This is a special guest post from Talia Felix of The Gibson Girl's Guide to Glamor and Gothica Gothique!
Since Va-Voom Vintage deals with all things vintage, today we're going to take a little peek at some interesting old recipes from times long ago, when refrigeration was a novel thing and people needed to be instructed and informed of the amazing powers to be found in chilled food. Behold, 1927's Electric Refrigerator Recipes and Menus, published by General Electric to be used with their refrigerators!
"To many people electric refrigeration is still such a novelty that they scarcely realize the range of its possibilities," says author Alice Bradley in the intro. "It is almost like having an Aladdin's lamp and not knowing the right way to rub it. [...] The owning of such a refrigerator is a form of health and happiness insurance which every homemaker in America should have the privilege of enjoying." It's nice to see her dream came true.
She later goes into the basics:
MANY FOODS ARE IMPROVED BY CHILLING
Fruit and fruit juices that are to be served for breakfast can be prepared and put into the refrigerator the night before. Exceptions are cantaloupe and pineapple, which cause an unpleasant odor if left in the refrigerator, unless closely covered.
[Fruit cocktails, hors'd'oeuvres, jellied soups, salad greens, salads and salad dressings, dishes for serving chilled items, aspic jelly, pastry and cookie dough, and "all kinds of cold beverages" are then given loving descriptions for how they can be used with a refrigerator and thereby enjoyed more thoroughly.]
There is also an entire chapter on making ice blocks.
While as with so many old time cookbooks there are plenty of disgusting sounding recipes like "Jellied Chicken" and "Frozen Cheese", there are also a goodly proportion of tasty fare, perfect for serving in the summertime. Note that I am editing and reformatting some of these for ease of reading.
1 cup balls from a cassaba melon or a cantaloup, [sic] using a French vegetable cutter
1 cup balls cut from an apple
1 cup Tokay grapes, skinned and seeded (Note that this was before seedless grapes took over the grocery shelves.)
2 tablespoons syrup from maraschino cherries
a few grains of salt
(The actual instructions make constant references to other recipes in the book: basically one is instructed to combine the ingredients and chill, then serve the fruit mixture on a bed of colored ice cubes, garnished with cherries.)
Frozen Lobster Salad.
1 cup lobster meat cut in pieces ("Crab meat or other shell fish, salmon or chicken may be used in place of lobster.") with
1/2 cup white sauce
1/2 cup white stock in which 1 tablespoon gelatine has been soaked and dissolved
1/4 teaspoon salt
Few gratings of nutmeg
[Combine?] Leave until cold.
3/4 cup cream until stiff
1/2 cup mayonnaise dressing
Add to the lobster mixture and freeze in refrigerator pan. Serve on a bed of lettuce or romaine.
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons white corn syrup
1 cup water
rind from 1 orange
Combine in saucepan and boil for 2 minutes. Cool, and add:
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
a few grains of salt.
Strain into a refrigerator pan and freeze like Freezing Methods I or II [Basically, let it freeze about 30 - 60 minutes till ice begins to form, beat the mix, and freeze again another hour or so, beat it again. This yields an icy mixture.]
Orange Pekoe Mousse.
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon gelatine
Scald together, add:
1 1/2 tablespoons orange pekoe tea
[Let cool?] Add to this mixture:
2 egg yolks mixed
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons of corn syrup
a few grains of salt
grated rind of 1 orange
In a double boiler, stir until thickened. Strain, cool and cut and fold into 2 egg whites, beaten stiff. Stir occasionally until cold and beginning to stiffen. Beat 1/2 pint cream until thick, add mixture gradually, turn into pan of refrigerator and freeze [about 3 hours or until firm.]
Lemon Cream Sherbet.
2/3 cup sugar or 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream, sweet or sour
a few grains salt.
Mix, and add gradually to 2 teaspoon gelatine soaked and dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water. Chill in large refrigerator pan, then beat 10 minutes or until very light. Return to chilling unit and leave until frozen. If the mixture separates and the bottom portion becomes icy, it should be beaten again.
Pears Frozen with Ginger Ale.
Drain syrup from canned pears and put in refrigerator pan. Add to pear syrup an equal amount of ginger ale. Pour over the pears and leave 2 hours or until mushy.
Place pears in nests of lettuce leaves, fill center with
Preserved ginger, chopped, or with
Chopped nuts, or with
Cream cheese, and serve with
Or omit lettuce and serve with whipped cream.
-- There is also a whole chapter on whipped cream, speaking of which. Interesting ideas that have fallen from modern fashion include pre-freezing pipings of whipped cream in order to place them later onto hot desserts, and coloring whipped cream ("especially attractive with some colorless or dark desserts.")
And did you know -- "Any ice cream, mousse or parfait served with crushed fruit or other sauce becomes a 'coupe.'"
And let us not overlook the best chapter of all: --
"Frozen Delicacies to Tempt the Invalid."
These include Frappéd Clam Juice, Frappéd Sherry Milk, and Orange Ice for Diabetics (with saccharine in place of sugar.)
I must say, the General Electric Refrigerator Recipes is one of the better refrigerator recipe book of the era. I have others in my collection -- GE's must have been very cutting edge as most of its recipes still would hold up today, invalid food aside. (Compare to the Kelvinator brand's Cooking With Cold which includes multiple 2-ingredient salads and other recipes we'd consider too simple nowadays to even be worth describing.) Sometimes the old even becomes new again, as with the whipped cream and ice block advice (candies, fruits and flowers can be frozen inside of ice cubes to decorate them for parties! Wow!)
And of course...