Friday, May 20, 2011

1915 Cookbook/Asparagus Soup & Chocolate Angel Food

If it was any given Sunday in 1915, you might have been to a place of worship, relaxed with your coffee and the newspaper, and/or spent a slow day reconnecting with family over a special meal. Sounds great, doesn't it? Our old cookbook today is called Fifty-Two Sunday Dinners by Mrs. Elizabeth O. Hiller; published by N.K. Fairbank Publishing.
Even as a child in the 60's and 70's, I enjoyed the slow-paced predictability that Sundays brought. Granted, the Sunday mornings at our house had a quicker pace, with all five of us trying to get ready, and look presentable for church service. My paternal grandparents, however, seemed to have an easier time, with no children to get ready. Their course of action every Sunday morning was to stop by the local grocery store to pick up their newspaper, treats for three expectant grandkids, and do a "candy-drop" at our house on their way to church. It's the little things that are a big deal to kids!
My grandfather, who we lovingly called "Pappy", would leave a treat for us to find every Sunday morning. Early that morning, as he bought his paper at Doak's Market, he would buy three bags of M&M candies; it was always a thrill to find the bags of chocolates on our coffee table. He and Mammam would already be in their pew when we arrived at the church building; Pap liked to get there extra early! Sometimes they would come over after service for lunch, sometimes we went to their house, or out route 7 to visit Mammaw and Pappaw Winland (this visit often included cousins!) It was a day for connecting with family and recharging your spiritual battery. I think this kind of Sunday would benefit us greatly in today's world.
Mrs. Hiller, the author of 52 Sunday Dinners, would agree with me, I believe, that Sunday dinner is a custom that allows families to sit down and bless each others' lives over some chicken or ham. In her book, she gives complete menus for every Sunday in the year. The meal plans are separated by months, with foods that are more festive for holiday seasons, and vegetation that should be at its peak flavor in that particular month. We love asparagus in the spring when it's beautiful in color and a good price, so I'm sharing Mrs. Hiller's recipe for Cream of Asparagus Soup from page 66 for our sample recipe today:

Cream of Asparagus Soup

3 C chicken stock
1 bunch asparagus
2 C cold water
2 slices of onion
4 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
1 1/2 C scalded milk
1/2 C hot cream

Process: Wash, scrape and cut asparagus in one-inch pieces, reserve the tips. Cover with boiling, salted water, cook ten minutes; drain, add stock and onion and cook until tender, rub through a sieve (food processor or blender :). Melt butter in a sauce pan, add flour, stir to a smooth paste; remove from fire and add first mixture slowly, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper, add hot milk and cream, continue stirring. Cook tips in boiling, salted water until tender, drain. Turn soup into hot soup tureen, add tips and serve.

Cook's note: tips on fresh asparagus should be tight and have a bluish tinge.

***Jen, one of my followers, asked for me to share the Watkins Chocolate Angel Food Recipe from a previous Old Cookbook Review. I always like to keep my followers happy, so here you go, Jen!***

Watkins Chocolate Angel Food Cake from 1938

2 C egg whites
1 1/2 C well-sifted granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C Watkins Cocoa
1 tsp Watkins Cream of Tartar
3/4 C sifted cake flour
1 tsp Watkins Vanilla

Note: For small cake use one half of recipe. Bake in 9-inch ungreased tube cake tin, about 35 minutes, 350 degrees F.

Prepare flour before beating egg whites. Sift flour several times, sift cocoa several times, combine the two, sift three times. Beat egg whites on large platter with flat wire beater (I think this could be updated:) Add salt and cream of tartar; continue beating until egg whites are stiff, but not dry. Fold in sifted sugar, vanilla and then flour. Fold carefully into ungreased angel food tin, bake in moderate oven 50-55 minutes. Remove from oven, invert pan until cake is cold.

***My blogger friend, Kristen@ We are That Family has contact information and a list of needed items for the tornado victims in Joplin, Missouri. Please visit her blog and do what you can to help out!***

My Adventures in Texas: Town square in Denton on Saturday for great antiques and one of the best used book stores, ever!


  1. Darling story. Enjoying the recipes...Love the old fashioned ones!


  2. oh yum chocolate angel food cake this would be delicious thanks for sharing love vintage recipes I have shared some on my blog at http;//

  3. Heart-warming post! So glad you shared...we just put up 15# of asparagus in the freezer this week so I will definitely be trying out this soup recipe. Thanks -

  4. a 1915 cookbook, wow love such vintage finds!

  5. Hi Marcia,
    I love this story and can really see the family enjoying Sunday mornings. I liked the addition of "hot cream" to the soup and all the Watkins products in the cake recipe. I just love your vintage finds and always look forward to the adventure. Thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!

  6. This cake was probably a winner years ago as well as today. This will be featured tomorrow on My Meatless Mondays at My Sweet and Savory.