Fat, Food, Media, Sweet Machine, You've Got to Be Kidding Me

How many grams of fat in a gallinule?

This article with the oh so clever title of “‘Joy of Cooking’ or ‘Joy of Obesity’?” describes a study that hilariously mischaracterizes the evolution of everybody’s favorite cookbook. Researchers have found that some recipes now have higher calorie counts and that’s why Americans are OMG SO FAT:

Published as a letter Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the report examined 18 classic recipes found in seven editions of the book from 1936 to 2006. It found that calorie counts for 14 of the recipes have ballooned by an average of 928 calories, or 44%, per recipe. And serving sizes have grown as well.

When we talk about obesity, people like to plant the source of the issue on away-from-home dining,” said Brian Wansink, the study’s co-author and director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab. “But that raised the thought in my mind: Is that really the source of things?. . . . What has happened in what we’ve been doing in our own homes over the years?”

I’m gonna state up front that the main reason I’m blogging this is that it’s an excuse share the pictures that are behind the cut, so I’ll try to cut to the chase. Still, about this study and that quote: gender is not mentioned in this article, but I can’t help but be suspicious of this study as contributing to the “blame the moms” aspect of our culture. I’m actually fairly impressed that no one in the article explicitly mentions women (perhaps “impressed” is not the right word), but the phrase “what we’ve been doing in our own homes” sets off alarm bells for me, as it’s used so often as a prelude to returning to the glory days of when women didn’t have pesky things like careers and hobbies that would interfere with cooking the most nutritiously correct meals ever seen on earth. And, as the book’s original cover shows, the intended audience was clearly women: holy women being attacked by monsters.


Now, about those recipes. They had to pick recipes that were present in each of the published editions, so they ended up being American classics: the article lists beef stroganoff, waffles, macaroni and cheese, goulash, Spanish rice, brownies, sugar cookies, and apple pie. I’m not trying to universalize my own eating habits here, so please correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t most of these, to quote Obesity Propaganda Cookie Monster, a sometimes food? I know the phrase is “American as apple pie,” but how often do you actually bake an apple pie? I just can’t work up much excitement that a list of foods that were basically already vehicles for enjoying some fat and/or sugar may now contain more fat or sugar. This is not to demonize fat and sugar–far from it!–but just to point out that these may be staple recipes, but that doesn’t mean they’re staple foods. And the idea that the serving sizes have embiggened, honestly, who uses the serving size guidelines who is not already on a diet? I mean, if that beef stroganoff is yummy but way richer than you remember Grandma making it, probably you won’t want quite as much of it as you did at Grandma’s house.

Happily, the book’s editor exhibits some sense about the whole thing: “It’s such a tiny number of recipes. It’s really a non-event,” she said. Anyone who has a copy of the Joy of Cooking knows that it is massive, so 14 recipes — especially 14 recipes that have been in circulation since 1931 — cannot possibly be representative. To wax nostalgic over how 1931 brownies used less butter (perhaps because of that little thing called the Great Depression, maybe?) is to construct a fantasy world where people were never fat but never went hungry, and when all food nourished all bodies the same way.

Now for the real meat (ha) of the post. I had the great fortune to inherit my parents’ old copy of the Joy of Cooking a few months ago. It’s in pretty good shape, considering it’s been in continuous use for at least 40 years, but sadly I don’t know exactly which edition it is, because it had to be rebound, and some of the front matter is missing. FJ and volcanista and I concluded that it’s either from the 40s or early 60s, but I’m not positive which. It seems to be the 1964 edition (thanks, Katia!) Whenever it was published, in the spirit of drawing wild conclusions from unrepresentative samples, I’d like to share with you some helpful tips from the glorious, pre-OBESITY EPIDEMIC BOOGA BOOGA, Joy of Cooking. (Warning: this post gets picture-heavy behind the cut.)

First, something we’ve all wondered from time to time: how to skin a squirrel.


Gray squirrels are the preferred ones; red squirrels are small and quite gamey in flavor. There are, proverbially, many ways to skin a squirrel, but some hunters claim the following one is the quickest and the cleanest. It needs a sharp knife.

To skin, cut the tail bone through from beneath, but take care not to cut through the skin of the tail. Hold the tail as shown [below] and then cut the skin the width of the back, as shown in the dotted lines. Turn the squirrel over on its back and step on the base of the tail. Hold the hind legs in one hand and pull steadily and slowly […] until the skin has worked itself over the front legs and head. While holding the squirrel in the same position, pull the remaining skin from the hind legs. Proceed then as for Rabbit, cutting off the head and the feet and removing the internal organs, plus two small glands found in the small of the back and under each foreleg, between the ribs and the shoulders.

Some of you may have skinned squirrels before. This is why you are fat.

Other important information:


Never forget to remove the musk glands from your peccary!


Some useful information about marrow. You can totally substitute marrow for brains in your favorite recipes.

Finally, some old favorites, sure to bring back memories of your younger, pre-obesity days.


Who wants chicken farce? It’s cool your family calls it forcemeat.


Nothing says “well-liked” like head cheese. Make sure to brush the calf’s teeth after you quarter its head.


And for those of you with birthdays coming up, I know what you want! Birthday Bread Horse is way less fattening than baby donuts.

For fancy occasions, consider making gallinule! “To use the entrails after cooking, sieve or chop the intestines and flambe them briefly in cognac. Mix with pan drippings and spread on a crouton OR OVER THE BIRD AS A GLAZE before serving” (emphasis added).

The point of all this, of course, is that cultural traditions are malleable, and nostalgia for a golden era of the past papers over the fact that our grandparents lived in a complex and untamable world, just as we do. For every 14 recipes in the Joy of Cooking that indicate we’re all going to die of heart attacks from making our mac and cheese too cheesy, we can find 14 recipes that suggest that our grandparents subsisted on brains and bread horses. For cooking to truly be a joy, you’ve gotta like what you’ll end up with. Go ahead, fatten up those brownies if that’s what you like. I’ll slow-roast you some wild boar.

254 thoughts on “How many grams of fat in a gallinule?”

  1. To wax nostalgic over how 1931 brownies used less butter (perhaps because of that little thing called the Great Depression, maybe?)

    Yeah, seriously – I bet I could find a cookbook published in Britain in 1949 that uses less sugar than equivalent recipes today and yet . . .

    (Of course, every novel you read from the period is absolutely fetishistic about sweets and the like, but I’m sure liking sweet foods is a TOTALLY MODERN INNOVATION.)

  2. (Also, I’m going to go brush cow teeth, now. Do you think a normal brush is sufficient or should I use a Sonicare?)

  3. Of course, I immediately flashed to the 70s WW recipes collected by Wendy at Poundy:

    I can’t believe no one has thought of doing this in the UK. I’m off to write a scaremongering article about how Delia has far more fat and sugar in her recipes now than she did in the 80s and pitch it to the Daily Mail! And I will be rich!

  4. My edition has recipes for squirrel. Of course the recipe has more calories now, the damned things have been getting fatter because of the obesity epidemic!

  5. And NOW I feel like a schmuck, because I didn’t realize there was more to click on, so it wasn’t until after I posted that I saw squirrels were already covered in detail. Dammit.

  6. I wonder if all those people with rose colored glasses about how great the 1950s was ever watch old videos and shorts from that era.

    Thanks to my MST3K addiction I’ve seen quite a few that portray the dinner table and people ate, a lot back then. Three full meals were a requirement and they would have a wide variety with different courses and dessert seemed required every day.

    So of course serving size would get bigger as we eat less courses. But oh that would make too much sense for the media and not feed into how great we all used to be in the past and how we’re all going to a rotting obesity hell nowadays.

  7. My guess from the illustrations is also that your copy is from the 40s, Sweet Machine. (I lazily collect old cookbooks and those pictures jive with the illustration styles in the ones I have from the 30s/40s.)

    I’ve never seen the original cover for The Joy of Cooking – I’ve got a paperback edition from the 50s that looks like a picnic tablecloth – and I really covet it now!

  8. car, what edition do you have? We’re still trying to place this one — I’m pretty sure it’s either the 1946 or the 1963, but that’s a big range, and the choice depends on knowing how substantive the 1963 revision was.

  9. >>Some of you may have skinned squirrels before. This is why you are fat.

    I don’t know why, Kate, but that made me laugh out loud. A lot. Like, an embarrassing amount of laughter for such a ridiculously absurd joke.

  10. I use a 1964 Joy of Cooking because the new edition when I was looking was all ‘healthy’fied (low sodium, low fat…. *sigh*) and didn’t have the wild recipies and how to skin a squirrel. Well, that and it was missing some recipies that I grew up actually making (cookie recipes, pie recipes, etc.)

    The squirrel diagram is one of the ways I know I got the right one, actually. :D Although the one my parents gave me when I went away to college had that, but turned out to be abridged, anyway. Hence why I check to see that they have some of the other wild recipes now. (Note: My parents lent me theirs when they realized their mistake.)

  11. I can only say yours is earlier than the 1975, which doesn’t help you much. I’ve got that one, and although the squirrel doesn’t have a diagram for skinning, the recipe is still there in a tiny section on game.

    I have to admit I cringed with the spinal marrow- thanks for ruining a potential food, prion diseases.

  12. And if anyone doesn’t already have the book and is thinking about it, you have to go get a used copy of the 1975 edition (which was still reprinted until the early 1990s) or earlier. The new! revised! ones after that were teh suck, from everything I’ve read about them.

  13. If the squirrel is still in in the 1963/64 edition (same one, ’64 just fixed some errors) then SM is probably right that this is from the ’60s. My original theory was that it was actually from 60, as in the year 60, what with the fascination with using every part of your kill. But then I was pulling for it to be from ’46… oh well.

  14. I think any researcher is going to have a hard time convincing me that the food I put on the table today is more likely to cause obesity than my mother’s old classics – fried bologna, and grilled weiners with cheese and bacon.

    In the past, mother-love was often portrayed by the sheer amount of food a woman could put on the table – now it’s down to how tiny we can make those portions of organic salad with seven-grain, fat-free croutons.

  15. My mom has the squirrel edition (I will ask her to see which it is when she gets home from work) and I have the 1997 edition.

    Interestingly enough, I generally prefer my mom’s edition because the one I have prominently features… LOW FAT RECIPES. I guess they published that edition around the height of the “dietary fat is from Satan” scare, and there are sections in the back about how to cut the fat out of various recipes. (You know the drill – applesauce instead of oil, stuff like that.)

    So maybe these recipes have more calories because that is often the result of reducing fat in recipes? And of course the reduction of fat was in response to public demands for lower fat recipes because this is about when My Big Fat Obesity Crisis really got going. That raises the question of when exactly insurance companies lowered the BMI standard for obesity? IT IS ALL INTERCONNECTED.

    Anyway, here is an edition guide, if you have not already seen it – http://www.cookbkjj.com/college/joy.htm

  16. Ok, anyone else actually love marrow? I just had it for the first time at restaurant and OH My god! Not that I’m likely to cook it anytime soon, though.

  17. OTM, yeah, that’s how we narrowed it down to being between ’46 and ’64 (I was wrong, it’s the ’62 and ’63 that are essentially the same), but the book is missing some pages so we don’t know exactly about things like page count and index, and unfortunately that guide doesn’t include useful information like “has the squirrel diagram” and “doesn’t have the squirrel diagram.”

  18. Also, I would much prefer an older edition, but my mom bought me the 1997 ed. when I moved into my own apartment for the first time and I feel like I’m duty bound to use it until it falls apart, just like my mom used hers.

  19. The squirrel diagrams reminded me of a very funny book I can’t remember the name of, but there was a spoof recipe involving cat. (Please note I am a non-meat eater and avid cat lover but this still made me laugh). The instructions began:-

    Kill cat.

    Repeat 8 times.

    Skin cat; (there are several ways of doing this).

    Somebody once gave me a book about the 17th Century cook John Evelyn and, if memory serves me correctly, the guys who conducted the Joy Of Cooking survey would have had a fit. It was all, “take one gallon of fyne cream and a pint of brandye and in it, if you will, seethe a fat pigge”.

  20. My grandmother swears by the Lily Wallace New American Cookbook. Her edition is a total war time treasure that recommends making pound cake using shortening and explains how to fold napkins.

  21. Pretty sure all the editions from the ’30s until the ’60s had the squirrel diagram, based on the day I spent researching it online when SM first documented it! It was introduced in the Depression, and then they didn’t take it out for a really long time. The one from the mid-’40s is the wartime edition, with some stuff abbreviated and references to rationing. So I thought we decided it was almost definitely the ’63/’64. I think the best other distinguishing feature would be the number of pages (which would be an estimate if some of the back is missing, too).

  22. Also, I especially love this observation:-

    “And because sizes of dinner plates have grown over the years, a standard 2-ounce portion of pasta can now look diminutive”

    I collect vintage ceramics. Indeed my everyday plates – a mix of Miidwinter, Royal Swan, Figgio Flint & Russel Wright – are from the 1950s. Plates are the same size as they’ve ever been. The only reason 2 ounces of pasta looks diminutive is because it’s not enough to feed an actual grown up person with any semblance of an appetite.

  23. Anybody remember the movie Pleasantville? One of the ways they let you know you’re in the ’50’s is the breakfast with mounds of eggs, piles of waffles, about 2 lbs of bacon and lots of milk for a family of 4. I realize that it wasn’t a documentary, but come on, people used to eat all kinds of stuff we don’t anymore because of the BOOGA BOOGA. Anyone else remember farm families having pie at every meal, even breakfast?

