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Historical Cooking Books: Metropolitan Cookbook by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (1964)

June 17th, 2018 No comments

Archive.org has a host of old cookery books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. I happened across a few in my Pinterest feed and gone completely down the rabbit hole in this treasure trove of information. Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these books. I’ll be sharing more books as I find them in the coming weeks. –Douglas


Something a little newer this week, but still probably ancient history to our children. If you are looking for that favorite childhood recipe, maybe you’ll find it here. The graphics are so cute and deeply remind me of my own childhood when this style was particularly in fashion. This edition was from the month and year of my birth, so it probably would have been seen in some family or friend’s house while I was growing up. — Douglas

Metropolitan Cookbook by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (1964)

Metro cookbook cover

Historical Cooking Books: Metropolitan Cookbook by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (1964)

Available in PDF, Text, JPG formats, and more

Metropolitan Life

A INSURANCE COMPANY

(A MUTUAL COMPANY) HOME OFFICE. NEW YORK, SINCE 1668

HEAD OFFICE. SAM FRANCISCO. SINCE l»OI

HEAD OFFICE. OTTAWA. SINCE 1924

OVER 1,000 LOCAL OFFICES IN U.SA AND CANADA

Learn more about cooking history with these books

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Categories: Books, Cooking, Food, History Tags:

Historical Cooking Books: The White House cookbook : a comprehensive cyclopedia of information for the home (1903)

June 10th, 2018 No comments

Archive.org has a host of old cookery books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. I happened across a few in my Pinterest feed and gone completely down the rabbit hole in this treasure trove of information. Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these books. I’ll be sharing more books as I find them in the coming weeks. –Douglas


Information on all aspects of house holding, including where various cut of meat come from, how they are best used, caring for the sick and much more. — Douglas

The White House cookbook : a comprehensive cyclopedia of information for the home; containing cooking, toilet, and household recipes, menus, dinner-giving, table etiquette, care of the sick, health suggestions, facts worth knowing, etc.

Historical Cooking Books: The White House cookbook : a comprehensive cyclopedia of information for the home (1903)Historical Cooking Books: The White House cookbook : a comprehensive cyclopedia of information for the home (1903)

Available in PDF, Text, JPG formats, and more

In presenting to the public the “White House Cook Book,” the publishers believe they can justly claim that it more fully represents the progress and present perfection of the culinary art than any previous work. In point of authorship, it stands preeminent. Hugo Ziemann was at one time caterer for that Prince Napoleon who was killed while fighting the Zulus in Africa, He was afterwards steward of the famous Hotel Splendide in Paris. Later he conducted the celebrated Brunswick Cafe in New York, and still later he gave to the Hotel Kichelieu, in Chicago, a cuisine which won the applause of even the gourmets of foreign lands. It was here that he laid the famous “ spread ” to which the chiefs of the warring factions of the Kepublican Convention sat down in June, 1888 , and from which they arose with asperities softened, differences harmonized and victory organized.

Mrs. F. L. Gillette is no less proficient and capable, having made a life-long and thorough study of cookery and housekeeping, especially as adapted to the practical wants of average American homes.

The book has been prepared with great care. Every recipe has been tried and tested, and can be relied upon as one of the best of its kind. It is comprehensive, filling completely, it is believed, the requirements of housekeepers of all classes. It embodies several original and commendable features, among which may be mentioned the menus for the holidays and for one week in each month in the year, thus covering all varieties of seasonable foods ; the convenient classification and arrangement of topics ; the simplified method of explanation in preparing an article, in the order of manipulation, thereby enabling the most inexperienced to clearly comprehend it.

