Try these 1950s vintage recipes

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Last week a volunteer at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center came into the office with a cookbook in her hand and said "Happy Birthday" as she handed it to me. I was so excited to receive a 1959 copy of the "Praise for the Cook" cookbook, published by the Procter & Gamble Co., promoting their Crisco product. It is a fun cookbook with interesting chapters like savory sauces, feeding the crowd, cookery for men and a great section on junior cookery. I have really enjoyed reading it.

As usual, I can't get a new cookbook and not share some of it with you. Recently a young lady asked me about making gravy and white sauce. I had intended to write it down for her, but when I opened this book there was a nice section for sauces and white sauce.

White Sauce and Savory Sauces

These sauces can be a perfect companion for vegetables, meat, chicken or fish.

For a thin sauce:

2 tablespoons Crisco

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

For a medium sauce:

4 tablespoons Crisco

4 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

Melt Crisco in a saucepan or skillet and stir in flour. Add salt and milk and cook over low heat until thickened. Makes 2 cups.

Cheese sauce

Add 1 cups freshly shredded cheese to white sauce and stir until melted.

Onion sauce

Brown 1/4 cup chopped onion in Crisco before adding flour. Continue as directed.

Curry sauce

Brown 1/4 cup chopped onion in Crisco before adding flour. Stir one teaspoon curry powder into sauce.

Mustard sauce

Add 1 tablespoon prepared mustard to white sauce.

Newburg sauce

Stir 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons sherry into white sauce.

Mushroom sauce

Brown 1 cup sliced mushrooms in Crisco before adding flour.

Shrimp sauce

Stir 1 cup cooked shrimp into white sauce.

Tomato Sauce and Savory Sauces

These sauces are versatile and can be changed quickly and easily. These sauces can add spice and flavor to many foods, especially more bland foods.

1/4 cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons Crisco

1 cup tomato sauce

Brown onion in melted Crisco in a saucepan. Add tomato sauce and cook over low heat for several minutes until thoroughly heated. Makes 1 cup.

Fruity sauce

Add 2 tablespoons undiluted frozen orange juice concentrate to tomato sauce.

Mexican sauce

Brown 2 tablespoons chopped celery and 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper with onion.

Wine sauce

Stir 2 tablespoons sherry or port wine into sauce.

Cheese tomato sauce

Add 1/2 cup freshly shredded cheese to sauce and stir until melted.

Another interesting part was the cookie variations. There are several cookie-base recipes and variations from them. Here is just one example.

Sugar Cookies and Variations

2/3 cup Crisco

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Blend Crisco, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla. Add combined dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Roll 1/8-inch thick on lightly floured board and cut with cookie cutter. Bake in a moderate oven, 375 degrees, on an ungreased baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan immediately and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Makes 6 to 7 dozen cookies.

Orange or lemon cookies

Use 1 tablespoon orange or lemon juice in place of milk and stir in 1 tablespoon orange or lemon rind.

Spice Sugar Cookies

Add 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon with dry ingredients.

Crunchy Cookies

Stir 1 cup very finely chopped nuts into cookie dough.

Filled Cookies

Cut sugar cookie dough with round cookie cutter. Place a spoonful of jelly or jam in center of one cookie and top with another cookie. Press edges tightly to seal. Bake as directed.

I remember when we were children, Mom made dumplings, and I mean real dumplings, not noodles. What most people call dumplings we would have called noodles. So, whatever you call it, here is a recipe like what I remember dumplings to be.

Puffy, Fluffy Dumplings

The secret to these puffy, fluffy dumplings is not to peek while they are cooking.

1 cup sifted flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons melted Crisco

1/2 cup milk

Make dumplings by combining dry ingredients with melted Crisco and milk. Blend enough to moisten. Drop from teaspoon into hot chicken mixture, recipe below. Cover tightly and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat without removing cover. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Chicken and Dumpling Mixture

4 tablespoons Crisco

4 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup milk

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 teaspoons chopped onion

1 1/2 to 2 cups diced cooked chicken

Melt Crisco in Dutch oven and blend in flour and salt. Add milk and chicken stock. Cook over low heat until smooth and thickened. Stir in mushrooms, onion and chicken. Blend well.

Enjoy these recipes, and maybe another time I could pass along some of the recipes from the junior cookery section. It looked really cute.

Have a great week and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by the Southeast Missourian staff.

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