    This is just amazingly fact-free bullshit. Oh, and I’ve actually skinned a squirrel being from the rural South, and that is the best way to do it. Sorry if I squick everyone out.

  24. I was just telling someone yesterday about how the squirell population was decimated during the depression. I don’t think they believed me. And now I want to find a copy of the original JoC to prove how right I am.

    (I’m planting a garden this summer, not out of any desire to garden, but out of fear of economic doooooom.)

  25. I’ve never been keen on Joy of Cooking, but I loves me some Mennonite Community Cookbook. In addition to loads of great actual food recipes, it has helpful hints on how to plan food for a barn raising, and how to make your own lotion. And no worries about how fat you are eating.

  26. “take one gallon of fyne cream and a pint of brandye and in it, if you will, seethe a fat pigge”.

    This is the greatest thing ever.

    I forgot to share one of my favorite tips, which is that if you catch a ‘possum, if at all possible, you should keep it alive in a cage for 10 days and feed it milk and cereal before killing it and eating it.

  27. I’m so happy to see my friend the Birthday Bread Horse! Making fun of the old Joy of Cooking is pretty much a hobby.
    I recommend making fun of the original Joy of Sex as well.

  28. I want that cookbook cover!

    Does your edition have instructions for octopus, with the first step being to “make absolutely certain that your octopus is dead”? That was always my favorite quote from my mom’s copy. Also that when a griddle is ready for pancakes, droplets of batter will go “zizz”.

    Yeah, a 2-oz “serving” of pasta is lovely if I’m also getting a “serving” of veggies and a “serving” of bread and a “serving” of chicken and had some cocktail munchies beforehand and a first-course “serving” of soup and then a nice little slice of pie for dessert…

  29. Well, dang, now I want to ask my parents what edition they have. I don’t have my own copy yet, just a folder of recipes copied out from the house copy and taken with me when I moved out. I seem to recall it having some interesting stuff in it, but I doubt it’s all that old. 60s, maybe? It’s got a very plain cover — white with gold-embossed lettering, end of story.

  30. Mmm, squirrel, possum, mudbugs, mullet, deer, snake, and gator. The Gulf Coast: where people eat anything that doesn’t move fast enough (and most of it is pretty tasty).

  31. I love reading vintage cookbooks, whether it’s on how to make a baked alaska or how to skin a squirrel!!

    So if I eat squirrel and 1940s beef stroganoff, will I not be obese??

  32. Humph. Skinning rabbits is a little harder than squirrels because squirrels tails make such a handy little, erm, handle.

    But the concept is the same. I think rabbits are yummier, though.

  33. 1) I’ve skinned squirrel. And eaten it. It’s a very lean meat, needs to be braised for a long time. Oh, don’t look at me like that you goddamn city slickers.

    2) beef stroganoff, waffles, macaroni and cheese, goulash, Spanish rice, brownies, sugar cookies, and apple pie. Now, I only eat out at two meals a week, which means I do a lot of cooking, and I can tell you right now that out of that list, I have only cooked Macaroni and Cheese and sugar cookies in the last two years. And technically, the last time I made it, it was macaroni and cheez, because nutritional yeast is a godsend to us lactose intolerant people.

    3) Grilled marrow is AWESOME. Damn. Now I’m hungry.

  34. It never occurred to me that skinning a squirrel would involve the feet. But it seems to make sense.

    I was married in 1993, so I guess I have whatever edition of “Joy” was newest at the time. No game-skinning tips (hence my interest), but it does have the Bread Horse. My daughters prefer bread bears (made from frozen dough–shhhh!).

    I usually only use my copy for biscuits and pancakes (I don’t even need the ribbon bookmarks anymore–the pages are pretty much glued down with dried flour paste). But sometimes I’ll consult the stranger chapters if Iron Chef confuses me. . .

  35. My mom has the squirrel edition

    I am trying to figure out how to make “the squirrel edition” into a commonly-used phrase. Up there with baby donuts. It’s important!

    I’m not a big JoC person, but I live and die by Fanny Farmer. My edition still has everything with butter buttery butter butter butter.

    I have a recipe in there that starts out by sauteing breadcrumbs in butter. I died of The Happy.

  36. Plates are the same size as they’ve ever been.

    To buffpuff’s observations of 1950s plates, I’ll add mine: I’ve got dinner plates from the 1930s through the 1980s and a single late 19th century one, and the differences between them in size are confined to the rim dimensions. The 1938 set, especially, looks smaller because it has no rims; but since it was my grandmother’s I also happen to know how it was used, and that was piled right to the edge.

    I’ve also got cookbooks, original and in facsimile, which span about three centuries — and yeah, by and large the older recipes contain more fat and more eggs. More varieties of fat, too, with the assumption that households will save fat rendered in cooking for later use. Between the 1920s and the 1970s, there’s also a fuck of a lot of sugar — I’ve got recipes for carrots and sweet potatoes, especially, that even on the page make my teeth ache.

  37. I’m pretty sure that’s the ‘60s edition. I spent much of my youth reading JoC like a novel. I have two copies of the ’64 (one a small paperback in two volumes I took to school with me), the ’75 and the one that came out in the ‘90s. The ‘90s edition had much of the heart and soul of the past editions edited out of it and I don’t really consider it a “real” JoC. But even so, it’s got lots of good recipes. I just ignore the “healthier” new recipies if they look like they will turn out an inferior product. I lose patience very quickly with rubbery cakes made with applesauce and non-fat yogurt. On the other hand, there is a recipe for “war cake” in the ’64 JoC that looks very lean (necessary due to war rationing at the time), but turns out a surprisingly delicious cake.

  38. Argh! And I lose at closing tags.

    BTW, if you want a lot of weird game recipes? Go for the old Larousse Gastronomique.

  39. ah, squirrel, that brings me back, lol. We used to keep a coffee can of ball-bearings and a slingshot on the backporch to take out the squirrels in the garden (and this was the 1980’s and 90’s)– we had many a squirrel gumbo, and my parents’ back porch still has a row of tails from the summer my dad decided to staple the tails to the porchrail.

    this also reminds me of one time my grandma called me from out of the blue when I was in high school and asked if we had a recipe for peacock (upon consultation with the neighbors, we decided to tell her to go with the guinea fowl recipe).

  40. I just find it kind of sad that the obesity “experts” are going after The Joy of Cooking considering that they are determined to strip away all joy and pleasure from eating and food.

  41. I’m starting to love odd cookbooks. I have The Art of French Cooking, which is wonderful, and even a Martha Washington Cookbook. In the MW book it amazes me the weirdness of things they ate, but ar num num.

    I’m also an amateur artisan baker, and I adore Peter Reinhart’s books. He got on the scene in like 2001 with the Bread Baker’s Apprentice, which is written with a love of rich white breads that are amazingly delicious. Because I want to expand my baking abilities to whole grains, I bought his new whole grain book this year, and the change is disturbing. Whereas Apprentice was about the love of bread, Whole Grain Bread has lots of little diet tips slipped in, every recipe has full nutritional information, and he goes on and on and on about how whole grains are more nutritious and less fattening (while tacitly admitting that they’re far less tasty). It’s kinda sad to see my favorite food author go that route…

  42. AWESOME. Your edition is way older than mine. <3

    And seriously, Joy of Cooking has consistently become more international and more influenced by modern cuisine ideals–so there’s now more low-fat Asian food and “healthy” chef-inspired foods in there, and less lard. It’s also consistently become less awesome (I LIKE the instructions on how to butcher game, just in case, and the preserves sections).

    Clearly the authors of the study haven’t looked much at the recipes of a hundred years ago, which used butter and eggs and sugar like there was no tomorrow.

  43. As other people have said, this is a case of skewing the data by picking an arbitrary starting point. The 1930s were the Great Depression and the forties had wartime rationing: people ate more fat afterward because they finally could eat as much as they wanted.

    One of my cookbooks talks about standard calorie requirements of a hundred years ago, when everybody did a lot more heavy physical labor. Men back then—average men, not special athletes—routinely ate 10,000 to 12,000 calories a day. Women—average women, not bodybuilders—routinely ate 6,000 or more calories a day. That’s three times as much as is recommended for a modern, sedentary lifestyle.

    So, yeah, totally non-scientific study with meaningless results.

  44. Ashley: I just got the Bread Baker’s Apprentice last week! (I haven’t tried anything out yet…first one is dark rye bread (aka american pumpernickel); I miss it so much!) It’s sad to hear that about the Whole Grain Bread book….

    I grew up on home-made whole wheat bread. I have a hard time dealing with people like this guy or like when the Minimalist in the NYT food section referred to home-made whole wheat bread (all whole wheat flour, but not even whole grain) as “a brick”. *headdesk*

  45. liberalandproud, “Blackbirds and crows, if eaten as a matter of necessity, must be parblanched first.” FYI.

    And, of course, in Little Town on the Prairie, Ma Ingalls made blackbird pie out of the blackbirds that were eating all of Pa’s corn and threatening to keep Mary from going to college, and everyone loved said pie very much.

    … What? You all know you remember that. :)

    Also, if anyone is of that persuasion, there’s a blog called “Offal Good” by a chef who’s the US leading expert in organ cuisine. Not that there’s much competition. (but he was on US Iron Chef once)

  46. I live and die by Fanny Farmer
    My family’s fudge recipe is from Fanny Farmer, but we didn’t use it for anything else. Which is sort of sad, I think!

    It’s interesting – my mom’s cookbook shelf contained Fanny Farmer, the Mennonite Community Cookbook, the Larousse Gastronomique, Joy of Cooking, and the more modern Moosewood and Diet for a Small Planet. It sounds to me like there was the cookbook ‘stable’ that many of us shared; now there are so many different cookbooks out there.

    (And can I say, I have the cookbook “How to Cook Everything” which professes to be the new Joy of Cooking – and although it does, indeed, have some good recipes, it has failed me on a number of different basic questions of cooking, technique, or basic recipes.)

    Anyway, you can hardly blame the Joy of Cooking anymore, there are so many different reference sources out there. After Julia Child, it became a cooking free for all, and now there’s the internet and epicurious, etc.

    Joy may still be the master of some basic technique and ingredients (substitution and the like), but it’s hardly the go-to for everybody’s pie recipe anymore.

  47. Going through old Joys of Cooking is the source of much joy to me. It’s sad the writers of this article managed to suck so much of that joy out.

    My favorite recipe in my version of the Joy of Cooking is Armadillo. But I don’t think my version has the squirrel skinning, because that clearly wins. Complete with diagrams!

  48. OlderThanDirt, I’m not personally old enough to remember farm families having pie at every meal, but my impression is that a lot of those weren’t dessert pies. As near as I can gather, in the pre-refrigeration era, people used to take the leftovers from supper, chop them up and put them into pie shells, pour some gravy or white sauce over, maybe add another piecrust on top, and bake. It recooked the food and sealed it away from the air so it would stay edible and appetizing.

    Farmers in particular tended to eat such main-dish pies for breakfast because they got up incredibly early, had to do a lot of physically demanding work right away, and really didn’t want to cook at that hour.

    Do you know more? Is that right?

  49. I’m a cook book fiend. Last time I ran a count on my database (yes, my over 1400 books are catalogued, you got a problem with that?) I had 85 or 90 cookbooks. Including a first edition Better Homes and Gardens. My favourite shortcake recipe is from my Nana’s 1940s edition, as it calls for cream instead of milk, and has more sugar than the 1960s and 2000 versions. (So there, people who think recipes have gotten more fattening)

    Bald Soprano, I’d recommend Pain a l’ancienne from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I had a problem where, no matter what recipe I used, even if I made one up, the bread always ended up the same! But Pain a l’ancienne fixed that, and I ended up with the most amazing baguettes! It’s not labour intensive, though it is a bit weird working with dough that liquidy. My one problem with the book having to flip back and forth between sections to get the full recipe. Like ‘prepare a hearth oven (see page x)’. It’s kinda funny, though, that it has 100 pages of bread theory before you get to recipes.

    My dad liked the book-he was taught to make bread by his uncle, a dentist and WWII vet who spent the war in a Hong Kong internment camp (for those who know Canadian history, you’ll know what a horror that was), subsisting on grasshoppers and, oddly, learning to make bread. He taught my Dad to make bread, and told him about the war-my dad was the only person he over spoke about it with, he was so traumatized.

  50. I have my grandma’s 1950 or 51 JoC that is pretty much destroyed from use. It does indeed have the Squirrel Diagram, but I don’t think it has the birthday bread horse!!

    FYI: Powell’s City of Books has TONS of old cookbooks and etiquette guides. I picked up a 1961 “Heloise’s Kitchen Hints” from Powell’s that is a LAUGH RIOT… cabbage gelatin salad anyone? YUM!

    Also, for all you squirrel lovers: http://www.mercurynews.com/restaurants/ci_11618610

  51. The reason 2 oz. of pasta (1 cup) seems “paltry” is because it is. Even the Food Pyramid, which I thought was supposed to save us all from being fat, recommends people eat something like 9-12 servings of grains a day. One of their servings of pasta would be 1/2 cup.

    So, by Food Pyramid standards, even if you spaced out your grains all day, you’d still have 3-4 servings left at dinner time (and most people I know eat bigger dinners than their other meals, so they’d have more). That’s 1-1/2 to 2 cups of cooked pasta, a whole lot more reasonable of a portion size than 1 cup.

  52. car: I remember the blackbird pie! I also think I remember her par-blanching them in the book….

