Strawberry festival season

Jessie: a strawberry variety illustrated in The ABC of Strawberry Culture for Farmers, Village People, and Small Growers, by T. B. Terry and A. I. Root, published in 1902.

It’s June, which means that it’s strawberry season! (Well, usually it is. This year, the Northwest weather has been unusually cold, and so I bet the strawberries are running late.) If it’s strawberry season, it’s time for a strawberry festival, with some strawberry recipes and menu ideas!

110 years ago in June 1901, Good Housekeeping published “XXth Century Festivals: The Strawberry Festival,” suggesting that festivals should be held on a moonlit evening and furnished with tables with fine white linen tablecloths and fern decorations. The dishes should be strawberry red, green, and white.

The suggested centerpiece (which “should have a place of honor”) sounds quite lovely for a summer twilight party:

“In a conspicuous place set a table holding a glass bowl of strawberry frappe or lemonade, to be served in small glass cups. A block of ice hollowed out, with a lighted pink candle inside, may be put in the center of the bowl, and the frappe heaped around the ice, insuring coolness. Decorate the table with strawberry vines or ferns, and have two white-robed maidens to serve the frappe.”

Here is the recipe given a few pages later for the frappe:

Strawberry Frappe

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Juice of 6 lemons
  • 4 cups mashed fresh strawberries

The following recipe makes a very delicate frappe. Boil for fifteen minutes four cups of water and two cups of sugar, add to it the juice of six lemons and four cups of mashed fresh strawberries or one quart of the canned fruit.

Allow it to cool, strain and add one quart of ice water.

Freeze to a mush, using equal parts of ice and salt.

If you use canned fruit which is very sweet the frappe may not require so much sugar.

Good Housekeeping‘s suggested menu for the event might be slightly different from a modern menu, but not terribly so:


Cold ham    Cold tongue    Rolls
Saratoga potatoes    Tomato salad    Crackers
Pickles    Radishes    Pimolas
Individual sweet shortcakes    Strawberries and cream
Strawberry ice cream    Strawberry eclairs
Sponge cake    Angel cake    Small cakes
Coffee     Chocolate

The magazine also provided some recipes for cakes and preserves to sell at the festival. Here is one example:

Strawberry Eclairs

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • A speck salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • sweetened strawberries or jam
  • boiled icing colored with strawberry juice

Boil together in a saucepan one cupful of boiling water, one-fourth cupful of butter, and a speck of salt.

As it begins to boil stir in one cupful of sifted flour.

Stir constantly until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and cleaves together in a ball.

When partly cool add four eggs, beating them in one at a time.

Drop carefully in long narrow strips, some distance apart, on buttered tins, and bake in a moderate oven until well risen---about thirty minutes.

Leave the oven door open a few minutes before removing the eclairs, to prevent their falling.

When they are cool split one side, fill with sweetened strawberries or jam.

Spread with boiled icing colored with strawberry juice.

I plan to try this one and will report back.

(Editorial note 1: Pimolas appear to be what we’d probably call pimientos today — olives stuffed with sweet peppers. Perhaps the word is a portmanteau of “pimiento-olives”? Many menus of that period list them as “pim-olas.”)

(Editorial note 2: The formatting of the recipes is intended to be compatible with Google’s new Recipe View system. Though the formatting is slightly different than the 1901 original, the wording of the recipe instructions is unchanged.)

More Mexican Cookery for American Homes

Don’t worry, parts 2 and 3 of “Oh, Mapleine!” are coming soon. But I found a couple more things that I thought would be of interest, and didn’t want to wait to post them.

Last year I posted about the cookbook Mexican Cookery for American Homes (1936 edition), and later tried a recipe from the book for “Enchiladas, Mexican Style” that turned out to be excellent.

Flickr user Eudaemonius has posted a complete version of the 1932 edition of the same cookbook. It is much more colorful and flamboyant in design than the 1936 copy I have—mine, perhaps, reflects a bit more Depression-era austerity. It doesn’t include the bilingual titles that the later edition contained. The 1932 copy also does not contain all of the recipes. It may be shorter (I can’t find mine to double-check at the moment), but it definitely doesn’t include the stacked enchiladas I made from the other book. It does have recipes such as “Mexican Rarebit,” “Chili and Rice Cones,” and “Mexican Chop Suey.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Here you go!


