I’m all for using recipes passed down from generations, but I draw the line at any recipe that says “remove veins and arteries” or “clean and scrape hog’s head.”
Creamed brains, along with Headcheese, Baked Heart, Casserole of Tongue and Fried Squirrel are just a few of the tempting recipes found in my grandmother’s 1934 Household Searchlight Recipe Book.
The poultry section explains how to pick a good chicken: “It should be plump, have bright eyes and comb and soft feet.”
The chicken I get at the store does not have eyes, a comb or feet. The instructions on how to dress and clean the chicken remind me that I would not have made a good 1930s wife: “Cut off head…cut a small slit in back of neck, remove crop and windpipe…remove organs, etc.” Gag alert.
And then there’s this on the front cover: “In this seven room house lives a family of specialists whose entire time is spent in working out the problems of homemaking common to every woman who finds herself responsible for the management of a home and the care of children. Preparation of food is a major project in every home.”
Of course preparation of food is a major project when you have to kill your chicken first or soak your brains for three days.
Other interesting finds in this cookbook:
- When talking about refrigeration, the cookbook refers to a “mechanical refrigerator.” Is there any other kind?
- Cereal and ready-to-eat cereal are two different things.
- There is no recipe for chocolate chip cookies.
- Household tips include “one of the best ways to remove a fresh ink stain is to saturate the material with kerosene.”
I also found a Gold Medal Flour certificate redeemable for 2.5 cents. Collect enough and General Mills will send you a check! I think it’s expired: “Good until December 31, 1954.”