    Arwen: My parents had Joy of Cooking, Moosewood, Diet for a Small Planet (and the other two of those volumes), Thursday Night Feast, Vegetarian Epicure, and then a bunch of older cookbooks from relatives and a selection of church fundraiser cookbooks. I added Fanny Farmer when I was grown up because it has some less-fussy versions of things than Joy of Cooking does.

    Oh, and then there was my mother’s little index-card-book with the recipes she invented around the time I was born… unfortunately, most of them are lost with that book (it disappeared a couple of years ago). Fortunately, I had the most important recipes already copied down. Anyone want a whole-wheat-and-high-protein batter-mix recipe? (i.e. for pancakes, waffles, coffee cake, etc. –like bisquick)

    I grew up with (sweet) pies for breakfast a lot. Of course, I also grew up with leftover pizza for breakfast. Leftover anything-that-was-for-dinner-the-night-before, really. Thinking about it, this may be from the fact that my grandparents (on my mother’s side) both grew up on farms, so we’re not that far removed from farm life, tradition-wise.

  53. Oh, and the original JoK has the best introduction to the Drinks chapter, telling people that all you need is ‘gin and ingenuity’. Which is a philosophy we should all adopt, I think.

  54. I’ll bet if we women-folk went back to wearing corsets and 8 layers of skirts we’d eat less! Then we could give up our careers, spend 14 hours a day in the kitchen, and boil water in the wood-burning stove for laundry and baths. All the while taking care of our young. Yeah, then we’d REALLY be thin!

  55. this article seems especially misguided if you’ve read your Michael Pollan, who prescribes home-cooked, classic foods as a pro-active way of improving health. That when we started listening to the nutritionists who counted first calories, then fat, then carbs, our diets actually started to spin out of control (not like… we got fat. like, we started eating non-nutritive “health foods” instead of, you know, spanish rice, goulash, beef stew, whatever.)

    anyway. this traditional cuisine bashing is lunacy. don’t fuck with my homemade pies and/or head cheese. barf lol barf.

  56. I personally know & am related to people who eat pumpkin pie for breakfast & sometimes mincemeat.

    My son & daughter-in-law gave me a brand new JOC for Christmas two years ago & there is so much crap in it about watching one’s weight, cooking light, etc., even though many fairly traditional recipes are in there. Fortunately, I have been spared the squirrels, I think. Mine has a copyright date of 2006.

    And, yes, we sometimes had meat pies, I am a big fan of chicken pot pie myself. However, most of the pies eaten for breakfast in my family have been fruit pies. However, my parents were old, but not quite totally pre-refrigeration…98 & 95 respectively, at this time.

  57. My name is Twistie, and I have never owned a copy of JoC.

    (Hi, Twistie!)

    OTOH, I, like several of the other posters on this thread, do collect cookbooks from a variety of eras. I have my mother’s copy of The White House Cookbook, which stops after McKinley, I believe. I own her Mrs. Beetons which is old enough to contain instructions on how to cook in India and how to teach your servants the proper way to wait at table. I have reprints and facsimilies of cookbooks dating back to the 18th century. One of my favorite bookmarks is for a group of sites with Medieval and Renaissance recipes…many with conversions for modern use, but a few without.

    I also grew up with parents who spent their formative years in the Great Depression, when donuts were a staple because they could be made cheaply and you didn’t waste ANY part of the animal that could be used for any purpose.

    On top of all that, my background is Scottish, Irish, and German. As Mike Myers put it in So, I Married an Axe Murderer, most Scottish food is based on a dare.

    I’ve also been a culturally adventurous eater. Russian, Hungarian, Mexican, Spanish, French, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Swedish…if you’ve got an ethnic cuisine, I’m willing to try eating and cooking it.

    So organ meats, fatty sausages, bacon, breads that you could use for a doorstop but taste delicious, pie, and creative uses for inexpensive starchy things are all things I grew up eating. At the time, I was very thin.

    Now I eat a lot less fat, less starch (it’s that whole trying to feed my husband so his diabetes stays marginally in control thing) and less meals overall because we don’t have much money. Now I am fat.

    I realize this isn’t a truism that will hold for anyone else, but it’s an interesting tidbit completely unrelated to JoC, what with my never having owned a copy.

    I think it has more to do with the fact that 1) people tend to gain weight as they age and 2) nearly everyone in my family on both sides runs to fat. It’s hard to overcome both time and genetics, and I have better things to do with my life, such as baking pies.

    (raises hand)

    I’ve cooked an apple pie in recent memory. I prefer to cook other sorts of pie, but I’ve done it. I have not, OTOH, skinned a squirrel. I’m not sure I’d be all that excited about personally doing it, but I’d be more than willing to try braised squirrel. Or that squirrel gumbo synj mentioned.

    I’ve had my brother throw that stupid ‘plates are bigger’ argument at me even though we’ve both been around long enough and seen enough older pieces of china to know what a crock it is. In fact, my mother replaced her everyday china in the 80’s. Up to that point, she’d been using a pattern she got before she married in the late 50’s, but enough pieces had broken that she wanted a new set. The 80’s china was actually smaller, because while her original set had quite wide rims for the time, her replacement set had very narrow rims.

    Somehow my brother conveniently forgets actual experience, though, in the face of constant propaganda.

    I used to think he was a lot smarter than I do now.

  58. to construct a fantasy world where people were never fat but never went hungry

    A point I often wonder about, Sweet Machine. Leaving aside individual variations (another issue in themselves), how exactly does anyone purport to know what an adequately nourished human being ‘should’ weigh, when the state of not being on the verge of starvation is actually relatively recent for many humans and still hasn’t been reached for many more?

    Head cheese or brawn, by the way, is still made in Norfolk, England. From pork. I’m not a great fan of pork, but my husband assures me that with brown sauce, sliced head cheese is the best sandwich filling. In the world. Ever. Only trouble is, it’s getting hard to find traditional butchers that stock it any more.

  59. My dishes are Metlox Pepper Tree from 1957, and they’re huge. Seriously.

    Dinner plates haven’t gotten bigger. People are stupid.

  60. SM, and all cookbook aficionados, this is my hobby. I have a lovely collection of vintage cookbooks and cooking/household appliance pamphlets and booklets. One of my treasures is a falling-apart but beautifully color-illustrated (watercolor paintings!) 1920s refrigerator handbook, the kind of fridge with the motor on top. But I digress.

    I meant just to say that one of my other favorites, and the one that started it all, was an early Betty Crocker cookbook. Not the one they reissued in facsimile a few years ago, but a later edition that included the “favorite menus” of Hollywood stars. Robert Taylor likes his mom’s pot roast (or something like that), and Grace Kelly supposedly favors Duck a l’Orange and blinis with caviar (poseuse!). But the best is the section about how to make life as a housewife bearable. The greatest tip is for you to take some time each day to lie down on the linoleum and “harbor pleasant thoughts.” The illustration of a housewife in her apron on the kitchen floor, dreaming of palm trees, is priceless.

    Not in the same vein as the celebration of organ meats and roadkill that is The Joy of Cooking, but joyful nonetheless.

  61. P.S. I have a Weight Watchers calorie/points guide (a relic from the 90s, not a collectible) that lists foods like raccoon and possum. It’s like the Ellie Mae Clampett reducing diet. I can get back to you on individual critters on a need-to-know basis.

  62. Re: The bread horse: It was to compensate for the birthday cake that looked a little skimpy after the birthday child had had a piece for breakfast. Cake for breakfast! Oh, sure, only once a year, but let’s all flap our hands and screech anyway! Who’s with me?

    Re: Pie for breakfast. Read Farmer Boy sometime. Sweet pie, multiple pieces, following on a huge breakfast. And yes, they were active, but then again, they were just learning to add at the age of 8, so people who aren’t freaking out about Our Shocking Diet can spend some time freaking out about Our Deplorable Educational System.

  63. I THINK that the one german sliced-sausage-product that I don’t like is actually their version of head cheese. I love the fact that my husband actually eats it, and will eat things like steak and kidney pie and blood pudding with me. I had a hard time when I was sharing my life with someone who wouldn’t touch organ meat and wouldn’t even eat ripe Brie because it was too strong.

    One of my fondest food memories is being handed deep-fried haggis when I was in Scotland. MAN that was good.

    Emerald, you have a VERY good point.

    right, the actual topic…. I love old recipe books, too. I’m especially fond of the tradition of cookbooks with everyone’s family recipies as church fundraisers. It’s so much fun to read all the different variations!

    *going off to look at replacement rice cookers*

  64. Can we have a friday fluff on wacky old recipes? I’m sure either my 1940s or 1960s BH&G has an appetizer wherein you stuff olives with peanut butter, then wrap them in bacon and put them under the broiler. Then serve them on toothpicks.

    And did no one notice my comment above, about GIN AND INGENUITY? Or do none of you think that is as awsome as I do?

  65. TBS, Mr, Twistie is terrified of anything that looks like it was once alive, let alone organ meats, but he once ate a couple bites of haggis to please me. I’ve never asked it of him since, but he did it once and I appreciate that.

    OTOH, he’d trample his own grannie to get at a piece of good, ripe Brie despite his high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and lactose intolerance.

    I love that man.

  66. Slim, I’m with you on “Farmer Boy,” the very book that was lurking in the back of my mind. And how about all the pancakes and bacon the Wilder boys put away during the Long Winter, when they had nowhere to go and nothing to do but sit around the house? Deee-plorable!!1!

  67. Seconding the Friday Fluff request.

    and I’d address a few other things people have said upstream, but the indian food just arrived. Someday I need to learn how to make my own tandoori chicken etc.

  68. The greatest tip is for you to take some time each day to lie down on the linoleum and “harbor pleasant thoughts.” The illustration of a housewife in her apron on the kitchen floor, dreaming of palm trees, is priceless.

    Oh wow. That is just… that should be like the illustration for all stories that indulge in 50s nostalgia.

    To answer some questions above:

    Yes, there is a raccoon recipe. You stuff it with bread dressing. Hilariously, the recipe starts: Skin, clean and soak overnight: 1 raccoon. Sure, for a squirrel you need an illustration, but raccoons, come on, everybody knows how to dress them.

    Octopus: there is a recipe for Casseroled Octopus and a long description of how to prepare one, but nothing about making sure it’s dead. Too bad!

    One of my favorite random tidbits is that tacos (a “popular Mexican treat”) are listed in the Canapes and Tea Sandwiches chapter.

  69. Hi, I am an avid lurker but I am always intimated by the wittiness of the group to comment. But how could I pass up a post on vintage cookbook studies, which I collect (the cookbooks not the studies). I have a 1940’s addition and I love it, cook with it all the time. My mom also cooked with this addition (it was my grandmothers) growing up and guess what? I am still fat. Just saying, silly study, great cookbook no matter how much butter you put in your brownies.

  70. The haggis animal:
    Wild Haggis

    Lu, I’m betting that Weight Watchers just added their points system to data cadged from the USDA — Nutritional Analyses of Common Foods, I think the book used to be called, that was ancestral to today’s Nutritional Database. There’s *scads* of info for game in the earlier copies of the book.

  71. For those enjoying the medieval recipes, I strongly recommend _Take a Thousand Eggs or More_, a great medieval cookbook of over 400 recipes.

    It comes in two parts — in the first part, the author offers the original recipe and a ‘translation’ to make it easy for you to try the recipes. In the second part, you get to puzzle out the remaining originals on your own, if you’re feeling brave. Great stuff!


  72. Is anyone else a fan of “Blackadder,” especially the Regency-era series? “Gin and Ingenuity” sounds just like one of their extremely clever Austenian episode titles (ex.: Amy and Amiability).

    “Sure, for a squirrel you need an illustration, but raccoons, come on, everybody knows how to dress them.”–SM
    I love this.

    But I dress my raccoons in pantaloons.

  73. I am obsessed with cookbooks and own a lot of them. Those “researchers” would shit their pants if they saw the recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks; “Are you hungry tonight?” It is all of Elvis’ favorite recipes. There is some really good stuff in that one!

  74. All you need is gin and ingenuity sounds like a hell of a personal mission statement to me.

    I love old cookbooks and recipes!

    Also, for some amusement that goes along with those 70’s WW recipe cards, hit up the Gallery of Regrettable Food.


    It’s pretty amazing to me how many foods can be served jellied. “Jellied Moose Nose” is one of my favorite old recipes. Probably raccoon could be jellied, too.

  75. Nob & Nobility! ;)

    That illustration looks like someone is helping the squirrel off with his jacket. Poor cold squirrel.

    There is an awesome rifftrax (Mike, Kevin, and Bill of MST3K) of a 1950s short about buying groceries, although now I’m thinking of another one called “What’s the Trouble With Women?” and what I wanted to say about the grocery one has been forced out by memories of how hysterical the latter one is (the trouble isn’t with women, it’s with the men who hate them! Tra-la!). Anyone – try to imagine it.

    I have a later edition of the Joy of Cooking, and I noticed right away the differences between it and my mom’s 1970s era one that I grew up using. I find myself calling her sometimes to get the REAL recipes, since I’m not keen on the healthy substitutions. I’ll have to seek out a different edition.

    I DO have a copy of Every Woman’s Standard Medical Guide, from 1949, which along with such helpful headings as “Being Feminine” and “Staying Attractive in Your Husband’s Eyes” also encourages women to investigate their genitals, have sex outside of marriage, and talks about marriage as being between two equals…(and my eye just caught “…and if her husband is a good enough lover, she will take it and like it.” Well then!)…but the daily caloric recommendations for “the average woman” is 2500.

