My mother-in-law has given me a copy of her mother-in-law's "New Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cook Book." It's the 1951 edition although the earlier editions date back to 1896. Not long, but a bit, before my birth. I am reminded again of how much of what we enjoy today has come about in recent years. Things like garlic, olive oil, basil, polenta, roasted tomatoes and peppers and the like have been around for many, many years. But only in recent times have they been used in the kitchen with such vigor like they are today. They appear on every menu in the world in all sorts of shapes and sizes and colors and combinations. And that makes me very happy. Much happier, say, than some of the recipes below that I've discovered in Fannie Farmer's cookbook. Some of them only SOUND terrible -- while some of them make me want to wretch as I look through how they are made:
Calf's Brains With Black Butter (calf's brains are preferred but lamb or sheep will do)
Frozen Fruit Salad I, II, III (as if one isn't enough)
Jellied Sweetbreads and Cucumber (couldn't even find a recipe on the WWW for this)
All I know is that I'm very happy to be a nearly all-veggie guy. My stomach turned upside down as I read through some of the recipes. There are all sorts of bits and bobs of information in this book from what each kitchen utensil looks like and is used for, how to crack nuts, and a whole chapter devoted to helping "Housewives who are bored with meal planning are those who have a cooking repertory of limited range and are conservative about trying anything new." But that's not all -- Did you know that "Menu making should put gaiety into housekeeping"??? Neither did I! But it clearly explains a lot of things to me about why I like being in the kitchen and creating new recipes.