Sunday, December 2, 2012

Brand Recognition

Even after passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, manufacturers of various foodstuffs resorted to advertising to assure potential customers that the item they were about to purchase was in fact produced under wholesome and sanitary conditions.  One of the biggest boosts for name brand products was the implied guarantee that an honest and public-spirited firm stood behind their wares.

At least that’s the claim made by the Baker’s Chocolate people in Miss Parloa’s Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes, who wanted housewives to be confident that Baker’s Chocolate was a safe investment.  It had to have been exhausting running a home back then; in addition to the muscle work involved in cleaning, cooking, mending and doing laundry without any electrical devices, women were expected to act as their own food inspectors, choosing wisely and protecting their families from adulterated products.

The book is available on MSU’s website, Feeding America.  Here is an example of pre-refrigerator cookery.  I guess ladies back then always kept clean squares of carpeting on hand for situations just like this one.

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE.  Put a three-quart mould in a wooden pail, first lining the bottom with fine ice and a thin layer of coarse salt.  Pack the space between the mould and the pail solidly with fine ice and coarse salt, using two quarts of salt and ice enough to fill the space.  Whip one quart of cream, and drain it in a sieve.  Whip again all the cream that drains through.  Put in a small pan one ounce of Walter Baker & Co.’s Premium No. 1 Chocolate, three tablespoonfuls of sugar and one of boiling water, and stir over a hot fire until smooth and glossy.  Add three tablespoonfuls of cream.  Sprinkle a cupful of powdered sugar over the whipped cream.  Pour the chocolate in a thin stream into the cream, and stir gently until well mixed.  Wipe out the chilled mould, and turn the cream into it.  Cover, and then place a little ice lightly on top.  Wet a piece of carpet in water, and cover the top of the pail.  Set away for three or four hours; then take the mould from the ice, dip it in cold water, wipe, and then turn the mousse out on a flat dish.

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