  • 4 T. butter
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 3 pieces celery, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb. hamburger
  • 1 No. 1 can tomato puree
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 No. 2 can Gebhardt's Spaghetti

Cook onions, celery and green pepper in butter until tender; add hamburger and continue cooking until partially done.

Add tomato puree, salt and simmer until meat is tender.

Turn into a greased casserole, cover with contents of No. 2 can Gebhardt's Spaghetti and Chili and bake in moderate oven 20 min.

Mexican? Probably not so much. But it reminds me of some of the casseroles my mom cooked in the 1970s.

One other site I wanted to point you to is La Cocina Historica, a project of the University of Texas at San Antonio Special Collections Department. The blog features recipes from the university’s Mexican Cookbook Collection. They have more than 900 Mexican, Texan, and Southwestern cookbooks in Spanish and English, dating from 1789-2010. The collection includes printed cookbooks and also handwritten manuscripts. The bloggers (multiple people contribute to the site) try out the recipes and describe how they turned out.

I think “Huevos al Estilo Español” (1908) sounds lovely, but that’s probably because it’s pretty close to my breakfast burrito recipe already. I’d just mix up that filling and wrap it in tortillas.

(Editorial note: This post was changed slightly on May 17, 2011 to include new recipe formatting to be compatible with Google’s Recipe View system.)

Cold and, um, clammy

I have a certain interest in old recipes for sundaes and sodas from the soda fountain era. Along with the familiar chocolate sundaes and banana splits that we still find in today’s restaurants, you find more unusual confections such as a Rose Bud Sundae with rose dressing, a Grape Sundae Malted with grape juice and malted milk, and a Fruited Creme de Menthe Salad with lettuce leaves, vanilla ice cream, fruit salad, and creme de menthe syrup.

The above are a bit unusual to modern tastes, but they don’t seem all that strange, really. (Or maybe I’m just too used to browsing old cookbooks.) But then, I came across this soda recipe in The Standard Manual of Soda and Other Beverages, 1897:

Clam-Juice Soda.

  • Clam juice, 1 1/2 fl. oz.
  • Milk, cold, 2 fl. oz.
  • Carbonated water, coarse stream, sufficient to fill an 8-ounce glass

Add a pinch of salt and a small amount of powdered white pepper to each glass.

Obviously this is not a sweet dessert. Anyone dare to try it and report back? I don’t think I can do it.

I have seen quite a few recipes for hot drinks with clam bouillon, milk or cream, and hot water (see the old ad below), and that doesn’t seem as weird—it just seems like soup. But the cold, carbonated clam soda?

Clam bouillon advertised in The National Druggist, 1900.

The Golden Rod Cake, revisited

Back in January I discussed the Golden Rod Cake and the pan used to bake it. We did find several recipes, but were left wondering about what the cake was supposed to look like, and about the origin of the name. I have since found a tiny bit more information about this elusive cake.

This photo of Waldorf Triangles and their triangular pan is from American Cookery, April, 1921, p. 680. It accompanies this recipe:

Waldorf Triangles

Beat the yolks of six eggs very light; gradually beat into these half a cup of granulated sugar, then two tablespoonfuls of orange juice. Lastly, add half a cup of sifted flour, sifted again with a level teaspoonful of baking powder and a few grains of salt. Put the mixture into Waldorf Triangle pans and bake in a moderate oven. As soon as the cakes are turned from the pan cover the sides with boiled frosting and sprinkle with fine-chopped pistachio nuts.

This should sound familiar, because it is nearly word-for-word the same as the recipe “Goldenrod Cake for Charlotte Russe Moulds and Waldorf Triangles” that the Boston Cooking School published in an earlier version of their magazine in 1904 and 1905, and that I included in my earlier post. One of the 1904-1905 recipes includes the boiled frosting and pistachio nuts, but the other does not. The older recipes also do not refer to the pans by name as “Waldorf Triangle pans.”

The title of the early Boston Cooking School recipes seems to be pretty clear that this is a recipe for Goldenrod Cake that can be used to make Waldorf Triangles. Other early recipes, however, do not mention the pistachios, and frequently mention orange icing.

The Rocky Mountain Cook Book: for High Altitude Cooking (1918 edition of a 1903 cookbook) includes a nearly identical one to the BCS recipe:

Golden Rod Cake.

