Recently in Cookbooks Category

Read This Book! Summer Grilling Picks


Just in time for the weekend (and the 4th of July), I recorded another video for the Libraries' Read This Book! series. This time, I'm talking about grilling meat, veggies, and kebobs, plus a sword and fire party.

Here are links to the books I mention. Some are Kirschner books and some are in our general collection which means they can be checked out.

The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Smoke & Spice by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison
Barbeque'n with Bobby by Bobby Seale
The Home Kebob Cookbook by Beth Merriman
The Playboy Gourmet by Thomas Mario.

Read This Book! New Minnesota Cookbooks


I recorded this little video for the Libraries to showcase some new cookbooks in the Kirschner Collection -- all are from local authors and use local/indigenous ingredients. Perfect for farmers market season!

Here are links to all of the books I mention:

Edible Twin Cities by Angelo Gentile
Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook by Tricia Cornell
Minnesota's Bounty: The Farmer's Market Cookbook by Beth Dooley
Original Local by Heid E. Erdrich
The New Midwestern Table by Amy Thielen

Cooking With the Gas Company


Minnegasco Cookbooks
A coworker recently related to me that when her mother wanted to learn to cook, she went to her local gas company to learn how. I didn't realize until I stumbled across all of the cookbooks, recipes, and cooking demonstration pamphlets from Minnegasco/Minneapolis Gas Company in the Kirschner Collection, that gas companies used to do this. With a little digging, I found that the companies used to sell gas appliances (stoves, refrigerators, etc.) as well as provide the utility and had whole "home service departments" dedicated to encouraging these sales. In addition to recipes, these cookbooks are a really neat piece of local history. Recipes of the Month: famous foods from famous places in the Minneapolis area (1953), for instance, gives a snapshot of popular restaurants and dishes in the 1950s Twin Cities. What a find!

Minnegasco Cookies
From the recipe cards tucked in the back of Minnegasco's Cooky Book (195-?)

1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 c. sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
1 tsp. vanilla
2 sq. baking chocolate, melted
2 c. sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar well. Add egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Stir in melted and slightly cooled chocolate. Sift together flour and salt and add, beating well. Chill dough slightly before rolling out on pastry cloth to 1/8" thickness. Cut out with the Minnegasco cutter and place on ungreased cooky sheets. Bake in a Gas oven at 400° for about 7-8 min. Do not brown. Allow cookies to remain on sheet for a moment before removing to cake cooling rack.
Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 dozen Minnegasco cookies or 4-5 dozen round wafers.

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Raise a Glass, It's Time for Finals!


I thought the start of finals seemed like a good time to think about beverages for energy, relaxation, celebration, or (hopefully not) drowning your sorrows. As a tribute to another semester nearly under our belt, here is a sampling of the liquid side of the Kirschner Collection.

Beverages book
Beverages (1983) is your source for all types of drink recipes from alcohol to coffee to milkshakes. It is a technique book, so if you're already overloaded from studying this may not be for you. If you're looking to learn a little something over winter break, though, mixology may be just the thing.

What You Should Know About Tea
If you're looking for a nice strong cup of tea for yourself or a group, the Tea Council of the U.S.A., Inc. has published What You Should Know About Tea (date unknown) which amuses me mostly because the title sounds vaguely like an after school special.

Two Wine Books
Need something simple and relaxing? A glass of wine should do, but if you'd like to kick it up a notch, check out the recipes for mixed drinks and food in California Wine Cookery and Drinks (1967) and Here's How to Use Wine Graciously and Economically (1959).

Irish Mist Pamphlet
For something a little more virile, check out Irish Mist : Ireland's Legendary Liqueur : 80⁰ Proof (1946). It's the preferred liqueur of soldiers and geese.

The Jelly Shot Test Kitchen
If you're all finished with the semester, throw yourself a party with the creative, fun, semi-solid cocktails in Michelle Palm's Jelly Shot Test Kitchen (2011). So classy -- you deserve a treat!

Disclaimer: The Kirschner Collection Blog does not support underage drinking.

