A rather pedestrian card on the front but so interesting on the back! Imagine my delight to find this unusual portrait on the back of a recipe clipping. The date was Thursday May 3, 1928. A flourish separates the date from the drawing. Was it a family member? a self portrait? We can never know, but this is one of the many reasons I love vintage recipe cards. You really get a glimpse into people, don’t you?
The recipe also makes me ask some questions about historical context:
- When was the hand mixer invented? Would the person have used one of those hand-cranked egg beater things to cream the shortening? I ask because I think the electric hand mixer was invented in the 40s or 50s, or at least was not widely commercially available for housewives before that time. My mother remembers her mother being given one and it was a really “new fangled” item at the time. This might have been in the 1940s – she said Gram was always an early adopter of new technology and that Grandma Alice gave it to Gram for a gift. Grandma Alice died in 1952, so it had to have been before that time.
- What was “absorbent paper”? Paper towels were invented in 1931, so this recipe predates what we today think of as absorbent paper. The Scott Paper Company did make toilet paper in the late 19th century, so it is possible that was what they intended I suppose, but I really don’t know. For the record, schools, train stations and municipal buildings used those roller towels in their bathrooms – like a long piece of cloth that just wound over the roller in a big circle. I can remember using one somewhere and hating it because it was damp from other people drying their hands. Yuck. The germs they must have spread!
A good standard recipe is as follows:
1/2 teacup shortening
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
Cream shortening and sugar, blending them thoroughly together. Then add beaten egg. Measure and sift together the flour and other dry ingredients, and add alternately with milk to sugar mixture. Beat well and add enough more flour to make a soft dough. Toss on floured board, roll to one-fourth inch in thickness and cut in desired shapes. Fry in deep fat at 360 degrees until brown. Drain on absorbent paper. When cool, roll in sugar.