    This book is an effing goldmine; why the hell haven’t I scanned pages and pages of this and posted it??? The super-femmey, “I’m going to wear a dress while I do this dainty lady work-out” photos alone are priceless…

  76. Emerald, if you’re in England, Harrods in London sell brawn. (At least, they did when I worked for them a couple of years ago. I can’t quite shake the habit of promoting them!)

    Lu, I’m a huge Blackadder fan and I’m now slightly embarressed that I didn’t see that myself! And it’s a good era to take, as well, because it involves Mrs. Miggins and her Pie Shop, including recipes for “extremely suspicious-looking sausage” and “glossops”, which fits quite nicely with the thread :)

  77. After reading everyone’s posts now I feel like my 1974 edition of The Joy of Cooking is practically new! It’s kind of funny because it was a gift to me, kind of weird, but my mother died in 1974 and my French aunt gave it to me the following Christmas because I was the eldest daughter and was expected to be the cook now. I was 14. Anyway I still have it and it was a paperback version and it’s now torn into 3 parts but I keep it together usually with a large rubber band. I was checking it out last night coincidentally looking for a recipe for a white cake with a 7 minute frosting and thought I should but a newer version as it’s well worn now. Well I’ll keep my old edition as is after reading this!

  78. I wonder if all those people with rose colored glasses about how great the 1950s was ever watch old videos and shorts from that era.

    In one of Dave Barry’s books – I think it was the one where he turns 40, or 50, or something – he talks about 1950’s food and how a typical dinner would be something like hamburgers, a big bowl of macaroni and cheese, and a big hunk of chocolate cake with a glass of whole milk. I wish I could find the exact quote, he was essentially making fun of the difference between meals then and meals after people became obsessed with lowfat and fat-free and whatnot. Yet surprise surprise, it’s NOW that people are ZOMGZ OBESE!!11

    Also, I totally love old cookbooks and food ads, especially ones involving delightful things like “lunch tongue”. The Gallery of Regrettable Food website has some great excerpts from old cookbooks with hilarious commentary: http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/ The best part is the “Jello Confronts the Depression” section.

  79. I received, as a housewarming gift when I went to college, a copy of the old, old 50’s version of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. That thing has EVERYTHING, I tell you! There’s nothing, Nothing, that Betty doesn’t know how to do. It even tells you how to set the table for different occasions, including tea parties (wait, those are real?! I thought that was a game for little girls!).

    I called it the Tome of Housewifery and not only did I laugh at it regularly, but I also referred to it for everything cooking when I was living on my own, because I knew Squat when it came to food-from-scratch. I learned from Betty to sift, sift, sift, and I swear that even my from-a-box brownies are fluffier and chewier. I’m a veteran sifter now. I’ve converted.

    If these people are going to start complaining that such books are causing obesity, I really don’t know what to do but throw my hands in the air and yell “oh for FUCK’S SAKE!” I mean, really, I thought it was fast food that made us all fatty fat fats, now it’s home cookin’? And if not from books, where exactly are we supposed to garner magical cooking knowledge?

    Diet cookbooks can kiss my butt. “Care for a little body shame with your yukky meal?” No thanks, Betty and I are gonna wrastle with some full-on shortening, dammit, and we’re going to SIFT IT UP!

    PS my next most-loved cookbook is the Bisquick cookbook! You can make darn near anything with Bisquick! :D

    PPS Cooking: If it ain’t joyful, ur doin it rong!

  80. I saw a reference to this article both on the F-Word as well as here. I disagree 100% that cooking X, Y or Z according to a recipe today or yesterday is making us (the collective us) fat. However, the author does have a point regarding serving sizes. Rachel on F-word also makes the point that the audience of the cookbook needs to be considered as well. Totally true.

    I have an extensive collection of books dating from the late 1800’s to the modern day. As is true for most collectors, I have more exemplars from about 1924 to about 1970. I’m going to make a couple of blanket statements:

    1) You cannot separate the cookbook from its historical/social/economic context

    2) You cannot compare recipes over time unless they are published by the same author.

    Social context — The Isabella Beeton books are a perfect example. ‘She’ had separate books directed at different target audiences (richer vs. poorer people ), and the recipes differ accordingly. She herself wrote ONE book before her death (the Book of Household Management). The rest (I understand the Beeton series is still published) were written by others under the sponsorship of her publisher.

    Remember also that Victorians liked to eat a lot of different small courses. The food was generally complex to produce and beautiful (for those who had plenty to eat – economic context is critical here). It is a fiction that they ate gargantuan feasts, unless we are talking specifically about clubs where men went specifically to eat and drink large amounts. These fell out of favor later on, but survive with modifications as “steak houses”. Pick your fave steak house, it’s descended from them.

    Economic Context — during times of crisis and privation you see books that address this. My books form the WWI (yes — 1914-1918) read almost like fashionable vegetarian books today: Meat substitutes, sugar substitutes, wheat substitutes. They also replace game and fish for beef. Recipes in the 20s and 30’s are richer (with modifications for economic conditions during the Depression), and then they change back to “substitutions” for WWII. Hey — the writers wanted to sell books. The books have to respond to the readers’ needs. They reflect the needs of the moment. QED.

    Note also that food used to account for the largest proportion of a household’s budget, so budget-conscious cooking is a huge concern. Today (thanks to price supports etc.) it is housing. You will eat less of X if it is more expensive than if it is less expensive. I am old enough to remember salmon as being a prohibitively expensive food. Now it’s not. I eat more salmon now than I did when I was a kid.

    History — If you read through old recipe books (and particularly those written by the same author over time) you see a slight creeping up of portion sizes. My metric is how many ounces of uncooked meat are permitted per diner. In the late 1800’s were talking between 3 and 5 ounces. Today, you see 1/2 lb (8 oz) typically allowed. The big runup in portion sizes was after WWII. My own interpretation of this is that the parents of the baby boomers made up for the depression and deprivation by ensuring their children got more and better food. Not surprising, given so many of them starved.

    That said, I haven’t seen much of the 8 oz metric until late 70’s into the 80’s. that’s after price supports came on line. I don’t buy into the all price supports are evil concepts. The motivations were good, the outcomes were not so good. There’s more work to be done here on unintended consequences, but the bottom line is that food is the least part of most people’s budget these days (we’re talking non-poor people here — there are many going hungry anyway). Many food and recipe writers were behind the push to fortify food and make it more nutritious, and the development of alternatives to the most expensive items on the table.

    We also need to put into the context the issue of the role of woman in society. You can see the focus of books from the management of a household, to “meals for women of business”, to today’s zap-it culture.

    It is a shame that the lazy writer would do that research, but he is not completely wrong — he just completely ignores all context, and throws in the fat issue to get it published.

    –Andy Jo–

  81. I love this thread. I also love Cooks Illustrated. Christopher Kimball is my boyfriend. He doesn’t know this, but he is.

  82. lucizoe: I DO have a copy of Every Woman’s Standard Medical Guide, from 1949, which along with such helpful headings as “Being Feminine” and “Staying Attractive in Your Husband’s Eyes” also encourages women to investigate their genitals, have sex outside of marriage, and talks about marriage as being between two equals…(and my eye just caught “…and if her husband is a good enough lover, she will take it and like it.” Well then!)…

    All I can say is, WHOA. I need to get a copy of this book. Looks like it would have a place of honor on the shelf next to my 1933 Girl Scout Handbook. Which, by the way, is a wonderful, girl-ship- and womanhood-affirming book that tells you all about SCOUTING–from back when, y’know, that involved things like marking a trail, observing wildlife, building a fire and a latrine, campfire cooking, doing first aid, and even nursing the sick and making up little amusements for them. Stuff that every human should know!

  83. The squirrel diagram, and the bread horse, and recipes for every living creature ever are in both of the editions we have here — a paperback from ’73 and a hardcover from ’75. The other cookbook I love to death is Fanny Farmer. I regularly — like twice a week at least — check both of those before launching into cooking something.

  84. Patsy Nevins, do you know/are you related to me? Because I will always eat pumpkin pie for breakfast if it is available.

    Also, my mom has this ridiculously huge (in terms of page dimensions, not number of pages) 1950’s cookbook with lots of photographs; my favorite is of a guy grilling steaks OVER A FIREPIT EMBEDDED IN HIS LIVING ROOM FLOOR.

  85. And, actually, I had pie for breakfast this morning.

    We cook a lot of stuff from scratch, being high on time and low on money. Like English muffins, pies, cookies of all kinds, breads. Did I mention we do a lot of baking?

    (Another good book for old recipes is the Mystic Seaport Cookbook)

  86. I have both the most recent edition and the 1974, because it includes an explanation of how to dress a turtle (for cooking, not for an evening on the town). It’s actually still for sale. One thing I love about it: gelatin molds galore. Apparently, a dinner party in the ’70s just wasn’t complete without at least one enormous jiggling food item.

  87. Rowmyboat, you make English muffins? I never heard of anyone doing that. I don’t think I’ve even seen a recipe for them! Though of course one realizes they must come from somewhere. :) I tip my hat to you.

  88. how to dress a turtle (for cooking, not for an evening on the town)

    Okay, this is making me giggle uncontrollably, because in recent reading, I learned that the flaneurs of 19th-century Paris used to show off how completely at leisure and unbeholden to the demands of business they were by walking turtles on leashes. Now I am picturing a dandy walking a turtle on a leash, and the turtle is wearing a bow tie and top hat.

  89. Yeah. The English muffin recipe we use is in Fanny Farmer, even newer editions, which is what we have. It takes a bit of time, what with mixing and kneading the dough, letting it rise, cutting them up and them letting them sit, and THEN cooking them.

  90. Hm, I think I remember reading the Baudelaire used to walk his pet lobster around town, as well. No word on proper attire.

    In both cases, it seems there would probably be a lot more standing than walking involved.

  91. you guys, your comments are all fabulous. but i need to correct a common misconception: most cheeses (including brie) are lactose-free! your lactose-intolerant friends and partners can eat those and be just fine! go eat brie!! (if, on the other hand, they are NOT just fine, something other than lactose must be difficult for them to tolerate.)

    *goes back to eating massive amounts of cheese every day*

  92. Okay, this is not Joy of Cooking, but does anybody have an *old* Laurel’s Kitchen that has the orange sauce for pancakes and such recipe? Because my mom wore the edition that had it out and the replacement she bought doesn’t have it.

    That sauce is delicious and *I* (who can’t cook) could make it turn out right (except the time I experimented with way too much cinnamon and it was still pretty edible).

    I don’t know what edition my mom has. I don’t cook enough to have much of a collection: Brilliant Eats (kidney-disease cookery), Good Food Book and Good Food Gourmet (Jane Brody), Sunset’s Stir-Fry and Pasta cookbooks, NOW’s Don’t Assume I Cook book, and a collection of recipes from various books.

  93. I would have to very literally be starving before I’d eat squirrel. They are the nastiest little bastards. Rats with better publicity.

    volcanista Well, I’m lactose intolerant (more like lactose hostile at this point) and I can’t eat cheddar or cream cheese or even American “cheese food product” without being sick.


  94. Mary Anne Mohanraj:

    If you liked Take a Thousand Eggs or More, be sure to take a look at http://www.medievalcookery.com, which has a database of late medieval recipes.

    My favorite quote, from a fifteenth-century Dutch cookbook: Sheep’s penis for the foodie. Wash it well and clean it. Then take brayed saffron, the yolks of ten eggs and a spoonfull of milk. Temper with fat and stuff the penis, but take care that it is not overstuffed. Blanch it, then roast it. Sprinkle with powder of ginger, cinnamon and a little pepper.

    You see? In the good old days of responsible eating, they didn’t overstuff their sheep’s penis. And sheep’s penises were smaller in the Middle Ages, doncha know.

  95. volcanista, how can you eat so much cheese while you’re inside FJ’s stomach?

    The obvious answer is that I eat a lot of cheese.

    I don’t, though, so I confess this is most mysterious and not a little spooky.

    I’d happily skin a squirrel, but apparently I don’t have the right shoes

    Best comment ever.

  96. DRST: I think the fact that squirrels are rats with better publicity is the best possible argument for eating the buggers….making certain, of course, that they are disease-free first.

    And considering the fact that raccoons hunt in packs in my town while possums waddle the streets at will, I’m just about ready to take up small game hunting to reduce grocery costs.

    Henchminion: Thanks for the link! You have no idea how long I’ve been looking for a good recipe for sheep’s penis.

  97. my favorite is of a guy grilling steaks OVER A FIREPIT EMBEDDED IN HIS LIVING ROOM FLOOR”

    killedbyllamas!! I know that book! I never owned it but a friend lent it to me. His dad won it in a raffle in the 50s and I think it was a Better Homes and Gardens one. What was particularly hilarious about that picture was that it claimed to be an “informal” supper party and there was some bint lounging about in a full length taffetta evening gown in close proximity to said firepit, (as one so often does). What’s more, I believe the caption read, “Steak! Man’s Job”

  98. [checks diagram]
    Oh, wow. I *do* have the right shoes.

    Sadly, I don’t live in a squirrel-rich environment. There is a pigeon colony outside my window, though. Does anyone know the correct footgear for preparing pigeon?

