Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Vintage Children's Cookbooks #1: Cooking Fun

Since I was young I have always loved cookbooks, and I have collected many cookbooks written for children. Today I am going to share with you "Cooking for Fun, a Cook Book for Beginning Readers".
The author, Barbara Guthrie McDonald worked in a library, and later owned a second-hand and antiquarian bookstore in Catskill, New York, known as "McDonald's Book Ends". She worked with the Girl Scouts, and formed many ideas for this cookbook working with her daughter and seven year old Brownies.
The delightful red and green illustrations are by Vee Guthrie, the author's sister, an illustrator of children's books and cookbooks, and a nursery school teacher. She said she likes to illustrate children's books because she likes to read them.
This sweet little cookbook was published in 1960 by Henry Z. Walck, Inc. New York. It is hardbound, with a dust jacket, and once was part of a school library.
This book would be good for a beginning cook of ANY age. It is very precise when explaining even the most simple cooking skills, and it does not "talk down" to the kids. I know several people of varying ages who could use instruction on how to break an egg, how to measure, and recipe terms and words. Also helpful are the two pages on Equals for Measuring. Did you know that one pound of brown sugar is the same as two cups?
I wanted to share a couple of recipes with you, and it was hard to pick out my favorites. There are many great recipes, including Cinnamon Toast Cutouts, Cereal Zoo, Space Man Sandwich, Cream Puff Swans, and Frosted Lemonade. But since it is getting close to Christmas, I chose a couple that remind me of that holiday, and that would be nice to enjoy in front of a nice warm fire.
Many hands and many helpers help make quick work. Note the pan handles turned towards the wall so hot water won't spill on you and burn, the use of oven mitts and aprons, the boy doing the clean-up! (I like that idea!)
I make biscuits once a month for our Kelsey Community Association breakfast, and I "cheat" and use Bisquick. But the biscuit recipe in this little cookbook looks so easy I might just try it one of these days. They suggest just putting the sticky dough directly into the pan, smoothing it with a table knife, and marking it into squares. No rolling pin or cookie cutter for these little cooks! The only problem is their recipe makes enough biscuits for 4 people, probably about 8 biscuits. I need 60 biscuits!
This recipe is for cookies called Roly Polys. I believe they are the same as the ones we Gold Country Girls called Russian Teacakes. Nice dry nutty round cookies rolled in powdered sugar. One of my favorites.

Ask your mother to light the oven to 350 degrees. Sift 2 cups of flour and 6 tablespoons of sugar into the mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla.

Are your hands clean? Break 2 sticks of margarine into bits. Drop them into the bowl. Mix it all up into a big lump with both hands.

Chop 1 cup of nuts. Mix them into the bowl. This mixture is your dough.

Pick off a piece of dough the size of a walnut. Roll it into a ball. Place it on the ungreased baking sheet. Roll all the dough into Roly polys. You can make about 30.

Put the Roly Polys into the oven. Set your clock for 12 minutes.

Wash your utensils while the Roly Polys bake.

Use potholders to take the baking sheet out of the oven. Roly Polys should not be brown. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Set your clock.

Sprinkle a sheet of waxed paper with 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar. Roll the cooled Roley Polys in the sugar. Fill your cookie jar.
The how-tos are so complete. Good cooking habits include: Start with clean hands, an apron and tidy hair. Read the recipe all the way through. Make sure you have all the supplies you will need. Hold the book open with rubber bands. Do each step carefully. Clean up spills as you go along. Leave the kitchen clean and shiny, without a speck or spot.

Recipe for Hot Chocolate:
Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and a good pinch of salt. Stir with wooden spoon. When the water is boiling, take the kettle off the stove. Measure 1/2 cup of hot water. Pour it into the saucepan. Stir. Now put the saucepan on the burner. Use the potholder. The pan will get hot. Keep stirring. Is the mixture boiling? Stir, while it boils, for 2 minutes. Then take the pan off the stove. Stir in 2 cups of milk. Put the pan back on the burner, to heat. This time do not let it boil. Take it off before it bubbles. When your cocoa has heated pour the hot cocoa carefully into each teacup. If you have any marshmallows put on into each cup before pouring the cocoa.
Now sit back and sip your hot chocolate and enjoy. You made it yourself!

I hope you have enjoyed your little cooking lesson. It's time to break out the sugar cookie dough and the food coloring and sprinkles and get some cookies ready for Santa, because there are only 17 more days until Christmas, kiddies!


Heidi Ann said...

What a delightful post! I've never seen that book before, and it's very special. It makes me want some hot chocolate.

1950's_atomic_ranch_house said...

The cutest graphics!

yosemite faith said...

i agree - the graphics are great. what a great book - i only had the betty crocker one that my mom bought me for kids. this looks like it would have been one i would have loved.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Wonderful post! This book is just so sweet..I will need to look for one to add to my collection.
♥, Susan

delia hornbook said...

Such a lovely book and the illustrations are so cute and so of their time a real delight. dee ;-) x