I was at the used book store the other day and as usual I was browsing in the old hard cover book section. Not only do you occasionally find some treasures of literature, but the book itself, how beautifully it’s made, it’s history.. I just love it and love seeing them on the mantle. .. Anyway this one book caught my eye. It had that red criss-cross striping like the old kitchen table cloths or the Betty Crocker Cookbook. It was a book from 1937 called the Country Kitchen. Originally copyrighted in 1935 this particular book was printed in 1937. And purchased by Alice L Sawyer who signed the first page with a fountain pen and dated it “Nov. 2-1937”.
Bottom line is that I love the book. A great story of Della Lutes’ childhood growing up on a farm. They didn’t have a lot of money (actually she states that they were poor but didn’t know any better so she was happy and felt herself pretty well taken care of). Then there’s the description of the cooking. Old school cooking, with some recipes of how her mother made certain dishes. Now Della says what my father has said many times (who also grew up poor on a farm), they didn’t have much but the quality of the food was outstanding. Real food, ultra-fresh, scratch cooking, excellent quality that most people today have never tried. Whether fresh eggs, churned butter, homemade bread and stews, head cheese etc. … All I know is that people would demand a higher quality if they only knew. You know it’s like the Cajuns in Louisiana. Very poor, made do with what they had but they cooked it right. No one with money would touch the stuff. Now all of a sudden the lowly Crawdad or Shrimp Etouffe is a delicacy that people stand in line for. .. Same thing.
Needless to say the book doesn’t call out for Organic Ingredients because when she was a little girl that’s all there were. Everything was organic, everything was ultra-fresh. For pest control they relied on “Old Wart” the toad, the Stri-pud family “who had their own chores of ridding the earth of moles and toads..” and also “the robbins and jays who, in spite of much maligning, did earn their salt, -and-cherries, -“.
Anyway this book is a nice light read of what life was like and I believe some hidden gems of recipes buried within it’s pages. One of these will be tried by us and if great we’ll pass on Della Lutes’ recipe. This is for the Apple Dowdy. Here’s an excerpt .. “Aunt Hanner may have been just an average hand at soup, but she was a master of the Apple Dowdy. Apple Dowdy is not a dumpling, a pudding, or a pie -deep dish or otherwise. It is just a dowdy – sort of common, homely, gingham-like, but it has character.” .. “When done it will be delicately brown on top, a rich fruity red on the inside, and delicious withal.” … My mouth is watering just reading this!
Anyway, good book, recommended as a very nice winter read. … And if you get a chance, please share this post if you like it. I would LOVE for the blog to continue to grow so I could do this full time and make it even better. Thanks.