More Information About This Book

Publication date 1903
Topics Cooking, American
Publisher Akron, Ohio ; New York ; Chicago : Saalfield
Collection leedsuniversitylibrary; ukmhl; medicalheritagelibrary; europeanlibraries
Digitizing sponsor Jisc and Wellcome Library
Contributor University of Leeds Library
Language English

Learn more about cooking history with these books

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Categories: Books, Cooking, Food, History Tags:

Historical Cooking Books: Perfect Cooking, I. A. Sheppard & Co.(1890)

June 4th, 2018 Comments off

Archive.org has a host of old cookery books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. I happened across a few in my Pinterest feed and gone completely down the rabbit hole in this treasure trove of information. Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these books. I’ll be sharing more books as I find them in the coming weeks. –Douglas


Scrolling through the archive, the artwork on the cover of this book immediately caught my eye. It is a lovely representation of the way cooking had been only a few decades before this pamphlet was published. I thought it would be a guide on cookery of the era, but instead it is a sales brochure for variety of coal fired ranges that were the state-of-the-art technology for turn-of-the-century homes. It is very interesting to look back on the kitchen technology of the past. Sometimes it is only in retrospect that we can truly appreciate what we have today.

Perfect Cooking, I. A. Sheppard & Co.(1890)

Historical Cooking Books: Perfect Cooking, I. A. Sheppard & Co.(1890)Historical Cooking Books: Perfect Cooking, I. A. Sheppard & Co.(1890)

Perfect cooking cannot be had from imperfect cooking apparatus ; and because of the facts stated above, the time is rapidly passing by, if, indeed, it has not already gone, when one form of cooking apparatus could be regarded as M about as good as another,” and when any range that a builder or owner might choose to put into a house would be accepted as satisfac- tory, without further question on the part of purchaser or tenant. “One range is just as good as another,” used to be often said by those who had houses to sell ; and it was sometimes believed by those who were about to buy; but now, tenants and buyers have come to know better; and when they hear that familiar saying, they at once suspect that the range that is so feebly commended must be inferior in quality. They have found out that some ranges are made of better material than others, and are therefore, more durable; that some ranges will carryfire better than others, and, therefore, require less attention ; that some will bake and roast more quickly and per- fectly than others ; that some possess convenient appliances which make them more pleasant to use than others ; and also that some are far superior to others in beauty of design and finish.

More Information About This Book

Publication date c.1890
Usage Public Domain Mark 1.0
Topics kitchens, Division 11, residential kitchen appliances, stoves, ranges
Publisher I. A. Sheppard & Co.
Collection buildingtechnologyheritagelibrary; additional_collections; catalogs
Contributor Canadian Centre for Architecture
Language English

Learn more about cooking history with these books

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Categories: Books, Cooking, Food, History Tags:

Reading – Toast and Jam by Sarah Owens – 16 in a series

April 12th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – Toast and Jam by Sarah Owens – 16 in a series

While I am a fairly experienced cook, this book, despite its simple name, was a bit intimidating. Yes, it is truly a book devoted to Toast and Jam, but this is toast and bread unlike you have probably made in your home before.

I would classify this as a cookbook for advanced users — someone looking to challenge themselves and their skills. You’ll learn a great deal about baking by weight, bread made with tahini and sourdough starter and seeds of all description and jams made with melons and sage and sumac. This is certainly not your average, Joy of Cooking, cookbook for beginners.

Still, there is something to be said for taking on a challenge, even if you fail on occasion. If you learn from your mistakes you are sure to improve your baking skills and improve your life, too.

With that in mind, check out Toast and Jam and give it a try.

From Amazon.com…

Bread and butter, toast and jam, scones and clotted cream—baked goods have a long tradition of being paired with spreads to make their flavors and textures sing. As a baker with a passion for plants, Sarah Owens, author of the James Beard award–winning Sourdough, takes these simple pairings in fresh new directions. Spread some Strawberry & Meyer Lemon Preserves on a piece of Buckwheat Milk Bread for a special springtime treat. Top a slice of Pain de Mie with Watermelon Jelly for a bright taste of summer. Lather some Gingered Sweet Potato Butter on a piece of Spiced Carrot Levain for a warming fall breakfast. Make a batch of Dipping Chips to serve with Preserved Lemon and Fava Bean Hummus for an inspired snack. Wow brunch guests with a spread of Sourdough Whole-Grain Bagels, Lemony Herb Chèvre, and Beet-Cured Gravlax. The recipes here offer a thoroughly fresh sensibility for the comfort found in a simple slice of toast spread with jam.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Baking, Books, Bread, Cooking, Food Tags:

Gorgeous Chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons via My Instagram

April 9th, 2018 Comments off

Reading – The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty – 13 in a series

March 11th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty – 13 in a series

Reading - The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty - 13 in a series

A dizzying swirl of food and life and history and slavery and food and genealogy and stories and Africa and everything else that is a part of Twitty’s life. I learned and/or felt something new on every page.

