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Not As Good As Pork Cracklins

misadventures in cooking

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas Presents

Without a doubt, the most meaningful Christmas gifts I got this year were from my mother: old cookbooks, photographs, and postcards that belonged to my grandmother and great-grandmother.

Practical Helps on Cooking
was compiled and printed in 1926 by the Baptist Church of Evergreen, Alabama. It has my great-grandmother's name, Mrs. A.P. Sanders, handwritten on the cover. Those are pictures of her, Lorena Guy Sanders, and her husband Aulcie Paul Sanders.

The Rumford Complete Cookbook
(hey, I use Rumford Baking Powder!) was printed in 1924, with 1908 and 1918 copyrights. Tucked inside are handwritten recipes for Lemon Pie, Pear Relish (my grandfather's specialty), and Mrs. Tom's Cake.

Ryzon was another brand of baking powder. The cookbook copyright is 1918, but I don't see a print date. A newspaper clipping for Chocolate Cake and Mocha Frosting dated march, 1927 is tucked inside. Sounds yummy! Next to Ryzon Layer Cake, someone penciled "tested" and "good (illegible) cake." The Ryzon Chocolate Fruit Filling recipe says, "want to try this" next to it. Someone liked Ryzon Chocolate Frosting; it says "good" "May 14 1949".

My grandmother's name, Mildred Sanders, is inside The Kitchen Guide, but it isn't her handwriting. The book's introduction says, "This book on Cookery is not designed to be of the NOVELTY Recipe Type. Primarily, it is compiled to provide a practical and reliable guide. It will be found to contain an excellent collection of selected, tested and economical recipes, the kind most desired by discriminating women."

Speaking of economical, Save What You Have and ABC of Wartime Canning are definitely books that speak to a bygone time. ABC of Wartime Canning was published in 1943 and includes a section on planning menus using rations, as well as a "suggested weekly market order" to feed two parents and two children under twelve. Among other things, they recommend 18 quarts of pasteurized whole milk or its equivalent, 11 pounds of potatoes and sweet potatoes, 1 1/2 dozen eggs, five 1 1/2 pound loaves of bread, 2 pounds of sugar (rationed) and 1/2 pound of coffee (rationed). There's more to the list, but that gives you an idea.

I had fun reading some of the old postcards. I can't make out all the handwriting, but a typical one has a one-cent stamp postmarked March 31, 1915 and addressed to Mr. Hill Guy, Herbert, Ala. It says, "Hello old boy, How are you and your Mother & Father? All are well with me. Your old friend, H.E.M."

The one on top in the photograph is postmarked August 15 a.m. 1908, addressed to Mrs. Sallie Miller, Hills Infirmary, Montgomery Ala. "A merry good morning to you Sissy Dear. I am so glad to know you are better. Lovingly, (illegible)". Another postcard to Sallie says "Hello Sarah, how are you today hope you feeling better..." It goes on about getting a ride home, and closes with some discussion of skirt patterns. The writing is small and in pencil, so I'm only making out the gist of it. My uncle (James Paul Sanders, aka Uncle Jimmy)is the family genealogist and he says that Sallie is Sarah and that she is one of Lorena's (my great-grandmother) sisters.

These are all lovely Christmas gifts that have special meaning to me. Thanks, Mom!


At 12/28/2005 8:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hill Guy was your grandmothers brother. (Lorena Guy Sanders). The person that wrote to him was Hubert E. Mason. In later years Hill Guy lived in Andalusia, AL

Given to you with much love. Mom

At 12/28/2005 9:26 PM, Blogger Amy said...

Got it! Except Lorena Guy Sanders was my Great Grandmother (your grandmother), but I knew what you meant.

Thanks again, Mom, I love this.

At 12/29/2005 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you should put them in a shadow box or some type of display. i can't wait to see them. j

At 12/30/2005 7:51 AM, Blogger Anna said...

Maybe you'll find some authentic "crazy cake" and/or "depressiong cake" recipes ;).

I love those old books.

At 12/30/2005 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

very cool!

At 12/30/2005 12:13 PM, Anonymous mare said...

Beautiful, beautiful gifts!

At 1/04/2006 2:59 PM, Blogger Sheri said...

What an excellent present!

I've collected a few old cookbooks myself - Larry's mom's old Boston School Cookbook, Grandma Sue's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and my other grandma's old cookbook too. You've seen them displayed on the shelf in my kitchen, right?


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