Friday, October 2, 2015

Food Friday: Clues from Module II

There's a truism that genealogy researchers don't always take into consideration. Most records we use were not created with the researcher in mind.

In 1940, the census taker wasn't thinking "I'll write everything clear and accurately so someone in 72 years can find their grandfather." (Boy, wouldn't that be nice).

So research requires a lot of patience and detective work. Any type of research.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Today's cookbook is a good example of that. It's titled Module II's Culinary Secrets and Surprises. There's no date of publication. The only clues to where it came from is the names of the editor, staff, and recipe contributors. One of the pages lists an employee with IV Therapy. But otherwise there is nothing else to indicate  where this came from or what group put it together.

But there are clues. The first clue, though not the best, is that I purchased it in San Bernardino County, California. So my first hypothesis was that it was from that area and that it was put together by hospital staff.

My second clue was the type of recipes that made up the cookbook. Recipes provide great clues when analyzing a cookbook. They provide a hint as to the origin of the recipes and the contributors. Because I initially believed this cookbook was done by hospital staff, I figured the recipes would be more healthy than the average community cookbook and I was right. But there was another aspect that was important to learning the origin of this book. There was a lack of recipes involving alcohol and meat. In fact one of the recipes made it fairly obvious where the cookbook originated because it called for the ingredient "Loma Linda Sanita or Savorex" (a yeast extract). Another ingredient, Nuteena, is a canned luncheon meat substitute.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

The last clue was the recipe contributors themselves. One of the contributors I recognized right away as the mother of a high school friend. Others I googled and found listed in newsletters for Loma Linda University Medical Center.

So Module II's cookbook is from staff at the Loma Linda University Medical Center. For those who are not aware of the history of the city of Loma Linda, it's population was largely Seventh-day Adventist. Seventh-day Adventists do not drink alcohol or eat meat. In fact they often live longer, healthier lives based on their religion's health habits. And although there is no date listed, my best guess is that it was printed about the mid to late 1990s.

Today's recipe is one I thought would be a fun to share with kids. We've all heard of the book that features this recipe and it's a creative one that can easily be adapted to what you have on hand or on your kid's imaginations.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega
The broth recommended in this recipe is a particular brand of vegetable bouillon. You can read about its interesting history here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Betty Crocker 1943

Betty Crocker. Your share. How to prepare appetizing, healthful meals with foods available today. 1943.

from the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega
from the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega
from the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega
from the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Friday, September 25, 2015

Food Friday: Frankfurters, Zucchini, and Coffee Sparkle

On Food.Family.Ephemera, I usually focus on community or fundraiser cookbooks, but there are other types of group cookbooks. During my recent trip to the Culinary collection at the Los Angeles Public Library, I took some photos of cookbooks I thought would be interesting to spotlight. So here is today's Food Friday addition.

What Actors Eat -- When They Eat. This 1939 cookbook features actor's biographical information, signatures, and of course what recipes they love [?].

This eye-catching title seems to suggest that celebrities don't eat so they can look better than the rest of us or that they are more selective in their food choices.  Either way, my guess is that the recipes may not have anything to do with the celebrity contributor and more a function of good PR work. Each page features biographical information about the celebrity as well as their recipe. Their signature is also a nice touch.

It's interesting to me that the focus of the forward is how men prefer women who can cook since many of the recipes in this book are from men. But it probably makes more sense when you learn that Anita Loos was the writer of the novel, Gentleman Prefer Blondes. My favorite line from this Forward is "the girl who can concoct a delectable morsel like Crab Au Gourmet or eggs Chinois never need worry about becoming a bachelor maid."

The bios have interesting tid bits including, in some cases for both men and women, their height and weight. You know this recipe for Stuffed Frankfurters is great because it includes bacon and it fits right in with today's bacon wrapped hot dog recipe craze. Ralph Bellamy was a man ahead of his time.

For my gardening friends with too many zucchini's, here a recipe from Mr. Gene Autry, The Singing Cowboy. It would seem that an unknown library patron added their preference to the ingredients found in the Spanish Sauce. Notice Autry's  bio includes which high school he graduated from and where he worked prior to being an actor.

Portland Hoffa who was a comedienne and starred on her husband Fred Allen's radio show provides a coffee drink that is reminiscent of a modern-day frappuchino.