I originally decided to read this book as it was about food and food history, but as I made my way through it I discovered so much more. Even with an authority on United States Slavery living here in my own home, I still learned even more about it with each page. Twitty’s journey to discover who he is by discovering where he came from is a familiar one, but also unique in so many ways. Informed by DNA analysis, deep food-ways research, personal stories and his encounters with people throughout the American South delve deeper into the past and root out basic historical reasons why food, race, history, and families are so complicated today.

At times this book is hard to read. The stories are just too despairing and most modern readers have no frame of reference. It does force you to face the past — all of the past — and come out a better person on the other side with a deeper, if still imperfect, understanding of our collective history.

As other reviewers have mentioned, I wish there had been more recipes throughout the book, that isn’t really its purpose. The recipes provide cultural touchstones but it is the stories that resonate long after you close the covers.

** My version of this book was available from the Los Angeles Public Library in print and ebook versions.

From Amazon.com…

A renowned culinary historian offers a fresh perspective on our most divisive cultural issue, race, in this illuminating memoir of Southern cuisine and food culture that traces his ancestry—both black and white—through food, from Africa to America and slavery to freedom.

Southern food is integral to the American culinary tradition, yet the question of who “owns” it is one of the most provocative touch points in our ongoing struggles over race. In this unique memoir, culinary historian Michael W. Twitty takes readers to the white-hot center of this fight, tracing the roots of his own family and the charged politics surrounding the origins of soul food, barbecue, and all Southern cuisine.

From the tobacco and rice farms of colonial times to plantation kitchens and backbreaking cotton fields, Twitty tells his family story through the foods that enabled his ancestors’ survival across three centuries. He sifts through stories, recipes, genetic tests, and historical documents, and travels from Civil War battlefields in Virginia to synagogues in Alabama to Black-owned organic farms in Georgia.

As he takes us through his ancestral culinary history, Twitty suggests that healing may come from embracing the discomfort of the Southern past. Along the way, he reveals a truth that is more than skin deep—the power that food has to bring the kin of the enslaved and their former slaveholders to the table, where they can discover the real America together.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library.
Check it out! † Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Books, Cooking, Education, History Tags:

In The Kitchen: Peposo dell’Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef) from Food Wishes (with video recipe)

February 22nd, 2018 Comments off

This recipe, found on the Food Wishes YouTube Channel, is all about the WOW! You will definitely be surprised by the amount of black pepper it uses, but once it is braised for several hours it all mellows in a wonderful flavor with a little bit of heat on the finish.

I made mine with a simple pot roast from the grocery, instead of the short ribs used in the video, but it came out wonderfully. I just cut the roast into about 6 large chunks. I would made it with short ribs though for anyone who might specially like them.

While this certainly takes a lot of time to cook, it doesn’t require a lot of attention. I did strain the sauce at the end before cooking it down as the rosemary had disintegrated and I personally don’t like chunks of rosemary needles in my food.

In The Kitchen: Peposo dell'Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

My version, just getting started

I served mine over polenta, just like the video. I have been using this accompaniment for braised meats and such for a long time. It is a great way of capturing all the juices, and the flavor they bring to the dish.

This is a wonderful collection of flavors and while I don’t often eat large cuts of meat like this, it is definitely a recipe I will make again!

One tip: If you don’t have a tight fitting lid for your large skillet or dutch over, seal the top with aluminum foil and then cover with the existing lid and crimp the edges of the foil. This really helps keep all the moist, juicy, goodness inside over the long cooking time.

In The Kitchen: Peposo dell'Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

My largest skillet with foil seal. The foil covers the entire top and then is crimped at the edges.

Peposo dell’Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

In The Kitchen: Peposo dell'Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

Food Wishes Finished Version

Some recipes have amusing, or romantic stories for how they came to be, but this peposo isn’t one of them, unless you consider making bad quality beef taste better by covering it in black pepper, amusing or romantic.

