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rich

Old Gourmet Magazines

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As most of you know, I do dinner parties at least three times a month. Most are tasting menus with 15+ courses. I've posted a few of the menus on the board under the cooking thread.

I had an idea yesterday. About ten years ago a friend gave me some very old Gourmet magazines from 1943-47 (I think Gourmet began publishing in 1941). Over the years I've gone through them and was mostly fascinated by the ads. However, I now decided to go a different route.

I'm going to create dinner parties from recipes in these mags. I've already found a great Cream of Avocado Soup recipe and a Veal Croquette recipe that is the most unique croquette recipe ever.

Haven't decided if I'm going to use the same techniques as they described. After all, emersion blenders and food processors make things a bit easier now.

Most interesting recipe note came from a July, 1946 entry. It calls for sour cream and notes "...it is now readily available again at most dairy product stores..." I guess there was some type of shortage during WWII.

Any suggestions or warnings about following 60+ year-old recipes?


Edited by rich (log)
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Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Eggs are a lot bigger now.

Supermarket chicken is more tender, so needs less stewing time, but it also has less flavor. :sad:

Also, chicken these days is generally bigger.

Supermarket pork is way leaner now. Again, less flavor.

There's an interesting article in the September 2003 issue of Gourmet magazine, where they reprint Julia Childs' original Coq au Vin recipe from 1968, along with notes adjusting cooking times and methods for modern chicken:

"To account for the difference in today's chicken, we found that we needed to brown the chicken in batches instead of all at once, then cook it, covered, for just 5 minutes rather than 10. We simmered it in the wine sauce less than the 30 minutes in this recipe- our chicken needed only 15 minutes for the white meat plus an extra 5 minutes for the dark."

(Joe Dolce, "The Accidental Purist," Gourmet v.63 no.9, pp. 86-93).

I realize that was 40 years ago, not 60, but I hope it sheds some light on the matter.

I've cooked recipes such as cassoulet and oxtail stew from 1960 or so with no problems.

My biggest problems with older recipes have come from the differences in equipment and method- a post-blender, pre-food processor recipe does not necessarily work best in a blender. A lot of cookbooks from that era are very enthusiastic about the blender, and with good reason, but kitchen technology has advanced so much since then. OTOH, you can't beat a tamis for a really smooth fish mousse. :smile:

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I would absolutely love to hear about your adventures with these recipes, and the adjustments you'll have to make to get the finished product you want.

My question: do you think there's been enough evolution of our palates since then, that you'll have to make adjustments in the recipes for that reason?

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I have the Gourmet cookbook, over 700 pages, published in 1950. If you need any info, let me know.


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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I would absolutely love to hear about your adventures with these recipes, and the adjustments you'll have to make to get the finished product you want.

...

I agree; it would be fun to see some of the menus you come up with.

Adjustments may be needed for some pork recipes to account for the generally leaner cuts sold in supermarkets now.


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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The first dinner is Saturday, June 24th. I've selected six recipes from the magazines to this point. Still have another two years to read.

One of the most interesting things is most recieps are written in a narrative, so it takes a couple of reads to make sure you have all the ingredients. I agree about less flavor today in meats and chicken, so I may need to play with the spices and herbs.

The Veal Croquette recipe is by far the most unique and labor intensive. My thinking is I will prepare these the the night before and cook just prior to serving. I know I need to be very careful with the Avocado Soup in order to keep its vibrant color. Haven't decided if I'm going hot or cold (recipe says either is fine). Will probably wait and see what type of day we're having (temperature wise). It will be easier to keep green if it's cold.

I'll post all the recipes as we get closer and I finalize the meal selections.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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My mom has a shelf full of old church cookbooks from the pre-Great War era. Every third recipe seems to start with, "Take two pounds of butter..."

Oh wow. Can you imagine what a cream soup made with farm-fresh, unpasteurized cream and THAT MUCH butter would taste like? With vegetables from your Victory garden picked like a half hour before cooking them? Advances in preservateion and shipping are all well and good, but... I wish my municipality would let me keep a cow and some chickens in the back yard.


This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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I have the Gourmet cookbook, over 700 pages, published in 1950.  If you need any info, let me know.

i've got this too. i was wondering if the veal croquettes from the magazines are the same ones in the cookbook. they didn't strike me as that odd.

