November 2012 Archives

Farewell, Mr. Kirschner


I am saddened to report that Melvin J. Kirschner passed away last week on Friday, November 23, 2012. Mr. Kirschner was Doris Kirschner's husband and a great friend to and supporter of the Kirschner Collection. His full obituary can be found at

Turkey Tips for Presidents


image-1.jpegWe're a week from Thanksgiving, so here I am with Turkey Tips from the Kirschner Collection! This year, since we also just finished up a presidential election, I'm giving you tips from the Presidential Cook Book (1910) which was adapted from The White House Cook Book. As you can see, the cover of this cookbook features a picture of a turkey ... and a hatchet-wielding chef (no pardon for you, Turkey!) Now, on to the tips:

On Carving:

When carving use a chair slightly higher than the ordinary size, as it gives a better purchase on the meat, and appears more graceful than when standing, as is often quite necessary when carving a turkey... More depends on skill than strength. The platter should be placed opposite, and sufficiently near to give perfect command of the article to be carved, the knife of medium size, sharp with a keen edge. Commence by cutting the slices thin, laying them carefully to one side of the platter, then afterwards placing the desired amount on each guest's plate, to be served in turn by the servant.

On Serving:
When serving fowls, or meat, accompanied with stuffing, the guests should be asked if they would have a portion, as it is not every one to whom the flavor of stuffing is agreeable; in filling their plates, avoid heaping one thing upon another, as it makes a bad appearance.

On Gravy:
Gravies should be sent to the table very hot, and in helping one to gravy or melted butter, place it on a vacant side of the plate; no pour it over their meat, fish or fowl, that they may use only as much as they like.

And finally, here is a recipe to use up some of that leftover turkey:


Turkey Scallop
From the Presidential Cook Book (1910) by Fanny Lemira Fillette & Hugo Ziemann

Pick the meat from the bones of cold turkey and chop it fine. Put a layer of bread crumbs on the bottom of a buttered dish, moisten them with a little milk, then put in a layer of turkey with some of the filling, and cut small pieces of butter over the top; sprinkle with pepper and salt; then another layer of bread-crumbs, and so on until the dish is nearly full; add a little hot water to the gravy left from the turkey and pour over it; then take two eggs, two tablespoonfuls of milk, one of melted butter, a little salt and cracker-crumbs as much as will make it thick enough to spread on with a knife; put bits of butter over it, and cover with a plate. Bake three quarters of an hour. Ten minutes before serving, remove the plate and let it brown.

Lobster Salad at the White House in 1900


WhiteHouse.jpgWe have several editions of that venerable tome, The White House Cook Book here in the Kirschner Collection. With the election looming, I've had presidential recipes on the brain (well, along with a lot of other much more stressful issues -- let's just say I've had my own Abigael Evans moments this season.) This week I attended a potluck in which everyone was asked to bring a dish that was a favorite of a US president. Fortunately, there are multiple websites dedicated to this topic, so the hardest part was selecting a dish. I chose red flannel hash in honor of William McKinley because he lived in Canton, Ohio which is near to my home town. The 1900 edition of the White House Cook Book was published during McKinley's presidency and includes a picture of his wife, Ida Saxton McKinley, in the front. The McKinleys are said to have greatly enjoyed eggs and starchy foods (mmm), but on special occasions such as their anniversary, they ate hot lobster salad. There is not a recipe for hot lobster salad in the cookbook, but there are two lobster salad recipes. Here is one of them:

IdaMcKinley.jpgLobster Salad No. 1
From The White House Cook Book by Hugo Ziemann and Fanny Lemira Gillette, 1900

Prepare a sauce with the coral of a fine, new lobster, boiled fresh for about half and hour. Pound and rub it smooth, and mix very gradually with a dressing made from the yolks of two hard-boiled eggs, a tablespoonful of made mustard, three of salad oil, two of vinegar, one of white powdered sugar, a small teaspoonful of salt, as much black pepper, a pinch of cayenne and yolks of two fresh eggs. Next fill your salad bowl with some shred lettuce, the better part of two leaving the small curled centre to garnish your dish with. Mingle with this the flesh of your lobster, torn, broken or cut into bits seasoned with salt and pepper and a small portion of the dressing. Pour over the whole the rest of the dressing; put your lettuce-hearts down the centre and arrange upon the sides slices of hard-boiled eggs.

Note: Our copies of The White House Cook Book are getting quite brittle. If you are interested in trying out more of the recipes, this entire book has been digitized and is full-text searchable at the Internet Archive. Hooray for the public domain!