A cooking experiment by a girl obsessed with time travel!
Time travel…will never be impossible forever.
— Toba Beta, Betelgeuse Incident
Revisiting the Past…One Recipe at a Time
I started this blog both as a way to learn to cook and learn about the past. I have always been fascinated by the concept of time travel and realized recently that preparing food might be one of the best ways to experience different periods in history. I am using this blog strictly for personal development and learning.
I do not plan to leave the house for the next month except to go to work (yay for being an essential worker) and stocked up on things that would last a while in my refrigerator and pantry before my exile. As a result, I am making yet another post on an obscure root vegetable, the turnip.
I chose this recipe because it used up some ingredients from the Ginger Ale Salad made two weeks ago (yay) AND had a funny name (YAY)!
Rumtopf is a German and Danish liquor dessert typically consumed around Christmas. It involves mixing the fruit with sugar and very high alcohol content rum and letting it sit for a period of time to allow the fruit to completely absorb the alcohol. Rumtopf means “rum pot” when translated.
I didn’t know if I should keep attempting these recipes with everything happening. I went back and forth between worrying that I was being insensitive about the current state of affairs and thinking that I should keep things as normal as possible. I chose the latter. I decided that I would make recipes that used ingredients that I already had in the house and would make food I would actually eat (sadly, no more strange puddings for a while).
I looked through the only cookbook that I have from the 1910s, The Gold Medal Flour Cookbook, which was published in the year 1910. This is one of the most popular cookbooks from this decade according to Taste of Home.
I received a box of various recipes and cookbooks from Ebay a few months ago and found this cookbook enclosed:
There is no date on the book, so I looked up the title of the book and the author (Jean Dumont Le Sage compiled the recipes and the book was published by the Miller Bank Service), I found very little.
The only thing I can really confirm about Miller Bank Service is that it produced a metal Abraham Lincoln coin bank and published these cookbooks that were distributed to various banks around 1940 (I have seen estimates from 1925 to 1950, but the general consensus seems to be that these were distributed around 1940)
A Chinese restaurant called Dragon Gate now exists at 6528 North Clark Street in Chicago, which is where Miller Bank Service was located
I just finished reading Crime and Punishment and wanted to make something Russian. I previously vowed to never make any international recipes because I do not know enough about the cultures to know what a vintage recipe would be in different nations. I made an exception here because I’m the boss and I can. The only recipe that seemed possible for which I had a retro recipe was Beef Stroganoff, thanks to my good old Betty Crocker’s 1974 Cookbook.
For Valentine’s Day I wanted to make something special. Fortunately, I have my handy collection of booklets from the Culinary Arts Institute. There is specifically a book for holiday cooking:
Within it are recipes for the most common holidays, including Valentine’s Day! I excitedly opened to the St. Valentine’s Day section and the first recipe was…Elegant Chicken Loaf. What? Was this ever a thing? What’s so romantic about a chicken loaf? I can find very little evidence for this ever being a traditional Valentine’s Day dinner item, so I would be curious to see why on earth this was included in this section.
The Strawberry Bavarian Cream seemed, err, more appropriate for the occasion.
I feel like Chicken Tonight! Like Chicken Tonight! Chicken Tonight!
Chicken Tonight was a brand of sauces made by Unilever beginning in 1990 in the United States. It came in flavors like Creamy Chicken and Mushroom, Chicken Cacciatore, Sweet and Sour Chicken, and Country French Chicken. The ads were probably the most memorable part of the entire product line and featured people flapping their arms like chickens as the jingle played.
It has been 30 years and I still remember the commercial. 30 YEARS.
My Mom never used the sauces and I thought my chance to try them had passed since products have been discontinued in the United States.
I saw this recipe when I was looking through my mom’s Betty Crocker’s Cookbook from 1974 when I was first starting this project in November. I can only find a few other versions of this recipe online (here and here and here, although I know there are probably a few more that I missed), so I don’t feel like I am doing anything derivative or copying someone else’s work. I love astronomy and for several years have been trying to finish this class from The Great Courses called “Understanding the Universe” taught by the coolest astronomer ever, Alex Filippenko. I have not succeeded yet but am still trying! This was the main motivation to try this recipe.
I MAY HAVE FOUND A RECIPE THAT NO ONE ELSE HAS DONE!!!!!!
You wouldn’t believe how many times I stumble upon what I think is a unique recipe only to find that 10 other people have done it and done it better. I assumed that would be the case with this recipe but I CANNOT FIND A RECORD OF IT ONLINE! I thought that I would be the first person to post something from the booklet from which I obtained the recipe but, alas, Quaint Cooking did a different dip first and better. Still, I AM SO EXCITED!
In my research I have stumbled upon several foods that were completely unknown to me. Celeriac is one of them. I decided that the next recipe I would do would be this one after I actually found celeriac at our local Ingles. Imagine that!