Monday, July 27, 2015

Old Recipes and WWI

My mother's recipe cards, all ripped and stained with the oils and cocoa of yesteryear. The 60's and 70's.

I typed them for her, having learned to type in the 10th grade. That's why we ate Babbaba Bread :)

Yesterday, after posting Biology and Ambition on Kindle, the fourth installment of School Marms and Suffragettes, I had a hankering for some Cafe Bavarian, a dessert my mother used to make me as a child. My favorite childhood dessert.

She got it, originally, off the inside of a Carnation Milk can. You see, my mother sweetened her instant coffee with carnation milk.

It was a rich, gelatinous confection PERFECTION laid out on a graham wafer crust.

Unfortunately, she lost the recipe and was never able to replicate it.

Over the years I've asked her to try.

A few years ago I scoped the Internet for similar recipes and tried to recreate the dessert myself. No luck.

Well, yesterday, needing a sugar fix and having NO sweets in the house, unless I wanted to candy some Kale, or toffee some blueberries, I decided to try.

I still had the gelatin from the last try!

I remembered the recipe called for 'strong instant coffee.' So, I brewed some strong coffee.

I made some gelatin, mixed it with milk and the coffee and cinnamon and some Fry's Cocoa and two eggs cooked it a bit and let it gel...

and it turned into something that tasted right, although not rich enough and not the right consistency. Close enough, I ate a small bowl of it  for supper.

And while I slept, my busy mind continued to work on the problem. First mistake. I used real milk. This recipe OBVIOUSLY called for Carnation Milk. Duh!

I had figured that out by midnight.

And I woke up this morning with a real eureka... That gelatinous mixture was the first step. Once semi gelled you added, yes, whipped cream.

What a rich dessert! I ate tonnes of it and still was skinny. Well, I always had two servings.

My mother's mistake, she forgot the eggs..

Now I know how to make Cafe Bavarian. Except that I can't really have it, not often.

I'll make it for Christmas.

My mother got a lot of her dessert recipes out of magazines. (No Internet back then.) They all were simple, but tasted great. They all called for Crisco shortening.

She had  mint-chocolate cake my friends raved over.

Her recipe for peanut butter cookies. Simple but they don't taste the same nowadays. Either it is my aging taste-buds or the peanut butter is crappier. I should have the peanut butter residue on the recipe cards checked for chemical composition..

One of the first things I pulled from the Nicholson treasure chest wasn't a letter, but a direct mail advertisement for Crisco, to Mrs. M. Nicholson in Richmond. Quebec. Who was she, I wondered.

I had no idea of its significance although I was intrigued because I am an advertising writer. I pulled the trunk out from under the stairs and opened it wide to find the 1000 Nicholson Family Letters.

I have since learned how TIMELY this Crisco ad was.  The ad was sent in 1916! During WWI. Butter was getting VERY Expensive.

See my e-book No Bonne Over Here on Amazon Kindle. It's the Nicholson letters from WWI.

I put the butter bill in the book!

I found this YouTube video of Montreal's Belmont Park. From 1960. I remember the place as a bit of a dump. Greying wood everywhere. But the place is all dolled up here in this video. Lots of English signs too. I think the paint faded by the late 60's, when I went. Or my memory is faulty, once again.

 But first my YouTube video of Dominion Park, from 1910 era. The Nicholson's park. Using an old friend's original song as background.