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Odd Holiday Leftovers

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I found these dandies while going through my cookbook collection in anticipation of some new old recipes for next year. I’m not really sure what to say:


Meat Power PArty                          California Fruitcakes and Brandy

When Flower Power just isn’t enough,                         New meaning to California as the land of fruit and nuts     turn to Meat for a groovy time!                                              Sponsored by the Brandy Council of CA.


Easy Blue Buffalo Chicken Pockets Recipe

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Blue Buffalo Chicken Pockets

Today was grocery day. This means I spent two hours wandering through the grocery store trying to find the right products to match with the right coupons amidst a sea of neon yellow sale tag sirens. And at the end of the race, I had to go home and unload all the groceries I had just put in the bags. After all that, I was tired. But the questions still loomed, “What’s for dinner?”
I scoured the recent mound of food in the fridge. There was a box of boneless chicken wings.  (How wings can be boneless, I don’t know. But who cares if they’re so good.) I also found crescent rolls and bleu cheese wedges. And as always, a bottle of hot sauce. So I came up with an quick, easy recipe for dinner: Chicken Buffalo Bleu Sandwiches or

Blue Buffalo Chicken Pockets

Buffalo Chicken PocketsIngredients:
Can of refrigerated crescent rolls
Boneless chicken wings or chicken fingers
Spreadable Blue cheese wedges
Hot buffalo sauce


Quick & Easy Instructions:

1. Unroll half of the crescent roll dough into triangles according to directions on package.

2. Cut up the chicken wings or chicken fingers into pieces and place close together onto each sheet of crescent dough; leave 1/2″ border around edge.

3. Slice chunks of spreadable blue cheese wedges and place on top of chicken.

3. Place a second dough triangle on top of the boneless chicken wings and pinch top and bottom parts together. Trim ends of dough to cover seams if necessary.

4. Bake rolls according to directions on package. You may need another 5-10 min to cook filled pockets.

 Remove pockets and pour hot buffalo sauce across the Blue Buffalo Chicken Pockets and serve.
My lovely wife gave them a hearty approval. I liked having the buffalo chicken flavor all together in a flaky crescent roll crust  like a calzone, pastie, or whatever you call a hot hand-held sandwich. Plus, Blue Buffalo Chicken Pockets were less messy than regular buffalo chicken fingers –the roll contained the cheese and the fork could dip into the buffalo sauce as much as it wanted. And best of all, it was a quick and easy dinner.
At the end of the meal our mouth were burning hot but happy!


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Creepy Jello Brain Surgery

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Creepy Jello Brain


On Friday I became a brain surgeon. And a cannibal. In honor of Halloween and my anniversary of surviving brain surgery I made a Jello brain. The mold from Amazon showed all the bundles of squiggly wrinkles (non-medical term) that make up a real brain. The size was larger than a real human brain though, more like a hard hat. Gives new meaning to putting on your thinking cap.

Since Betty Crocker didn’t have jiggly brain recipes I searched the Web. After rejecting a few recipes for what seemed like giant Jello shots, I found a couple that gave some guidelines. I combined 3 boxes of peach Jello and 1 strawberry Jello box equivalent (three sugar-free boxes that offer less for more money) then added some lite sweetened condensed milk for opaque creaminess. Then it all sat in the fridge for 6 hrs after which my brave wife removed my brain and put it on a platter.


The fresh flesh was pink and gloppy. The color was redder than a real brain would be but still creepy enough to cause you to squiver. I did the honor of severing the hemispheres and performing a frontal lobotomy.



This brain was firm and cut well…not as jiggly as you’d expect. As I was slicing into it I felt an eerie out-of-mind moment. It seemed strange to think a doctor did this to me a few years ago to remove a tumor. But I’m glad it happened. My life has been much better since then.


I the served fresh brain sliced with Reddi-Wip. It didn’t have much taste though. But that didn’t matter much because it looked so cool and creepy.

Whipping It Up: My First Homemade Whipped Cream

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Getting Whipped Cream Right

Whipped Cream

I saw an ad one Thanksgiving that changed my life forever.  A woman stands looking at the dairy toppings and a worker comes up to her and asks if she wants oil or cream on pumpkin pie. Confused, the customer looks down and sees the signs for Cool Whip and Rite Whip. The worker reveals that Cool Whip contains hydrogenated oils; whereas, Reddi-Whip uses only cream. Wow. Who knew? From then on, I wanted only real cream on my pie.