  99. Every so often, I’m shocked by the way the mainstream media looks at some recipe, and counts the total calories or fat content so they can View With Alarm its contribution to the Obesity Epidemic. *rolls eyes* Like portion size has nothing to do with anything. A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times food section had an article about something with bacon and sausage. (I didn’t much care, because I keep kosher.) They included a comment about how many thousands of calories were in the whole thing, which presumably serves 8-12 people as a special luxury. They were inundated with complaints–how dare they publish something contributing so blatantly to the obesity epidemic? Nobody mentioned article about a prizewinning presentation of fish, olive oil, potatoes, and cream, in the same edition, also containing thousands of calories…

    Old cookbooks are often unclear about whether the portion size of a particular recipe is intended to be part of a 1-dish meal, a 1-course meal, or a 6-course banquet. It makes an enormous difference. Some of the comments above have been mocking 1-ounce servings of pasta as ridiculously small, and of course they are very small if a person is just having the pasta dish for dinner. Or even having pasta with a very hearty sauce, and a salad, and bread, and a nice dessert. But if you’re having soup, then pasta, then some kind of chicken with a cooked vegetable, then a salad, and then dessert…there’s going to be plenty to eat even if each portion is quite small.

    Even though lots of our parents and grandparents made hurried, simple, meals a lot of the time (just as we do), most old cookbooks are about more elaborate meals.

  100. Sweet Machine, I looked in my various editions of Joy of Cooking and the 1964 edition is an exact match of the squirrel drawings and text. The 1953 edition has the same drawings, but the text is laid out differently and doesn’t have the bit about gray squirrels being the preferred ones. The 1946 edition assumes that you know how to skin a squirrel. My reprint of the 1931 edition talks about rabbits only, not squirrels.

    Going forward, the 1975 edition has a different illustrator, and says that “skinning the squirrel can wait until you are ready to cook it”. The 1997 edition omits squirrels altogether. Game (including the word “squirrel”) is back in the 2006 edition, which has detailed instructions for field dressing both large and small game, but no illustrations.

    What can I say, I’m a Joy of Cooking nerd.

    I really like this book, which tells the history of The Joy of Cooking and the mother and daughter who wrote it: (I hope my HTML works)

    Stand Facing the Stove by Anne Mendelson

  101. Katia, you are awesome! Looks like I have the 1964 edition. That makes sense, as I think my parents got married in ’67.

    I love that the ’46 edition assumes you’re a squirrel connoisseur already.

  102. I love the Cook’s Illustrated cookbooks, The Breadbaker’s Apprentice, and Beard on Bread, Sally Lunn is a favorite. I also have JOC of course, and use it when my other books haven’t a good recipe. I also really need to go through my husband’s grandmother’s collection of recipes we inheirited when she passed on.

    The point about some recipes being geared towards elaborate meals with lots of courses is an excellent one.

  103. Ok, I LOVE this discussion!

    As for Bread Baker’s Apprentice stuff, they do have a recipe for english muffins which is admittedly 2 days long, but that means you have fresh english muffins in 20 minutes! The bagels are the same way, and both are delicious!

    I had little luck with the pain a l’ancienne, but i love the ciabatta there.

    Also, you should totally try the white sandwich loaf. It’s SO DELICIOUS!!!!

    The one recipe I tried in Whole Grain Breads turned out rather well (needs more honey though), so the book is worth it if you want to get the techniques. The diet type stuff is thankfully rather easy to ignore, but I’m still disappointed that its there.

    Lastly, I’m amazed that the Amazon reviews for that book complain that every whole grain recipe uses honey or agave nectar, and actually says that whole grain with no sweetener should be flavorful enough. Uh…I like my sandwich loaves sweet thankyouverymuch, fucker.


    I knew I saw it in one of my father’s cookbooks when I was a kid! It was not a dream, it was REAL

    I always believed in you, birthday bread horse.

  105. Wow! I didn’t realise so many Shapelings collected old cookbooks!

    Maybe someone can help me with an on-going quest of mine, although I realise this will be a very long shot…

    I had chocolate mudcake for my wedding cake, but not just any mudcake, the BEST. MUDCAKE. EVER. At the time, the lady told me the recipe came from an old cookbook (maybe around the 70s) but didn’t tell me which one (or I’ve forgotten). I wanted to get another cake made for our 5th wedding anniversary but unfortunately she died and I am now devastated that I will never get to eat said cake again!

    This was an extremely dense mudcake, I’d guess a lot of butter and eggs, possibly a little alcohol. It kept for quite a while (while being decorated etc) and then kept in our freezer for over a year.

    If anyone has any idea what recipe this might be, please share with me! And don’t worry if your recipe is not the right one, I’m always happy to make mudcakes to try out anyway ;)

  106. I don’t have the Joy of Cooking, but I do have my Grandma Florence’s old Betty Crocker cook book, no clue to when it was published. It has to have been before 1966 as that is my first memory of it. I LOVE it and someday I will find a new binder for it and get it back together, but it my go to cookbook for a lot of my favorite recipes. One thing I LOVE about is, there isn’t a single nutritional or calorie count in it anywhere LOL

  107. I looked in all my 1960s and 70s cookbooks, and no mud cakes at all, but I’ve got ‘Mother’s Best Fudge Cake’. And there are some wicked-rich chocolate cake recipes in the Larousse Gastronomique.

  108. Our Joy has to be from the 50s or 60s, because it’s my grandmother’s. The covers are literally hanging by a thread – well, maybe a few threads. And the pages for apple pie are liberally spattered and sprinkled with stains.

    And ours totally has the bread horse.

  109. The idea that the old-school editions of The Joy of Cooking were less full of OMG FATTENING foods makes me laugh so hard. Um, have these people ever seen a pre-80s cookbook? I have a bunch inherited from my mother. Most of them are about 30% cake recipes, and everything else is distinctly heavy on the dairy and animal fat. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but “health food” it isn’t.

    In fact, old cookbooks are kind of a revelation in the sense that hey, guess what? Pre a certain point
    (70s maybe?) people just didn’t worry about foods being fattening. They worried about making sure their kids were getting enough basic nutritients so that they would grow up big and strong!

    It makes me sad that mine is probably the last generation that will ever be encouraged to eat up so they’ll grow up big and strong as small children.

  110. I always believed in you, birthday bread horse.

    Okay, this is even better than “I’d skin a squirrel, but I don’t have the right shoes.”

  111. Okay, this is not Joy of Cooking, but does anybody have an *old* Laurel’s Kitchen that has the orange sauce for pancakes and such recipe?

    Page 120 in my edition:
    Hot Orange Sauce
    2 tablespoons Better-Butter or margarine
    2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
    1 cup orange juice
    pinch salt
    1 cup diced fresh oranges
    optional: pinch mace and 1/4 cup milk powder

    Melt Better-Butter in saucepan. Mix in flour, stirring over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in orange juice and bring to a boil. Simmer until thick and creamy. Add salt. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in fresh oranges and mace if desired.

  112. oops. missed a bit from page 121:
    For a very creamy and somewhat sweeter version, blend powdered milk with the orange juice before adding to the flour and Better-Butter.
    Makes 2 cups.

  113. I can’t think of anything to say about Dick Cheney coming to my house for dinner that won’t cause a file to be opened about me. Or added to, I guess.

    I have two editions, a brand new one (2007, I think) and a 1972 one that my oldest sister gave me. The ’72 one has the birthday bread horse.

    I just read “About Water.”

    Sometimes I go back to the old one, sometimes not.

    Oh, and I have things to say about Mr. Wansink. Just not yet. I’m biding my time.

  114. DRST: Cheeses with lactose: very fresh cheeses (mozzarella, riccotta, cream cheese), or cheeses that still have or are remixed with milk or whey (American, unpressed cottage cheese). Cheeses without appreciable lactose: almost every other kind. If cheddar makes you sick, most likely there’s something else in dairy (either instead of or in addition to lactose) that you are allergic to or don’t tolerate/digest well (e.g. casein).

    I find cheese everywhere I go!

  115. Hi volcanista — can you give us a report from inside of fj’s stomach? Aside from food for thought, did she provide a reading light?

    Perhaps, in a certain sense, we are all in fj’s stomach.
    I’m realizing this might sound really insulting if it didn’t also sound like a creation myth. I’m hoping it’s taken the second way. A very humbling thought, either way.

    I’m going to stop typing now… and slowly walk away from the computer… stop taking that one medication… and come back later.

  116. This post is so timely for me, as my copy of Perfection Salad just arrived in the mail. I’m amazed by how many people collect old cookbooks. I have several, and a few copies of the Girls’ Own Annual from the early 1900s. There’s a huge emphasis on thrift, using up leftovers, and making plain food palatable with… drumroll… fat and sugar.

  117. How sad the modern version of Joy of Cooking is – where’s the joy in parsimoniously replacing butter with applesauce? Where’s the sense of delight?

    RE Serving sizes, 2 oz of pasta may be a decent serving if you’re eating it as a pasta course as part of a meal that will also include an entree, but it’s not enough to make a meal of. Who eats like that?

    Also yeah, the only one of those recipes I’ve made in the last few years in any form is mac and cheese. I’ve eaten apple pie and sugar cookies, but I bought them from a bakery. I don’t bake, by and large, because it’s precise and fiddly and I don’t like having to measure things. I’d rather just pay a professional to do it for me. If they’re going to choose recipes that represent average caloric intake wouldn’t it make more sense to pick the ones that people use all the time?

    Good point about how much more people at back in the old days in general. More of all the stuff now considered bad. I have a bunch of my Grandma’s recipes that she patiently wrote out for me and it’s all add some butter…then some cream…then some more butter..is it even possible to make baked goods that are edible without butter? The only “healthy” ones I’ve ever tried have been vile. Especially those wierd American oat cakes that look like hockey pucks – why do people eat those?

  118. Buffpuff, I completely forgot about the gal in the evening dress in that scene! Though I don’t know how…my mom and I tended to caption them (pre-lolcats) whenever she got out that cookbook. Hmm, I wonder if she still has it somewhere…

    And this thread has prompted me to pull out a couple from my own rather small and pitiful collection; one is The Dinner Party Cook Book from 1970. It contains some truly interesting recipes, but I managed to look past the turnip balls and find a pumpkin-ice cream pie just now. Nom. This will have to be tried asap.

  119. Also, the boots in the picture could be loosely interpreted as Doc Marten-like; if so, I do indeed have the correct shoes to skin a squirrel.

  120. I love to buy old cookbooks from used bookstores. I think they go pretty fast though. I picked up some of the books I remember my mom had when I was little. They were the Time Life “Foods of the World” series They came with a large book with great pics and then a smaller binder that had the recipes. I think they were published in the late 60s. I recently bought The Cooking of the British Isles and Russian Cooking. They are cultural and historical marvels.

    I also bought The Two Fat Ladies cookbook and new DVD a few months ago. I enjoyed their show but I don’t know i f I’d ever cook anything from their cookbook but it’s fun to look at.

  121. Liberalandproud, thank you very much for the recipe. The next time I go shopping, I plan to buy some flour and frozen waffles just for this sauce (I refuse to try to make pancakes, even the mix variety).

  122. Well, as a frequent home-baker, preserver, and nearly 100% home-cooker, I can agree that in my experience they are right about recommended portion sizes being larger now, at least if you go by actual food weight of finished dishes.

    As for the recipes you showed…I honestly wish more westernized folks ate those ingredients. At least we’d be eating the whole animal and not wasting the bits. We might also have less need for vitamin fortified -everything-.

    Farm food.. okay well, my french-turned-texan grandmother cooked the exact same way and times every day, partly due to my Texas-bred grandpa’s type 1 diabetes. Grandma was like me…short and solid. A so-called “inbetweenie” but she often ranged thinner. Grandpa was a sinue-filled lean-bean all of his life. A standard day’s food was:

    7am – Grandpa’s pre-breakfast of 1 leftover scrambled egg, 1 link of sausage, 1 cup of cereal with milk.

    9am- Grandma made scrambled eggs, sausage, and maybe fried fish if we’d caught any the day before. As a treat, she might offer us a sticky roll. However, while we ate this, she dined on buttered toast and coffee.

    1230pm- Some form of roast, at least three veggies (usually kale, potatoes, peas/carrots), bread of some kind, glasses of tomato juice, and a dessert that was usually fruit-based (blueberries in sweetened non-dairy cream) or otherwise not-heavy-but-not-necessarily-lo-cal like mousse.

    530pm-Soup, usually tomato or homemade bean/lentil, very simple deli-meat sandwiches, sliced cucumbers w/ salt, occasionally corn chips or potato chips. Another glass of tomato juice or milk.

    730pm-Most folks would have post-supper coffee or a can of 7Up.

    Notice that the heaviest meal was in the middle of the day. Our workload was also VERY heavy. Checking fences, banding/tagging cattle, herding, feeding fish or fishing, counting cattle over the whole farm, cleaning, gardening, etc. Work started after breakfast, paused for dinner (lunch) and an hour’s midday nap, and resumed until supper time. After supper, we played games and relaxed, or watched some tv.

    14 recipes is definitely nothing close to a representative sample. But I will say that (in Amer-Anglo history) sugar was very hard to keep in stock in the really “olden”days. Sugar didn’t become readily available in your friendly neighborhood market until after the abolition of huge sugar taxes in England in 1874. Prior to that, it was a luxury food. So, naturally, as it’s become more available, we’ve developed more of a taste for sweet foods, and have increased sugar use overall…but who really knows if that’s afected anything.

  123. wellroundedtype2, if the store wasn’t closing, I’d recommend a new shirt: “I am in fillyjonk’s tummy.”

    SM, I’m envisioning a line of spiffily dressed turtles and lobsters doing a sassy version of “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Maybe even en francais. “Si vous etes bleu et ne savez pas ou aller…” (with apologies to any francophone Shapelings).

