“Sunset’s New Kitchen Cabinet Cook Book” (1938)

This book is adorable!  I don’t remember when or where I bought it, but I was definitely enchanted by the illustrations.  This book is from the publishers of Sunset Magazine.  It’s a compilation of recipes from a column entitled “Kitchen Cabinet” that appeared each month in the magazine.  The editors state, “Now, for the first time, Sunset’s New Kitchen Cabinet Cook Book gives you all of the recipes published over a period of nearly 10 years — from February, 1929, to June, 1938!”  I have the 1940 edition of this book and I’m amazed that it’s still in decent condition.  It’s over 70 years old and all the pages are still intact! 

Every page contains illustrations of stylish young women in the 1930’s.  Look closely at the picture to the right.  I found this one to be very funny; you’ll notice that the woman is covering her face with a handkerchief while she’s chopping onions and garlic with only one hand.  I imagine that anyone chopping this way would find it very time-consuming.  She also has her index finger over the knife handle, which is not the most ergonomic way to chop. 

A recipe in this book for “San Diego Special Garlic Bread” caught my eye.  We had just planned a trip to San Diego.  I was also wondering what was so “special” about this bread.  I hardly ever serve garlic bread because I didn’t have a recipe for good garlic bread.  In the past, I’ve even resorted to buying the frozen kind when I’ve needed to serve it, but the ingredients in it are scary.  I remember one of my friend’s ex-boyfriends made a garlic bread spread by combining margarine with garlic salt.  It was edible, but the ingredients also make me cringe when I think about it.  Since then, I’ve found a recipe that I’ve adapted so that I can make my own garlic rolls, but that’s a different cookbook and it’s not the same type of garlic bread. 

This recipe sounded a bit unusual but resulted in some very tasty bread.  It involves splitting a loaf lengthwise, then slicing it up but not all the way through to the bottom of the crust.  You then spread butter all over and put one whole clove of garlic between each slice.  I actually split the cloves of garlic first because it would be more flavorful with the garlic juices exposed.  The top is sprinkled with salt, parmesan cheese and paprika — which gives it that orange color I’ve seen on some garlic bread but didn’t know why it looked that way. 

Another recipe on the same page is definitely unusual for our modern tastes.  “Tender Salmon Cheeks” is a delicacy that I’m not familiar with.  It’s basically pan-fried salmon cheeks in gravy.  I never realized that fish had cheeks, but then again, I’m not very knowlegeable about fish — having never caught or cleaned fresh fish before.  Also on the same page is a recipe for “Salad Dressing Supreme” which requires almost half a cup of sugar!  Yikes — is it a salad dressing or a dessert topping?  I don’t even put that much sugar into whipped cream when I’m using it to top a dessert.

I may not be cooking much out of this book, but it is a very enjoyable read — especially with the comic-strip style illustrations.

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Published in: on January 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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