Praise For the Cook is another cookbook dedicated to the almighty Crisco! (Like the Crisco’s Easy As Pie Cookbook that was for letter C.) This was published in 1959. It has lots of standards for meals, snacks and entertaining as well as “sparkling new and modern cooking ideas.” It has the classic 1950’s feel with the graphics and writing.
Going through all of my old cookbooks for this challenge it is painfully clear how far recipe writing has come, and how concise recipes today are written. In so many of the old cookbooks the writing is tiny, with recipes crammed in on pages. Cooking steps are left out, or take place partially in the ingredients listings. Careful pre-reading must have been so crucial, and cookbook writers took for granted a certain level of expertise in the home cook. This cookbook is a nice one to look through: everything is presented in a very clean and easy style, the pages are bright, and for the most part the steps in the directions are very clear. Some of the cooking steps are still sort of assumed, or glossed over but not as problematically as in some of the others. In each section there are many recipes that include variations, other flavors and presentations.
No doubt though that it is a cookbook of the past! Fried foods, a whole lot of fried foods. Hardly a surprise given that it is a Crisco cookbook. And of course it is for women, for the homemakers. The caption on the recipe for Hungarian Goulash says, “Men love it.”
There is though, a section in this cookbook that I haven’t seen in my others yet, named Cookery For Men. For when “the cooking equipment and the man of the house have moved out to the backyard.” In this section are the good, meaty recipes like Ragout of Beef, Barbecue, Bologna-On-A-Spit, and Brunswick Stew. Here is the recipe for Brunswick Stew, thankfully with an alternative to the traditional main ingredient: squirrel.
For another vintage soup recipe check out this 18th century recipe for Excellent Cheape Soup. Or, if all this talk of Crisco has you craving some pie, how about these Handheld Cherry Pies!
- The recipe is from the Praise For The Cook cookbook. The ingredients and directions are listed and formatted below as they appear in the cookbook. Fun!
Originally made with squirrel meat but chicken is much handier.
1 cup sliced onion
3 to 3-1/2 pound frying chicken, cut in pieces
1/3 cup Crisco
1 cup water
3-1/2 cups (1-lb. 13-oz. can) tomatoes
2 cups sweet corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)
2 cups lima beans (fresh, frozen, or canned)
2/3 cup okra (fresh, frozen, or canned)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sherry, if desired
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Brown onion and chicken in hot CRISCO in large skillet or Dutch oven. Cover and cook on low heat until tender, about 45 minutes. Add water, tomatoes, corn, beans, okra, and salt. Cook for 1 hour. Add sherry, Worcestershire Sauce, and bread crumbs, and cook 15 to 20 minutes more. Makes 6 to 8 servings.