Friday, July 3, 2009

Spinach and Shrimp Salad from an All- American Cookbook

Boy, am I ready for a day when Americans celebrate their freedom and proud heritage! With Independence Day in mind, I've chosen a cookbook this week entitled; A Celebration of America-Timeless Recipes from the Kitchens of Pet.

Over the years, Pet Milk, and the other fine food products of the Pet Company have been staples of the American kitchen. Most of our moms used Pet Evaporated Milk in their pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving, or in fudge at Christmas. As most companies do, Pet branched out over time to include such familiar items as Whitman's Chocolates, Underwood Deviled Ham, Downyflake Waffles and a whole line of Old El Paso products, just to name a few. The beginning of this cookbook gives the reader a wonderful history of how the company (originally called Helvetia Milk Condensing Company) was started in Highland, Illinois at the turn of the century. Pet milk was a product born out of necessity in a time when there was no refrigeration and milk was delivered by horse-drawn carts. Pet provided canned milk that was fresh, clean and would "keep indefinitely on the pantry shelf of every American home." Louis Latzer, the company's founder, would change the way cooks in this country thought about dairy products and their availability.

This cookbook is not one of my older ones, as it was printed in 1984 by McGrew Color Graphics. Its ISBN is 0-87502-133-6. It is wire-bound with a hard cover. The front cover is beautifully done with a colorful array of foods that are typically American. I thought today's sample recipe should be something you could tote to a picnic. Here it is from page 97:

Shrimp Spinach Salad

1 lb. spinach or leaf lettuce
5 slices bacon
1/4 C wine vinegar
2 TBSP water
2 TBSP firmly-packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly-ground pepper
1 can 4 1/4 oz. Orleans Deveined Shrimp
3 eggs, hard-cooked and chopped
6 fresh mushrooms, sliced

Wash spinach and remove stems, or clean lettuce. Pat dry, and break into bite-size pieces. Meanwhile fry bacon until crisp. Drain bacon, reserving 2 TBSP drippings. Crumble cooled bacon. In small skillet, prepare dressing by combining reserved bacon drippings, vinegar, water, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Rinse shrimp under cold, running water: Drain thoroughly. In large bowl, toss together greens, dressing and shrimp. Garnish with chopped eggs and sliced mushrooms, and crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.

I will be participating in recipe swaps at Grocerycartchallenge and Designs by Gollum today.


  1. This really is a lovely spinach salad. I might use fresh rock shrimp in place of the canned though. I love these old recipes. Our mother's and grandmother's were creative gals. Have a wonderful holiday.

  2. We’re planning on grilling up a storm this weekend. I just posted a recipe share link on my site. Hope you’ll stop by and add a favorite:

  3. Inane something very similar using grilled shrimp or grilled jerk chicken. Occasionally, I will mix on some arugula with the spinach if I can get it. Thanks so much for sharing. I hope you will join me beginning in August for Crock Pot Wednesdays @ Do you have any good crock pot cookbooks that you might recommend?

  4. That should have said "I make!".

  5. I will dig through the cookbook collection and see. I try to do my book reviews according to the season. Crock pot cookbooks would usually be reviewed in the fall and winter. Also look for my bread-making books then!