Monday, June 23, 2014

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #2 - Soups and Sauces

Ellis Grade School was across 7th Avenue, through Ellis Park which was an entire city block, then across Stuntz Avenue.  The kindergarten building was the newest addition on the right side and the fire station was on the left.  There was a large silo-type structure attached to the building and it was where the fire escape was housed.  It was the most awesome and scary circular slide in the world!  Or at least it was to a 4-year-old little girl.  That little girl was me and every day when I came home for lunch my mom would have tomato soup and buttered saltine crackers waiting for me.  A nice memory.

Challenge #2 for the Historical Food Fortnightly is Soups and Sauces.  In looking through our CBS Homemakers Exchange Recipes I find several tomato soup recipes but non so intriguing as the recipe for Orange Tomato Soup from July/August/September 1950.
The little voice in my head says, through all the laughter, Seriously?!  How can tomato juice and orange juice turn into a soup and how can it possibly taste good?  So I just HAVE to make it.  Wouldn't you?


Heat the tomato juice, add the orange juice, reheat.  Seriously??!!

Yes, and seriously good!  Smooth, light, tomato with just a tiny hint of citrus and perfect for summer.

While I stood over the hot stove making soup *wink*, Patrick made grilled burgers with onion and Worchestershire topped with Provolone cheese and a tomato and ranch dressing pasta salad.

We do have a bit of history to share with you.  Ellis Grade School in Ashland, Wisconsin was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 17, 1980 as being noted for its Revival architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries.

And the serving piece for the soup was given to Patrick by his mother, Bernice.  While he doesn't know the origin of the set, he can tell you that his cat, Bullette, knocked the sugar bowl off the counter.  What we've been able to find is that the manufacturer is Noritake China Made In Occupied Japan which firmly dates its origin to between 1948 and 1952 according to the mark.  We also know the pattern is Greenbrier.  And, sadly, we haven't been able to find a sugar bowl.  If you are interested there are more details about Noritake here:     Noritake China

Historical Food Fortnightly

The Challenge:  #2 - Soups and Sauces
The Recipe:  Orange Tomato Soup, CBS Homemakers Exchange Recipe Jul/Aug/Sep 1950
The Date/Year and Region:  1950, United States television
How Did You Make It:  Standing over a hot stove for hours *wink and smile*
Time to Complete:  Truthfully, only about 5 minutes.
Total Cost:  Approximately 75 cents
How Successful Was It?:  4 thumbs up
How Accurate Is It?:  Couldn't be easier.

Give it a try!  Seriously!!
Patrick and Jeanette

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Historical Food Fortnightly - Challenge #1 Literature

And so we begin another fun adventure!  When Betsy and Melissa announced the Historical Food Fortnightly, Patrick and I gave it 4 thumbs up and agreed to enjoy, blog, and then print the book for our family.  Thank you, Betsy and Melissa, for creating HFF and planning our wonderful Challenges!
The guidelines of the HFF encourage the recipes and cooking methods prior to 1960.  Patrick and I were born in 1950 and 1951 and are both 63 years old as we write this.  As we reviewed the Challenges and talked about this blog, we decided to honor our parents by re-creating the meals they would have been making at the time we were born into the families.  But where to find that information?
By a stroke of pure luck we found a set of 7 recipe booklets on eBay.  The Homemakers Exchange Recipes  contain the recipes aired on CBS-TV at 4:00PM Monday through Friday.  Our 7 booklets cover January 1950 through September 1951.
As Patrick and I create our 1950/51 meals through this year of HFF Challenges, we will also share some bits about ourselves, past and present.  Thank you for joining us!  Let's get cooking!
The first HFF Challenge is Literature.  While it would be fun to find a literary piece from mid-century, we are in the midst of re-reading The Hunger Games.  The movie was filmed in North Carolina, Patrick's home state and our current residence.  In 2011 we both auditioned for parts for the film.  And we got the parts!  The economic crash of 2008 was forcing us to rethink our previously successful self-employment and the movie offer came a week after we had accepted a job offer which would take us to Maine.  It would be a lie to say we weren't tempted to ditch the job offer and go play in the movies!  But off to Maine we went and the movie went on without us.
If you've read the trilogy you might remember that Katniss and Peeta have both been reaped to fight in The Hunger Games - a game to the death.  After the reaping they are on a train to the Capitol and Katniss, used to near starvation in her home District, is served her first meal.
The supper comes in courses.  A thick carrot soup, green salad,
lamb chops and mashed potatoes,
cheese and fruit, a chocolate cake.
Chapter 3

