Cook book covers scrapple to squirrel soup

Cook book covers scrapple to squirrel soup by Bob Karolevitz They don�t make cook books like they used to.

Take the famous White House tome, for instance. The copy I have was first copyrighted by F. L. Gillette in 1887, but mine is a 1925 revised edition which Phyllis�s mother � Martha Gunderson � got from her brother � Harvey Sorensen � a long, long time ago.

In its 610 pages there are lots of recipes, of course � everything from squirrel soup (you had to strain out the small bones) to pickled oysters and gooseberry catsup.

Besides the normal cakes, cookies, breads and casseroles, there are ways to fry eels, how to make succotash, what to do with truffles (which belong to the mushroom family), how to prepare salsify and where to buy prepared rennet (whatever that is) so you can enjoy curds and cream.

The book makes you wonder what they ate in the White House back in the late �20s. Take scrapple, as an example. It was called �a most palatable dish,� made from the head, heart and miscellaneous scraps of lean pork, with corn meal thrown in (yuck!).

I also found a recipe for mince meat which (double yuck!) included boiled beef, green tart apples, chopped suet, Sultana raisins, currants, citron, cider and lots of other things to make a pie taste yummy.

Speaking of meat, the cooking volume contains all kinds of ways to fix snipe, terrapin, reed birds, scallops, squabs, frog legs, calf heads and beef hearts. Gophers and chipmunks are even mentioned.

I don�t know about you, but I prefer just plain hamburger, thank you!

The White House Cook Book has a special section on �snow birds.� It doesn�t identify what they are, but they must be small, since each one is stuffed with an oyster (in �r� months only).

I got to thinking about my black-sheep uncle who made �snow bird soup� for the guys who worked at the local stockyards. They thought it tasted good, until somebody discovered that his snow birds were really sparrows that he shot in the manure pile.

But I digress!

The book has 86 recipes for puddings, at least there were that many identified. That included how to make Hasty Pudding, which, I guess, is a British dish � as is Yorkshire Pudding, which is also featured.

Not many foreign recipes (especially German) made it into the White House collection. After all, World War was just a few years away when the book was revised. �Eat American� was the prevailing theme. I particularly noted that there were no pizzas, tamales or tacos listed in the index. And no lutefisk either.

A section called �Cooking for Two� especially caught my eye. I pointed this out to Phyllis, whose large cakes �always seem to last forever� and whose puddings are �enough for a regiment� (which are quotes from the book).

Needless to say, the recipes were trimmed down so that White House chefs could cook for the president and his wife alone. We wouldn�t want them to waste any of their Finnan Haddie, now would we?

Obviously, the White House Cook Book intrigued me. Despite the fact that is is almost 80 years old, the recipes � by and large � are the same as in Phyllis�s modern ones � although hers doesn�t include the way to make junket or slip (which is jellied �bonny clabber,� in case you wanted to know).

� 2004 Robert F. Karolevitz

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