Over the past few years I’ve been collecting a vintage, pamphlet-style magazine called Cooking Club: The Practical Cooking Magazine. Now that I have an issue for each month of the year, I’ve decided to share a monthly Cooking Club recipe with all of you. The pages of Cooking Club are filled with editorials, ads and stories. Most of the content is hilariously out of date; in fact, some of it is downright offensive when taken out of the historical context and social climate of America in 1905. And yet, a few of the editorials are surprisingly ahead of their time. The January 1905 issue is no exception. I’ve included some of my favorite tidbits here.
1905 was the year Albert Einstein worked on developing the theory of relativity, Las Vegas was founded, and German spy and exotic dancer Mata Hari made her big stage debut. It was the second year of the Russo-Japanese War. Several fascinating personalities were born in 1905 including Greta Garbo, Christian Dior and Howard Hughes. What were they all eating? Cooking Club gives us many clues, from recipes to full menus. Each issue includes menu suggestions for the month, including dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here are the suggestions for January 1905. I love scanning through to see what people were eating at the time. Popcorn with cream, hot clam cocktails, jelly fritters and brick ice cream all make an appearance here.
One column in the magazine that surprised me with its foresight is titled, “Hygienic Value of Olive Oil.” The piece urges that “people should buy it in half gallon cans and make a business of using it internally and externally.” Over a century later we are still praising the benefits of olive oil in cooking and skincare, so Cooking Club was definitely onto something. I also found a section on “coreless apples” quite interesting. The hybrid variety of apple is described as “the world’s greatest discovery in horticulture and the wonder of the age.” The apples are red with yellow dots and, like oranges, have a hard navel at the bottom. I’m not sure what happened to these coreless apples or why they didn’t catch on, but they certainly would make prepping for apple pies an easier task.
Don’t you just love this ad? Hats were very fashionable during the early 1900s and ladies were offered this Gainsborough Dress Hat in exchange for “one day’s work.” The hat is “made of fine quality silk velvet, edged with several rows of all silk taffeta folds. Has new high Bell crown; imported cut steel ornament on the right side. Back of hat is further embellished with three rows of all silk ribbon which also falls over the back and forms a trimming bow on the ‘all around bandeau.’ Very neat, stylish and of superior workmanship.” It was available in brown, grey or black. Sounds pretty fancy, no? And possibly a bit heavy.
There is an eclectic mix of content in the magazine; corners and ends of columns are filled with stories, jokes, and rhymes. I have to admit this little rhyme made me giggle and cringe at the same time. Vegetarians will not be amused:
There were many interesting recipes in this month’s issue. I ultimately settled on maple custards; it seemed like a nice flavor for the season, and I’d never tried a custard flavored with maple syrup. I first followed the original recipe as written. As is often the case with historical recipes, the results were mixed. While the concept was good, the custard was too eggy and lacked in maple flavor, sweetness and complexity. It also called for an orange custard sauce but did not specify a recipe. Here is the original recipe:
I liked the basic flavor profile here, so I made a few adjustments. I scalded the milk and tempered the eggs to prevent curdling and enhance that rich, creamy custard texture. I also increased the maple syrup and added a bit of sugar to the mix. The resulting custard was really delightful– sweet and layered with a delightful hint of maple flavor.
Cooking Club suggests serving the custards with whipped cream and a thin orange sauce. This issue didn’t include a recipe for the sauce, but I was able to adapt a simple pudding sauce recipe from another issue (Cooking Club, February 1913) that worked nicely; I simply substituted orange juice for water and added a bit of vanilla. The combination of maple and orange flavors was just lovely. I didn’t add an “English walnut” but it wouldn’t be out of place here. The recipe suggests unmolding the custards from their cups. I was able to do that with a bit of maneuvering, though I don’t think it’s necessary, as this dessert can be enjoyed right out of the cup. I used antique coral-colored custard cups that were passed down from my grandmother, but any custard cup will do. I hope you have a chance to make this custard, it’s a simple dessert and well worth the effort.
Do you collect old cookbooks or cooking magazines? What titles do you have in your collection?
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Maple Custard with Orange Sauce
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
Orange Sauce Ingredients
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp orange zest
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and butter the inside of the custard cups.
- Heat sugar and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Cook until large bubbles form and pile up on top of one another, as opposed to just boiling. Remove from heat.
- In a medium saucepan, combine milk, cream and salt heat, slowing bring to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat when the mixture begins to boil.
- While whisking, slowly pour the syrup mixture into the into the milk mixture. Whisk until well combined and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the whole eggs and egg yolks. While whisking, slowly ladle the cream and syrup mixture into the beaten eggs, a little at a time. Continue adding until everything is well combined.
- Place the custard cups into the bottom of a large roasting pan. Pour the custard mixture into the buttered custard cups, leaving roughly 1/2" of head space. This can be done easily by transferring the custard mixture to a large measuring cup with a pouring spout.Add warm water to the bottom of the pan until it reaches 2/3 the way up the sides of the custard cups. Place the pan in the oven and carefully top off with enough water so that it is level with the filling in the custard cups. This prevents water from spilling over into the cups as you're transferring the pan to the oven.
- Add warm water to the bottom of the pan until it reaches 2/3 the way up the sides of the custard cups. Place the pan in the oven and carefully top off with enough water so that it is level with the filling in the custard cups. This prevents water from spilling over into the cups as you're transferring the pan to the oven.
- Bake for 80-90 minutes, or until the centers of the custards are set.
- Remove the custards from the oven. Cover and allow them to set up in the refrigerator overnight.
- To make the orange sauce, combine the ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir to combine and heat until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
- Serve the custards with the orange sauce and fresh whipped cream. They can be served directly in the cups (I prefer it this way) or un-molded by running a thin knife around the edge and turning out onto a serving plate. If the custard is stubborn to come loose, dip the bottoms of the custard bowls into a dish of hot water for a few seconds to help the custard inside loosen a bit.