Saturday, September 18, 2010

Community Cookbook: Spirit Lake Cook Book

One of the oldest community cookbooks in my personal collection is the Spirit Lake Cook Book sponsored by Dorcas Circle of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 1937. Spirit Lake, Iowa.

This cookbook features recipes and advertising from local businesses. Including advertising was mutually beneficial, it allowed businesses to receive much needed exposure and helped to offset costs associated with the cookbook while helping the group raise much needed funds.  Not all cookbooks include this advertising but this specific one includes 12 pages of similar looking advertisements. Ads representing food type businesses like the local creamery, market, bakery, Coca-Cola bottling company and cafe are represented here.  There are also ads that would be of interest to genealogists like that for the  Donovan Funeral Home and Baumgardner's Furniture Store and Funeral Home. (Need to know what funeral homes existed in your ancestor's time?--Look in a community cookbook from that era!) Even a female attorney is found among the advertising section, Virginia Bedell, as well as a female Ph.D., Mary Price Roberts.

One of the great aspects of this advertising section is that in this small town, even small today with only a little over 4,000 in the 2000 Census according to Wikipedia (,_Iowa), has listings for probably almost every business, which could help one gain a sense of what occupational opportunities existed.

What about the recipes?  Well they run the gamut of protein dishes, vegetables, salads, desserts and pickles/relishes. Being the era of less wastefulness than our own, the meat dishes include different kinds of "meat loafs" including one made with ham and one made with jellied veal. There is Mock California Chicken that is made with noodles and tuna and lots of kinds of pickles which would have been great way to preserve foods. These pickles include both vegetable and fruit pickles.

The above image shows a recipe for Jellied Veal Loaf, among other things.  Curious what is in the Jellied Veal Loaf?

Jellied Veal Loaf
3 T. diced celery
2 T. gelatine (sic)
1c cold water
1 tsp. salt
1 bay leaf
3 T lemon juice
2 c meat stock
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T chopped onion
2 c cooked and ground meat
3 T chopped green pepper
3 hard boiled eggs

Soak gelatin in water, dissolve in hot meat stock, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. When mixture begins to thicken, add meat, onion, green pepper and eggs, cut in pieces. Put in a wet mold in which you have previously poured 1/4 inch hot gelatine (sic). Garnish with slices of egg and green pepper. Serves 10-12. (Recipe by Mrs. H. C. Bradfield).

Surnames included in this cookbook are: Belden, Tritle, Bradfield, Smith, Jahn, Haakenson, Bramblett, Titus, Hill, Furman, Schlotterbeck, Girg, Tott, Harker, Peterson, Brainard, Brown, Pillsbury, Rodawig, Sylvester, Baumgardner, Burt, Hughes, Maytum, Richards, Moore, Moreland, Flemming, Blair, Buck, Deibner, Edwards, Cornell, Lepley, Raebel, Willadsen, Snow, Smithers, LaFontaine, Rector, Clark, Baldy, Parsons. Maish, Arp, Wiegand, Farr, Ellis, Donovan, Klein, Salyards, Radcliff, Hinshaw, Schuneman, Webb, Miller, Peck, Bernholtz, LaDoux, Phippin, Dempsie, Jensen, Lewis, Jones, Osborn, Flemming, Anderson, Schneidawind, Martinson, Cother, Rienke, Narey, Frost, Swailes, Price, Gray, Grant, Gravatt, Welty, Kushe, Redington, Simmons, Fitch, Saupe, Rank, Sarazine, Roberts, Snow, Barlow, Marshall, Williams, O'Dea, McMahon, Redger, Yarnes, Blackert, Hanson, Walson, Jahr, Salyards, Carver, Gerkin, Pedersen, Rector, Fontaine, Steenburg, Fronk, Grove, Tintinger, Strong, Hill, Lindquist, Francis, Hornseth, Ilsley, Adams, Rank, Magnuson, Wherry, Dowden, Walter, McNall, Williamz, Thomas.