Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, December 18, 2016, pg. 9
Every Christmas season the cooks and chefs of our community prepare scrumptious meals and desserts for their waiting and eager families. People come "home to Albion"from across the country for another taste of grandma’s cookies or pies, or uncle George’s "secret recipe"from his hunting trip. Whatever the case, Christmas is a time for families to get together to enjoy one another, and to renew old Albion friendships. We’ve got a lot of great things happening in our city recently; be sure and share these with your guests while they are here.
There have been numerous Albion cookbooks that have been printed by various groups, churches, and organizations through the years which contain both traditional, and unusual recipes. My favorite is the 1932 classic "Favorite Recipes,"a 128-page softcover book produced by the Three-Quarters-Century-Club and printed by the Art Craft Press here in Albion. If that group sounds familiar, this is the same club that also published "Albion’s Milestones and Memories"by Miriam E. Krenerick. This Club consisted of our elderly citizens who had attained the age of seventy-five years.
"Favorite Recipes" is not only an excellent recipe resource, but is also an historical resource. It was printed at the beginning of Albion’s centennial years 1932-1935, during one of the worst years of the Great Depression. The numerous advertisements found therein shows those who were still in business. The last City Directory was published in 1930, and another one wouldn’t appear again until 1934. Here are a couple of "gems"worth noting: On page 10, the Vreeland Comfy Home at 208 W. Center St. advertised itself as a home for the elderly, with "Electrical and Heat Treatments"and also "Reconditioning Children."Hmmm. Mr. and Mrs. L. Heinzen at 416 W. Center St. offered on page 42, "Magnetic Healing, Read Your Bible Right and You Will Know What it Is."Maybe the local drug store sold Bible magnets back then. Some of the family-owned neighborhood grocery stores throughout town placed ads in this book, such as the Mrs. Hazel Boone Grocery at 211 W. Center St., the Pine Street Grocery operated by Mrs. Fannie B. Osborne at 218 E. Pine St., the Park Street Grocery at 101 Park St., and R. C. Baker & Co. at 701 N. Superior St.
Each recipe in the book was supplied by a local or former resident who got credit at the end of their recipe. In browsing through some of the following titles, see if you recognize any of these: "Poor Man’s Angel Food Cake,""Tilden Cake,""Billy Sunday Pudding,""Suet Pudding,""Potted Birds,""Boiled Icing,""Sea Foam Fudge,""King Edward Cake,""Hard Times Layer Cake,""Inexpensive Cake,"and "Fanny’s Cake."I wonder what the Fanny Cake was supposed to look like when you took it out of the oven?
I observed that several of the cookie/cake recipes had all the ingredients listed, but didn’t say what to do with them once you obtained them. Do you dump them all into one bowl shells and all and then bake, and at what temperature? I guess if you were a woman back then you automatically knew how to take over from there. In summary, several of the recipes are missing baking instructions.
In the back of the book is a special section for miscellaneous recipes. Where else could you find a "recipe"for furniture polish? (page 126). Why, just take 1 pint gasoline, ½ tea cup turpentine, and 1 pint of paraffin oil. Use on soft cloth. Removes dirt and finger marks as well as polishes. Thank you Mrs. E. H. Metz of Detroit for that one. Need to feed an army? Across the page is "Food for 100,"which begins with 25 lbs of meat, then proceeds to other meats and vegetables, fruits, pies, etc. Thank you Mrs. Emily Barry of Manchester, Iowa for your contribution.
I close with this classic recipe (with no baking instructions) for "Scripture Cake"found on page 46: 4 cups flour—II Kings 7:1; 1 ½ cups butter—Isaiah 7:22; 4 cups sugar—Jeremiah 6:20; 1 cup milk—Judges 5:20; 1/2 cup water—Mark 9:41; 2 cups figs—I Samuel 30:12; 4 cups raisins—I Samuel 25:18; 1 cup almonds—Genesis 43:11; 1 cup walnuts—Genesis 43:11; 6 eggs—Isaiah 10:14; 1 tablespoon honey—Isaiah 7:15; 1 teaspoon soda—I Corinthians 5:6; Spices to taste—II Corinthians 9:9; and Pinch of salt—Leviticus 2:13. Submitted by Eleanor F. Hyney. The recipe didn’t state how many this would serve: 5,000 unexpected drop-in quests, or only just 12?
From our Historical Notebook this week we present the cover of "Favorite Recipes."Do you have a copy of this at your house? Merry Christmas everyone.
Recipe book, 1932
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic