Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Vintage and Seasonal - Heck, Let's Have Dessert!

One function of desserts is to produce a sense of complete satisfaction at the end of a meal - which is a good enough reason for trying every one of the recipes in this chapter. But you'll probably need no coaxing to do that, for where is the hostess who doesn't love to hear the Oh's and Ah's that are sure to greet a particularly delectable dessert?
The Modern Family Cookbook (Uk 1954, USA 1953) Meta Given
The peculiar looking stuff in the photograph above is the delectable Rhubarb Marlow, the recipe for which I found in my Modern Family Cookbook by Meta Given. Don't be fooled by the list of ingredients, it's quite a sophisticated and light treat and very, very good. And, I ask you this, what could be more 1950s that rhubarb and melted marshmallows, died pink and folded into whipped cream? Here's the recipe. Try it, you'll love it!
Rhubarb Marlow
1 cup sweetened stewed rhubarb
24 marsh,allows
1 cup of whipping cream
Pink coloring if desired
Heat rhubarb, add marshmallows, and stir over a low heat until just melted. Cool. If the mixture is very sweet, add lemon juice to give desired tartness. Chill until thick and syrupy; then whip cream until stiff and fold in rhubarb mixture. Turn into freezing tray of mechanical refrigerator and freeze without stirring. If desired, the whipped cream may be tinted delicately pink before adding the fruit to the mixture. 5 servings.
NB. I think the servings are pretty generous. I also think that it tastes better as a chilled fool that as a frozen dessert, but my kids disagreed. Also,it will taste very sweet as a chilled fool but not so sweet if frozen as for some reason ( which I am unsure). Cheap, easy, fun and seasonal!

Now, I have a real soft spot for my Meta Givens cookbooks. The dark green one on the left of the picture above was the first vintage cookbook I ever bought, at the age of 18 or 19. It propelled me into a world of serious, professional homemaking and I was hooked. It was a 1947 first addition, an American book and American published, so what it was doing in a car boot sale just outside of Birmingham in the early 1990s I don't know! It was volume two of The Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking and full of wonderful recipes, nutritional information, holiday menus and inspirational creeds. However, it was the first volume which contained the baking and every day menus. I bought the first volume two or three years ago now from US eBay, it cost about $30 or so and I love it. Here's one of the creeds.
The Family Hostess' Creed
Happy family relationships are part of my responsibility; therefore -
I will save enough energy to do the job of being a happy and helpful hostess to my family day after day.
My family's satisfaction with my table setting and service is my responsibility; therefore -
I will manage my linens and other equipment, my method of work, and enlist the assistance of my family to the end that the table shall be clean and beautiful and the service easy and dignified.
My family's satisfaction with their food is my responsibility; therefore -
I will manage so that foods shall come to the table in the prime condition developed by previous care in selection, preparation and cooking.
Enjoyment of each other and of their food is an important part of successful family life: therefore -
I shall use intelligence, skill and love in serving food to my family.

Finally, the grey book on the right of the picture is a 1953/4 re-hash of of the Modern Encyclopedia. There are a few new recipes, like the Rhubarb Marlow, and the menus have changed slightly (a little less heavy, simpler breakfasts) but it is essentially the same book, just with much less nutritional and household information. It's in remarkably good condition, so I tend to use it for cooking far more often that my 1940s books. I find the suggested menus very interesting, you can see that the early 1950s was a time when modern conveniences were beginning to be used in the kitchen, but home cooking was seen as the norm. I'll end the post by leaving you with a few 1953 daily, seasonal menus.

April: Friday

Breakfast - sliced bananas on prepared cereal with top milk. Toast with butter, jelly, coffee for adults, cocoa for children.

Luncheon - Green beans au gratin, melba toast, pineapple date salad, tea for adults, milk for children.

Dinner - tomato juice cocktail, braised pork shoulder steak, mashed potatoes, pineapple coleslaw, wholewheat bread and butter, rice pudding, coffee for adults, milk for children.

Well I hope you enjoyed this trawl through one or two of my collection. If you try the Rhubarb Marlow, let me know if you like it too. Anon fellow huswyves!


Gumbo Lily said...

I just LOVE rhubarb and am always game for a new recipe. This Marlow sounds really simple and delish. When my rhubarb is ready, I'll try it and let you know what we think. Thanks!

The Creed uses the "R" word so much.


Seraphim said...

Ooh, that recipe does look good. I may have to pop down to the farmers market tomorrow and pick up some rhubarb! In fact, that would be something excellent to try for my guests next weekend..... what a star you are, Dulce Domum ;)

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Jody
Ahh yes, the "r" word is a bit of a dirty word nowadays...other dirty words are "duty" and "self-control".

Taking my old fuddy-duddy hat off now...yes, rhubarb is delicious. I'm making a crumble today!

Hi Seraphim
My advice regarding rhubarb is to ask an old fella for some. Old fellas always have free rhubarb, especially if you return a little to them in the form of crumble. However, if you know of no rhubarb growing old fellas the farmers' market is your next best bet.

~~louise~~ said...

I'm not sure how those flavors would blend but, it sure looks "Purty."

Are you sure we're not related. The second cookbook I ever got when I was around 19 was the Meta Given's Modern Family Cookbook copyright 1942, red cover. No Rhubarb Marlow though. I like the Food Shopper's Creed though and of course the other creeds also.

Now, I have a question for you. Have you ever heard of a dish called Fig Suy? It is suppose to be an English dish for Good Friday that has something to do with the monks of Furness before 1536 AD. I ran across an small article about it in an issue of American Cookery Magazine. I did a quick google search and nothing came up. Just curious...

Dulce Domum said...

Ooh, Louise, what a question. I do have a lot of medieval/early modern recipes for all sorts of figgy puddings (from which the Christmas pud is derived, as you probably know). I even have a nice one written in Chaucer's English, but no Fig Suy. I'm on the look-out though. If you want a figgy pudding recipe just let me know.

Regarding Meta Givens, I'm glad you've got one too. I imagine it's less evocative to you, as an I right?

~~louise~~ said...

I'm not quite sure the Fig Suy is like a figgy pudding recipe, I'll have to check. As for the Meta Given's book, it's a bit outdated but still a favorite!

Happy Easter, Dulce!