The Cookbook’s Story

Working in the used book store one day I came across a tiny little cookbook with a tattered cover. This particular book caught my eye because it said “more than 5,000,000 copies in use”…and that was as of the 1941 printing.  I didn’t think 5,000,000 copies of anything had ever been printed as of 1941.

Vintage Cookbook - Rumford Cook Book 1941

The book store was slow this particular day and flipping through the small, fabric-covered book, a story began to appear.  Hand written with an ink pen in the next to last page was a recipe for Raise Doughnuts. I loved how old the handwriting looked and I especially loved that doughnuts were being enjoyed in 1941.  I. love. doughnuts.

 “Fry in deep fat 4 min” 

Vintage cookbook with old recipe written in the back - Rumford Cook Book 1941

 

I devoured this tiny recipe book not for the recipes, but for the little traces left behind.  The drips, spatters and pools of ingredients on the pages made it clear which recipes were referenced the most. I imagined the owner’s name was something like Mabel, or Hazel, or Pearl or maybe Anna. Yes, Anna.

Anna made the Shrimp Patties at least once, and only on a special occasion. She would have read “be sure to remove small black intestinal veins which run down center back of shrimps” and probably had a stronger stomach than me.

Anna made something from page 36 and 37 more than once which would have been a fancy chicken dish like Fricassee Chicken, Chicken a la Stanley, or Chicken a la Providence.  Sometime Anna cooked with her cookbook propped up because on the salad dressing pages a few of the drops went at least 3 inches directionally down the page. Pages 92 through 97 of the Pastry section were the most well loved in the book with endless remnants of cornstarch and flour. A ring of what looks like vanilla extract covered the Chocolate Chiffon Pie recipe:

If a cookbook could tell a story - Vintage Rumford Cookbook

 

There were various spills across the Nut Cake recipe and How to Prepare Cake Pans instructional page.  A spot of what looked to be frosting was dropped right onto the words “very little at a time” on the Butter Cream Frosting Recipe.  The Fudge Brownies and Brown Refrigerator Cookies page was the most used, barely hanging on with a rip through one side and into the center, and covered in sticky spills and powders:

Brown Sugar Refrigerator Cookies via Rumford

She made one of the following: Eggnog, Lemonade, Barley Water, Oatmeal Gruel, Clam Broth, Beef Juice, or Beef Tea. I hoped it was just plain lemonade.

Never be cross or cruel
Never give us castor oil or gruel
Love us as a son and daughter
And never smell of barley water
-from Mary Poppins

Looking through Anna’s book I could also tell you what she never made: Sandwiches. The Sandwich section was pristine and untouched.  The Canning, Preserving and Pickling section looked unused so she wouldn’t have made Cranberry Conserve or Pickled Peaches.  I love the sound of those names.

I don’t know how Anna’s cookbook ended up in the store. I wish “Anna” had written her name in the cover so I would know her real name. I think it’s funny that she never wrote a single thing in the book except for that doughnut recipe.  She never made any notes or folded down any pages. It could have been her only cookbook or one of many.

The original 1908 printing of the Rumford Complete Cookbook would have cost one dollar, about twenty five dollars today.   1908 would have been Anna’s mother’s version of a cookbook and it would have had things like Albumenized Milk, Potted Pigeon, and Invalid’s Tea.  I still have my mother’s old Joy of Cooking Cookbook and I prefer the worn look of it over a new one.

Every old book kind of reminds me of the Velveteen Rabbit. Especially this one.

You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby.

But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

 

A random interesting fact: Although the cookbook is no longer in print, you can still buy Rumford Baking Powder, it’s still made by the Clabber Girl Corporation. It is an all-phosphate baking powder (containing calcium acid phosphate – no aluminum). Aluminum-free. Non-GMO. Gluten-free. Certified Kosher.

Easy Holiday Appetizer Ideas

10 Easy Appetizer Ideas for you next Holiday Party via lilblueboo.com

 

 

The holiday season is upon us. Here are 10 easy appetizer ideas that will surely impress your guests or party host!

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Quick and Easy Vegetable Fried Rice

Quick and Easy Vegetable Fried Rice via lilblueboo.com

I’ve shared my recipe for chicken fried rice before but I have a simplified recipe that I use as an easy backup dinner at least once a week. It’s easy because it uses frozen pre-cooked rice and you can add any vegetables that you might have in your refrigerator….or just grab a bag of Asian style veggies from the store.

You’ll need:

Vegetable or Canola Oil
Sesame Oil (optional)
2 tbsp chopped garlic (from the jar)
1 white onion
1 bag of Asian type vegetables (broccoli, snap peas etc)
2 packages of frozen pre-cooked white rice
2 eggs
Salt and pepper

 

Start with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok on medium heat. I add a teaspoon of sesame oil as well but that’s optional.

1. Cut up onion and with garlic to the wok. Cook until the onion begins to turn translucent.

[Read more...]

