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.
So, my favorite recipes are the ones that don’t come out of established, well-known cookbooks but instead come from publications or promotional materials distributed by companies to advertise their products. As I do this blog, I realize that these kinds of things are rare finds and I feel sort of like I stumbled upon something really unique. There is usually a slimmer chance that the recipe has been made previously and put on the internet. I like being able to ACTUALLY put something new out there and not feel like I’m just rehashing recipes that have been posted before by other people.
Today, I get to do a recipe that it appears no one has published online! Yay!
I decided to do this one because I had no idea what a “ring-tum-diddy” was and was sold based on the name alone.
The recipe comes from a book called 199 Selected Recipes by Sarah Field Splint through Procter and Gamble. Apparently, it was published for the purposes of promoting Crisco, although this recipe does not contain that as an ingredient. The cover is torn off of the booklet that I have, and I have seen various publication dates listed (Wikipedia has it as 1929, so I will stick with that). I learned that in addition to her being active in the publication of various books and magazines concerning homemaking she was also an active feminist, even going so far as to be active in the Heterodoxy group, a group of even more ardent suffragists (I had to look Heterodoxy up…I had NO IDEA what that was about).
Anyway, I think the question that we all have is “What the heck is a ring-tum-diddy?” There are various spellings (ring-tum-ditty, rinktum ditty, rinktum diddy) but they all consist of the same basic ingredients: melted cheese and some kind of tomato paste, sauce, or soup served on bread. The blog The World’s Fare has as really nice post with some of the history behind this dish, saying that it seems to have been akin to a Welsh rarebit (that’s another strangely named dish I’m going to attempt at some point) that originated in England and spread to the United States. But what does “rinktum” mean?!?!?! I can’t seem to find a clear answer on that one. I would appreciate any help to answer that question…my sussing skills are failing me.
What makes this chicken recipe so special are the two ingredients, soy sauce, and pineapple, that add an Oriental touch to the tender chicken pieces. A perfect partner for oven-baked Chicken is a casserole dish full of rice…
Better Homes and Gardens Recipe Card 15G 1979
If the picture of the recipe or the fact that the recipe came out of a recipe card box that is straight out of the 1970’s doesn’t make this recipe feel like it came from another time, the use of the term “Oriental” reminds us that we are definitely cooking in the past.
I have been sitting on this recipe for a week trying to figure out SOMETHING to write for it. Parsnips have a long history of cultivation and can be found in records of antiquity but they are not as popular today. They are full of nutrients and fiber but taste so good that they were used as a sweetener before sugar cane was readily available. It is unfortunate that they are not more commonly used (I had never had a parsnip in my life prior to this recipe).
*Slightly modified for COVID-19 shortages of certain foods
I purchased or otherwise obtained all of the most popular cookbooks from each decade of the 20th century when I started this blog. I learned from Taste of Home’s site that The Silver Palate Cookbook was the most popular book from the 1980’s. I had no idea what The Silver Palate was until yesterday. I thought it was a restaurant until I actually read the introduction in the book and realized that The Silver Palate was actually a food store in New York City that closed in 1993 but still has an online store today.
We have turned our shelter-in-place requirement into a game to see how long we can go without going to the actual grocery store. We are allowed to purchase things sold at my job at a chain retail pharmacy (because I have to go to work anyway, so I’m not making a special trip). Otherwise, we have to use what we have at home. As a result, some of the upcoming recipes will be…creative until I break down and return to normal.
(The main reason I am doing this is our local grocery store has arrows on the floor directing the flow of traffic down the aisle that everyone I encounter says are confusing. I would rather eat dishes like this one I just made than have to wander around a grocery store getting in trouble for driving my cart down the wrong side of an aisle. Life is awkward enough as it is for me…)
I have eaten all of the cookies at home and have vowed to use what I have to make what I need instead of going to the store. I found a copy of the original The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker online and saw the recipe for Pecan Puffs on Page 615. The cookies looked easy to make, so simple that even I could not screw them up.
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.