Patrick and I agree.  Let's recreate Katniss and Peeta's first Capitol-style meal.  Mid-century style!
A Thick Carrot Soup
Hmmmm.   Not one recipe for carrot soup in any of the booklets.  So we'll just assume that the District supplying carrots is in rebellion and find a nice substitute.  Katniss and Peeta would approve of our resourcefulness. 
From July/August/September 1950, a Chilled Cucumber Soup recipe.

 Our ingredients:

Green Salad
From April/May/June 1951, an Old Fashioned Green Salad recipe.
Our ingredients:

Lamb Chops and Mashed Potatoes
From July/August/September 1950, Braised Lamb Chops recipe:

And from January/February/March 1950, a Mashed Potatoes recipe:

Cheese and Fruit - all Districts cooperated and this was easy to find.
Chocolate Cake
April/May/June 1950 Chocolate Cake recipe:

Swans Down Cake Flour, America's Favorite Cake Flour Since 1894
Baker's Chocolate, Since 1780
Here is where things started falling apart.  It had been years, yes years, since we baked a cake.  We found our pans in that dark corner of the corner cupboard that only gets attention when you move.  But we found them.   Next, the recipe called for "3 squares" of chocolate and the 4 ounce package had 16 rectangular pieces.  So a little internet searching revealed that we weren't the only ones who had no idea how much a square was.  We learned that a "square" is an ounce, and that unsweetened chocolate is 100% cacao.  Bittersweet chocolate is only 67% cacao and the two chocolates cannot be substituted in recipes.  So the cake got mixed and baked and smelled great but looked awful!  And then it wouldn't release from the sides of the pan! 
The nice part of being older is that you pick up lots of tips and tricks along the way.  We got the cake out of the pans with some crumbling around the edges, cut off those awful edges, and our 8" round cake was simply cut to 6" round.  Moving right along to a chocolate frosting from the April/May/June 1951 recipe booklet.

Sigh.  Here we go again.  The cooked portion of the frosting just didn't seem the right consistency but we forged on.  While the recipe called for 2 cups of powdered sugar it took almost 5 cups.  It was already hot in the kitchen and the frosting seemed to melt before our eyes.  But we had a cake that a starving District 12 Katniss and Peeta would love!
So here is our Hunger Games train meal done in mid-century style:
Chilled Cucumber Soup - totally delicious, smooth, refreshing!
Old Fashioned Green Salad - sweet, tangy, and bacon!  Yummy!

Lamb Chops and Mashed Potatoes - melt-on-your-tongue potatoes and wonderful chops!
Cheese and Fruit

Chocolate Cake - for all the problems it tastes amazing!!

So now Patrick and Jeanette will join Katniss and Peeta and have another piece of chocolate cake!  May the odds be ever in your favor!

Patrick and Jeanette
Historical Food Fortnightly
The Challenge:  #1 Literature
The Recipe:  Homemakers Exchange Recipes 1950 and 1951
Date/Year and Region:  1950 and 1951 United States Television
How Did You Make It?:  Followed recipe using currently available ingredients
Time to Complete:  4 hours
Total Cost:  $41
How Successful Was It?  All final courses except the cake were excellent!  But for all its flaws, the cake tasted amazing.
How Accurate Is It?  Complete made-from-scratch per the recipes and very close to the literature.