Homemade Pizza Bar

Homemade pizza bar (and a few recipes) via lilblueboo.com

 

Last night we set up a pizza bar and made mini pizzas. We recently got a new extra large pizza stone from Williams-Sonoma that could fit several pizzas at once in the oven. We leave it in the oven all the time……it just needs to be moved based on what we are cooking. If I am just cooking one pizza at a time I dust the stone with cornmeal. If I’m making multiple pizzas I just use parchment paper and they are easy moved around.

How to use a pizza stone via lilblueboo.com

[Read more...]

Peppermint Mocha Shortbread Cookies

Contributed by Alaska from Scratch.

 

Peppermint Mocha Shortbread Cookie Recipe by Alaska from Scratch via lilblueboo.com

December has arrived and the holidays are in full swing. We’re wearing our scarves and boots and warm winter coats. We’re making Christmas cards and hanging stockings. We’re taking to the town with our shopping lists in one hand and hot, steaming seasonal coffee shop beverages in the other.

Holiday Dessert Idea: Peppermint Mocha Shortbread Cookie Recipe by Alaska from Scratch via lilblueboo.com

In light of all this holiday cheer, here is one splendid coffee-shop inspired Christmas cookie recipe. These cookies are packed full of Christmas splendor. This simple shortbread is tender and buttery, full of chocolate and coffee flavor, and topped with an easy mocha glaze and crushed peppermint. You’ll absolutely want to add these to your Christmas baking list. They travel and package well for food gifts, too, for all the holiday-coffee-lovers in your life.

Holiday Cookie Idea: Peppermint Mocha Shortbread Cookie Recipe by Alaska from Scratch via lilblueboo.com

Peppermint Mocha Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients

    • 18 Tablespoons (2-1/4 sticks) butter, softened
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 Tablespoon finely ground coffee/espresso
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the Glaze/Topping:
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup crushed candy canes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the cocoa, followed by the flour, ground coffee, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. The mixture will be crumbly at first. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and continue beating until it all comes together.
  3. Using a small cookie scoop or teaspoon, scoop the dough into equal-sized portions and roll them into a ball. Slightly flatten each ball into a disc-like shape (because they don’t spread out on their own much – I used the back of a spoon for this) and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until set and cracked on top, but still soft. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Place the cooling racks over parchment paper or newspaper to catch the glaze.
  4. To make the glaze, put a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together the cocoa, powdered sugar, hot coffee, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes while the cookies finish cooling.
  5. Using a teaspoon, spoon the glaze onto the center of each cookie, allowing some of it to drizzle over the sides. Immediately follow with the crushed peppermint (don’t wait too long or the glaze will set and the peppermint won’t stick). Repeat with remaining cookies. Allow glaze to set about 30 minutes before serving/storing. Makes 3-4 dozen small cookies.
Recipe and Photography courtesy of Maya from Alaska from Scratch.

 

About Maya from Alaska from Scratch via lilblueboo.com

 

Pumpkin French Toast Recipe

 

pumpkin french toast recipe via lilblueboo.com

Pumpkin is hands-down the most popular trend in food this season. It is our favorite fall flavor. This is why I have for you one stunning plate of Pumpkin French Toast. Spiced, orange-scented pumpkin custard meets thick slices of bread, topped with butter and pure maple syrup. A little bit of pumpkin heaven for breakfast. Hey, why not brew up a pot of coffee and invite some company over?

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Butcher Block Dinners

I thought I’d share this because it’s a huge part of our family……we eat butcher block dinners almost 5 nights a week.

Butcher Block Dinners via lilblueboo.com

I buy veggies in large quantities from Costco and we chop them up every night into finger food. Veggies vary by season but they typically include a variation of the following: celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli.  We sample cheese, fruit and crackers too. On the weekends I’ll add in a few sushi rolls. I use large platters that I get from the 99 cent store….and everyone gets their own platter because each plate is usually a little different:

(Note: Boo is a little picky at times…..so she might get a chicken tender thrown in……or a few pieces of hamburger.) [Read more...]

Easy Peel Eggs

I made “hard boiled” eggs this morning…..in the oven…..and they turned out perfectly…..with one variation: if you rotate the eggs halfway through your cooking time, you won’t get a dark spot on the bottom of the egg from the hot pan.

How to make easy peel eggs in the oven via lilblueboo.com

Make sure to check out the other 14 tips from yesterday!

15 Genius Cooking and Kitchen Ideas

15 Genius Cooking and Kitchen Ideas via lilblueboo.com

Some genius cooking and kitchen ideas I’ve come across! Enjoy! [Read more...]

Felt Cookies and Pastry Labels | A Free Printable

Felt Cookie Play Food and Free Sweet Treat Baked Good Printable Download via lilblueboo.com

I made these cute little felt cookies for Boo’s play kitchen and grocery store. Stephanie Corfee made the cute little “sweet treat” printables for baked goods and I used for the label!

Felt Cookie Play Food and Free Sweet Treat Baked Good Printable Download via lilblueboo.com

Click “continue reading” for the rest of the tutorial!

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