Friday, August 14, 2015

Food Friday: Smelt Anyone?

So here's my true confession of the day.


I never took home economics in school.

Students in home economics showing girls learning cooking skills, Washington. University of Washington. Flickr the Commons.

Yes, it's true. I rebelled against it. I couldn't think of anything more horrible than taking a class where I had to cook and sew. I rebelled against it because it was expected of us girls. Boys took woodshop and girls took home ec. I took neither. No disrespect to those who took the class or taught it. It just wasn't my cup of tea.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Despite my youthful rebellion over the homemaking arts  I love reading the recipes of home economics teachers. There are quite a few cookbooks that they feature prominently in.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Today's recipe comes from one of those cookbooks, Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers. Americana Cookery. An Illustrated Cookbook of Regional America's Traditional Recipes (1971). In an era before televised cooking shows and chain restaurants, regional food was much more pronounced. This cookbook tries to illustrate those food differences by presenting each region's history and recipes. For today's Food Friday I figured I would choose a West Coast recipe.

I present to you, Deep Fat Fried Smelt.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

I wonder if classes at Clear Lake High School in Wisconsin  actually made this. That would not have gone over so well at my Southern California high school. As you probably have guessed I've never ate this myself and didn't realize it was a traditional recipe. Sometimes "regional" foods are not so regional. But everything is better once it's been fried or wrapped in bacon.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Any home ec teachers out there who submitted recipes for the Favorite Recipes of Home Economics series of cookbooks?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Food Friday: Hawaiian Haystacks

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega
Today's recipe comes to us from 1982. "Fabulous Fare" (quotations not mine) from the Granada Hills (California) Stake Relief Society. The Relief Society is the women's auxiliary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Now the cover to this cookbook is interesting and has the tag line "Kissin' wears out Cookin don't!" The truthfulness of that statement matters who you ask ;).

Today's recipe is a favorite at Mormon activities. It's one that others outside the faith have probably not heard of. I present to you, Hawaiian Haystacks.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Now just in case you find this recipe confusing, the first part of the recipe is for the chicken you will be using. Also, although it says it serves 12-15 I would say more like 4-5. 1 cup grated cheese is not very much.

Think of this as a type of tostada. In fact when I worked at a hospital, the cafeteria served Haystacks which was basically a tostado but with Fritos as the base.

Have you had a Haystack?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Food Friday: A Blushing Bunny and Stuffed Potatoe

There's no doubt that community cookbooks provide a sense of place. But they also give us an important history lesson about a population and, obviously, what they ate.

In some ways, food is ephemeral. What I ate as a child may differ from what you ate because of place, who was cooking, finances and what foods were available. As time marches on, taste changes and dishes that the previous generation ate may be all but forgotten, sometimes intentionally.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Today's recipes comes from ...Tried Recipes by the Lutheran Ladies Aid of Fisher, Minnesota. While there is no copyright year on this work, it most likely dates to February 1941 or before judging from the inscription found inside.

Here are two recipes that might not be as familiar to modern foodies. How about adding Peanut Butter Stuffed Potatoes and Blushing Bunny to today's lunch menu.
From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Another great part of this cookbook is the recipes found in the back reflecting the origins of the local community.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

What foods did you eat as a child that have disappeared from your modern-day menu?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Food Friday: Funeral Homes and One Dish Meals

Need city directory type information? Try a community cookbook. Community cookbooks can be a great source for information about businesses and services.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

In the Towson Chapter no. 70 of the Order of the Eastern Star cookbook, Our Favorite Recipes, there are some great funeral home advertisements to illustrate this point.

Notice that this first funeral home advertises they have been around since 1863.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

In the second, they advertise that a "lady assistant" is available.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Today's recipe is actually two recipes, both examples of a one dish meal. The first ends with topping the casserole with bacon or cheese. In my humble opinion that is  the best way to get your picky eaters to eat the veggies inside. The second involves pork shops, pasta, and of course cheese.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

I have featured this cookbook previously. In that post I included the recipe for a Depression Dinner. You can read that post here. It appears that this chapter of OES is still in existence. Their website is here.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Food Friday: Rosy Cinnamon Apples from 1976

Happy 4th of July! I hope you have a great time with family and  friends and of course, lots of great food. For today's edition of Food Friday, I thought I would dust off a cookbook I've blogged about before here. Because of its patriotic cover, it deserved to be highlighted  this weekend.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Today's recipes come from the 1776-1976 cookbook from the Reading Women's Club of Reading, Kansas. For those with family from Reading, here's a list of those who made up the cookbook committee, officers, and even their membership list.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

I'm including two recipes representing a "white" dessert and a "red" dessert. Sorry, I didn't find a blue one but the white dessert could be made to look blue.

I especially like the red dessert because we have a family history reference included with it. Janice Riggs provides her husband's grandmother's name, Mrs. Ethel McMuller, and that she is from Emporia, Kansas.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

What foods will you be enjoying this holiday weekend?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Food Friday: The Art of Food

I know I've said it before, but I think this is my new favorite community cookbook.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

It's one of those discoveries that was meant to be but could have easily not happened. For Father's Day I took my parents out to a local Mexican restaurant that has been around for as long as I can remember. What did I have for lunch? A great burrito with spinach, mushrooms, tofu, and feta cheese covered in a relleno sauce.

So after that meal we decided to go across the street to an antique store and while I was browsing at a bunch of scattered books I came across my new favorite.

A Culinary Collection From the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1973). What a great book. The introduction starts with "It is a little-known and indisputable fact that museum people devote a great deal of thought and time to food, and the fare at the tables of colleagues is more often than not of the highest quality." Makes sense, these are people who are interested in art, they travel, they have interesting experiences. The recipes in this cookbook reflect that.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

What's to like about this cookbook? Well, and may I suggest this for anyone compiling a community cookbook, each recipe includes a little introduction. Sometimes you learn that the recipe author  has passed, some entries hint at a marital status, travels to faraway places or remembering associates who no longer work at the museum.You feel like you are part of the staff as you read each recipe which is accompanied by the person's name and their position at the museum (in some cases they are supporters and not employees).

Today's recipe is one that I especially like because we are given the birth and death dates of the recipe originator as well as his occupation. How's that for a  genealogical source?

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

And just to provide another example, here's a dessert to go with it.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Friday, June 12, 2015

Food Friday: Mock Hot Tamales or Stuffed Rolls

"There's no records for my ancestors, they were all farmers (or farm wives)." That's something I hear quite a bit but nothing could be further from the truth.

So one of the questions I have for you, no matter who your ancestor was is "what organizations did they belong to?"

One organization your farming ancestor may have belonged to is the Grange. The Grange or The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, "founded in 1867, is a non-profit nonpartisan, fraternal organization that advocates for rural America and agriculture."

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Today's cookbook is Our Favorite Grange Recipes Compiled and Edited by the Committee on Women's Activities of the California State Grange (1971, fourth printing). "A collection of rural recipes which have made Grange cooking famous throughout the west since 1870."

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Best part of this cookbook? Each recipe includes the name of the woman who provided the recipe as well as which Grange she is a member of. In the following example you also learn that the submitter of Carton Cake is the wife of the California State Grange Master.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

I've highlighted mock recipes before. Some might remember a favorite of mine, Mock Turtle Soup. Today we have Mock Hot Tamales or Stuffed Rolls which  in no way resemble real tamales except they list hot sauce as an ingredient and are prepared by wrapping in wax paper like a real tamale. That said, there's so much fatty goodness I'd probably try one.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Anyone had this recipe at a luncheon or potluck?