Stories often hide between the lines even in old cookbooks. Like this well-used one that belonged to my mother-in-law and holds many ink-altered recipes.
Mom loved to entertain and often had small groups in her (now our) home. In fact, she had two kitchens because the family lived in the basement for a year while the upstairs was remodeled. I still mourn the loss of pocket doors and wood floors and glass doorknobs and especially the beautiful old molding and corner blocks. Mom wanted modern.
Anyway, she helped serve 190 people at the Charlotte Grange fried chicken supper on October 14, 1941. Apparently, they ran out of chicken and potatoes, so if you got there late, you might have had to fill up on cottage cheese and applesauce–and maybe some pie. I think it’s interesting that they diluted whipping cream for coffee.
But my favorite is the plan for the Kieser Farm Face Lifting Lunch on September 15, 1949–planned for 1000 people.
I wonder what a farm face lifting is.
The menu included barbecue sandwiches, hot dogs, fried cakes, home made pies, ice cream, coffee, potato chips, candy, and gum. She seems to have forgotten any fruit or veggies. And how do you eat barbecue sandwiches when you run out of buns? I suppose they used the more expensive hot dog buns.
They got the buns from Holsum Bread Company. I followed a rabbit trail to learn a little about the company. I learned that “the inner part of the bread encased by the crust is called the ‘crumb'”. This is why small bits of this part of the bread are called crumbs.” And that the average American student will have consumed 1500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches upon graduation from high school.
At any rate, the next time I want to serve a large crowd, I’ve got blueprints already on hand, including Mrs. Fulton’s barbecue recipe for 250 buns.
When I turned the page over, I found the whole table setup for the affair.
The barbecue and hot dog stoves and supplies were set up on the east end and the coffee supplies and stoves on the west. She stacked the supply of pies and fried cakes in the center. People were assigned serving stations, including my sister-in-law who had charge of one of the ice cream cup tables. She would have been about ten years old. I asked my husband what he did, but he didn’t remember. He was four days shy of his second birthday. He was probably sneaking ice cream cups and candy.
The stream of people must have moved efficiently down each side picking up gum and candy first. I’ll bet the kids loved that. Then you got your barbecue, hot dogs, mustard and catsup, potato chips and/or fried cakes, pie, ice cream, and coffee. Then you stopped at the cashier, so the shindig wasn’t free.
But Mom, where’s the Kool-Aid?
By the way, did you know Kool-Aid was first called Fruit Smack? And that the man who invented it also developed a product called Nix-O-Tine to put the smack-down on cigarette smoking?
Now where was I?
I don’t know, but over here in the corner is a recipe for Vickie’s prize-winning pie. I think it says something about grasshoppers.
I’m also thinking I won’t be trying the recipes for broiled or fried brains any time soon. “Calf’s brains are the most desirable; lamb’s are sometimes used for food. Brains are very delicate but have never attained great popularity.” I wonder why. I won’t be trying the tongue or tripe, either. But the sour cream cookies or Indian pudding might hold some promise.
Have you found any stories in a cookbook?
In the stillness,