Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Making a Dumpty

Friday, December 7th, 2007

When Humpty Dumpty slipped and fell,
He suffered from a fractured shell,
And when he saw his cracks and creases
Poor Humpty simply went to pieces.
He’ll make a happier landing, though,
In candy-sprinkled yeasty dough.


I honestly don’t understand. You bake the eggs? IN THEIR SHELLS? Didn’t Mrs. Howell try that with coconuts? Why does Ms. Crocker think we’d be any more successful? It doesn’t sound good. It doesn’t look good. It’s just sad. Do you want to eat sad eggs?

No wonder Tim is tiny!

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

According to Dickens,
It was pretty slim pickin’s,
For the Cratchetts through most of the year.
But at Christmas they splurged
And the meal that emerged
Was a dinner almost without peer.
There was a crackling goose,
In its sizzling juice,
With cranberries girdling the platter,
When this was demolished
And the plates all clean-polished
They got to the heart of the matter–
A baked pudding-muffin
With prunes for the stuffin’
And white mounds of hard sauce as dressing,
When this sweetmeat appeared,
The Cratchetts all cheered,
And Tiny Time gave it his blessing.


Ms. Crocker’s cookbook poet clues us into the moral nature of this recipe right from the start (wink-wink-nudge-nudge). Even wiki recognizes that limericks are rarely wholesome. Well, the good ones are rarely wholesome.

Not only has Betty added — once again — dried fruit to an otherwise perfectly acceptable muffin. She’s forcing a little disabled boy to bless hard liquor! Okay, okay — it’s just flavoring. I’m sure the priest and rabbi and minister that checked these recipes before going to press (isn’t that what happened with all pre-1970s books?) required our Betty to emasculate the actual brandy into mere flavoring. The introductory limerick clues us into that.

But there’s always the prune sauce.

Little Jim Dandy Jam Dandy Maker

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

There are two kinds of people who will read this post. The first kind are under 60 and will understand. The over-60 crowd (if they are actually reading a blog. “What’s that thing again, Camille? Your BLOB?” “No, Mom. A bloG. It’s a BLOG. Like WEB-LOG.”) will say, “Oh, that’s my favorite cookie. Those jam cookies? And ooooo — date cake! I lost my recipe for that. We’ll have to try that again. It’s been years since I made date cake. That Lemon & Raisin sauce looks divine!” So to the Greatest Generation, who like their beloved FDR, actually like fruit cake, you’re welcome. To their kids, grandkids, and great grandkids reading, get your giggles in now. It’ll be on the dessert menu come the holidays, thanks to me!


Let’s be honest: “Jam Dandies” are nothing more than pre-jammed Bisquick biscuits. They don’t count as a dessert. And the cutesy play-on-words name for Cheery Cherry Nut Bread doesn’t disguise the fact that it’s still Bisquick with chopped fruit in it. Alice there in the picture doesn’t look bemused either. She looks hung-over.


Jack Be Nimble
Is the Symbol
For anything that’s quick !
Like cookies and cake
For you to bake
With a Jack-Be-Nimble trick !

No. No, no, no. Adding raisins to instant date bars, while it may be quick, will not be nimble. But adding raisins to a yellow, sticky ooze and call it “sauce”? ::shudder:: You see the expression on our pal Jack? You see what he’s looking at? He’s thinking, “What have I done! I’ve sullied my good, nimble name for yellow, chunky goo and filthy lucre.”

A Tart Spree!!

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts
And as soon as they were done,
The Knave of Hearts, he stole the tarts
And ate them every one.
The Knave went on a real tart spree
Eating Chocolate, Strawberry, Lemon . . .
All three!

I’m sure these are lovely. I bet they are even yummy. But look at them. And look at the ‘stashed shemale serving them! Ew!


So the book says that Ol’ King Cole’s (not to be confused with the crooner Nat’s) spirits were fixed not by music, comedians, gambling, or cigarettes. No, it was his Flaming Mince Pies.


My dad had a jar of homemade mincemeat kicking around our house for years before he finally “reminded” Mom into baking it. Yech. I know that that version was just nut meats, but still. . . . Nothing that’d lift your spirits. Maybe it’s the flaming sugar cubes? Now that I think about it, actually seeing that yechy pie in flames would raise my mood! Maybe ol’ Betty is actually a subversive trying to stick it to the man after all.

[tags]Betty Crocker, Bake up a Story, vintage cooking, cookbooks, mincemeat, tart[/tags]

Cookies You Can Heave Across the Room

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Red Riding Hood or Goldilocks
May turn up on your cooky blocks.
And then the learning time is through
These ‘blocks’ are good for eating too.

Eating. Or tossing.


I gotta admit — these are pretty elaborate, Martha-level projects. I mean, take a look-see:


Only a lonely Martha would have the time to egg-yolk paint delicate pictures on cookies as a “learning time” for the absent neighbor children she has sued and/or alienated. That is why I say they are perfect for heaving across the room.

That and the inevitable listeria from the “paint.”

[tags]Betty Crocker, Bake up a Story, vintage cooking, cookbooks, Picture Block Cookies, Martha Stewart[/tags]

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

I made my Mom’s chicken noodle soup today. Not necessarily because it was her birthday, but because it felt good since we’re all nursing colds. I remember in my early teens when I was suffering from probably the worst sinus infection I’ve ever had, and my dear mom made a big pot of this soup for me to have any time I needed it. It was the perfect medicine — comforting, soothing therapy. I ate bowl after bowl while watching Gone With the Wind for the first time.

So I want to post the recipe. It’s one of those that I don’t have written down. I just have called Mom enough that I now know it by heart. This is the way my mom and my aunt and their mom always made good ol’ chicken soup.