Beat the yolks of six eggs till light; gradually beat into these one-half cup of sugar, then two tablespoonfuls of orange juice and one-half cup of sifted flour, sifted again with a level teaspoonful of baking powder and one-fourth teaspoonful of salt; bake in small cakes and cover with orange icing.

This is the same as the BCS “Goldenrod Cake for Charlotte Russe Moulds and Waldorf Triangles” and the later American Cookery “Waldorf Triangles” recipe, with one exception — the end. No mention of boiled icing sprinkled with pistachios, just orange icing. Could the pistachios be the defining characteristic of Waldorf Triangles? One of the BCS recipes doesn’t mention them either. Perhaps the cakes are Golden Rod Cakes if they have orange icing (or none?) and Waldorf Triangles if they have pistachios.

(Incidentally, the author of The Rocky Mountain Cook Book, Caroline Trask Norton, was a graduate of the Boston School of Domestic Science, so perhaps it should not be surprising that the recipe is similar to the BCS version.)

The recipe in 365 Orange Recipes: An Orange Recipe for Every Day in the Year is called “Goldenrod Cake” and says “Bake in goldenrod pans and when cold ice with the following Icing,” going on to describe an icing made from orange rind, egg, sugar, water, orange and lemon juice, and “sugar to make as thick as fondant.” The icing is then colored orange.

There are a couple more references to these recipes that could add clarity to the situation, or perhaps just muddy it further.

The Boston Cooking-School Magazine October 1905, p.174, has this recipe:

Waldorf Triangles

Prepare the goldenrod cake mixture given on page 91 of August-September, 1904, issue of the magazine. Bake this in goldenrod pans (it will take two pans, each holding six triangles). When the cakes are baked, cover the sides with confectioner’s frosting or with fondant, then sprinkle with blanched pistachio nuts, chopped fine.

The implication here is that Golden Rod cakes become Waldorf Triangles by the addition of frosting and chopped pistachios.

Then there is What To Cook and How To Cook It 1899, by Mrs. W. A. Johnson of Paris, Kentucky. In the appendix, on page 282-283, we find:

Waldorf Triangles or Golden Rod Cake.

One-fourth cup of butter, one cup of confectioner’s sugar, one-half cup of milk, two cups of flour, one level teaspoon of baking powder, two eggs, the grated rind and juice of one orange. Bake in orange quarter baking pans. Put a small quantity in each section and spread evenly. Spread orange icing over each triangle, made by mixing confectioner’s sugar with enough orange
juice to spread evenly.

Well, there’s the orange icing. No pistachios this time. And the title calls these either Waldorf Triangles or Golden Rod Cake, implying that they are alternate names for the same thing.

And then I found this photograph in the 1906 Table Talk Illustrated Cook Book:

The text reads: “Two new cake forms are on the market. Orange slices and Golden Rod pans. The former cakes are covered after baking with orange flavored icing. The Golden Rod cakes are iced in white and decorated with fancy candies and citron.” Here the Golden Rod cakes aren’t the orange ones, but they don’t have pistachios, either. No reference is made to Waldorf Triangles.

(I could go on. There are the German-American versions from Praktischer Ratgeber für Conditoren, Cakebäcker und Brotbäcker und Candy-Macher/Practical Manual for Confectioners, Pastrycooks and Bakers and Candy Makers, 1912, that parallel the 1890s versions I found in my previous post, and one of which specifically calls for “three-cornered, long pans” [“long” is left out of the English translation on that page, but it’s there in the German].)

My thought, after all of this, is that Golden Rod/Goldenrod Cakes are probably the basic triangular cakes, usually iced with orange icing (and perhaps frequently conflated with the Orange Slice cakes which had a slightly different pan, but could also be made in the Golden Rod pan), and that Waldorf Triangles were a variation (presumably originating at the Waldorf Hotel?) that had pistachios and were not orange. This is really only speculation, subject to change as I find more information. I look forward to finding more versions of these recipes and researching this further, and to possibly trying the recipe one of these days.

I’m also looking forward to finding one of the darn pans! No luck so far.

The Huevos con Queso experiment

Such a terrible blogger I am. In May, I ended my last post with “We had some leftover chili sauce and onions, and used that to resurrect another recipe on the next day. Stay tuned for a post about that one.” And you are still waiting. I apologize.