  124. I hope no one minds that I just sent this link to the (public, natch) email addie of Rachel Maddow. She’s so brill, but she needs a clue by four decorated with some fatpol glitter. (She snarked at fatties re. this Joy of cooking study on her show tonight.)

  125. To wax nostalgic over how 1931 brownies used less butter (perhaps because of that little thing called the Great Depression, maybe?) is to construct a fantasy world where people were never fat but never went hungry, and when all food nourished all bodies the same way.

    Seriously. I cannot understand how anyone could think it’s better to have more people starving so we can have more thin bodies.

    I remember a chocolate chip brownie I got a couple of years ago from a BBQ place that’s unfortunately now defunct (Big Daddy’s). It was so rich, I could barely eat more than a bite or two at a time, and I am a chocolate fiend. It took me a week to get through that thing. One brownie. How many calories were in it? Probably a lot, but who cares? It’s not like I could eat one of those every single day if I tried. And those two bites were SO FUCKING GOOD.

  126. I say that THE “go to” cookbook is Meta Given’s Cyclopedia of Cooking. I recommend the 1946 edition with the green cover.. It was my Mom’s go to book, and remains mine. Recipes for squirrel – check; and also muskrat, ‘possum, and elk (but I don’t see many of those in my area).

  127. I love this thread and all who sail in it. Shapelings! *clutches to heart*

    A point I often wonder about, Sweet Machine. Leaving aside individual variations (another issue in themselves), how exactly does anyone purport to know what an adequately nourished human being ’should’ weigh, when the state of not being on the verge of starvation is actually relatively recent for many humans and still hasn’t been reached for many more?

    Well exactly, and e.g. the hand-wringing about the “growing obesity epidemic” in Ireland. Most Irish people are one or two generations from absolute poverty (my dad was one of 11 being raised in a three-room farmhouse, for god’s sake) – in a century we went from being one of the very poorest countries in Europe to one of the richest.

    Say, do you think maybe that means more people have access to adequate nutrition now, so their bodies are bigger? Hmmm. And it’s almost as if almost everyone alive in Ireland today has to have had 100+ ancestors who survived a famine that killed a million people. Which…wait…would that make them more likely to be disposed to put on weight when food is plentiful? Gosh, I don’t know, I’m so confused. But whatever. It’s a CRISIS!


    JPlum, I’m going to adopt “gin and ingenuity” as my new motto. Also my new study plan.

    Can’t tell you how much I’m with you there.

  128. I honestly wish more westernized folks ate those ingredients. At least we’d be eating the whole animal and not wasting the bits. We might also have less need for vitamin fortified -everything-.

    I hope it’s clear that my point in this post is not to diss the ingredients above, even though I can’t imagine quartering a calf head myself! Rather I want to point out how unrepresentative the study sample is — we can find as many recipes that are unfamiliar to the point of comically unrecognizable to most people who would be the main market for Joy of Cooking.

  129. @JPlum,
    “Gin and ingenuity” = brilliant.

    What program do you use to catalog your books? I am looking for a way to keep track of the current zillion I have, plus the ones I borrow from the library and want to keep the info on to borrow again.

  130. Readerware. It’s not perfect, but I haven’t been able to find a home cataloguing program that follows AACR2. The home cataloguing programs seem to be written by people who are all “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a way to keep track of my books?” without realizing that there is an entire field of study dedicated to it.

  131. “Gin and ingenuity” is awesome, except I really, really don’t like gin. Thus other liquors need to have clever slogans as well…”vodka and a problem with authority”?

  132. ”vodka and a problem with authority”

    Got that covered too.

    Am feeling an urge to make fridge magnets.

  133. Personally, I’m quite pleased to leave AACR2 at work, but I just wanted to out myself as another librarian. And I didn’t get back to the thread until this morning, but I see many people have addressed the sweet pie at breakfast question I got.

    My grandparents were farmers and had pie at breakfast when the boys still lived at home. As the years went by and it was just the two of them, my grandmother eased up and only baked fresh biscuits to go with the eggs and bacon, no pie. My grandmother was fat, my grandfather had a tummy and both lived until their 90’s and stopped working in the garden in only their last year.

    And as for squirrel, my grandmother always soaked it overnight in salted water and then served it fried like chicken. These were squirrels that lived in the woods that surrounded the farm and I don’t know how healthy they were, but they were certainly hard to shoot.

    This is one of the best threads ever, thanks everyone.

  134. Having, I hope, proved my bona fides and my good intentions on this thread, I’m going to venture out on a limb here and say that in my experience, many food recipes have gotten fattier and more sugary since the 1960s, mostly commercial ones. Whether this reflected a change in the public’s taste or was the leading edge of the change, I cannot judge. As I said, I do have recipe books spanning much of the 20th century, including for Meatless Meals from the Depression/WWII era, and I can confirm that the recipes in everyday-household-cookery books remain pretty standard. But recipes prepared or sponsored by food companies have changed.

    Examples: Toll House cookie recipe from the back of the package. I would swear, as a veteran cookie baker, that sometime in the 1970s or ‘80s, after Mrs. Fields’ overly (IMO) gooey and fatty cookies had taken the market by storm, the Nestle’s Toll House cookie recipe was revised to increase the amount of fat and thus make the cookies softer and floppier. And, also IMO, making them less delicious. They used to be crunchy and toothsome, without being dry, and had a more complex flavor, but now they’re more like cloying sugar-and-butter-delivery bombs. Many packaged cookies went the same way, and “softness” (from the added fat, though probably also with help from chemicals) was a big feature trumpeted on cookie packages at the time.

    Another commercial example is Bisquick. I used to adore anything made with Bisquick, especially pancakes, but they changed the recipe to increase the sweetness around the same time of the cookie sea-change. I’ve never had a big sweet tooth, even as a kid, and I loved my starchy and vaguely salty pancakes, which I ate with only butter, no syrup. The unavailability of non-sweet pancakes for my breakfast became a constant disappointment to me as restaurants followed the same trend and increased the richness of their recipes at the same time. IHOP, Denny’s, and any diner I would visit did the same thing. My lovely plain pancakes, formerly so hearty and sustaining, so delicious accompanying my breakfast sausages (and now I’m vegan, btw, so I haven’t had either in years, but it STILL RANKLES, lol), became nothing more than yet another too-buttery quasi-dessert to be gilded with sugar, fruits, whipped cream, and heaven knows what else. So, I guess what I’m saying is, as a lifelong carbohydrate queen and savory-food aficionado, I believe I am adequately qualified to have tracked the changes that have occurred over my lifetime (40+ years), such as that tastes in general have been trending toward more fat and sugar. I make no claims that this is evidence of anything but the world’s insufficient attention to MY PREFERENCES. ;-)

  135. Okay, new mission: find a pre-1975 edition of Joy of Cooking and send it to my friend. I sent her the 2004 edition that year, and now I want to get her the good one.

  136. This squirrel thing made me laugh out loud…big time. Mostly because the last time I was home to visit my parents, they filled me in on the dinner they had at their church which was wild game, complete with several dishes made with squirrel. Nothing new for me, because my male family members got very excited when it was squirrel season so they could shoot, kill, skin and eat them. I was severly grossed out by this as a child, and never thought of eating it. My dad insists the squirrel brain is by far the best part. GROSS. My mom often threatened me with pickled pigs’ feet for dinner, and my grandmother occasionally brings up how good cow tongue can be if you cook it right. PS. Did I mention at that same dinner they had cooked ‘possum? Yep. 2nd. On head cheeses, etc. My primary professor in college was from Belgium. We took a trip to Mexico, where at a restaurant there was a main dish offering the organs of several different animals, including liver, brains, and heart and tongue…I think. Anyway, he got so excited that he was able to eat this food…the rest of us, of couse, severely grossed out. Especially as we were trying to keep our food down to begin with. Good times.

  137. Oh God, Belgian food. Tete Pressee (which I gather was brains and possibly other organs in aspic), Steak Americain (pile of finely chopped raw steak), and then whatever the older man next to us in one restaurant ordered, that consisted of two giant hunks of greasy beige meat (pork, maybe?) each with a rind of fat an inch and a half thick. It came on two plates!

    I also discovered I preferred the Chicken Waterzooi in Bruges (more vegetably and savoury) to that in Brussels (creamy and bland). Plus the waiter in Brussels wouldn’t let me have frites, because there were already potatoes in the Waterzooi.

  138. The red squirrels in the Midwest, where I come from, are loads bigger than the grey squirrels in the Northeast, where I live now (as well as the black squirrels in DC). Maybe they’ve BOOGA BOOGA been using these recipes?

  139. @henchminion
    I am so glad to see http://www.medievalcookery.com on here for those interested in medieval recipes. I know Doc, the site creator, and he’s great fun! His children regularly go to school with leftover medieval foods in their lunchboxes.

    I love this post and the comments.

  140. The 75th anniversary edition of the JoC has a lot more of the original recipes and little to none (that I’ve seen) of the low-fat hype. It also has the sections on preserving and canning, a good section on cooking game and (I checked) the gin and ingenuity line, though differently phased. It has the little asides and phrasings that make the original such a joy.

    I think after the ’94 edition came out and everyone complained that they’d cut the soul out, they revised it again and made it more like the originals.

    A friend has the, I think, 1964 version and it seems pretty similar to the 75th anniversary edition.

    It does not have the squirrel skinning diagram, sadly.

  141. Mac & Cheese is NOT a sometimes food. Mac & Cheese IS LIFE!!

    [pant, pant]

    This is, indeed, an awesome thread. Count me in on the Bourbon and Bravado.

  142. Toll House cookie recipe from the back of the package. I would swear, as a veteran cookie baker, that sometime in the 1970s or ‘80s, after Mrs. Fields’ overly (IMO) gooey and fatty cookies had taken the market by storm, the Nestle’s Toll House cookie recipe was revised to increase the amount of fat and thus make the cookies softer and floppier.

    Huh. We switched from the ’56 Betty Crocker Tollhouse recipe (which made softer cookies) to the Nestle’s one in the mid seventies because I took over the cookie baking entierely and I liked the much crisper Nestle version. The BC ones are softer, and have more flour and more fat (and half the fat is shortening – I’ve heard that all butter cookies usually spread more and thus are usually crisper). So my experience was the exact opposite.

    OTOH, even though I follow the exact same recipe and do “everything right” (i.e., chill the dough, which she often didn’t bother with), my grandma’s molasses crinkles were always softer and fatter than mine. Actually, I could make them just fine at her house, so for a long time I thought it was the fact that she had more humidity than I did, but now I’m back in the midwest I wonder if it’s my baking sheets… I think they’re darker than hers.

  143. I’m a proponent of the current Tollhoue recipe, but I always thought the main difference between it and other recipes was the amount of brown sugar, which gave the cookies a more . . . umm . . . carmalized taste. Or something.

  144. Long-time lurker, first time poster.

    So I’m guessing I’m an uber-bad fattie since on the list above I’ve made all of those dishes in the last four months except goulash. I’ve been teaching my nephews to cook and we’ve been going through all of my favorites, Dutch apple pie, home-made mac and cheese, brownies (I’ve been experimenting with “special” brownies when they kids aren’t around).

    But for a moment let me wax poetic about beef stroganoff. My mom had a 60’s era Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook with the best stroganoff recipe ever. She used to make it when I was a kid with whatever approximation she had on hand…hamburger was usually used, sometimes there was more or less sour cream, one memorable time she used barbeque sauce in replacement of the usual ketchup which was a replacement for tomato paste.

    I was so sad when the new copy of the Better Homes and Gardens she got me when I moved out didn’t have the stroganoff recipe. I thought I’d lost beef stroganoff forever. Then when she moved I found the original cookbook and there it was!

    I make it about once a month, without my mom’s substitutions, and it is amazing. mmm….stroganoff

  145. I’ve been reading these off-and-on and feeling kept up on some of the thoughts of dear old friends of mine.

    But I did feel the urge to comment, because it was only last night that I was thinking that if I were to ever do a Ph.D., I’d want it to be a social history through old editions of the Joy of Cooking. Looks like I missed the boat, though!

  146. I have a 1930s Australian Mrs Beeton (not sure how, as I’m English) which features a recipe for a stew using 12 parakeets. I have a lot of old English books too; including one which has a recipe for ivory mould, which is a sort of blancmange flavoured with powdered ivory. Then Constance Spry in the 1950s has two pages on how to do the washing up, which I love; and my mum used to have a collect-the-installments thing by Fanny and Johnny Cradock, published in the 1970s, which had a wonderful recipe for a pudding made to simulate a fried egg, by using a circle of whipped cream and half an apricot. I love cookery books. I spend hours and hours reading them. This is an excellent thread!

  147. Toll House cookies – yes, use all butter for the crispier version. Resist adding any shortening. Use a bit more brown sugar for the “caramelly” taste. I usually can’t bake for diddly but I can damn sure make Toll House cookies.

  148. People who like mac and cheese should check out the baked cheese grits recipe from Cook’s Illustrated; it’s basically baked polenta with onion, cheese, cream, eggs and a bit of tobasco sauce. Yummy. I originally found it in their Cover and Bake cookbook. I like to add italian sausage or ham and tomatoes to it. It only takes about thirty minutes of prep time plus forty five minutes of baking time so it’s a quick dinner.

  149. OK, so I’m beginning to think ‘Gin and Ingenuity’ really should be an album by The Divine Comedy. Although, personally I’m all for JD and bad attitude.

