Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Merrie Little Christmas

Last year, my Mom came across this tiny little hardcover volume entitled, The Merrie Little Christmas Cook Book, no author is cited. It was published in 1955 by Peter Pauper Press.

Peter Pauper continues to produce a line of mini-books on various popular topics with light content, journals bound in pretty prints, and a line of stationery.

In 1955, when it turned out this slim volume, Peter Pauper was equally as attentive to the beauty of the folksy print on the cover as it is to its journal work today. I would love to have the cover print copied onto wrapping paper for the gifts under the tree; decked out in this this innocent, youthful, scratchy piece of Americana.

A look inside speaks volumes about what we knew then and is, if you allow yourself some holiday- indulgent nibbles at cocktail hour, full of long-forgotten gems of the age as well as a few suggestions which gratefully fell out of favor:

Mock Caviar

1 medium eggplant
2 green peppers
1 Bermuda onion
3 eggs, hard-boiled
1 sour apple
1 slice pumpernickel bread
Black olives
Salad oil
Salt and pepper

Cut eggplant into slices and bake until tender in a buttered casserole. Remove peel, and add to other ingredients in a wooden chopping bowl. Chop until fine and shape into a mound.

Clam Puffs

2 packages cream cheese
1 can minced clams, chopped
1 tablespoon sherry
Tabasco sauce

Blend ingredients and pile on rounds of bread. Broil till brown and puffy. Serve piping hot. These may also be covered with pieces of uncooked bacon, and broiled until bacon is crisp.

Chutney and Bacon

8 strips bacon
2 tablespoons chutney

Fry bacon until crisp, chop and mix with the chutney which has been mashed with a fork. Spread on toast rounds. Makes 1 dozen. Peanut butter may be added to the mixture, if desired.

Hot Sardine Canapes

1 can sardines mashed
2 teaspoons mustard
1 teaspoon chili sauce
2 tablespoons catsup
Toast, cut into fancy shapes

Blend all ingredients, and spread on toast. Broil lightly. Or wrap a teaspoon of the sardine mixture in a slice of bacon, roll, fasten with a toothpick and bake in 350 oven until bacon is crisp.

Pate de Foie Gras

1 can liver pate
1 can mushrooms
4 ounces butter, melted
2 tablespoons brandy

Saute mushrooms in a little butter until slightly brown. Do not dry out. Blend mushrooms, liver, and butter, then add brandy. Chill in refrigerator overnight. Butter will rise to the top and for a thin covering.

Horseradish and Shrimp

1/2 pound cooked shrimp
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon horseradish
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cream
Dash of mustard

Chop shrimp which have been cleaned, cooked and shelled, and mix with other ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper and spread on crackers.

Roast Goose

Singe, remove pin feathers, then wash goose in cold water and wipe dry. Season to taste. Stuff with bread stuffing. Place breast side up on rack in roasting pan. Pour 2 cups boiling water over and cover. Roast 25 to 30 minutes per pound in a moderately low oven (325 to 350), basting with fat every 15 minutes. Pour off fat if too much accumulates. When goose is done, garnish with cranberries and watercress and serve with apple sauce. Gravy may be made from drippings in the pan, flour, and stock.

Prune Stuffing

For a 14 pound goose, prepare 1o cups fine bread crumbs made from stale bread. Mix with 3/4 cup chopped onion, 2 1/2 cups peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped tart apples, 2 1/4 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons poultry seasonings and 3/4 pound tenderized prunes, pitted and cut into small pieces. Moisten with 6 tablespoons melted butter and mix well.

Fish Souffle

4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons milk
1 to 1 1/2 cups fish
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon onion, grated
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 egg whites

Mix mayonnaise, flour, salt and pepper. Add milk slowly. Stir in fish, parsley, onion, lemon juice. Beat egg whites until stiff. Gently fold in mayonnaise mixture until thoroughly blended. Pour into a greased 7-inch casserole and bake in a slow oven 40 to 45 minutes. Serve at once. 4 servings.

Cooked or canned fish may be used. Or use finely chopped cooked meats, minced chicken or vegetables. Or grated cheese, omitting parsley, onion, and lemon juice.

What historic recipe is your holiday indulgence this year?


Blue said...

What a find! The prune stuffing is exactly the kind of food I like and the bacon and chutney mix sounds fabulous. That mix of savory, sweet and sour - mouthwatering.

Karena said...

I used to make wonderful itty bitty holiday puffs. I will definitely try some of these ....sounds like a lovely book!

little augury said...

these sound good and actually some doable for me. that is a wonderful little print on the cover. No plans for a tour de force anything foodwise-I will have to rely on you. GT