I didn’t waste all the time in the meantime, though. I spent part of it doing two more Master’s thesis drafts as well as a couple of research projects (one food-related, yes indeed). The thesis is now done (done! really!), so I hope I can get back to the business of recipe resurrecting.

I’ll start with a brief one I promised back in May. The last recipe I posted about was “Enchiladas, Mexican Style” from Gebhardt’s 1936 cookbook, Mexican Cookery for American Homes. This book, however, was not Gebhardt’s first cookbook for the American kitchen—that would be Mexican Cooking, published in about 1908. (Unfortunately, Google Books doesn’t have it freely available online even though it is in the public domain. It has been reprinted, though, and you can buy it here.)

This book is probably the first ever Mexican-American cookbook, and includes recipes such as “Tostadas de Queso—Cheese Toast (A Sunday-Night Supper)” and “Quesadilla Mexicana—Mexican Rarebit,” all featuring Gebhardt’s Eagle Chili Powder. It also has Enchiladas, but they are different from the flat stacked enchiladas in the 1937 cookbook. They are rolled, include homemade tortillas (called only “thin cakes” in this recipe, not tortillas), and it is suggested that “sardines cut into fine pieces are sometimes added.”

In the introduction, “To the American Housekeeper,” the book promises that:

“…We have spared neither labor nor expense in our efforts to give dishes that are pleasing, novel, and easily prepared.

While of the most simple nature, these recipes are those used by some of the most famous chefs of Old Mexico, and a careful reading of the following pages will enable you to surprise and please your friends and family with dishes that have graced the table of President Diaz and have made Mexican cooks as famous as those of France.”

Well, then. Let’s try some presidential cuisine. Page 31 features this recipe:

Huevos Con Queso—Eggs with Cheese

To six eggs use three tablespoonsful of grated mild cheese, one large tablespoonful of butter, one teaspoonful of onion juice or a small chopped onion; one half-teaspoonful of Gebhardt’s Eagle Chili Powder and salt to taste. Mix the cheese, butter, onion, chili powder and salt in a hot pan and stir until cheese is melted. Break the eggs into a bowl, adding the cheese and cook slowly, stirring until done, and then stir in chopped parsley and serve hot.

This is pretty straightforward despite being 102 years old. We had almost every ingredient available either from leftovers from the previous night’s enchilada experiment (such as the onions, cheese, chili powder, etc.) or because we had it on hand anyway (the eggs). The only ingredient we didn’t have was the chopped parsley, and I decided I could easily live without it.

Following the directions, I mixed the cheese, butter, leftover onion, Penzey’s chili powder, and salt in the pan. I beat the eggs and then stirred them into the cheese mixture. (I think the recipe may be missing a word when it says “Break the eggs into a bowl, adding the cheese and cook slowly.” Perhaps “adding to the cheese” is what was meant. But that part could certainly be phrased more clearly.)

More vintage cookin': Huevos con Queso

The recipe just says “serve hot.” When looking at modern versions, though, I saw that the dish is often served on tortilla strips. I cheated and used tortilla chips I had on hand. I piled huevos on the chips, then put a dollop of chili sauce (made for the previous night’s enchiladas) and a smaller dollop of sour cream on the top, and a tiny sprinkle of grated cheese. I ate it with a side of beans and spicy sauce.


It was good. It was not as spicy as I would have liked it, so if I make it again, I may experiment with more spice. Considering that the recipe is from 1908 and was written for an audience that may not have been as comfortable with hot and spicy foods as we are, I’m not surprised that it was a little mild. It was still tasty and I would certainly cook it again.

It was not, however, as good as the enchiladas from the previous night, which were tremendous.

More vintage cookin': Huevos con Queso
Yum. Looks pretty tasty, hmm?

The Enchiladas, Mexican Style experiment

When flipping through Mexican Cookery for American Homes (1936) last week looking for a recipe to try that we would also be willing to eat for dinner, I saw a recipe for Enchiladas, Mexican Style. “Sounds good,” said Jason. “Make that.”

Here is the recipe as it is in the book:

ENCHILADAS, Mexican Style

18 tortillas 1 c. grated cheese
1/2 c. fat 1 c. chopped onion
Chili Sauce (recipe p. 36) 6 eggs, fried
Salt to taste

If tortillas are cold, heat in hot fat until they are softened and are golden brown in color. In a saucepan, heat the chili sauce. Dip the hot tortillas in the hot chili sauce and remove to plate; sprinkle each with cheese and finely chopped onion. Serve in stacks of three, topped with a fried egg and two or three tablespoons of Chili Sauce.

