"The way to a man's heart" or someplace else

Joined Jul 3, 2002
My husband and I were (attempting) to clean out some old cookbooks we don't use anymore and came across The Settlement Cook Book: "compiled" by Mrs. Simon Kander, 1947. It was probably a wedding gift (thus, the subject line I used which adorns the cover of the book) to a relative and my husband inherited it. I'm sure many of you are familiar with it, but I wasn't. Although much of it contains some pretty straightforward, familiar dishes, there are some recipes that boggle the mind (even worse than 1950's cookery), but a couple in particular jumped out at me.

Coffee For 40 People

1 lb. coffee
8 quarts freshly boiling water
1 egg
1 1/2 pints cream

Add and mix the coffee, finely ground, with the egg and enough cold water to thoroughly moisten it, cover and let stand several hours. Place in thin bag and drop in the boiling water. Boil 5 minutes, let stand 10 minutes. Serve with cream and sugar.

--Starbucks, watch out! :D :D :D

Then there's a well-intended section for feeding ill family members titled "Invalid Cookery." It opens with a gentle (and wise) reminder that the way food is served is almost as important as the food itself: "Use the daintiest dishes in the house. Place a clean napkin on the tray, and if possible, a fresh flower."
But then come the suggested menus for the patient and I didn't see this one on the "favorite cure foods" string in the Nutrition forum:

Liver Soup

Add a quarter of a pound of finely ground raw liver to 1 cup of tomato soup or chicken broth. Season with onion if desired.

Maybe Adele Davis would have approved, but the smell alone would send me into a relapse! :eek:
Joined Jul 3, 2002
But do you remember her actually cooking recipes from them? I cooked from Adele Davis (it was the 60's/early 70's, OK?). All that non-instand powdered milk in everything! And the beverage you were supposed to drink everyday ("pep-up"?) with raw milk, raw eggs, bone meal, brewers yeast, non-instant powdered milk, vegetable oil, and yoghurt. Ugh!:( :( :(
I tried really hard to do everything she said (though the yeast made me literally sick to my stomach) until a British boyfriend who waited tables in a local French restaurant decided that I needed a gastronomical make-over. I never looked back.;)
Joined Sep 21, 2001
Don't get me wrong, I love my Mom. But the woman was a lousy cook. She was a very busy woman and cooking wasn't high on the agenda. Her favorite cookbook writer of the '60s was Peg Bracken, the lady who wrote the "I Hate to Cook Book". The same one who wrote the "I Hate to Housekeep Book". Needless to say I grew up on a lotta casseroles, e-z recipes and one dish meals. On "special occasions" she would spring for TV Dinners. And the Adele Davis influence- oatmeal cookies with extra oatmeal and half the sugar.....
Joined May 26, 2001
I've got the 1945 Settlement Cook Book that was my mother's ONLY cookbook until 1956, when she bought one on "Jewish Cookery." I grew up on the "Spanish Bun" -- a very simple chocolate cake made with cocoa; yum! Also have the 1965 version, probably the 2nd cookbook I bought (after Fanny Farmer). Yes, some of the recipes and instructions seem WAY outdated now, but an awful lot is still surprisingly useful.
Joined Dec 8, 1999
Peachcreek, I have a theory regarding we that love to cook. Our mothers were either horrible (or at least indifferent) cooks so we learned to cook to survive; or our mothers were wonderful cooks and so we were inspired. I thank fate everyday that I fall into the latter category!
Joined Mar 12, 2001
My mum had Adele Davis too, I had never heard about that horrible mixture you're meant to drink every day, but now things are falling into place:
When I was young enough to be drinking from a bottle it was always filled with a blend of avocado, lecithin,goats milk, brewers yeast etc, and all us kids had to eat a BIG tablespoon of cod liver oil each morning...
Adele does have a good gingerbread recipe though.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
My mom was a great cook...she had lived in France during her late teenage years (step father was in the service)...so the first 7 years of my life we had an almond tree (crocant!!!) 9 fruit trees, a veg garden, a winery down the road etc...and an at home mom that liked to cook, sew, entertain etc...BUT she was also big into HEALTH FOOD, "tigers milk" hidden in pancakes, she would hide all sorts of good for you shtuff in food. Through the years she quit cooking essentially when I was 11 (she went to work and got a divorce) so I took over with the help of Julia and Time-Life cookbooks.
I too have Fanny Farmer's and the Settlement cookbook....I used them a bunch years ago, have not cracked them in a while. Though I go to Mollie Katzen's older stuff and Laurel's Kitchen on occasion and a Home Ec cake book from the 50's without a cover and with the best scratch desserts handsdown.
Joined Mar 22, 2002
Shroomgirl - does that old 50's home ec book still have the title page? I'd love to keep an eye out for it in used book stores or yard sales. I'm still (in my 50's) use the soft chocolate cake recipe from 7th grade home ec. Probably the only good thing ever to come out of the pit of **** known as junior high.

I was able to find a bunch of the old Spry pamphlets at a yard sale. And surprised to see that someone is making money by reprinting them as "the book of regrettable food" (not exactly sure of the title.

MY mom was in the terrible, terrible catagory, and my husband's mother is so bad.... we looked for a MacDonald's on Thanksgiving! Food is such a sensual, communal pleasure on so many levels - I feel sorry for those who can't enjoy it.
Joined Mar 17, 2001
Don't ask me where, but I recently saw a discussion of sourdough natural leaven breads and the recipe in The Settlement Cookbook was considered the most successful. Have you ever tried it?

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