As the story goes, the workers who made terracotta tiles in the city of Impruneta, would place this stew into clay pots, and leave it their still-hot kilns overnight, where it would be ready the next morning. Since they were often stuck using less than fresh meat, copious amounts of black peppercorn was used to make the beef palatable.

Read this entire blog post – Peposo dell’Impruneta – Making Bad Beef Better Since Before Columbus on Food Wishes


Recipe: Peposo dell’Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

Ingredients for 6 portions:

6 bone-in beef short ribs (about 8 to 10 ounces each)
1 tablespoon kosher salt to coat the beef
8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, freshly crushed
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
3-4 sage leaves
3-4 small sprigs rosemary
2 cups red wine, preferably Chianti
2 bay leaves
salt to taste, to adjust sauce

Simmer on low, covered, about 3 1/2 hours, or until fork tender. Turn occasionally.


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* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!

Categories: Cooking, Food, In the kitchen, New Food, Video Tags:

Reading – Bread Is Gold by Massimo Bottura – 8 in a series

February 5th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – Bread Is Gold by Massimo Bottura – 8 in a series

Reading - Bread Is Gold by Massimo Bottura - 8 in a series

Food waste is a huge issue in today’s world. Millions of people go hungry every day and yet thousands of tons of food goes into trash heaps at the same time. World famous chef, Massimo Bottura had a unique idea of how to address this issue and chose the Milan Expo of 2015 to create The Refettorio Ambrosiano. During the 6 months of the Expo, other famous chefs would cook lunch and dinner for school kids and the homeless using mainly the supplies donated to them from other events and restaurants in the city. Chefs didn’t know what supplies they might have available until they arrived and then strove to create something useful, simple and yet, special for those meals.

For me, I am often intimated by chef-level food in the real world. I have understand why people are attracted to the new, the special, the dangerous, but I prefer more down-to-earth fare. This is exactly what these chefs created during their meals. Sure, they dressed up the dishes, but at their heart these dishes were about constraints, simplicity and food as love. It is mainly the constraints that seem to drive the chefs to a higher level, as with many artistic forms. Having too much, too many, too special anything often leads us to be lazy and superficial in our art. Cooking (and painting writing and drawing) within constraints forces us to be creative, more thoughtful and more unique than we might think possible.

There are a host of amazing recipes here and just as many ideas on how to use kitchen scraps, leftovers, slightly damaged or out of date fruit and vegetables — just like what you might find in your own home. I know that there are nights when our own dinner is driven by what needs to be used or finished or saved so it doesn’t end up in the trash or the compost pile. I will need to check out his book from the library again so I can go back and collect all the recipes I want to try. There were simply too many to absorb on first reading. Along with the recipes are the excellent essays of each chef’s experience in the kitchen, what they made and how they made it.

** My version of this book was available as an eBook from the Los Angeles Public Library

Reading - Bread Is Gold by Massimo Bottura - 8 in a series

Reading - Bread Is Gold by Massimo Bottura - 8 in a series

From Amazon.com…

Massimo Bottura, the world’s best chef, prepares extraordinary meals from ordinary and sometimes ‘wasted’ ingredients inspiring home chefs to eat well while living well.

‘These dishes could change the way we feed the world, because they can be cooked by anyone, anywhere, on any budget. To feed the planet, first you have to fight the waste’, Massimo Bottura

Bread is Gold is the first book to take a holistic look at the subject of food waste, presenting recipes for three-course meals from 45 of the world’s top chefs, including Daniel Humm, Mario Batali, René Redzepi, Alain Ducasse, Joan Roca, Enrique Olvera, Ferran & Albert Adrià and Virgilio Martínez. These recipes, which number more than 150, turn everyday ingredients into inspiring dishes that are delicious, economical, and easy to make.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library.
Check it out! † Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Baking, Books, Cooking, Food Tags:

Reading – Milk Street: The New Home Cooking by Christopher Kimble – 6 in a series

January 25th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – Milk Street: The New Home Cooking by Christopher Kimble – 6 in a series

 

You may know Christopher Kimball from his time at America’s Test Kitchen on PBS. He brings his same precision and dedication to Milk Street, his new, individual, company and cooking school. For the most part, Milk Street is about simple, international foods, brought home to out American kitchens and done very, very well. In an effort to help the reader find success with these recipes, they are clearly laid out in great detail with hints and tips and times clearly shown. Kimball and his staff have obviously tested these recipes again and again and want to help you succeed in making them.