Wait, what? Stacked, flat enchiladas? I had never heard of such a thing. When I’ve made enchiladas before, they have always been filled, rolled, and baked in chili sauce. (Yum, I might add.) This odd “flat enchilada” piqued my interest.

As it turns out, is not exactly a resurrected recipe—flat enchiladas are still commonly made in New Mexico, Sonora, and a few other places. In New Mexico, it’s considered a local specialty. Up here in the Seattle area, though, enchiladas are usually rolled, at least in the restaurants I’ve visited.

Barry Popik’s website, The Big Apple, discusses the history of the flat or stacked enchilada, giving several recipes including a recent one by Bobby Flay that is fairly similar to our 1936 recipe, and one dating back to 1950.

The flat enchilada can be found earlier than 1950, however. Here it is in “A New Mexico Supper,” American Cookery, October, 1921:

Las Enchiladas, for instance, are unlike anything else under the sun. You may follow, if you like, the fascinating process of concoction of this piece de resistance of your meal. The senora is frying tortillas, the corn pancake which is the foundation of the enchilada.

“From a snowy mass of corn meal dough she pinches a ball which she spins and pats between her plump hands into a thin wafer about six inches in diameter. She browns this on top of the stove, rotating and turning it with her moistened palm. When three tortillas have been beautifully browned they are next dropped into a kettle of boiling fat where they bubble and turn until the real building process begins.

“First a tortilla in the center of a plate. Then a flood of rich red chile sauce from a near-by kettle, a layer of grated cheese, another tortilla, more chile and more cheese sprinkled between in layer-cake fashion, and the whole topped with a high crown of chopped onions in which nestles an egg, which has been broken for a minute into the hot lard. An artistic and cooling garnish of lettuce—and behold an enchilada!”

The flat “Mexican Style” enchilada recipe in Mexican Cookery for American Homes is on the same page as a recipe labeled “American Style.” The “American” version is the rolled style: tortillas stuffed with hot chili from a can and then covered with chili as well, then sprinkled with grated cheese and placed in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese.

The “Mexican Style” sounds much more appealing, so I went with that. The first step was to turn to the Chili Sauce recipe on page 36.

(Chili Sauce)

2 T. butter 2 T. flour
1 onion, chopped 1/2 t. salt
1 green pepper, chopped 1 T. Gebhardt’s Chili Powder
1 clove of garlic, minced 1 c. tomatoes
1 c. meat stock or water

Cook onion, green pepper and garlic in the butter until soft; add flour, salt and Gebhardt’s Chili Powder and stir until smooth. Add tomatoes and meat stock or water. Cook until thickened and smooth. Strain if desired.

Cooking enchiladas from a 1936 recipe

This is reasonably straightforward. The only changes I made to the recipe were using chili powder from Penzeys (their Medium Hot) instead of Gebhardt’s, and using vegetable stock instead of beef stock or water. I made the full recipe.

Chile sauce

The chili sauce ready to go, it was time to make the enchiladas. I was only making one stack because Jason is currently not eating tortillas — he was going to use the chili sauce to make himself some huevos rancheros instead. The original recipe serves six, so I reduced the quantities as appropriate.

I heated up olive oil in a pan, and when it was hot, dipped each tortilla in the oil for about 5 seconds on each side, then dipped it in the sauce, then laid it out on the plate. The one problem I tended to have here was that I couldn’t stack neatly, since the tortillas kept wanting to fold in on themselves while I was trying to get them on the plate.

Neatly or not, I got each tortilla, now coated in saucy goodness, onto the plate, where Jason sprinkled cheese and onions on top of each layer.

Enchiladas from a 1936 recipe

I quickly fried an egg sunny-side up, and placed it on top of the stack, then sprinkled on some more cheese, onions, and a few spoonfuls of chili sauce, and a dab of sour cream. (Unfortunately, I don’t have a good photo of the finished eggy version.)


This was excellent. I don’t think it is necessarily the healthiest thing I’ve ever cooked, what with the quick-fried tortillas and the egg and the cheese, but darned if it wasn’t one of the tastiest. I would cook and eat this again any time.