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Oishii! Delicious Food from Japan


This past summer I was fortunate enough to visit Japan for three weeks. I tried anything with red beans or sweet beans, and of course had sushi, tempura, and various rice dishes. However, some of my favorites were the simplest of dishes: yakitori, sukiyaki, miso soup, onigiri, and soba noodles.
Using the Kirschner Cookbook Collection I recreated a few of my favorite dishes for an evening dinner with family and friends to view my photos.

IMG_20130901_120743_477.jpg"Onigiri may be said to be a Japanese version of the sandwich, because rice is formed into oblong balls with whatever ingredients preferred inside them," The Art of Japanese Cookery (p. 28). This text had nice directions on how to make the rice balls; I used seared tuna with spicy mayo. Some were formed by hand, and others I cheated and used a biscuit cutter to shape them into disks. I also made chicken yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), with the below marinade from Japanese Cooking A Simple Art, but they were all devoured before a photo could be taken. I marinated the chicken for several hours before grilling.

Yakitori Sauce
7 Tbsps sake
3/4 c. dark soy sauce
3 Tbsp mirin
2 Tbsp sugar

Pancakes are very popular in Japan, at least with my host families. My gift of maple syrup from the UMN Arboretum was a huge hit! It is interesting to see so many pancake and waffles recipes in Buy it 'n try It: Hints on Cooking and Living in Japan. This cookbook also has a nice glossary in the front, so you don't mix up unagi (eel) with onigiri (rice balls). Also, I could eat a Japanese-syle breakfast every day!

If you have ever been to the Japanese food booth at the Festival of Nations in St. Paul, then chances are good that you have had sukiyaki. Add this to your comfort food list this fall and winter.

Japanese Special Sukiyaki
1 med. onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c. butter
1 lb. beef sirloin, cut in thin, narrow strips
4oz. can mushrooms
1/2 cup celery
1 lb. can bean sprouts
1/4 c. water chestnuts, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 lb. fresh spinach
1 bouillon cube
1 1/2 c. hot water
1/2 c. chopped scallions
1 1/3 c. minute rice
salt & pepper

Saute onion in butter in large skillet until just transparent. Season beef with salt and pepper. Add beef and to onion in skillet; brown on all sides. Stir in the mushrooms, celery, bean spouts, water chestnuts and sou sauce. Cook 5-10 minutes. Add spinach, cook 2 minutes. Dissolve bouillon cube in hot water in saucepan, stir in cooked rice and add to ingredients in skillet. Sprinkle scallions over the ingredients. Cover and simmer over low heat 5 minutes. Serve with additional soy sauce.


There's Always Money In the Banana Stand


bananastand.jpg More than one friend has alerted me to weird banana recipes lately. This of course led me to dig out all of the banana cookbooks I could find in the Kirschner Collection. Actually, these are promotional pamphlets more than actual books, and they are chock full of just these sorts of recipes (Ham Banana Rolls With Cheese Sauce!). This got me wondering about why these sorts of pamphlets proliferated when they did, which led to more research on the history of bananas in the U.S., which led to finding Peter Chapman's Bananas: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World. I recommend it if you want to know more about the seedy underbelly of the banana industry. And just who is this United Fruit Company? Well, now we know them as Chiquita. Most (but not all) of these pamphlets were published by United Fruit/Chiquita. With that in mind, I'd like to take you on a visual tour of some of my favorite moments in banana propaganda. [Full disclosure: I am a banana fiend.]

This little pamphlet is from the Fruit Dispatch Company. It includes the aforementioned ham banana rolls as well as some really tasty sounding things like Banana Butterscotch Pie.

The Chiquita Banana first made her appearance in 1944. This version is from 1962.

A Study of the Banana: Its Everyday Use and Food Value published by the United Fruit Company gives nutrition and health advice related to bananas. This page shows doctor-advised uses. I noticed that the "For Slim Figures" section advises readers to "ask your doctor for a free copy of the Banana and Skimmed Milk diet." This was another pamphlet which United Fruit provided to physicians for distribution.