  • A chicken. A big one. I don’t like the icky parts (heart and what-not) because it makes the broth weird. But you do want the neck. Boney parts are the key.
  • Boil that baby with some leafy celery sticks (not cut up) and a couple yellow onions with the fuzzy ends cut off but the skin on (the skin makes a nice color) and a bay leaf. Add salt and pepper if you remember it. About 1-2 hours. It’s done when the meat falls off the bones.
  • Take out the chicken and set it aside to cool. If you have the time, cool the whole pot of broth to skim the fat off. If you don’t have the time, I’ve actually had better luck with throwing in lots of ice cubes and spooning them out since the fat attaches to the ice.
  • Spoon out the bay leaf, the celery sticks, and onion if you can. If not, strain it with some cheese cloth in a colander.
  • When the chicken is cool enough to touch, pick off the meat and throw it back in the pot.
  • While you’re warming up the soup again, cut up some celery and carrots and throw them in. I like a lot of carrots. Cook them for around 30 minutes.
  • Close to dinner time, fix the noodles. I got the Manischewitz fine egg noodles this time because that’s what Mom always uses.

The Chciuk/Kaminski secret for making this soup successful is to never mix the noodles with the soup until it’s in each serving bowl. Otherwise the noodles get weird. And this way each person can get as many noodles as s/he wants.

If Dad were writing this blog post, he’d interject here how he liked to eat this soup when he was a kid. He’d get a lot of noodles and pour the soup over it. He’d eat every drop, and then salt the remaining noodles down and lick the plate clean. Then he’d probably eat the entire apple pie that my Grandma used to fix him for every dinner. Yes, a whole pie!! Every day!

As my Grandma Chciuk used to say, “a hearty appetite means a hard worker!”

So there you have it — all my family secrets. Happy 79th, Mom!!

[tags]chicken soup, chciuk, kaminski[/tags]

Storybook Dough

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Christmas is the time for stories,
Of maiden’s love, and princes’ glories,
Of Peter Rabbit’s thieving deeds,
Of Johnny’s sprouting appleseeds.
So gather round and let us look,
Into the Cooky Storybook.

Did you know that? You’re supposed to tell stories about rabbits and spring planting at Christmas? Methinks Ms. Crocker is off her . . . . Nah! That joke’s almost too easy.


Now, the bunny’s cute. The carrots and apples are just meh. But look at Cindy’s slipper up there. Exactly what kind of weapon dons that delicate creature’s foot? And why would Miss Betty suggest that we eat it?

[tags]Betty Crocker, Bake up a Story, vintage cooking, cookbooks, Peter Rabbit, Cinderella[/tags]

The Duel

Monday, November 26th, 2007

The gingham dog went “bow-wow-wow!”
And the calico cat replied “mee-ow!”
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,

Why not throw caution to the wind and make some cookies that can duke it out right in the oven?


It looks like kitty has already suffered some wounds (both fresh and healed over) from Gingham Dog’s rod-iron armor. Ouch!

[tags]Betty Crocker, Bake up a Story, vintage cooking, cookbooks, Eugene Field, Gingham Dogs, The Duel[/tags]

Who needs Martha?

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

In looking for holiday recipes, I found this little circa 1961 gem from Betty Crocker: Bake Up a Story. It’s apparently got quite the wide kitsch appeal since you can buy it all over the web.

01 Cover

On your “Cook’s Tour through Storyland,” you may find “sugar plum dreams.” Make sure you note the color and flavor advice. Wouldn’t want to have a blue lemon cooky!!


Just look at those jewels! You can even make “fancier” cookies, but they still look a little too . . . well, extruded for my aesthetic sense.


I think those sugar plums are marching into those childrens’ heads, not dancing.

[tags]Betty Crocker, vintage cooking, cookies, Bake up a Story[/tags]

1939: The Fourth or the Last Thursday?

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Up until 1939, Thanksgiving was on the last Thursday of November. When November has 5 Thursdays, like it does this year, it bugs retailers who think that they’ll get fewer shopping days.

In 1939, FDR caved to pressure from those business interests and declared the fourth Thursday of November to be Thanksgiving. When he gave his presidential proclamation that year from the Little White House in Georgia, few celebrated with him. Most Americans were pretty peeved that he was messing with tradition like that. Just for the record, here’s what he did say back in the day:

I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Thursday, the twenty-third of November 1939, as a day of general thanksgiving.

More than three centuries ago, at the season of the gathering in of the harvest, the Pilgrims humbly paused in their work and gave thanks to God for the preservation of their community and for the abundant yield of the soil. A century and a half later, after the new Nation had been formed, and the charter of government, the Constitution of the Republic, had received the assent of the States, President Washington and his successors invited the people of the Nation to lay down their tasks one day in the year and give thanks for the blessings that had been granted them by Divine Providence. It is fitting that we should continue this hallowed custom and select a day in 1939 to be dedicated to reverent thoughts of thanksgiving.

Our Nation has gone steadily forward in the application of democratic processes to economic and social problems. We have faced the specters of business depression, of unemployment, and of widespread agricultural distress, and our positive efforts to alleviate these conditions have met with heartening results. We have also been permitted to see the fruition of measures which we have undertaken in the realms of health, social welfare, and the conservation of resources. As a Nation we are deeply grateful that in a world of turmoil we are at peace with all countries, and we especially rejoice in the strengthened bonds of our friendship with the other peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

Let us, on the day set aside for this purpose, give thanks to the Ruler of the Universe for the strength which He has vouchsafed us to carry our daily labors and for the hope that lives within us of the coming of a day when peace and the productive activities of peace shall reign on every continent.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this thirty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and thirty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and sixty-fourth.

Now I wonder what he ate on that day? His favorites were scrambled eggs, fish chowder, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, and fruitcake — foods he could “dig into.”