She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. Proverbs 31

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Favorite Things ~ Old Books

Old books are one of my favorites things. I enjoy finding them in treasures hunts at the Goodwill, Second Hand bookstores and tag sales. I even love their smell! LOL

One of my favorites is "Grandma's Cooking" by Allan Keller ~ a combination fictional story and cookbook. It's dated 1955 and is an old library withdrawal from a local high school. Throughout are little handwritten comments and additions to the recipes. On page 165, some dreamy high school girl wrote "Babies" in flowery print. Wish I knew who she was ~ things like that just fascinate me.

Chapter 8 is entitled Maybaskets and Old Lace. It begins:

"Maytime in Windham Couty was a wondrous thing to behold. Grandma's great French lilac bush burst into blossom, filling the air for hundres of years around with its heady, overpowering scent. The johnny-jump-ups bloomed under the strawberry shrub and forsythia, and the bare spots in the front and side yards disappeared into a thick carpet of green."

On page 109 begins "Pages from Grandma's Recipe Book" and is filled with all sorts of wonderful chapters including a chapter for wild game with recipes using venison, rabbit and partridge. Other recipes have names like Autumn Spice Cake, Aunt Rachel's Stew, and Farmer's Delight.

Though I haven't yet tried it, I wanted to share one delightful recipe from the pages of this book. I enjoy the comments the author adds afterward.

Windham County Applesauce Cake
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 C plus 2 T flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp mace
1/4 tsp allspice
2 1/2 T cocoa
1 3/4 C unsweetened applesauce
3/4 C black walnut meats
1 C chopped raisins

Cream together butter, salt and sugar. Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Sift together twice flour, soda, baking powder and spices to mix them well. Add dry ingredients alternately with applesauce to creamed mixture. Beat well after each addition until smooth. Mix in raisins. Add the chopped walnuts, if desired.

Pour into greased and floured pan. Bake in moderate oven at 350 degrees for 60 minutes, or until done. A 10-inch square pan will give about the right thickness to the cake.

Grandma served this applesauce cake, both hold and cold, with big wedges of sage cheese. With a glass of milk, it was almost a meal in itself. Many's the time the cake, cheese and milk stayed a small boy's hunger between the close of school and supper at the end of the day.



Linda said...

What a treasure that book is! I wish I had more old books. I love the poetic way they wrote in days of old!!

Have a great Weekend!

marie said...

Ok - I'm sold! I just added a few necessary ingredients to my shopping list. We are having some applesauce cake this weekend!


By the way ~ I agree about the smell of old books ~ love it!

Nancy M. said...

How neat! When I was younger I never appreciated things like that. What was I thinking?

Kim~HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs said...

I love old books, too, and your's is certainly a treasure!

Janelle said...

Lea....I'm just like you! I LOVE the smell of old books! I bought a few old hymnals not long ago, and the first thing I did was open them to smell
That recipe looks yummy and I'm gonna have to try that!


Kath said...

Hi Lea!
What a wonderful old book!
I'm right there with ya...I love old books too. I wish I had more!

Have a beautiful weekend.


Karen said...

Hi Lea, been missing ya!
Your book sure is a treasure and the recipe sounds absolutely wonderful.

Hey guess what...Tuesday I'm hoping to make that Hickory Nut cake from your Hickory brother/wife are coming over and I so hope I can find time to crack hard shelled nuts and bake a cake by then! THANKS AGAIN....

Hugs, karen

lindanuts said...

It's so eerie....I collect old books! And my favorites are cookbooks and children's! I have them tucked in everywhere throughtout the house! I hope and pray my kids will value them as much as I do.
Love the applesauce cake recipe.
You'll have to tell me what sage cheese is, tho!
Hoping you are having a great weekend!

Nancy Jo said...

Now see what you have made me do? I went to amazon and ordered a copy of this book. Boy you are something. I was looking on there and one copy of this book was ninety two dollars. Now that is not the one I ordered. I guess that must have been a first run copy. SOOOOOO I look forward to gettung it. I just don't want you to have anything that I don't have. Of course I do have those little pillows and you don't. But then you do have that very pretty new decorated bedroom.. ok sort of even.
Nancy Jo

Beemoosie said...

That is so sweet!!! I love old books too!! I have them scattered through my house~seriously they are EVERY where! And yes, I understand about the smell!

Kathleen from Yesteryear Embroideries and Eggs In My Pocket said...

I agree with you... there is nothing like an old book, especially when someone has written notes in them. What a treasure you have found with this one! Have a wonderful weekend, blessings, Kathleen

Monkeybean said...

I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for wishing me a happy birthday and going a long with my moms idea. Not to mention that I am now going to have to try the apple sauce cake recipe.
Have a great weekend,

tam said...

Hi Lea! Fun post-love looking back into the past like that! Really great find! Thanks for sharing it with us! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend! ~Smiles~Tam!

Farmchick said...

I too love old books...especially cookbooks! Have a blessed day!

carolyn at cranberry crossings: said...

Hey Lea! What a cool old book! I love old books too. Nothing captures a "time" like they do!

Thank you for visiting me. I am still trying to get caught up! LOL!

I hope you have a great week!

Farrah said...

I love old cookbooks! Thank you for sharing.

I have given you something so please stop by and visit me.

By the way, I'm a MJ Farmgirl myself!

Janet, said...

I love old books too. I have lots and some of them are old cookbooks. That applesauce cake sounds good.

Sharon said...

I love old books too Lea! It's hard for me to pass them up when I come across one. Yours looks like a great find!

Julie said...

Oh, Lea!!!!
I just love old books, too! Love, love, love.... their innocence, their truth, their gift of writing... oh, I could just go on and on!
I wrote the name of this one down and I'm going to be searching for it!
It looks just wonderful! I especially love that illustration, as I do almost all illustrations from old books!
Thanks, too, for sharing this recipe. My husband's favorite cake is Applesauce cake. I've never seen using cocoa in it -- that sounds like a great idea. The mace? I don't recall ever using it. Do you know of a substitute?
I've got some applesauce (I just made applesauce spice muffins). This would be a great use of what's left over...

ByLightOfMoon said...

Lea, you are always posting about the neatest things, Now I have tons of books, I carry out a basketful every time I go to the thrift store. I will have to look for more cookbooks. I agree about the notes in the owners writing.
I lost alot of my books when we had our auction and I guess that is why I crave to OWN them again.
I am coping the recipe and will try it. I don't know about mace either.But, I love applesauce anything!


The Whites said...

I love old books too. I love anything old, actually! I always say I was born in the wrong century!

Great treasure you have there!


Sue@CountryPleasures said...

I love old books too and the hunt is fun also! I esp. love the books with old recipes, I'll have to make this one for hubby!

Patricia said...

A treasure to be sure! I too love old books and collect them. I have enjoyed visiting!