Cooking for Funds: Cookbooks & Food Sales
We have a lot of cookbooks in the Folklife Center. I mean A LOT! When I started compiling artifacts, books, documents, and records together for my exhibit "Beyond Suffrage: Women’s Clubs in Greater Glens Falls, NY" I knew I would include a section of cookbooks. The twenty cookbooks I chose ranged from church groups to sororities, from garden clubs to ladies auxiliaries, and covered over one hundred years from 1882 until the 1990s.
Occasionally the cover art featured famous artists, like Douglas Crockwell's illustration of a little girl licking a beater on the cover of Group Six of the Women's Association of the Presbyterian Church cookbook Big Loaves Little Fishes (1949).
Not only did women's clubs sell cookbooks to raise funds, they also held food and bake sales. The Political Equality Club of Glens Falls, our local suffrage club, held numerous bake sales from 1914-1917 to raise money for pro-suffrage speakers like Jane Mander of New Zealand, Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale, and Rabbi Stephen Wise to visit Glens Falls.
Then I got a great idea! What if I chose a few recipes & made an entire dinner? Back in 2017 I tried the Cocoanut Cookies by Harriette Robinson Shattuck from the 1886 Suffragist Cookbook & it is now a staple in my baking repertoire. So, as I was choosing the cookbooks to add to my display, I was leafing through them to pick out recipes that looked both appetizing, and slightly questionable, because I wanted a challenge. I decided on five recipes, made a shopping list based on the ingredients, and set about cooking & baking.
I started with dessert, of course! These "Hello Dolly Bars" by Peg Smith from the P.E.O.ple's Choice Cookbook (undated) published by the Glens Falls Chapter of P.E.O. International were delicious, and simple to make.
"Hello Dolly Bars" by Peg Smith
1/2 stick margarine
1 c graham cracker crumbs
1 c chocolate chips
1 c pecans
1 c coconut
1 c sweetened condensed milk
Melt margarine in 9" square pan. Add remaining ingredients in pan in successive layers. DO NOT MIX. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
Next I made the Sausage Puff Surprises because they required freezing. This recipe by Nancy Keswick was published in the 1978 Queensbury Central Ladies Auxiliary Cookbook from the Ladies Auxiliary of the Queensbury Central Volunteer Fire Co. They make a great appetizer, or as an addition to a bowl of hot soup.
Sausage Puff Surprises by Nancy Keswick
1 lb bulk sausage (I used Italian sweet sausage)
10 oz medium cheddar cheese (shredded)
3 c Bisquick
Brown sausage and drain well. Melt cheese (90 seconds in microwave). Mix all ingredients together well and shape into balls. Freeze on cookie sheet and then put in bags. Defrost first. Cook at 325° about 10 minutes.
Cape Cod Cranberry Punch by Marjorie Marrs appeared in the Big Loaves and Little Fishes cookbook Crockwell designed the cover for above. I do not usually drink sugary beverages, & this recipe is why: SO DELCIOUS! (I used diet ginger ale to cut down on the sugar, but seltzer would work, too!)
Cape Cod Cranberry Punch by Marjorie Marrs
1 1/2 c sugar
2 c water
3 c cranberry juice
1/3 c lemon juice
2 c orange juice
1 qt ginger ale (or seltzer)
Make a syrup by boiling water and sugar for 10 minutes. Add cranberry, lemon, and orange juices. Chill. Just before serving add ginger ale.
With dessert baked, beverage cooling, and appetizers still in the freezer, I moved on to the entre: Crisp Onion-Chicken Bake by Karen Marks from the More of Sisterhood's Best cookbook (undated) from the Temple Beth-El Sisterhood in Glens Falls. I have made this a number of times, it is that tasty.
Crisp Onion-Chicken Bake by Karen Marks
1/2 c bottled French dressing
1/4 c water
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 broider-fryer chicken, cut up (I used 2 1/2 lbs of chicken breast)
Remove skin from chicken. Heat oven to 375°. In roasting pan, combine salad dressing, water and onion soup mix; blend well. Add chicken and turn each piece to coat well. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour or until chicken is tender and golden brown. Serves 3-4.
Now for the vegetables! I am a sucker for a good vegetable casserole, so I had to make this one: Crowd Pleasing Vegetable Bake by Fran Kneeshaw from the Glens Falls Chapter's Hometown Recipes of Beta Sigma Phi (undated). I had to make some alterations because weights of cans and packages have changed over the years, but I have listed the original recipe. (Plus, I dislike mushrooms, so they were left out in my version.)
Crowd Pleasing Vegetable Bake by Fran Kneeshaw
20 oz pkg frozen cauliflower
10 oz pkg frozen cut broccoli
17 oz can cream style corn
17 oz can whole kernel corn
2 c shredded swiss cheese, 8 oz
10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of celery soup
4 oz can sliced mushrooms (I left out)
1 1/2 c soft rye bread crumbs, 2 slices
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Cook cauliflower and broccoli according to pkg. directions; drain. Cut up any large pieces. Combine cream style corn, drained whole corn, cheese qand soup. Fold in cooked vegetables and mushrooms. Turn mixture into a 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Toss bread crumbs with melted butter; sprinkle atop casserole. Bake uncovered at 375° for 30-35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 10-12 servings.
All and all, I think I made some very good choices, and wished I could have had a dinner party to share all of the good food I made with the help of some very goof cooks and bakers.
The cookbook collection at the Folklife Center is a non-circulating collection, but patrons can make photocopies of recipes when the reading room reopens. Until then, please call us at 518-792-6508 x239 for research queries.
Tisha Dolton is Librarian/Historian at The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, NY. Her areas of interest are suffrage music, suffragists of Warren and Washington Counties, local women and minority populations, and embroidery.