    On portions and courses…the hubby and I had Christmas lunch out at a hotel a few years back, and there were seven courses, but the actual amounts were tiny and while we ended up full, we weren’t uncomfortably stuffed. It would make sense if that was how the Victorians did it. I figure the recipes in my grandmother’s Mrs. Beeton (1912 edition) – which call for lavish quantities of ingredients – were aimed at fairly large, upper middle class families, with servants, who liked to entertain on an impressive scale.

    The British classic would be, I suppose, Delia Smith, but I’ve only occasionally used mine for reference in about twenty years, and I don’t think I’ve ever followed an entire recipe from it. Shame on me.

  150. I made tollhouse cookies last weekend, coincidentally. and they came out perfectly, in my opinion, both soft AND crispy at the same time.

    I kept forgetting, last night, to go through the list of recipes they used (as quoted in the post) and look at the ones I make:

    beef stroganoff, waffles, macaroni and cheese, goulash, Spanish rice, brownies, sugar cookies, and apple pie

    beef stroganoff is a staple for me, and we had it last weekend. I’ve made almost everything there in the past year, in one form or another. Maybe not the goulash, but I’ve made it in the past two years. Not necessarily from the JoC recipes, though. Oh, not waffles, but that’s only because I don’t have a waffle maker, due to a diminutive kitchen.

    Piffle: mmm, cheesy grits! I wonder if we have any grits left, actually…

  151. mccn, the reddish squirrels in the Midwest where I grew up are indeed bigger (and fatter) than the gray squirrels here in PA, but they are technically fox squirrels (the largest American squirrel), not red ones. True red squirrels are teensy. /end squirrel nerdery

  152. Agreeing with Lu that, IMO, American food has gotten sweeter over time. I’m not convinced that it’s about adding sugar though – personally I think it’s more about replacing sugar in commercial sweets with high fructose corn syrup, which is really really sweet.

    I lived in Texas for a while on 2 separate occasions in the 80s, then back to the UK and the Middle East, then moved to California in the late 90s. Returning to the US in the 90s it was immediately obvious that prepared cookies, cakes etc had gotten a whole lot sweeter. And hey, I have a major sweet tooth, I eat chocolate every day, so in theory that should be fine but…actually not so much. A lot of prepared baked goods are too sweet for me now, in that I feel like sweet is all that I can taste rather than chocolate, fruit, etc. I really think it’s the corn syrup, which does indeed sweeten things but IMO has a flavor distinctly inferior to actual sugar.

    A friend of mine from the Midwest went to Taiwan last year and I kept getting “OMG all the baked goods here are so delicious!” messages. After a while she figured out the reason why – everything was made with real sugar.

    I really wish American manufacturers would go back to using plain old fashioned sugar, it tastes so much better.

  153. Oh man, I would hate it if Tollhouse cookies got more crispy and less soft and gooey and sweet and buttery and wonderful! So I’m very glad I live in these times of soft cookies. :)

    (Cassandra, Tollhouse cookies don’t have corn syrup, just cane sugar, fwiw! But yes, there is a taste difference, though corn syrup is not the devil like dieters would have you believe. I generally prefer cane sugar, too.)

  154. I keep thinking of the Helmets Made of Ham from our caveman myth thread, except now I’m substituting Helmets Made of Squirrel.

  155. Cassandra, I think you may be right, esp. since much of what I was saying applied to commercial products (except for homemade Toll House cookies), and that’s what I think you meant, too. Corn syrup isn’t used that much in baking, except for pies, if I recall correctly. Your observation about the relative sweetness of CS and sugar is probably right on the mark regarding the increased sweetness of store-bought baked goods, now that I think about it.

    I don’t know why I’m shuddering at the thought of gooey, sweet, and buttery soft cookies. My sweet tooth must be smaller than I thought! To each her own! :)

  156. Any talk of cane sugar vs. corn syrup always gives me horrible cravings for some raw sugarcane. I haven’t had any since I was like 10 and went on a field trip to some historical reenactment place or another, and GOD IT WAS GOOD. I’ve never found it anywhere since except at an overpriced multicultural festival where I couldn’t afford it :(

  157. Volcanista – yep, I like Tollhouse cookies! And honestly my objections to corn syrup are more from a foodie perspective, ie why switch to something that tastes less good, rather than from a “health” one. I just plain don’t like the way the stuff tastes.

    Also I’m voting for chewy cookies. Preferably just out of the oven and not fully hardened yet. Anyone here in the Bay Area? I deliberately time visits to Specialty’s in order to get cookies just as they’re coming out of the oven. I’m voting for the oatmeal wheatgerm chocolate chip cookies, which seem to blow the minds of dedicated dieters – like, they’re super “healthy” because they have wheatgerm but they also have chocolate chips? What is this madness? That reaction makes me giggle every time.

  158. Just dropping in to say that, yes, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books are food porn. I will never forget Caroline Ingalls straining carrots to DYE THE BUTTER YELLOW!

    Remember how Charles Ingalls removed, cleaned, inflated and tied off the bladder of a slaughtered animal and then the kids PLAY WITH IT?

  159. Lu – yep, I meant commercially prepared baked goods. Home-made stuff is a lot more variable since obviously it’s up to the tastes of whoever is making it, and I haven’t seen any difference in sweetness in, say, cookies people bring to work, cakes they serve etc.

  160. Lu: We did that with molasses in the winters growing up!

    By the way, beet sugar also works for Tollhouse cookies (that’s all we can find here, unless we spend a LOT more).

    And I may have to make another batch of cookies this weekend now. (I have one bag of chocolate chips left, from the two my brother brought me.)

  161. Y’all can keep the gin and ingenuity, I’ll be over here with the whiskey and the wisdom.

    I’m not a fan of the Joy of Cooking. Mostly because I grew up reading my mother’s 1970s Betty Crocker cookbook. I taught myself how to bake out of it, and when I went to college I bought the ‘modern’ version and cooked some of the food out of it, but it sure as shootin’ wasn’t the same.

    A couple Christmases back, my auntie brought a bunch of cheese for fondue, but no recipe. My mother was flustered, trying to figure out what to do with four pounds of swiss cheese, and I just went to the cupboard, pulled out the Betty Crocker binder, and flipped to the page with the fondue recipe.

    And then promptly smuggled the binder out of the kitchen and brought it home with me to Oregon. So, uh, Mom? If for some reason you’re reading this? I *borrowed* your cookbook…

    I have to say, the other cookbook I cannot live without is the Veganomicon. No, I’m not a vegan, and yes, sometimes I add meat to the recipes. Because that is how I roll.

  162. I heart the food porn of “Farmer Boy”. When the parents go away and Almanzo and his sibs go through an entire barrel full of sugar during that time … They’re sure they’ll get in trouble when their parents get back , because it was quite a luxurious thing to eat …

  163. Lu: I’ve been baking my own pies since I was seven years old (yikes! coming up on my ruby anniversary of pie baking!) and the only pie recipes I can think of that include corn syrup are nut-based ones. I think that’s probably why so many people find the average pecan pie too sweet, but don’t have the same problem with, say, apple or blueberry pie.

    BTW, Mr. Twistie never orders pancakes or French toast when he dines out, not just because of the diabetes, but even moreso because he prefers them with salt and pepper instead of butter and syrup. You may be soul siblings on that particular matter.

    Cindy: The bladder balloon is engraved on my memory. If I recall correctly, the bladder had belonged to a pig.

  164. Hi, Twistie. I was thinking of pecan pie and chess pie, but I may be wrong about the latter.

    Bald Soprano, that’s awesome. We used to make something called Snow Ice Cream, but that just involved milk and sugar and snow from our suburban yard. Nothing too quaint. In fact, I think I can still taste the burning.

    Yes, I’m sure the tail was fatty and succulent. Oh those bloodthirsty Ingalls girls! ;-) But, even as a vegan, I was rooting for Pa to get a deer during the Long Winter.

  165. Oh, I always wanted a bread horse for my birthday. Even after years of therapy, I’ve never overcome not getting one. ;-)

    When my aunt and uncle were starving grad students at Dartmouth, they ate all kinds of critters from squirrel to raccoon to I don’t want to think about it — my uncle had a smoker, and I’m sure I snacked on squirrel jerky as a kid.

    And I wouldn’t have survived six years in Spain in the mid-80’s without my JOC — I still have that old edition, and use it a lot more often than I do the new one (which I use, like, never).

  166. Thinking about this more, what I think is so funny is that it basically flies in the face of every claim that’s previously been made about obesity. I mean, we’re all so fat because we eat fast food for every meal and totally ignore serving sizes, right? And now it’s that we’re all so fat because we just make too many home-cooked meals and following the recommended serving sizes?

  167. liberalandproud: so does that actually mean that whole wheat flour works for making a roux?! W00T! (I love whole wheat. Not for healthfoody purposes, just because it tastes good. Like making your bread from toasted nuts or something.)

    This is pretty bizarre, though, dude. I’ve never seen anyone take this line before — we make too much homecooked food, WUT? And who the hell uses serving sizes, except for total novice cooks unexpectedly assigned to feed a crowd?

    And gin and ingenuity are two of my favourite things — but what goes with rum? (“Sodomy and the lash” not accepted.)

  168. Oh, Octopod, that’s easy! Rum (specifically, Gosling’s) goes with ginger beer, ice, and a squeeze of lime. A/K/A a “Dark and Stormy.” Which, if you consume enough of them, you can also call a “Stark and Dormy.”

  169. Or a Rum Swizzle, which you get at the Swizzle Inn in Bermuda. ‘Swizzle Inn, Stagger out’

    Personally, I make a mean Rum and Coke float.

    Pour about an ounce of rum into a big, tall glass
    Add vanilla ice cream
    Add more rum, just in case
    Top up with coke.

  170. I’m a little late to this thread, but I’m just wondering… if we’re not supposed to eat in restaurants because of the OMGCalories, and now we’re not supposed to eat at home, at least if we use the Joy of Cooking, because of the OMGCalories, where exactly are we supposed to eat? Perhaps we’re only supposed to forage a leaf at a time from a tasty-looking tree as we jog past it?

  171. On the subject of commercial foods getting sweeter over time, one of my frustrations upon moving to England was that it seemed like every british bakery churned out pastries that were WAAAAAY too sweet for my tooth, causing much sulking. Even the ice cream choices tend to run very sweet, and nobody wants to carry the delicious peanut butter pretzely goodness of Chubby Hubby.

    And doesn’t england not use HFCS? Or am I getting mixed up?

    if we’re not supposed to eat in restaurants because of the OMGCalories, and now we’re not supposed to eat at home, at least if we use the Joy of Cooking, because of the OMGCalories, where exactly are we supposed to eat?

    We’re not. And don’t think you can sneak any of those cough drops, either!

    I am reminded of a TV show which appeared to be trying to show how bad our modern microwave food was, and split the participants up into groups, one eating the ‘gourmet’ supermarket brands, one eating the ‘value/super-cheap’ brands, and one eating ‘home-cooked’ meals. Then at the end of the week they called them in and showed off a big display of how much fat and sugar they’d consumed during the week.

    Every. Single. Participant. was grossed out and dismayed by the sight, even if they were in the ‘good’ group which had taken in less of the stuff than the others.

    No matter what you eat, you can be made to feel awful about it!

  172. OMG, I love that I come home from library school to find that AACR@ has been mentioned.

    Re cataloging your personal collection, there’s always the websites LIbrarything or Goodreads.

  173. Sorry to interject, but someone a few weeks ago mentioned an Australian website with cute plus-size clothes that were well-made, but I don’t remember the thread and I wouldn’t know how to search since the only descriptor I recall is “Australian.” And I think it had numbers in the URL, maybe? Could someone help me out? I’m buying a new wardrobe tonight to help end the recession. :)

  174. Clearly I need to give up my teetotalling ways and grab for the rum bottle, killedbyllamas.

    BTW, I just have to say your handle is beyond awesome and utterly composed of sparkles. I’m just saying.

  175. Aw, thanks Twistie! It has very dorky N64-playing roots. :)

    And questionable judgment is always possible; the rum just helps it along a bit. <—one sentence summary of my adult life, right there.

  176. Also: I worked with lots of ’60s and ’70s recipes as a child and teenager, and I can tell you right now, a lot of those “yields” for how many cookies or brownies you were supposed to have were always BS. It would say, “drop by rounded teaspoonfuls, yields 24 cookies,” or whatever it was, and I’d follow the directions to the letter and get 12 cookies. And not because I ate half the dough, either. The amount of dough I snarfed would maybe account for one cookie missing, not 12.

  177. I’m not a fan of the Joy of Cooking. Mostly because I grew up reading my mother’s 1970s Betty Crocker cookbook

    That and the rapidly disintegrating ’56 edition, which mom eventually gutted and discarded (the one I’ve got now is a reprint, I think). A friend of mine finally got me Joy of Cooking in 1991, and I do read it and use the recipes, but after twenty years with Betty I’d gotten used to her approach and I can’t just open Joy to the right section for a possible recipe for something hubby grabbed because it was on sale – I gotta use the index.

    I have an outrageous number of cookbooks, most of which I use or used at one time. I also have eight 200 page spiral notebooks full of recipes I’ve cut from magazines and whatnot over the years (well, the eighth is about half full). I had to shift the first one over to a three ring binder because it was falling apart and it probably would have been smarter to go for smaller notebooks but whatever…

    Anyone else read The Little House Cookbook? The author had her doubts about the food in Farmer Boy, because she thought they ate too well and Laura was indulging in wishful thinking, but the meals described there matched those my Grandpa described so I dunno that I agree. One reviewer on Amazon says, “due to their authenticity, many of the ingredients seem outdated to me. I attempted to substitute healthier ingredients but this resulted in a bland taste.”

