Archives

Baked Treats

The Original Chocolate Fudge Brownie (Palmer House)

September 8, 2016

The Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 was a chocolate-lovers dream: Boston-based chocolatier Walter M. Lowney brought the first American chocolate bars. America’s oldest chocolate maker, Walter Baker & Company, handed out samples and showed visitors how chocolate was made. And the Palmer House introduced the first chocolate brownie, because Bertha Palmer wanted a portable dessert that ladies could have in boxed lunches at the fair.

Unlike other brownie recipes which started appearing in 1904 and specified that butter and sugar were first creamed before being combined with a small amount of melted chocolate, the Palmer House brownie is made with more than a pound of melted chocolate and a pound of melted butter. The finished brownie is also glazed with apricot jelly.  A combination of chocolate fudge and brownie, crispy-chewy on the edges, ultra dense and chocolatey, we think it’s best served frozen, or very cold…otherwise, gooey things happen. (Not sure how this worked in a boxed lunch…) Chef Stephen Henry says for cleanest slices, freeze the brownies for three hours after glazing. Then cut, and serve while very firm and cold.

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Soda Fountain

Summer Girl Soda

August 26, 2016

Still hot? Me too! How about this vintage soda fountain creation? Raspberry, orange and vanilla in frothy foam…with all those pastels, it’s no wonder the Pacific Northwest, Meier & Frank department-store chain called this the Summer Girl Soda. According to fourth-generation Frank family-member Gerry Frank, Continue Reading…

Southern Stylings

New Orleans Okra Giardiniera

July 29, 2016

When Liz Williams, director of New Orleans’ Southern Food & Beverage Museum was little, her mama couldn’t stand okra. “So, I didn’t eat it either,” says Liz. But Liz’ Louisiana-born-and bred daddy loved the stuff.  He bought a jar of pickled okra on a picnic outing and won  Liz over with the crunchy spears. “When I figured out what it was, I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my mom that she was wrong about okra,” Liz laughs. “Eventually, she grew to like it.” For anybody else out there who is skittish about okra, pickling it is the way to go.  This vibrant, crunchy and lightly spicy giardiniera–a Williams family favorite–is a showcase for pickled okra. Continue Reading…

Appetizers & Snacks

Green Goddess Dip

July 16, 2016

Anchovies, chives, parsley, wine vinegar, sour cream…the original Green Goddess dressing was created by Chef Phillip Roemer of San Francisco’s Palace Hotel in 1923 for a banquet in honor of actor George Arliss who was starring in William Archer’s play, “The Green Goddess.” Add some minced garlic and zowie-wowie! It becomes a potent dip like this one we found in a 1940s “Let’s Eat Red Dot Potato Chips” company flyer. Continue Reading…

Appetizers & Snacks

Pimiento Cheese Cherry Bombs

July 11, 2016

My mom loved pimiento cheese. She had an old box grater and used to make me shred mounds of cheddar to prepare the spread from scratch, keeping it in the fridge next to jars of pickled peppers so hot even the brine made my eyes water. Hers was the simple cheese-mayo-pimiento blend.  But remembering those jars of jalapenos, I thought, why not add a little more kick? Continue Reading…

State Fair Fun

Corn Dogs

July 5, 2016

Here’s a little-known fact: Early corn-dog purveyor Ed Waldmire, Jr., wanted to call his corn-dog stand “The Crusty Cur”….his wife convinced him to change the name to “Cozy Pup.”  Like most other American fried-food-on-a-stick, batter-fried weiner wands have state fair connections. Vaudeville actors Carl and Neil Fletcher abandoned their Dallas song-and-dance act tent show in 1938 when the Texas State Fair offered them the chance to operate a food booth. The two had read about a man in the Oaklawn neighborhood of Dallas who was baking corn-battered hotdogs in molds, and the idea intrigued them, so the brothers set out to improve on the product. They perfected their batter-dipped and fried corn dog in time for the 1942 Texas State Fair. Continue Reading…

Pie Revival

Serviceberry Pie (Yes, you can eat them!)

June 25, 2016

The berry world has its less-than-romantic nomenclature. I mean, “straw” or “rasp” don’t scream, “Eat me!” But those berries eclipsed their names to become berry rockstars. Not so the serviceberry. Reddish-purple and shaped & textured like a small blueberry (but with more “red-berry” flavor to the juice) serviceberries are the fruit of one of America’s favorite ornamental trees. But most Americans don’t know the berries are edible.  I’d love to change that. Continue Reading…

Strawberry Fields

Strawberries & Cream Fridge Cake

June 21, 2016

Dreamy, chilled desserts full of cream, marshmallow, or mousse were very popular with housewives of the forties and fifties when the potential of the home refrigerator was still being explored. From bombes and baked Alaskas, to mousses, meringues, marlows and mallobets–cookbooks of that era celebrated them all. Continue Reading…

Frozen Treats

Lime-Chocolate Ice Cream Pie

June 13, 2016

Serendipity! Two or three people who don’t know each other, and live hundreds of miles apart in separate States, ask for the same lost recipe, on the same day. That’s what happened with this ice-cream pie request. Chuck Weibler wrote in looking for a frozen lime pie he remembered from 1956 the same day that Marcie asked for a similar dessert. Both recipes included chocolate ice-cream under a home-made, frozen lime-cream topper; Marcie’s with a chocolate crust, and Chuck’s with a gingersnap crust. Continue Reading…