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I have a huge amount of info on menus from even earlier, if you are interested.

If you want to recreate a menu from 14th C onwards, I would have something for you - but the recipes from way back then were very minimalist, with much assumed knowledge on the part of the chefs.

There were quite a few menu books published in the nineteenth century, with a menu for each day (each meal) and accompanying recipes. One even has a separate dinner menu for "the kitchen" (i.e the staff) They are quite workable, although I dont think they fit today's palate very well, so it depends what you are aiming for - re-creation of a historic menu, or inspiration from a historic menu.


Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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No advice to offer, I just wanted to wish you well - it sounds like an incredibly fun adventure! Please do let us know how it goes.

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I have the Gourmet cookbook, over 700 pages, published in 1950.  If you need any info, let me know.

i've got this too. i was wondering if the veal croquettes from the magazines are the same ones in the cookbook. they didn't strike me as that odd.

I'm doing this from memory as I don't have the recipe in front of me. It calls for a "stuffing" to be made from hard-bolied egg yolks with mustard, some herbs and spices, white wine and horseradish, then stuffed into a pitted large black olive. The olive is placed into the cavity of the hard-boiled egg white and the stuffing is placed around it. Place the other half of the egg white on top to form a whole egg. Enclose in spiced ground veal. Dredge in flour, beaten egg and then bread crumbs. Then deep fry until golden brown.

I know I've left out some details, but that's basically the recipe. I thought it was unique - never seen anything similar. The closest is probably Scotch Eggs.


Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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I have some post-WW2 era cookbooks from my grandmother, and a lot of times I've noticed that when they're calling for butter, they just assume everyone was using margarine, and if you use butter in baking things may turn out differently. Apperantly, there was a huge shortage of real butter back then, and everyone just used margarine. The recipes were adjusted for that, and I've baked a couple of cakes with butter that turned out funky, but with margarine, they turned out just fine. Just FYI.


-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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I'm doing this from memory as I don't have the recipe in front of me. It calls for a "stuffing" to be made from hard-bolied egg yolks with mustard, some herbs and spices,  white wine and horseradish, then stuffed into a pitted large black olive. The olive is placed into the cavity of the hard-boiled egg white and the stuffing is placed around it. Place the other half of the egg white on top to form a whole egg. Enclose in spiced ground veal. Dredge in flour, beaten egg and then bread crumbs. Then deep fry until golden brown.

I know I've left out some details, but that's basically the recipe. I thought it was unique - never seen anything similar. The closest is probably Scotch Eggs.

wow, yeah, that's.... not like the one in the cookbook.

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Regardless as to how the recipes actually turn out, I want to applaud you for your inventiveness. What an interesting idea. And an automatic conversation piece, as your guests thumb through the old magazines and have the same discussion we're having here. I'll bet there are no dull moments at this party.

Well done.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Here's the menu I decided upon - all but two of the dishes are from the old Gourmets:

Amuse Bouche:

Veal Croquettes

Lemon Pizza

Potato Crab Cakes with Caper Lime Sauce

Sugar Snap Pea Summer Rolls (changing from a pastry roll to rice paper roll)

Mussel Puffs

First Course:

Toast Crusted Scallops with Eggplant Puree & Parsnip Ice Cream (non-Gourmet)

Second Course:

Cream of Avacado Soup (will probably go with the chilled version)

Entree:

Pork Roulade with Demi-glaze

Toasted Lebanese Couscous (changed couscous to Lebanese style)

Crispy Coated Artichoke Hearts

Roasted Asparagus Parmigiano (non-Gourmet)

Dessert:

Blancmange with Necartines

Cheese course with appropriate condiments.

I have one bottle of 1945 Chateau Palmer that I will open - keeping in the spirit of the 40's. The others will be from Alsace, Long Island and Sonoma.

They didn't have many vegetable recipes in the older Gourmet, so I needed to go somewhere else for my "green." The second course is my creation. I try to do at least one original and "never tried" recipe at every party. I always serve dishes I've never cooked prior, but won't go with too many courses that I created myself at one time.


Edited by rich (log)
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Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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I think this would make a great article (or series of articles) in a current Gourmet issue. Take photos, etc. Send it to their publishers, see if they go for it. Good luck with the dinners.

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Do you plan on doing any of their old baking recipes? I would be most interested in these.

