Thursday, February 16, 2012

Grandma's Cookbooks

Born January 6,1897 in Atlantic, Iowa, Emma Engabora Christensen was the second child in her Danish immigrant family.  Her parents had come America as teens when their families were enticed by the offer of free farmland left from the land grants given the railroad companies building the first transcontinental rail line in America.  Through a series of moves, the family ended up in Ririe, Idaho where she met and married my grandfather, Doyle George Clarke.  They met because his older brother married her older sister.  For much of my life this is all I knew about my mom's family history and because there was so little information every tidbit has been a fascinating find.  These were people who did not leave behind written histories and made efforts to hide their vital statistic information.  What I have to guide my search for details of their life and what gives me a sense of familial connection is the things they left behind.  And today the "thing" I want to talk about is grandma's cookbooks.

The nicely bound Searchlight Recipe Book and the wood covered New England Recipes I'm not sure she where she obtained them.  But the little paper one, with the very old Christmas tape patch job on it's torn cover, is one that grandpa brought home to her when he completed a lumbering job in Oregon in 1926-27.

It is the Wallowa M.E. Ladies Aid Cook Book from 1926.  In addition to recipes compiled by the good ladies of Wallowa, Oregon, it contains several pages of advertisements for local businesses.  Some of them made me smile...  like the grocery store that encouraged "Buy your ingredients here and feel sure of success in your cooking if you follow the recipes contained in this book."  And the bank that proudly announced it's capital and surplus were $110,000.  The ad on the lower half of this page, which I'm not sure you can make out in the picture, is a barber shop plying it's selection of Ladies Toilet Accessories.  The facing page of cake recipes begins and ends with submissions from a Mrs. Lillie Timm, Vancouver, Wn.  Both are transcribed here:

PRIZE WHITE LAYER CAKE
2 1/4 cups sugar, 3/4 cup shortening (1/2 butter, 1/2 white substitute), 1 cup liquid (1/2 milk, 1/2 water), 4 level teaspoons baking powder, 3 2/3 cups flour (Fisher's blend or pastry), whites of 10 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon lemon extracts.  Cream butter and sugar a little bit at a time, cream together thoroughly.  Sift flour once before measuring.  Measure and reserve 1/2 cup to which add baking powder.  Sift four times.  Add flour (except that with baking powder) alternately with liquid, beating thoroughly.  Add flavoring and beat.  Beat egg whites stiff but not dry and add a level 1/4 spoon cream of tartar.  Add egg whites alternately with last 1/2 cup of flour to which baking powder was added, by carefully folding them in.  No beating after adding  either egg whites or baking powder.  Bake in 3 layers in moderate oven until it starts to pull away from pan.

ORANGE CREAM CAKE
3 cups pastry flour, 3 level teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 cup butter,  1 1/4 cups sugar, yolks of 3 eggs well beaten, juice of 1 orange in a cup.  Fill cup with water.  Rind of 1 orange, white of 3 eggs.  Follow same general directions as for white cake.

They're surely written a bit different than what we find in today's cookbooks but I think I could stumble my way through making either of those cakes.

I've linked this post to the The Country Homemaker Hop - Week 7 at White Wolf Summit Farmgirl.

4 comments:

Heidi said...

Dear Kathy.
I love this post. I wish I had my Grandmother's old cook books. What a treasure! Thanks so much for sharing these beautiful images, the history of how she got them and especially for including those two yummy sounding recipes. I am very excited about making both cakes. Thank you for sharing on The Country Homemaker Hop. I look forward to your next post.

Hibiscus House said...

Love reading this! I am a new follower of yours and look forward to reading more great things from you.
Dolly

MamaHen said...

I love cookbooks-the older the better! What a treasure you have!

tribalmama said...

I too treasure old cookbooks. Love your wood cover one. My favorite here is The Picayune's Creole cookbook, I have gleaned much more than just recipes from this book. It teaches cooking in a way that seems more like a lost art.