Happy Friday Everyone. I wanted to share this fun little cookbook I recently purchased from the Culinary Historians of Canada. It contains 144 recipes and “a great many time-saving kitchen suggestions,” and was published by Proctor and Gamble in 1932.
It should not be surprising that this little book is targeted at women and is designed to make their life at home easier by providing recipes for meals that are simple and easy to prepare, “For today, activities outside the home are demanding more and more of women’s time.” The role of women was certainly in flux during this time, and with the Economic Depression of the 1930s, this booklet is aimed at saving not only time but also money.
Enter Crisco. Being published by Proctor and Gamble means that many of the recipes contained push P&G products, most notably this Pure Vegetable Shortening. Crisco was introduced by Proctor and Gamble in 1911, and every single recipe in this booklet calls for it. It’s easy to see why Crisco was so appealing, made out of vegetables, Crisco was promoted as being a healthier alternative to lard or butter. In addition, Crisco stays fresh and solid for a long time and does not need to be refrigerated. In the midst of an economic depression, many families relied on food that had longevity.
Crisco is something that we still use today and its popularity is actually credited to the publication of free cookbooks that feature the ingredient. My mom, for one, still uses Crisco to ensure her pie crusts are flaky and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. In fact the recipes for pastry and pies in this book look similar to the recipes we would use today. A recipe for a flaky pie crust contains 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2/3 cups of Crisco, and Cold Water.
Being the 1930s however, some recipes seem totally revolting. The recipe for “Crisco Sandwich Spread,” “Sardine Paste,” or “Fried Ham Cake” for example. While I cannot fathom using Crisco as a sandwich spread the recipe contained in this book is intriguing. I think next week I might make it my mission to try some of these recipes. Stay tuned!