    *bangs head* I think that reviewer missed the point. I thought the Little House cookbook fascinating, myself, although I’ve cooked more recipes out of the much inferior Anne of Green Gables cookbook (all of which were very good – Ruby Tea Biscuits, yea! – but the book’s way tiny for the price). I need to track down the Little House cookbook again, now I think on it…

  178. Squirrel nerdery is great! Fun DC squirrel facts: a study done in the early 1980s concluded that Lafayette Park (across Penn Ave from the White House) had the densent population of squirrels known to science. Local lore suggests that this is because the civil servants who worked in the buildings nearby contributed to a fund for several decades to keep them in peanuts.

    All the lovely black squirrels one sees around DC (and surrounding counties) are apparently descended from 18 pairs imported from Canada in the 1st decade of the 20th century, when they were among several released in an attempt to restore the local population, which had been hunted almost to extinction.

    Black squirrels are just the result of a color variation within the grey squirrel species, so I guess you’d cook them like a grey squirrel.

  179. I normally type stylish, perfect, error-free English at the rate of about 80 wpm, but for some reason, I get on SP and start making up new words. I wish “densent” were a real word, though. It sounds pretty good.

  180. Yes, Meowser, that always surprised me too. Like, how tiny were the cookies supposed to be? I never got the amount of cookies from a JOC recipe that were indicated.
    I think cookies the size of one’s head are ridiculous, that’s about all the carbs I can handle in one day, but tiny one bite cookies are the other extreme, and also annoying.

  181. I’m loving the booze slogans. Gin and Ingenuity, Vodka and a problem with authority, Rum and Rumination. You’re all so genius.

    I think mine shall be Schnapps and Smartassery.

  182. Pimm’s for Kims!

    (Yeah, that’s pretty much the only reason I drink it. Also the bright orange colour matches my hair.)

  183. May I submit: Tequila and Temerity. Ale (or Absinthe) and Audacity. Beer and Brassiness. Scotch and Sauciness.

    According to my Dad, who hunted for the cooking pot as soon as he could hold a rifle, you have to “bark” a squirrel, i.e. shoot the tree right next to it, so the impact stuns it. Squirrels being so small, they kinda go ‘splody if you shoot ’em directly. Growing up, my Dad and his brothers brought home all sorts of small game — possums, turtles, rabbits, and more — as well as the obligatory deer. Just what you gotta do when you grow up dirt poor in rural Minnesota.

    I’ve eaten a crapload of wild game, although not much of the wee stuff: turtle, rabbit, snake, bear, alligator, elk, moose. So I ain’t no city slicker, Mary Sue! :P Even though I find it delicious, something about venison the last few years makes me ill if I eat more than a tiny portion. Boo! Last time Dad cooked some, I literally felt nauseated just smelling it, so that was it for me. Dunno if I’ll ever eat it again. *sigh*

    Also, the phrase “squirrel jerky” will strike a chord with all the old skool childfree internet nerds I know.

  184. octopod: yes, you can absolutely use whole wheat flour for a roux!

    Meowser: I have the same problem with the current Tollhouse recipe.

    Richelle: There’s a long-standing legend where I grew up that the black squirrels were descended from escaped lab animals at the university (Syracuse University, for the record).

    ever-so-slightly off topic: I’m guessing that if I ever get to the point of needing recipe testers for the cookbook I want to write, I can probably find volunteers here?

  185. Well, this is my first time on SP, as I was ushered here for this article by my wife who’s become an avid food blog reader recently (though we’re both avid cooks of one stripe or another). I must say… I got more joy out of reading the wonderful commentary than I may have from the likewise-wondrous article itself. You folks are grand, I say. Simply grand. ; )

    We’ve gotten a lovely number of links, books and info from the comments (not to mention we ordered a ’64 edition of JoC) and I will be taking the booze slogans with me for when I make that Dark and Stormy. Soon.

    Thanks for a great read!

  186. Ooh, wordplay! I love you people! I’m late getting on this train, but may I respectfully submit for your consideration…

    Drambuie and Drear
    Manhattans and Manhating*
    Vodka and Vodever the Hell I Vant.
    Fuzzy Navelgazing

    *-I don’t really hate men qua men, but sometimes one must sacrifice truth for the sake of aptness. I did it with a wry postmodern smirk, though, and that makes everything okay.

  187. Also, I can’t resist recommending a book that I’m reading now and absolutely loving: A Thousand Years Over A Hot Stove by Laura Schenone. It’s sort of a history of the various things that have counted as women’s cookery, I guess — like, going back… well, a thousand years. And she touches on all the ways that race and class enter the picture as well as gender. But it’s written for popular audiences; you don’t have to be down with the latest in cultural studies lingo to find it enjoyable.

    I haven’t made it all the way through yet so I don’t know if she buys the obesity panic. I’d expect her to see through it, at least a little. Then again, one section surprised me by how little she knew about the origin of shabbos and seder traditions — making some errors of fact that weren’t hugely significant, but were surprisingly elementary and should have been corrected by research. (Thinking that Temple sacrifices were presided over by “rabbis,” when in fact rabbinic Judaism developed after the destruction of the Temple — and as an outgrowth of pharisaic Judaism, which had had somewhat of a rivalry with priestly/Temple Judaism prior to the Temple’s destruction. Like I said, a small thing, and something I only know because I’m a religious history dork, but it made me wonder what other factual errors had sneaked in.)

    But that said, I’m really enjoying it, and it’s a beautiful tribute to the underappreciated work of home cooking without idealizing it or ignoring race, class, and gender.

  188. ‘Every. Single. Participant. was grossed out and dismayed by the sight, even if they were in the ‘good’ group which had taken in less of the stuff than the others.’

    My guilty pleasures are diet/weightloss and VHI reality relationship shows, for the simple reason that I like to gawk in horror and get righteously offended.

    But anyway, they ALWAYS do that – make the participants food journal (or put cameras by their fridge and at their workplace), and then make a huge (wasteful) pile of everything they ate during that time and present it as though it is disgusting and shameful, all that FOOD, look what a binging pig you are! People look at the giant pile and cry, as though it’s somehow wrong that they consume 15,000 calories in a week’s time.

    I think AnotherKate hit the nail on the head – fresh vegetables consumed during exercise is the only morally right way to eat! Any fat in the diet at all directly corresponds to the disgustingly huge amount of fat in your body (that’s another ploy on those fucking shows, when they use pounds of Crisco or pig fat to represent the weight you have lost), and apparently none of us should be consuming any fat at all because it’s just nasty and bad for you. Nevermind that I am pretty sure you eventually DIE (or at least suffer massive damage to your organs) when you don’t get any dietary fat, but whatever.

  189. When I took archery for PE in college, the instructor loved to hunt squirrels — you use special arrows with a blunt tip and hit the little bastards in the head. (I tend to view squirrels as rats with publicists.) Never tried squirrel myself — it seems like a lot of work for not a whole lot of food.

    I’ve got the 1951 edition — it has the illustrations, but doesn’t provide the comparison between red and gray. My absolute favorite cookbook, though, is the 1966 American Home All Purpose Cookbook. Great illustrations, clear directions, and a zillion great recipes.

    And for anyone who’s interested in wild game, from woodchuck to venison, back during WWII USDA extension put out a booklet called (if I’m remembering right) Good Eating from Field and Forest. It tells you how to dress and cook all sorts of critters. Given the way the economy is going, it might be worth tracking down.

  190. I thought all you food historians might be interested in this article from the Philadelphia Inquirer. The National World War II Museum is trying to collect memories of cooking and eating during WWII. One of many things I regret not thinking to ask my grandmothers about while they were still alive . . .

  191. This talk of Rum and Rumination reminds me of a funny story. When my parents went to Australia in the 1980s (we’re from the US), my mom picked up these teensy and adorable books about the history of Australia in verse, intending them for some small children we knew. Until I took a look *inside* the books, which she hadn’t, and came across the latter half of a quatrain on the early, rough-n-ready history of Oz:

    “Available bum and lots of rum
    Led to much fornication.”

    Afterward, I wished I hadn’t alerted her after all. ;-)

  192. Katia, didn’t Keats write a poem about beer and beauty? I think it was called “Ode on a Microbrewery Keg” and ended “beauty is beer, beer beauty,–that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” I love the classics.

    A Sarah, love your pairings! I like Fuzzy Navelgazing, because it reminds me of my own religious history dorkiness. (Navelgazers–omphalopsychoi–was a disdainful term for followers of the Hesychasts in the Greek Orthodox church, because, apparently, that’s what they did–during meditation.) I also just like fuzzy navels. Orange juice for grownups!

  193. Richelle, did you SRSLY just bring up hesychasm? *heart* Did not know about the omphalopsychoi, and now I can’t decide whether to make it my new pet name of choice or my new insult of choice. :)

    Just how many of us religious history dorks are there here anyway?

  194. Say, do you think maybe that means more people have access to adequate nutrition now, so their bodies are bigger?

    Yes, they are bigger and they all stand in front of me when I go to concerts…

  195. Anne of Green Gables cookbook

    Did it have a cake recipe that called for a pound of salt? ;)

    Heh, no, although I believe the author makes a point of saying that these are the recipies the way they SHOULD be made, rather than the way Anne makes them. I was going to get the exact quote but couldn’t find the book (I HAVE TOO MANY BOOKS), however I did run across the one with the recipe for Turkish Delight in it, which I have not made but remember because it was a such a huge disappointment.

    “What? That wonderful confection that Edmund requested when offered anything he’d like was rose flavored gelative nolled in sugar?!?!?! Are you kidding me?”

    So, okay, it comes in other flavors. Big. Deal. Humph.

  196. That’s “Rolled” in sugar. I don’t know what nolled in sugar might be but I doubt it’s an improvment.

  197. Sweet Machine, I knew we’d close this religion/alcohol loop somehow. Any notion of what might happen if you combined the two? I might try it. Frankly, malt and Milton sounds like a good night in to me. “No blind dates tonight, please, I’m meeting Johnny M. for a drink.”

    A Sarah, for my part, my navel is an object of surpassing interest to me. I keep thinking I’ll finally figure out that there’s a lot more to it than is immediately apparent. Like it might open a trap door if I poke it right. It seems awfully prominent for something that has no use outside the womb.

  198. Never forget to remove the musk glands from your peccary!

    Oh believe me, no one could ever forget to remove the musk glands from a peccary!!! We have lots of peccaries here where I work and you can smell them from 50 feet away – they stink to high heaven! I’ve eaten, and loved, wild boar before, but I couldn’t imagine willingly eating peccary.

  199. Re: the Housman quote — Ben Franklin said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” But I’ll stick to rum and rumination, thanks.

  200. Aw, Shiloh, don’t hate on the Turkish Delight! I grew up on that stuff, if you can get it fresh rather than having sat on a dusty shelf for months it’s pretty tasty. I particularly like the mint and apricot versions. Also for the rose to be good it has to have really strong rose flavor, for some reason most of the stuff made for the American market is a bit bland.

    (Grew up in the Middle East food geekery, sorry)

    Also Lynda, may I suggest platforms as a possible solution to your concert problem? That’s what I do! Or spiky heels for those occasions where foolish men are likely to attempt to use the crowd as an excuse to let their hands wander.

  201. Oh for the love of…!

    When I was little, my mother used to cook out of some ancient, dying Joy of Cooking that she’d gotten from her mother (which does totally have all the stuff about possum and other such culinary delights). She used a quarter of the recommended sugar and half the fat automatically (and sometimes less if she’d tried the recipe before). She wasn’t on a diet–I never heard her mention such a thing–but she just didn’t like the way the recipes tasted in their original form. I’m sure she’s not the only person who ever modified a recipe from a cookbook. Sheesh.

  202. Oh, and I have to second the Turkish Delight recommendation. I’d only had the boring stuff from yuppie stores before, but our local grocery in Queens caters to immigrants and they stock the good stuff. I can see how someone could sell his soul for it. Especially the rose flavor!

  203. What can I say? I’ve never gotten into the texture of gelatin-based stuff much, unless it’s one step away from slurpable. I like chocolate that melts smoothly and chocolate with nuts or toasted puffed rice in it, and I like hard candies and harder chewy stuff like licorice twists or Good and Plenty, but Turkish Delight sounds to be in that soft to kinda-soft, but not truly melty, space inhabitated by Chuckles and gummy bears. I did get Chuckles sometimes up when they were available and real licorice wasn’t, but they were always a second choice.


  204. Turkish Delight certainly sticks in the teeth, but some of the stuff I’ve had was actually fairly firm but extremely sticky (as opposed to being chewy). The texture reminds me more of those sugared fruit gel/jam squares* than of gummy bears. It might still be too chewy for you, but you could try the pistachio kind–lots of nuts held together with just a bit of of goo, very tasty.

    * What are those things called? I know I saw a review of them on a candy blog, but I can’t remember when or which one. I think they’re Italian.

  205. The texture reminds me more of those sugared fruit gel/jam squares* than of gummy bears.

    Yah, I was guessing it was more at the Chuckles end of things. A step or two beyond firm jello (the kind you make with less water so you can cut it into nifty shapes for the kids). I do intend to try Turkish Delight sometime if I run across it, but I’m not going to go to all the effort of making it from scratch. Still doubt it’ll ever be a favorite.

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