As fun as real cream spray whip is I want the real thing. But it always seems so intimidating. The words “Beat until stiff peaks form” scare me. I want to run out of the room crying. Because no matter how hard I’ve tried, neither my eggs nor my cream ever ascend into heavenly white peaks. Like Helen of Troy or Don Quixote’s Dulcinea, they represent the perfect ideal, that unattainable and impossible dream.

The other day I decided once more to dream the impossible dream of homemade whipped cream. I had tried a few times before but always ended up staring down into a bowl of an uncertain gloppiness that, no matter how hard it was beaten, never lifts into peakdom.

This time I took some tips from my mother who has made about everything. First, I cleaned the bowl and the beaters very well; any speck could ruin it. And who wants to ruin a whole cup of heavy cream? Next I put the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes until it was sufficiently cold.

Then I took the bowl out and beat in the cream. The electric hand mixer made the process easier than last time when I tried to use a balloon whisk (a good workout but a bad way to raise cream). Even with the beaters it still took at least 5 minutes until I noticed the rotating circles of the beater started to slows down, and I saw that little clumps fall off the sides of the bowl. That’s when I realized dairy nirvana may be near. I kept the beaters in place and watched as ridges began to form in a slow-motion snowstorm. Could it be that the peaks were forming?

Firm Peaks - Homemade Whipped CreamThe directions said to beat until the cream held its own. Slowly, I took out the beaters and waited. The substance didn’t move. Was this it? I dipped in a spoon and tasted the substance. Sweet and fluffy and full bodied. I had just climbed up a small white Himalayan mountain and reached firm peaks!


While stiff peaks still lay ahead, at least I had now whipped part of my culinary fears into a puffy cloud of creamy goodness.

Junket Danish Dessert

A dollop of my fresh whipped cream and atop of the much-anticipated Danish Dessert.


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Custard’s Last Stand – Just Desserts

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Junket Custard Catalog – 1941

Tempting Nutritious Desserta - Junket 1942

If you didn’t read the the first post with fun pictures and recipes from the booklet, How to Make Tempting and Nutritious Desserts, then click here for the fun! Then proceed along the route to custard enlightenment.

The Junket Food diet continues with even more tempting and nutritious desserts.

Image (53) The milkshake pictures here start looking tempting, minus the yellow radiation in the pineapple shake. While many variations on the theme of homemade ice cream still provide deliciousness, some recipes just didn’t survive the next few decades. See Golden Glow Custard

I’m sorry, but I don’t like my desserts to glow. Orange light emanating from a bowl makes me feel like I’ve entered a plutonium-enhanced Halloween party. Plus, 7 Tbsp sugarDanish Dessert?!

The queen of curious desserts is the Danish Dessert.

The writing is in a Nordic text, so it must be authentically Danish. But was it a gelatin or pudding, or something new entirely?  I just had to know, so I ordered some from the Junket site, along with a chocolate ice cream mix and box of Rennet tablets.

Time to try the recipes. First up was the frozen vanilla custard. The modern and vintage recipe versions gave the same directions with a few exceptions:

1. The original recipe called for a freezing tray. I wasn’t sure what it was. According to the quaint domestic drawings it may have been part of an early electric refrigerator or icebox. So I just decided to use a small loaf pan.

2. The 1941 directions says to test the milk temperature by dropping it on to your wrist. But how do you know if it is “comfortably warm” or uncomfortable scalding? The latter could leave red spots on the wrist that may be difficult to explain to friends at work – did you get bit by a tarantula, or was it some rare disease? Mercifully, the current version just uses a food thermometer at 110 F.

3. The vintage recipe wanted you to whip the heavy cream and then add it to the mixture at the end. I managed that to some success. The modern version avoids all the mess; instead, it adds all the liquids directly into the initial mix that is beaten later.

After a relatively easy assembly and a firm beating, the concoction entered the freezer. After waiting impatiently for some time the frozen custard ice cream emerged from cryostasis. Would frozen custard still taste good after 74 years? Yes. Yes it did. The frozen delight felt like the texture of homemade ice cream. That is, not too firm or gloppy like the store-bought stuff, but with just enough creamy substance and sugar to make it pleasing to the taste buds.