The chili sauce had a lot to do with the success of this recipe. I did let it thicken and reduce just a bit more than I should have, I think, but it was delicious. I chose not to strain it, so it was a bit chunky, but that wasn’t a problem at all. It wasn’t outrageously hot chili sauce, but it wasn’t exactly tame, either — you would take a taste and think “this isn’t hot at all, just flavorful,” and then a minute later the burn would hit you. And it was a good burn, not the kind of macho “more pain than flavor” burn you get from a lot of spicy foods these days. Of course, it might just be that the chili powder we used is really tasty.

We both felt that the sauce needed a bit of salt, but that wasn’t a big deal. Some of the information I found online about Gebhardt’s chili powder indicated that it might be as much as 40% salt, which would explain why our version that didn’t use Gebhardt’s needed some salt — the Penzeys powder we used contains only Ancho chili pepper, red pepper, cumin, garlic and oregano, but not any salt.

I can’t speak for authenticity or whether this really is “Mexican Style.” What I do know is that it’s pretty good, and I think I’ll introduce it to a few Seattle friends who may never have enjoyed a stacked enchilada before.

We had some leftover chili sauce and onions, and used that to resurrect another recipe on the next day. Stay tuned for a post about that one.

Mexican Cookery for American Homes

Last week I acquired a copy of a small cookbook, Mexican Cookery for American Homes, published in 1936 by the Gebhardt Chili Powder Company of San Antonio, Texas. This was an updated version of a 1923 cookbook also published by Gebhardt. (In 1908, Gebhardt published another book called Mexican Cooking; there’s a reprint now available.)

In the early 20th century, Mexican food has become a staple of the American diet, though it’s been Americanized to some extent. It’s no longer exotic in any way. We all know enchiladas, tacos, and tamales. In 1936, however, Mexican food could still be a bit more of an unusual treat unless you lived in areas such as the Southwest U.S.. The cookbook’s foreword alludes to this when it says “Mexican foods are as interesting and appetizing as they are exotic” and stresses that “Americanized recipes are also included.”

Indeed they are. Along with the enchiladas and tacos, the book includes Sopa a la Creole (Creole Gumbo), Torta de Carne Enchilada (Chili Meat Loaf), Rarebit a la Mexicana (three versions of Mexican Rarebit — basically, Welsh Rabbit with with such additions as chili powder, corn, and Gebhardt’s Deviled Sandwich Spread), Huevos Endiablados en Aspic (Deviled Eggs in Aspic) and Chili Scrapple.

My favorite recipe, for its sheer silliness, is the recipe for Gebhardt’s Chili con Carne:

(Gebhardt’s Chili with Meat)

No. 2 can Gebhardt’s Chili con Carne

Place the can of Gebhardt’s Chili con Carne, either plain or with beans, in a saucepan and cover with hot water. Allow to boil gently for 20 minutes. Turn into hot bowls and serve at once.

Yes, you read that correctly. This recipe is telling you to heat up a can of chili. If that’s not enough, it’s telling you to boil it unopened. That’s not something we see much in modern cookbooks, is it? (Though I admit to making dulce de leche that way once or twice — you boil a can of sweetened condensed milk for 3 hours. Problem is, if the pan runs dry, your can explodes.)

Many of the other recipes are a bit more complex and don’t require products out of a Gebhardt can, though most of them do require Gebhardt chili powder, which makes sense since that was the company’s flagship product. This week, I made Enchiladas, Mexican Style and Salsa de Chili from this cookbook. I’ll report how those recipes turned out in my next post. In the meantime, however, you might enjoy Gebhardt’s recipe for tacos.


Place slices of cooked meat of chicken on a tortilla, spread with pickle relish and fold over, fastening each tacos with two toothpicks so as to hold together. Fry in deep hot fat (390 F.) or toast on a hot griddle, until throughly (sic.) heated and a golden brown in color.

Have ready a salad of shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes dressed with Gebhardt’s Salad Dressing (page 39). Top each hot tacos with the salad and serve at once.

Note: Tacos is the Mexican’s Sandwich. It is generally thought of as made of roast meat of chicken, either sliced or minced but cheese and sweet fillings are rapidly gaining in popularity. The Mexican enjoys his Tacos and Hot Chocolate as does the American his Doughnuts and Coffee.

