One of my wife’s many roles in our lives is chief archaeologist of our home and her latest uncovered treasure trove is a collection of recipes and cooking guides once owned and used by her mother and her Aunt Florence.
When you bought a General Electric refrigerator in the 1950s, the big white box came with a handy guidebook full of helpful information and, yes, recipes. The book recommended freezing a cup of coffee with two cups of water to create flavored ice cubes for iced coffee. “Twenty four-hour salad” involved creating a creamy confection with two eggs, vinegar and sugar. Once cooled, white cherries, pineapple, oranges, marshmallows and almonds could be added and topped with concoctions called “emrelettes and Rubyettes.”
“Angel parfait en surprise” was described in the booklet as a creamy, sugary egg white dessert topped by candied fruit and brought to dining perfection by leaving it for a spell in the refrigerator’s “Super-Freezer.”
The commonwealth of Massachusetts published a guide to “state-inspected” turkeys in the 1950s, “In order to meet the ever increasing demand for turkeys during the off season periods…” The pamphlet took the helpful step of providing a list of Massachusetts farms raising state inspected turkeys, including Reed’s Turkey Farm in Andover.
Even the former Lynn Gas and Electric Company got into the recipe suggestion business decades ago with “tips for today” concoctions, including “Banbury Tarts.” Combining 1/4 cup each of chopped raisins, dates, figs, nuts, as well as brown sugar, flour, lemon juice and an egg slightly beaten provided filling for 12 tarts (bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes).
The gas company booklet also provided a recipe for “ground meat ring” — sort of a circular cousin of meatloaf.
Not to be outdone by its refrigerator recipe guide, General Electric’s Hotpoint appliance division published a recipe guide reminding consumers that Hotpoint is “first with the features women want most.”
The recipes included baked Alaska roll, jambalaya, sesame biscuits and Oriental steak (hint: recipe includes pineapple juice and curry powder).
All of these recipes remind me of my mother’s go-to meal selections during the 1960s, including Frito casserole, Yorkshire pudding, a pork chop and Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup recipe subsequently nicknamed “goop,” and an unpalatable entrée named ham loaf.
Our love for our mother is deep and undying but one mention of ham loaf to my brother last week prompted this single word recollection: “Ugh.”
Speaking of recollections, an informed source whose parents grew up in McDonough Square waxed fondly about how you could do all of your shopping in the square’s several-block radius thanks to establishments like Walter’s Market, Bill’s Lunch and Edna’s Lunch. Add to that list Young’s Market, South Seas Pleasure Time restaurant, City Meat Center, Mitchell’s Men’s Shop and Costello’s Beauty Shoppe.
“You could still get all your business done even without access to a car,” recalled our expert.
I give Carolyn Walsh credit for delivering a blow to the enduring legend of the Pine Grove Cemetery wall as the second-longest in the world. She points out that Hadrian’s Wall bisecting England during the Roman occupation surely outdid the Pine Grove wall in length and sheer massiveness.
I apologize for misspelling Connelly’s Candies a couple of weeks ago and managed to verify the accurate spelling when I came across a snowy photo of Union Street showing the Connelly’s sign next to a building housing Brennan’s Card Shop down the street from Rook’s and McLellan’s.