June 2012 Archives

A Garden Tea


Would you like to party like it's 1910 every day of the year? If so, you may want to take some notes from Elizabeth O. Hiller's Calendar of Luncheons Teas and Suppers (1910) in the Kirschner Collection. If you are unfamiliar with the term "luncheon," Hiller gives this explanation in the foreward:

Luncheons and teas are generally given by and for ladies. And it may be gratifying to know, that the popularity of luncheons seems to demonstrate the fact that it remained for the ladies of America to have evolved the luncheon in all its present form of feminine entertainment. There is no denying that our English cousins gave us the delightful Five O'Clock Tea, which has the charm of informality, and which we readily adopted, and immediately perceived the possibilities it suggested in the way of giving "novel" entertainments in the home.

So there, British ladies. Luncheons were considered "evolved" teas. There is also an explanation of when an afternoon tea should include dancing (although, if you ask me, all afternoon teas should include dancing.)
If you'd like to give luncheon/tea a try this weekend, I'm including the menu for June 29th here:

A Garden Tea
Chicken Salad
Orange Mint Relish
Hot Buttered Rolls
Salted Nut Meats
*Raspberry and Currant Ice
Cocoanut Cake
Orange Sponge Cake
Red and Pink Ox-heart Cherries
Hot Tea
Tea Punch Iced Tea

*RASPBERRY AND CURRANT ICE -- Make a syrup by boiling 1 qt. of water and 1 3/4 c. sugar 5 mins., add 3/4 c. of red raspberry juice (discarding seeds) and 1 1/2 c. red currant juice, cool, strain and freeze; using equal measure of crushed ice and rock salt. Serve in shallow champagne glasses and garnish with frosted currants. To frost currants: brush perfect clusters of red and white currants lightly with slightly beaten white of egg, then dredge them with coarse gran. sugar.

More New Books


More James Beard Award winners showed up this week, and we got a new periodical subscription!

Left to right, we've got Ruhlman's Twenty by Michael Ruhlman, Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin, Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, & Formulas by Brad Thomas Parsons, and Issue 89 of The Art of Eating.

The Art of Eating is not technically part of the Kirschner Collection, but it is a new addition to our popular reading shelf just a few steps away.

Lemon Cake Top Pudding Recipe


To make up for yesterday's possibly unappetizing offering from the margins of the Robbinsdale Library Club Cook Book, I'm sharing another recipe today that I also found penciled in on one of the blank pages of this book. I tried this one at home and it was completely devoured within 30 minutes of exiting the oven, so I can vouch for its tastiness. Enjoy!

Lemon Cake Top Pudding


2 Tbsp flour
3/4 C sugar
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 well beaten egg yolks
1/4 cup lemon juice (or a little less)
1 cup milk

Fold in egg whites beaten stiff.
[Pour into an] 8 in. unbuttered dish
put [dish] in [a] pan of water
[Bake for] 35 min at 375° or [until] lightly browned

The Robbinsdale Library Club

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This week I came across an item in the Kirschner Collection that led me down a rabbit hole of historical library research: The Robbinsdale Library Club Cook Book (1929.) Digging around a little, I found out that the Robbinsdale Library Club got its' start in 1907, and operated the library in Robbinsdale, MN until 1922 when it became part of the Hennepin County Library System. Here's a bit of history about the club:

The 26 members each donated $1. per month for the librarian's salary. The Village Council gave $1. per month but decided it could not afford this expense. It did allow the books to be placed in the village hall free of charge. Previously the books, mostly donated by citizens, had been kept in the Columbia Hotel and later in the drug store. Miss Clara Sessing served as librarian. Books began to disappear from the shelves faster than they could be replaced. Finally those left were placed in storage for two years. via

It's no wonder the club needed to publish a cook book to raise funds! This particular cook book is fascinating for a number of reasons. First, it is chock full of ads for local businesses and service providers like the one pictured here for Thomas J. Curry which states "Good Plumbing is necessary to prevent the spread of disease. Your health is protected by having plumbing done by competent men."
Second, the personalities of the Library Club members shine through not just in the recipes (of which there are many), but also in the book's introduction which includes this poetic foreward:
Our Cook Book
Please study this book with far seeing eyes,
Your neighbors will envy your being so wise,
Your husband will love you because you can cook,
And you will enjoy our "New Cook Book".