Scattered throughout are sections detailing tips like why oil us better for cooking omelets and scrambled eggs, why carbon steel pans might be a home cook’s best friend and how to steam cook with a foil-parchment packet.

Along with this are excellent recipes, many of which I have marked for future “testing” in my own kitchen. Some of my favorites include:

  • Curry Braised Eggs
  • Spanish Spice-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Bites (Pinchos Morunos)
  • Caramelized Pork with Orange and Sage
  • Cracked Potatoes with Vermouth, Coriander, Fennel
  • Whipped Cream Biscuits

** My version of this book was available as an eBook from the Los Angeles Public Library

From Amazon.com…

For more than twenty-five years, Christopher Kimball has promised home cooks that his recipes would work. Now, with his team of cooks and editors at Milk Street, he promises that a new approach in the kitchen can elevate the quality of your cooking far beyond anything you thought possible.

Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street, the first cookbook connected to Milk Street’s public television show, delivers more than 125 new recipes arranged by type of dish: from grains and salads, to a new way to scramble eggs, to simple dinners and twenty-first-century desserts.

At Milk Street, there are no long lists of hard-to-find ingredients, strange cookware, or all-day methods. Skillet-charred Brussels sprouts, Japanese fried chicken, rum-soaked chocolate cake, Thai-style coleslaw, and Mexican chicken soup all deliver big flavors and textures without your having to learn a new culinary language.

These recipes are more than just good recipes. They teach a simpler, bolder, healthier way to cook that will change your cooking forever. And cooking will become an act of pure pleasure, not a chore.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Baking, Books, Cooking, Food, Recipe Tags:

Reading – The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Syrups, Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes by Ellen Zachos – 5 in a series

January 19th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Syrups, Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes by Ellen Zachos – 5 in a series

 Reading - The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Syrups, Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes by Ellen Zachos - 5 in a series

I know what you’re thinking…”Another cocktail book?!?!” Well, this is just the order I completed them in, not some evil scheme to get your drunk on a weeknight. (LAUGH)

The Wildcrafted Cocktail is certainly an extremely niche book. It is few people who go out into the woods and forage the ingredients for their cocktails, yet I still enjoyed the book greatly. It was wonderful to read about all the unique ingredients you might find in your own backyard. Still, I for myself I would be a bit leery gathering plants without a bit more knowledge, and confidence, that I wasn’t poisoning myself in the process. You might want to combine this book on a really good book on backyard foraging like Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn’t Know You Could Eat, to assist you in your search. Such detailed information is far beyond the scope of The Wildcrafted Cocktail, but very necessary to be successful.

That said, there was also some great, general information on cocktails including some history of cocktails,

“What is a cocktail? The first mention of a cocktail as an alcoholic beverage dates from 1806, when it was defined as a drink composed of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters.”

and the difference between the several types of simple syrup that are used behind a well-stocked bar, 

“The difference among these syrups is not only the degree of sweetness but also the mouthfeel. A rich syrup (twice as much sugar as water) is much silkier than a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water). A light syrup (twice as much water as sugar) is lighter and thinner on the tongue. Simple syrups are the most versatile and most commonly called for behind the bar.”

The Wildcrafted Cocktail is certainly worthwhile if only to expand your thinking about foraged ingredients and cocktails in general. Who knows? You might even have some ingredients in your very own garden that could find their way into your glass.

** My version of this book was available as an eBook from the Los Angeles Public Library

From Amazon.com…

Meet the natural lovechild of the popular local-foods movement and craft cocktail scene. It’s here to show you just how easy it is to make delicious, one-of-a-kind mixed drinks with common flowers, berries, roots, and leaves that you can find along roadsides or in your backyard. Foraging expert Ellen Zachos gets the party started with recipes for more than 50 garnishes, syrups, infusions, juices, and bitters, including Quick Pickled Daylily Buds, Rose Hip Syrup, and Chanterelle-infused Rum. You’ll then incorporate your handcrafted components into 45 surprising and delightful cocktails, such as Stinger in the Rye, Don’t Sass Me, and Tree-tini. 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

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