I read an article recently that claimed some of the best baking, cakes, pies and tarts, etc. recipes are in the old cookbooks from long ago, when there were more bakeries creating from scratch, and more importantly, more experienced home bakers that really worked with recipes.

This has been replaced today with Costco-type baked goods and families who either use mixes or order out. Many recipes now consist of the fastest possible means of making something (Rachel Ray comes to mind), usually tipping the scale towards ease rather than taste.

I am just starting to collect the old books from used bookstores and online, so please post any desserts that are particularly tasty if these are included on your menu. :smile:

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Do you plan on doing any of their old baking recipes?  I would be most interested in these. 

I read an article recently that claimed some of the best baking, cakes, pies and tarts, etc. recipes are in the old cookbooks from long ago, when there were more bakeries creating from scratch, and more importantly, more experienced home bakers that really worked with recipes. 

This has been replaced today with Costco-type baked goods and families who either use mixes or order out.  Many recipes now consist of the fastest possible means of making something (Rachel Ray comes to mind), usually tipping the scale towards ease rather than taste. 

I am just starting to collect the old books from used bookstores and online, so please post any desserts that are particularly tasty if these are included on your menu.  :smile:

Yes, I will do their baking recipes. Not doing it this time except for making the pizza dough (which isn't that much different than today). I decided to go with the Blancmange and a lighter dessert this time.

I'll let you know when I do some baking.


Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Yes, I will do their baking recipes. Not doing it this time except for making the pizza dough (which isn't that much different than today). I decided to go with the Blancmange and a lighter dessert this time.

I'll let you know when I do some baking.

Nice! Make sure to serve it with some in-season fruit, yum.

Thanks.

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Gourmet used to sell the years' issues bound into a hardback -- I have both 1946 and 1950 in that fashion and have cooked out of them often. I love scottie's comments and much of it seems common sense. When I work the recipes, I didn't realize at the time, but I was altering them to modern sensibilities and techniques!

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Gourmet used to sell the years' issues bound into a hardback -- I have both 1946 and 1950 in that fashion and have cooked out of them often. I love scottie's comments and much of it seems common sense. When I work the recipes, I didn't realize at the time, but I was altering them to modern sensibilities and techniques!

Carolyn - it's too bad you don't have any from the war years - the comments were interesting as were the ads. They seem to write recipes for the known available ingredients.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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So the dinner party was this past Saturday and I prepared the menu described upthread.

The only thing that I believe didn't work that well was the Cream of Avocado Soup. It was tasty, but a bit too thick and salty. It called for two teaspoons of salt. It tasted fine when made, but became more salty as it cooled. It also became much thicker. I was tempted to thin in out with some cold water or milk, but decided against it because I thought it would weaken the avocado taste. Out of 15 courses that was the only problem and it was minor.

The bit hits of the evening were the mussel puffs, the veal croquette, lemon pizza, the scallop dish (especially the egglant puree and parship ice cream), pork roulade and blancmange.

I made two changes from the original recipe. I used food processors and I steamed the mussels before chopping. Otherwise I used all the other methods and ingredients in the recipes.

The mussel puffs were delicious, people kept popping them. I made about 50 and I think there were three left (and one person didn't eat any). The Veal Croquette gathered many praises for its taste and looks. Next time I will add some parsely and chopped pimiento to the egg yolk mixture for additional color.

People were very skeptical about the First Course of Scallop, Toast, Eggplant Puree and Parsnip Ice Cream. When I removed the dishes, the only thing left on the combined six plates was a half-piece of unfinished toast. The spiciness of the eggplant puree (made with roasted eggplant and jalapeno peppers) was the perfect foil to the seared scallop and coolness of the sweet/savory flavor of the parsnip ice cream.

The lemon pizza was another hit - crispy crust, bright lemon flavor. Pork Roulade was cruchy on the oustide while tender and juicy inside. Blancmange was light, airy and the necartines in syrup were perfectly sweet.

Any questions, feel free to ask.


Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Sounds great!

Any pictures?

Milagai

Thanks.

Sorry, no photos.

I know a lot of people take photos at home dinner parties or in restaurants, but I never have and most likely never will. I feel it's a distraction - but that's just me.

Hey, the only time I want to see a photo is at the track when my horse wins a close decision.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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