several waters and dry. Cover with salad oil mixed with lemon juice and let stand for 1 hour. Combine bread crumbs, with just enough milk or cream to moisten, mushrooms, salt and onion juice. Stuff the squirrel with this mix, skewer and truss. Brush with olive oil or bacon fat and roast uncovered in a slow oven (325 degrees F) 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours or until tender. Baste every 15 minutes with fat from bottom of pan. When tender, make a gravy with remaining broth, adding Worcestershire sauce and paprika to taste. Serve gravy in a separate dish. Serves 6 ( providing you can find 6 people to serve it to) Okay, so that's not in the recipe!

Anybody willing to try? Someone? Anyone? Granny Clampett, are you out there? Personally, I think I'll stick with the genteel art of monogramming!
How about you?


  1. hey, I just saw a bunch of squirrels out in the yard. Off to find my net!!

    oh darn, I don't have any mushrooms.

  2. I absolutely love cook books and wish I could see your book!! I have one that has recipes from Martha Washington - equally hysterical. And NO, I don't think I will be the one who cooks the squirrel recipe :-)

    Glad to be a follower - would have hated missing this post!


  3. Priceless post! I won't be either of these things today. Although, monogramming sounds a bit more inviting than roasting a squirrel. Ick!

  4. Squirrels, that's original indeed. This sounds like an intersting cookbook, information wise and histoy wise. A real heirloom.

  5. I hope my husband doesn't get wind of that squirrel recipe!! I used to have my Grandma's old cookbook, now I'm wondering where it might be. I kept it because her handwriting was all over in it.

  6. I'm a little scared-my mother has cooked squirrel using a similar recipe. Needless to say I stayed with the salad and mashed potatoes.

  7. Better keep this recipe from my neighbor. He's always trying to get a hold of the squirrels. For myself - YUCK! No way, no how. lol.

    I'd love to leaf through this cookbook. All the really old ones fascinate me - my mom has a couple old ones that I just love.

  8. I think my younger daughter has her eye on this cookbook too for the historical perspective. she loves to read older cookbooks.

    Library Cat; I'm glad you're a follower friend too!

    Staci and Dar: treasure your mother's cookbooks as they are virtually part of your heritge.

    Peaceful reader: now that is scary that someone has really cooked this recipe.

  9. While I may be fascinated by the squirrel receipe I'm not sure I will be giving it a try anytime soon. Now once I retire back to Northern Minnesota, I may be inclinded to give it a try if I run out of anything else to eat. Thanks for sharing!

  10. This is priceless. I am going to stick with you on the monogramming.

  11. Love this!!!! Hey, you might need this information in case you are ever in the Hunger Games! LOL.

    The photographs have such a 40s look. A cookbook like that is just priceless and definite must keep.

    I'm sorry I missed out on embroidering all my linens, but I will inform my 15-year-old niece that she'd better get cracking.

    What a fabulous post.

  12. I'm on a squirrel free diet but I might try it with raccoon.

    Nope, only chicken, beef or turkey for me. I might try it with chicken.

  13. I actually was served squirrel many many years ago. I was visiting my then-fiance at his parents' home in Kentucky. His mother had gone and shot them varmints in my honor!! They actually weren't bad,although I've never tried them myself.

    PS--the squirrel meal was not the reason we broke the engagement!

    Great cookbook Kaye...I think my mom had the same one.

  14. Well, we have the squirrels nearby but I'm not really up to catching them and preparing them for dinner quite yet.

    I bet this is just a hoot to look through.

  15. What a treasure! My dad grew up during the depression and tells stories of eating squirrels.

  16. What a treasure that cookbook is! I'll pass on the squirrel though...

  17. I LOVE old cookbooks! Not so much for the recipes themselves, but all those great photographs and illustrations inside. I don't think I ever saw a recipe for squirrel though!

    Thanks for sharing! AND not sharing the bicycle pump part of the recipe! :-)

  18. I don't know if I should admit this in public, but back in Texas when I was a little girl, squirrel was considered almost a delicacy. I've been told (by those who should know such things) that I have eaten it. Have no memories of doing so. Have no plans to ever do it again. Ah, the good old days!

  19. wow.. I love this post. What a cook book. I mean... wow... keep the women busy that way they can't think or "get away.." ha ha.. just kidding... Home Making so classy and artful. Monogramming.... really? I have forgotten about that. Bicycle pump....NO Way.. ha ha.. great post. Thanks for sharing. Have a GREAT week. :)

  20. I use to fix squirrel, but, I never roasted it, I did it in the electric fry pan. I floured and browned it in a bit of crisco, seasoned it, put a few cups of water over it, let it slowly cook for an hour or two, made a gravy out of the dippings and served it. Actually it was very tasty.


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