This photo from the Chiquita Banana Cookbook, shows baked bananas drizzled with currant jelly, curry sauce, and mint jelly being served with a variety of meats. On the next page, you can find a recipe for Banana Shrimp Curry.

Chiquita advises decorating with bananas as well as eating them. Here are some on a book shelf. Obviously, they are not librarians. Who has this kind of space available on a book shelf?!

Pancakes + bananas = funcakes.

Banana shakes and smoothies! This picture just made me think of Spring. And I am desperate for Spring.

As a final bonus for a friend on Twitter, I leave you with a recipe. You must take a photo and report back if you ever make and eat this.

Banana Sardine Boats

From This Way to the Banana Salad Bazaar (1940)

1 ripe banana
2 sardines
1/4 lemon
Salad greens

Peel and cut banana crosswise into halves and place on salad plate. Cut a groove lengthwise along the top of each half. Fit a whole sardine into each groove so it will stand upright. Garnish with lemon and crisp greens.
Serve with mayonnaise.

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Friends and Their Food

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FriendsandFood.jpg If you haven't seen it already, I wanted to give a shout-out to Andy Sturdevant's piece on Virginia Safford's Friends and their Food over at the Heavy Table. We have this book here in the Kirschner Collection and it is a wonderful piece of Minnesota food history. I appreciate that Sturdevant situates the canned-soupy, gelatin-based recipes in this book in some historical context rather than playing them for laughs. It's worth a read.

Baking with the Kirschner Collection: Carrot Chocolate Chip Bars



It is the end of February -- the time of year when Minnesotans' thoughts turn longingly to seeds, gardens, and produce. I was in just this sort of funk coupled with an itch to bake something when I came across Janet Ballantyne's Desserts from the Garden in the Kirschner Collection. This book has recipes from the expected (strawberry tart), to the very unique and intriguing (green tomato chocolate cake). I decided to try out the carrot chocolate chip bars since I had nearly everything on hand. They're a very dense, not-too-sweet bar and the carrot gives just a hint of what lies ahead.

DessertGarden.jpgCarrot Chocolate Chip Bars
From Desserts from the Garden by Janet Ballantyne, 1983

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups grated raw carrots
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°
Cream together the peanut butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix well with the peanut butter mixture. Stir in the carrots and the chocolate chips. Butter a 9" x 13" pan. Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 40 minutes, cool completely, and cut in squares.

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No Time For Cooking: A Visual Feast


AFCoverMed.jpgThis week in the Kirschner Collection, I had one of my best finds to date: No Time For Cooking by Arlene Francis. I love this book not for the recipes, most of which I regard with a mixture of equal parts awe and revulsion (see: curried pickle and pimiento loaf), but for the photographs. Prior to picking this up, I did not who Arlene Francis was, but after reading her charming introduction and commentary throughout, I found myself poring through every video I could find on YouTube that she starred in. Here's a favorite clip in which Arlene plays the trombone on the game show I've Got a Secret:

And the photos! The photos of both Francis and the food in this book reminded me of one of my favorite entertainers, Amy Sedaris. I think this book is exactly what Sedaris was trying to re-create in her book I Like You. So, rather than just share a recipe, I would like to take you on a visual tour of some of my favorite images in this book, along with Arlene's commentary on each one.

"My teen-ager, Peter, likes to feed his friends in his own room where the record collection is handy. This meets with my approval because it's a lot easier on the rugs and furniture in the rest of the apartment."

"We're a family of outdoor eaters, ready to pack up and head for the country at the drop of a Crocus. (Incidentally, I'm rather proud of this efficient, little kitchen. I planned it myself out of what was formerly a walk-in closet!)"

"Sunday Cassoulet combines beans and smoked ham with other savory ingredients. On special evenings, transfer beans to your best serving dish and top with grilled frankfurters"

"Potato salad, molded in pan lined with sliced ham, is transformed into elegant party dish. Tomato peel, curled into roses, adds colorful touch."

"There's a saying that theater people are always hungry. The reasons are -- when they're not working, they may not have the cash. When they are working, they don't have the time. So, when I get them together for a buffet meal, I stress quantity, as with this oversized salad"

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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.

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