A great cookbook that I would love to add to my collection. Other bloggers have written about What Actors Eat -- When They Eat. You can see more images of its pages on the blogs Persimmon & Peach and Bill's Blog.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: To Live and Dine in LA

Exhibit at the Los Angeles Public Library.

Photo by Gena Philibert-Ortega. 2015

Photo by Gena Philibert-Ortega. 2015
Photo by Gena Philibert-Ortega. 2015

Photo by Gena Philibert-Ortega. 2015
Photo by Gena Philibert-Ortega. 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

Food Friday: Ham Slices

Today I retweeted a post from a NPR food article entitled, Why Are We Drawn To Heirloom Fruits And Veggies? They're 'Edible Memory'.

Follow me on Twitter @genaortega. Thanks to @theblissbaker for the original tweet

That phrase, 'Edible Memory' stuck with me. While they use that phrase in discussing the popularity of heirloom tomatoes I believe that food memories are an essential part of documenting our family history.Smell and taste can be a powerful family history reminder.

What are your food memories? You probably have numerous ones that encompass holidays and celebrations. Sometimes mine are of seemingly insignificant moments. Growing up, I was close to my grandparents. I spent weekends with my paternal grandparents enjoying their company, talking, playing games, and just hanging out. We spent hours reading, playing the organ, and doing household chores.

The food I ate with my grandparents has always been a strong memory. One of those memories is of my grandfather eating a ham steak. This may seem odd but the memory envelopes me whenever I go to the grocery store and see those singular steaks wrapped up and ready to eat. I identify them with him probably because no one else I knew ever purchased those. He would buy one of those packages, go home, and eat the entire thing by himself. He largely did the grocery shopping and the ham steak was a staple. I don't remember my grandmother every eating one, but maybe she didn't care for ham. I can still "see" my grandfather eating a ham steak almost as if he was alive today enjoying that meal.

So today's recipe is a take on that food memory. It comes from one of my favorite series of community cookbooks, Favorite Recipes of America with its funky 1960s food photos.

I'm sure this recipe of ham and sweet potatoes from 1968 is one that many people still enjoy.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Food Friday: Smelt Anyone?

So here's my true confession of the day.


I never took home economics in school.

Students in home economics showing girls learning cooking skills, Washington. University of Washington. Flickr the Commons.

Yes, it's true. I rebelled against it. I couldn't think of anything more horrible than taking a class where I had to cook and sew. I rebelled against it because it was expected of us girls. Boys took woodshop and girls took home ec. I took neither. No disrespect to those who took the class or taught it. It just wasn't my cup of tea.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Despite my youthful rebellion over the homemaking arts  I love reading the recipes of home economics teachers. There are quite a few cookbooks that they feature prominently in.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Today's recipe comes from one of those cookbooks, Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers. Americana Cookery. An Illustrated Cookbook of Regional America's Traditional Recipes (1971). In an era before televised cooking shows and chain restaurants, regional food was much more pronounced. This cookbook tries to illustrate those food differences by presenting each region's history and recipes. For today's Food Friday I figured I would choose a West Coast recipe.

I present to you, Deep Fat Fried Smelt.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

I wonder if classes at Clear Lake High School in Wisconsin  actually made this. That would not have gone over so well at my Southern California high school. As you probably have guessed I've never ate this myself and didn't realize it was a traditional recipe. Sometimes "regional" foods are not so regional. But everything is better once it's been fried or wrapped in bacon.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Any home ec teachers out there who submitted recipes for the Favorite Recipes of Home Economics series of cookbooks?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Food Friday: Hawaiian Haystacks

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega
Today's recipe comes to us from 1982. "Fabulous Fare" (quotations not mine) from the Granada Hills (California) Stake Relief Society. The Relief Society is the women's auxiliary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Now the cover to this cookbook is interesting and has the tag line "Kissin' wears out Cookin don't!" The truthfulness of that statement matters who you ask ;).

Today's recipe is a favorite at Mormon activities. It's one that others outside the faith have probably not heard of. I present to you, Hawaiian Haystacks.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Now just in case you find this recipe confusing, the first part of the recipe is for the chicken you will be using. Also, although it says it serves 12-15 I would say more like 4-5. 1 cup grated cheese is not very much.

Think of this as a type of tostada. In fact when I worked at a hospital, the cafeteria served Haystacks which was basically a tostado but with Fritos as the base.

Have you had a Haystack?