An interesting thing about the Gebhardt recipe is how the text uses the word “tacos” — it uses it as a singular noun: “Top each hot tacos with the salad.” Other old cookbooks and magazines from before this time don’t do this. For example, Table Talk, “The American Authority upon Culinary Topics and Fashions of the Table,” discussed Mexican cooking in October, 1913 in the article “Mexican Kitchens and Cooks,” and said: “A taco is the Mexican sandwich; it is a tortilla in which are rolled meat, frijoles, salsa, or nata (curd of boiled milk).”

As a bonus, here’s one more early 20th century recipe for tacos, this one from the Castelar Créche Cook Book, published in Los Angeles in 1922:


Put the tortillas in boiling lard and put in tomatoes mashed with onion and bits of garlic, cheese, cooked pork meat, alligator pear, salt and strips of peeled chiles. Roll and cover with a clean tortilla, hold together with toothpick and fry in very little lard, in fact, just enough not to burn. To eat, take off the first tortilla.—Carlota L. Algara.

Next post — The Enchiladas, Mexican Style experiment. Stay tuned.

Mexican Cookery for American Homes

Surprise! More asparagus on toast

I just stumbled on this 1957 advertisement and recipe from Good Housekeeping while browsing clotho98’s wonderful photostream on Flickr. Instead of tartar sauce as in the recipe I posted the other day, it has cheese sauce, and there’s deviled ham on the toast. If anyone tries this version, I’d love to hear what you think of it!

(I must confess that I once loved deviled ham. Haven't had it in years.)

The Asparagus on Toast experiment

Grandma's cookbook: inside the cover (I apologize for the lengthy gap in posts. Real world stuff for the last couple of months has made it very difficult to find time for the cooking, researching, and posting this site deserves. I do have several topics lined up, though, so stay tuned and they’ll be here eventually. Here’s a quick post for the meantime.)

I was going through my grandma’s cookbook from the 1930s, looking for something that would be good with dinner, when the word “asparagus” caught my eye. It’s asparagus season, isn’t it? No better time to experiment with an old recipe that uses it.

Here’s the recipe, with possibly the first time I’ve ever seen the phrase “asparagus water”:


Cut off tough ends of stalks, wash, and cut in inch pieces, keeping tips by themselves. Boil tougher portions in salted water twenty minutes or until tender. Add tips when tougher portions are partly cooked. Drain, pile lightly on buttered toast, which has been moistened with asparagus water, and pour over melted butter, or cover with thin white sauce or tartar sauce.


1/2 cup stiff mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped pickle relish
1 teaspoon finely chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix and chill the ingredients and serve with the asparagus.

Though the recipe is another one of the X on toast recipes that seemed more common then than now, the recipe isn’t all that strange, I suppose. I was, however, a bit concerned about the boiled asparagus. Most of the time when I eat asparagus now, it’s steamed, or stir-fried. When I was a kid, I grew up eating canned asparagus, which is kind of mushy. (I liked it anyway, having never had the non-canned version.) I expected boiled asparagus would be closer to the canned texture, and I was not too thrilled about that. But you don’t know until you try, so it was off to the kitchen!

Recipe in progress: tartar sauce

I started with the tartar sauce. I love tartar sauce. As a kid, whenever we went to local burger joints like Dick’s Drive-In or Dag’s, I would always get tartar for my fries. McDonald’s didn’t have tartar, but they were wrong.

As I got older, and more national fast food chains moved into the Seattle-area, the newcomers didn’t offer tartar sauce. Ketchup was everywhere, but it got more and more difficult to find simple tartar sauce for your fries. I have heard that tartar sauce with fries is a “Pacific Northwest thing.” I don’t know. It’s not as common as it used to be, though.

Though I love the stuff, I’ve never actually tried to make it. It’s always been out of a jar. I wasn’t even sure what it was made of. (Or why the tartar sauce from Dick’s is yellow/green.) So I was looking forward to making my own.

The mayonnaise and relish were an issue. The best possible way to make this would be to make homemade mayo and relish to start. I didn’t really have the time or motivation to do that. Also, in the 1930s and earlier, packaged mayo and relish were available, so it would be authentic to use these. Somehow I don’t think my grandma was always making her own mayonnaise. (I used Best Foods mayo, a very old brand.)


