Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Kitchen Encyclopedia

Published in 1911 (and available on Project Gutenberg) as an advertising cookbook for Swift’s Premium Oleomargarine (“The Italian uses olive oil; the Swiss, butter from goat’s milk; and the thrifty American housewife, Swift’s Premium Oleomargarine”). The manufacturers assure us that if you substitute ¾ Swift’s Oleomargarine for butter, no one will be able to taste the difference.

This is an interesting recipe for sugar cookies, with 3 eggs -- my tried and true Joy of Cooking recipe calls for one egg and one egg yolk, so I wonder if these would be a bit more cake-like. Note the use of sour milk. Nowadays we can’t use sour milk because it goes bad immediately. Un-homogenized milk will stay tangy for a day or so before it goes bad. A modern substitute would be buttermilk, or regular whole milk soured with a teaspoon of lemon juice.

Sugar Cookies

1 cupful Swift's Premium Oleomargarine
1 cupful sour milk
1 teaspoonful soda
2 cupfuls sugar
3 eggs, well beaten
Flavoring to taste
Flour enough to roll out thin

Cream the oleomargarine and sugar. Add the eggs, whites and yolks beaten together. Dissolve the soda in the sour milk. Add this and then the flour. Roll out thin. Just before cutting out the cookies sift granulated sugar on top and roll it in slightly, then cut out cookies with cookie-cutter and bake in a moderate oven.

Ginger Bread

½ cupful Swift's Premium Oleomargarine
1 cupful molasses
1 teaspoonful ginger
1 teaspoonful cloves
1 teaspoonful cinnamon
⅛ teaspoonful nutmeg
1 egg, beaten light
½ cupful sugar
1 cupful sour milk
1 teaspoonful baking soda
2 cupfuls flour

Mix into a light dough and bake in a flat pan. Quick oven.

On Baking-Day

When you wish a fine-grained cake, beat the whites of the eggs to a stiff foam with a Dover egg-beater. If something spongy, such as an angel cake, is desired, use a wire egg-beater, which makes a more air-inflated foam.

Recipes in the older, much-prized cook-books often call for a teacupful of yeast. A teacupful liquid yeast is equal to one cake of compressed yeast.

To remove pecan meats whole, pour boiling water over nuts and let them stand until cold. Then stand the nut on end and crack with a hammer, striking the small end of the nut.

If beef or mutton drippings are used in making a pie-crust, beat them to a cream with a teaspoonful of baking-powder and the juice of half a lemon. This effectually removes all taste.

When a cake sticks to a pan, set it for a few minutes on a cloth wrung out of cold water. It will then come out in good shape.

Heat the blade of the bread-knife before cutting a loaf of fresh bread. This prevents the usual breaking and crumbling of the slices. For cutting hot fudge, first dip the blade of the knife in boiling water.

Nothing is better for pudding molds than jelly tumblers with light tin covers. One can readily tell when the puddings are done without removing the covers.

The juice will not boil out of apple or berry pies if you dot bits of Swift's Premium Oleomargarine near the outer edge.

A little salt in the oven under the baking-tins will prevent burning on the bottom.
There is nothing more effective for removing the burned crust from cake or bread than a flat grater. It works evenly and leaves a smooth surface.

Use a wooden potato masher for stirring butter and sugar together for a cake. It is much quicker than a spoon.*

(*I have often wondered how women creamed butter and sugar in the days before electric mixers because trust me, eggbeaters don’t work. Now I know!)

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