Thursday, May 28, 2009
Lucile Isenberg's OSU textbook from Cooking Class 1920's
My review today is courtesy of Sarah Myers who has graciously given me her mom's vintage cookbook to share with you. Sarah's mother, Lucile Isenberg (formerly of 111 West St., Stillwater, Oklahoma), used the Textbook of Cooking for a class she attended at Oklahoma State University in the 1920's, however, the book's copyright is 1915! The textbook was written by Carlotta Greer and published by the Curtis-Johnson Printing Company.
I was very careful while reading this fragile article of cooking history, and taking notes for the review. It's easy to see that the book has been taken care of, but just because of its age,the pages are dry and the glue on the binding is starting to give way.
This cookbook has a unique style because it's written as a scientific book on cooking. As most textbooks, it's matter-of-fact tone is evident from the beginning. Every cooking method, type of food, and its composition are discussed in a very basic way. Greer states that the book's aim is, "to lay the foundation for skill in cooking by directing the pupil to follow established recipes and to treat processes of cooking as experiments in a scientific study." That is precisely the way the chapters are put together: presentation of subject matter (for example, root vegetables) , methods of preparation, recipes, experiment, questions.
As with any old book, some of the information on dietary matters and such have changed over the years, but as an article of the history of cooking and food, this book is a piece of Americana. You can see how our cooking methods have changed since 1915. It has a picture of a fireless cooker, and talks about wood stoves and the "modern" gas and electric ranges. I found the chapter on the dietary needs of children especially fascinating:
p. 385 Meals for One Day
Child 2-4 years old
breakfast: 7:30 a.m. oatmeal mush, milk, stale bread, orange juice
lunch: 11:00 a.m. milk, stale bread, butter
dinner: 1 p.m. baked potato, boiled onion ( mashed), bread and butter, milk, baked apple
supper: 5:30 p.m. boiled rice, milk, bread and butter
Fuel value, 1313 calories; protein, 191.2 calories cost,$o.13
Substitutions or additions: rolled wheat, wheaten grits, farina, hominy and corn meal
prune pulp or applesauce
My, how times and ideas have changed! This cookbook had many interesting items. I will treasure it, because I'm honored that a reader gave it to me so that I might share some of its contents with you. I'm sure that her mother, Lucile, became a great cook. The sample recipe today will be one that she wrote in the front of this book's cover:
Grandma's Boiled Custard
4 C milk
6 egg yolks
5 TBSP sugar
1 tsp vanilla or rum extract
Scald milk. Add sugar and vanilla to lightly beaten egg yolks. Pour milk over egg mixture a little at a time. Place in double boiler. Cook only til mixture coats spoon. Beat 6 egg whites stiff; fold into custard while hot from stove. Sprinkle nutmeg over top, if desired.
I will be linking to: Grocerycartchallenge for today's recipe swap. Also Designsby Gollum and FoodonFridays.