Friday, February 11, 2011

Mary Lane's Book of Baking-1936

My cookbook review today is short and sweet, just like the cute little book I'm reviewing from the 1930's. It's Mary Lane's Book of Baking from 1936, and I was lucky enough to find it in a Texas antique mall. Its copyright is under the Better Baking Institute of Sherman, Texas. This is an American product; written, printed and bound in Texas (Scruggs Printing Co. of Sherman, and The Universal Bookbindery, Inc. of San Antonio). This small green hardcover book was a promotional piece put out by Fant Milling Company in Sherman, Texas. They produced Gladiola Flour. The Better Baking Institute was the test kitchens of Fant Mills. Mary Lane was the home economist hired to be the head of the test kitchens, and the company's spokesperson on a radio show each week called, "the Kitchen Club". On this once-a-week show, Mary gave baking tips, recipes and answered questions that had been sent to her. An early-day "Martha Stewart"! (or Betty Crocker- don't know if she was real or just a mythical homemaker created by an advertising department). At any rate, this is a wonderful piece of advertising and baking history. The recipes in the book are classics in American baking. Its pages have handy index tabs and the sections sound like a primer for a Home Ec class. The selections include: Quick Breads, Yeast Breads, Butter Cakes, Sponge Cakes, Cookies and Pies and Pastries. Good luck hunting for this little cutie! Here's a caramel frosting recipe from its pages.

Caramel Frosting

1 1/2 C granulated sugar
1 1/2 C brown sugar
1 1/2 C milk
2 TBSP butter

Mix the sugars and milk together, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. There cook without stirring until a very small amount of the mixture forms a very soft ball in cold water. Add the butter. Let cool until lukewarm, then beat until thick and creamy, and of the right consistency to spread. The frosting may be placed over hot water to keep soft while spreading.

***Personal note: Here I go with a little "Mom-bragging"...last night I had the pleasure of eating dinner with my son, Justin. I'm so proud of his emerging cooking skills! He had fixed Creamy Chicken Enchiladas, Potato Casserole, Baked Steak, French Green Beans and Lemon Cake for dessert. Thanks for a delicious meal, Justin!***

I'll be at these swaps today:
- Amysfinerthings


  1. My grandma always put caramel frosting on banana cake....YUM!!


  2. Hi Marcia,
    What a great review of Mary Lane. I just love all of your oldies but goodies. This is a great caramel frosting. Thank you for bringing it to Full Plate Thursday and look forward to seeing you next week!

  3. I love old vintage recipe thanks for sharing this one

  4. Can I adopt Justin? Please. Pretty please with sugar on it:) I love caramel frosting on my Nonnie's butter cake:)

  5. My 88 yo neighbor is looking for Fant Milling Gladiola Pineapple Fluff recipe and can't find it. You have it? Thanks!