Carmel Magazine

CM sm HO19, Nov

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n a world rushing to drive the printed word into extinction, I cherish my favorite antique books ever more fondly. The old phrase that "you can't judge a book by its cover," doesn't really apply here, as the appeal of book collecting is sometimes all about the cover. And also adding to its appeal is the coarse paper and the musty smell that drifts from the faded pages that fill our spaces with dreamy nostalgia and a sharing of history. The stretch of time, between 1914 through the '50s, America was in an out of wars and on a budget, which resulted in the production of books of poor quality. The paper was more tan than white in color, and very frag- ile and absorbent, like a cross between cheap newsprint and a paper towel, but it is exactly that which gives old books their charm today. My first recollection of books was not that school primer or bedtime fables, but my mom's favorite cookbook. I grew up in a country house where my mom baked cookies following recipes from the Betty Crocker Cookbook. It was bulging with cut-out recipes she saved from magazines and her own hand-written cards, and I can still clearly see the red and white cover of it sitting on the kitchen counter sandwiched between the bread box and the fridge. Us kids never touched it. It was my mom's guiding light for every dish she would make for lunch- eons, family holiday dinners and for all the cookies, pies and cakes she hap- pily churned out each week. An era in time where mothers everywhere felt guilty if they bought the cupcakes instead of baking them. Today we have the food channels, where television has succeeded in turning cooking into a spectator sport with all its trendy verbiage. But, back in the Betty Crocker Cookbook days, there was no mention of "infusing" or a "deconstruc- tion" of a dish. Mothers made unfussy food such as a tuna casserole, chicken pot pie or deviled eggs. This was the cui- sine of that era and is actually making a comeback transi- tioning as "comfort food." Old cookbooks remind us of dishes that were on trend back in the day. A recent find at an outdoor antique fair was the White House Cookbook, copyright 1900. This hard-to-find copy in decent condition was first pub- lished in 1887 and affectionately dedicated to the wives of former presi- dents of the United States. The simplified method of explanation in prepar- ing a dish is both endearing and easy to comprehend for even the most inexperienced of home cooks. From this treasure chest of recipes from Election Cake to Apple Catsup, I wish to share one with you to possibly make for your Thanksgiving dinner: Mince Pies The "Astor House, some years ago, was famous for its "mince pies." The chief pastry cook at that time, by request, published the recipe. I find that those who partake of it never fail to speak in laudable terms of the superior excel- lence of this recipe when strictly followed. Four pounds of lean boiled beef chopped fine, twice as much of chopped green tart apples, one pound of chopped suet, three pounds of raisins, seeded, two pounds of currants picked over, washed and dried, half a pound of citron, cut up fine, one pound of brown sugar, one quart of cooking molasses, two 88 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • H O L I D A Y 2 0 1 9 COLLECTING T E X T A N D P H OTO G R A P H Y B Y M A R J O R I E S N O W Things Cooks Love An Egg Nog recipe from a hand-written vintage cookbook, filled with hand-drawn illustrations and charming comfort food from that era. I

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