Finally, I was going to satisfy my curiosity about the Danish Dessert. What was it and why did a whole country identify with it? I followed the package directions and boiled it like you would do with Jell-O. Only Junket Danish Dessert is thicker and the flavor is a little more tart and sweet. It can be used for pie filling but tastes delicious on its own with whipped cream.


Whatever the year, Americans’ sweet teeth need to be satisfied. And some recipes, hidden from time in a yard sale box, still meet that tasty, tempting desire.

Find surviving vintage recipes for current Junket products at their site:

Artwork and recipes copyright 1941 by Junket Desserts, a RedCo Foods company. Used by permission.

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Those Old Spry Ladies

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Vintage Spry Cookbook, 1942

Image (58)

When I found this vintage cookbook at a garage sale I wanted to know what Spry was. It turns out to be an earlier Crisco competitor that lasted until the 70s. The product gained popularity through its character Aunt Jenny, who hosted a weekly radio soap opera with recipes.

This booklet opens with an appeal to women’s to build national strength by feeding their families good wholesome food, and plenty of it. And Spry vegetable shortening provides that all in pastries, pies, casseroles and biscuits. Spry topples the food pyramid and emphasizes the importance of fat and carbs. Fats provide lasting energy at only 4000 calories per day (8 times the total amount of recommended fat today). And don’t forget the recommended egg and pint of whole milk, plus some pats of butter to top off the mound of cholesterol. Big Boy would be jealous!

FatsThe Daily Fats category lists my favorite dietary recommendation: serve desserts twice a day. And serve cakes often. Plus keep the cookie jar filled. I could definitely stick to this plan!Image (40)

Even fruit can help  round off the daily fat intake: Cherry cobblers, berry dumplings, apple fritters, and chocolate cranberry bread. I think it is time for me to pick more berries.

The next section discusses frying with Spry. They remind us that you can make “pleasant and digestible” fries made with only 2 POUNDS of delicious Spry. (Seriously, just how many cans do they want you to buy?) However, it is true that everything tastes better fried: Twinkies, cookie dough, Kool Aid, just to name a few. In fact, all I remember from high school health class is “Fat give food its flavor.” I don’t really think that was the message we were supposed to learn, but is must have been effective because I still remember it.

Canteen Cookie Bars

Image (57)After looking over a dozen cookie recipes I found one that seemed relatively tasty: Canteen Bars. They must be good– just look at the ruddy, smiling, excited faces of the men.  Notice how the young sailor suddenly becomes a best buddy of the cookie recipient and puts his arm around him while reaching with the other hand for a delicious canteen cookie bar.

The recipe was pretty simple. It called for coconut and nuts, but that seemed rather boring. To get more of an Almond Joy feel I added some chocolate granola bars to the nut mix too. The results tasted pretty good and gooey. My wife was apprehensive but eventually admitted the cookies were pretty good, as evidenced by the fact we each ate two.


Aunt Jenny’s Favorite Cookies

The best find from this old cookbook was Aunt Jenny’s Favorite Cookies with lemon. Her signature cookies affirmed the simplicity of cooking with Spry. I followed the recipe directions and added the sugar and shortening (alas, Crisco since Spry no longer exists). The mixture became very creamy when beaten. It turns out 1 and 1/2 cups of vegetable shortening is a lot, even more than the amount in pie crust. The batter was still over half Spry. So basically, we were going to be eating balls of shortening. Yummy!


I decided to follow option 2 for the lemon version. The citrus lent an extra zip to the cookies. And since you just can’t get enough lemon, I added even a little more zest.


It turns out they were yummy. Very yummy.  So much so that it was hard to save some for bringing to family. Good thing the recipe made 5 dozen cookies!

Spry claims its vegetable shortening  product makes any baked good delicious. My experience shows that to be generally true. But if everything were so delicious perhaps nothing would be special. And we really would be tubs of lard, or rather delicious Spry.

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Welcome to Recipe Roadshow!

Join me as we journey through time to find unique cookbooks and recipes. Along the way we will encounter vintage recipes, both delicious and atrocious. We’ll also explore food history and it’s relation to present food culture. Finally, we will experience modern creations of old recipes.

So hop in the wayback cuisine machine, and let’s get started.

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