I hate sweet relish, but the store had dill relish, so I used that. I added the lemon juice and the salt, and a tiny sprinkle of garlic powder to make up for the onion that I forgot to buy. Then I stirred the mixture, tasted it, and… yum! Even though I didn’t make my own mayo or relish, this tartar sauce was still tastier than the usual jarred tartar sauce. Excellent. I set it aside in the fridge to chill and blend the flavors for a while.

Next, the asparagus. Nothing difficult about this bit—I followed the directions exactly, boiling it in salted water. I boiled the tougher parts for 10 minutes, then added the tips for the rest of the boiling time. The asparagus boiled for maybe 18 minutes total instead of 20, as it seemed perfectly tender at that point. And not mushy.

I buttered toast and moistened it with some of the asparagus water as directed, then spooned on the asparagus and topped it with tartar sauce. (Perhaps a bit more than it needed.) It was tasting time.


Hey! It’s good! The asparagus is cooked but not too soft and not mushy in any way. It has a good asparagus flavor. The bread balances it out nicely both in texture and in flavor. The tartar sauce is bright and vinegary on the tongue with a nice bit of dill flavor from the dill relish. (The flavor did intensify after a couple of hours in the fridge, incidentally.)

The combination was really good, and definitely a surprise. I was expecting something edible but not particularly good or interesting, but this was both. It’s also really easy to make. I will make it again.

I still have a bunch of tartar sauce left—I might have to go to Dick’s for some fries…

Teriyaki salmon, asparagus on toast, rice
(Here the asparagus dish is served with some teriyaki salmon and a bit of rice. Unfortunately it got dark before dinnertime, so the lighting wasn’t very good, unlike the dinner, which was excellent.)

A “Japanese” salad from a Russian princess

This 1932 issue of Liberty magazine contained a recipe for a Japanese salad.

Real life stuff has kept me from doing the fun cooking and researching that I want to do. I have a few topics in line but no time to put them together or try the recipes! Augh!

But, have no fear — I do at least have an old recipe for you to enjoy today. This is from the August 27, 1932 issue of Liberty magazine, page 50, in the “To the Ladies!” column by Princess Alexandra Kropotkin (“linguist, traveler, lecturer, and authority on fashion” — she was the London-born daughter of the famous Russian anarchist Peter Alexeyevich Kropotkin).

The column begins with a blurb about actress Anna May Wong, and, after some jokes, anecdotes, and a plug for the book Blonde Interlude by Bourke Lee, ends with a recipe:

“With extreme daredeviltry I give you a Japanese salad on the same page with a Chinese movie star. I may be starting another war, but here goes:

“To begin making this Japanese salad you first peel some potatoes and cook them in meat bouillon with a bay leaf. Dice the potatoes while warm. With every two cups of diced potatoes use one cup of cut-up shrimps, half a cup of diced tongue, and two tablespoons of chopped chives.

“For the dressing use one tablespoon of the hot bouillon in which the potatoes were cooked, one tablespoon of vinegar, two of salad oil, a scant tablespoon of sugar, half a teaspoon of soy sauce, pepper, and a speck of ground mace. Chill well.

“Make a border of the Japanese mixture and fill the center with lettuce leaves sprinkled with French dressing. Decorate with little mounds of chopped beets.”

I am pretty certain I won’t be making this one. It contains two things that are Kryptonite to me: tongue and beets. I once had a traumatic experience when I was invited to dinner with a boyfriend’s parents, and the dinner consisted of boiled, unseasoned tongue sliced in cross-section (the father could not have salt and apparently anything else that makes food taste interesting was off-limits, too) and canned string beans. (The only drink offered was water, which might have been all right if the food was edible, but it was not. I imagine the average prison food is better. It certainly is likely to have more flavor.) So tongue was off the menu for me after that, even when I did still eat beef.

I don’t know how “Japanese” this salad actually is. It strikes me as pretty western, despite the half teaspoon of soy sauce. If this actually is Japanese, I would love to know.




Recent Comments



  • profileWendi is a history geek and loves to bake, particularly recipes from her grandmother's collection. Kristen has been cooking her whole life. She has a BS in Family & Consumer Science and enjoys comfort foods and creating new recipes.


    This is a Flickr badge showing public items from the Resurrected Recipes group pool. Make your own badge here.