To those who assisted these rules to collect,
We extend hearty thanks, and only regret
That, because of great numbers, some must be rejected --
For sake of variety these rules we've selected.

To those, whose advertisements rendered such aid,
We call your attention to their "stock in trade",
Please give them your patronage so far as you can
For to help one another is the duty of man.

Finally, nearly every blank page in this book has a handwritten recipe jotted down on it. It was clearly well-used. One of the more curious recipes I came across (really it's more like a list of ingredients) was for "Mexican Salad." I'm printing it here in the hopes that one of you will try making it and tell me how it goes. Consider the gauntlet thrown. If you report back with pictures, I'll happily send you a prize.

Mexican Salad

1 pkg. lemon jello
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vinegar
1 level tablespoon chili powder
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 can sweet pimento
1/2 green pepper (diced)
1 lg. red apple, peeling on (diced)

That's all there is, so you'll need to interpret the assembly yourself.

Tomorrow I'll post another handwritten recipe from this book that I did try myself. I promise you it's a keeper.

New Titles in the Kirschner Collection


One of Mrs. Kirschner's wishes for her collection at the University of Minnesota was that it continue to grow. Through generous donations from her family, we are able to add several titles to the collection each year including the James Beard Award winners. Here is a photo of four titles that just arrived. All received Beard awards in May, 2012.

Clockwise from the top left we've got All About Roasting: A New Approach to a Classic Art by Molly Stevens, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer, A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen by Hugh Acheson, and Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson.

Happy Donut Day


DonutsFor those of you who haven't heard, today is National Donut Day in the U.S. To celebrate, I've found two donut/doughnut recipes for you in the Kirschner Collection. For the record, it would be totally fine to bring batches of these to the library, even if it's not on Donut Day.

Viennese Carnival Doughnuts (faschingskrapfen)
From The Pastry Chef (1965) by Bert. J. Phillips

5 lbs. pastry flour
3 2/3 ozs. yeast
1 quart milk
12 ozs. sugar
12 ozs. butter
12 egg yolks
1/2 pint rum
1/2 oz. salt
2 lemon rinds, grated

Dissolve yeast in a little warm milk, add one-third of the flour to form yeast sponge. Let rise well. Cream sugar, butter, yolks, flavoring, and salt in top of double boiler until fluffy and luke warm. Add sponge and rest of flour plus any remaining milk. Knead well to get a soft, silky dough. Divide dough into small pieces of one ounce each and roll into smooth balls. Cover a board with cloth, dust with flour and place balls on it. Cover with cloth and let rise in warm place until double in size. Meanwhile, heat the fat according to temperatures suggested in the chart [pg. 123]. To make it easier to remove doughnuts after frying, a wire screen should be put on the bottom of the pan. If a screen is not available, fry only a few at a time. Lay doughnuts into the fat upside down. As soon as the lower part has browned, turn over. Properly fried doughnuts will show a white ring around the center.
To fill doughnuts, form a tube of waxed paper. Fill with apricot jam, cut off the point with scissors. Stick tube sideways into the doughnut and squeeze. Special filling devices are on the market for use by professionals and are certainly very practical.

Raised Honey Doughnuts
From The Joy of Pastry (1985) by David Munn

2 1/2 packages active dry yeast or one 1 1/2 ounce cake
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk, heated to 110°F.
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Granulated sugar

Dissolve the yeast, honey, salt, eggs, butter, and vanilla in the milk. Add the flour gradually, while kneading the mixture. Don't use all the flour unless the dough is very sticky. After kneading for 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth, elastic, and still sticking slightly to your hands. Dust lightly with flour and cover. Let ruse at room temperature for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
Roll the dough out until about 1/2 inch thick then cut out doughnut shapes. Place shapes on a greased baking sheet and let rise at room temperature for 35 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
Heat the oil in a deep-frying pot until between 365° and 375°F. Drop about 4 or 5 of the doughnuts in at a time, and fry for about 20 seconds on each side, or until golden brown. Let drain on paper towels, then sprinkle with granulated sugar and serve hot.

Image: "baked doughnuts" CC BY-NC by wenday :D