Welcome to the 20th post of That Crazy Cookbook Guy. It’s been a wild ride.
I know this, blogging is addictive. I have serious writing to do and here I am, blogging about yet another cookbook. Thank you for reading.
Today I pulled another book out of my recent acquisitions. The Garden Club Holiday Cookbook is a 1971 publication of The Montgomery Federation of Garden Clubs. It is a compilation of submissions from garden club members around the country. The large format (approximately 10×7)allows for an average of four recipes per page. Very professionally done. When they say “holiday” they really mean it. The book is organized through the calendar year from New Year’s Eve through Christmas. Well, technically, New Year’s Eve should be at the end of the year, right?
Of course, Christmas and Thanksgiving are very well represented, but it has special sections with recipes for things like Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Easter, and the Fourth of July. That’s not all, it has Memorial Day and Labor Day as well and in a bit of poor planning, it has recipes for both Lincoln’s Birthday AND Washington’s Birthday. I guess they missed the news that these would be combined as President’s Day the same year the cookbook was published. Oh, there is a good section on Halloween too although one of my pet peeves is calling it a “holiday” … it is a special day and is great fun and a lot of laughs, but holiday? Okay, that’s just me. It is a party day. One could say the same thing about St. Patrick’s Day if you are not Irish, but it is at least an ethnic holiday since it is a holiday in Ireland. Okay, the Wiccans, right. Let’s just go on, okay?
Are you ready to Party Down? Don’t you wish you were one of these people? Ah, but the book has no mention of Mother’s Day or Veteran’s Day or even Columbus Day ,,, I guess they didn’t rate, but Christmas Eve did. A single section also covers Weddings, Anniversaries, and Birthdays. The book ends with a section on “Festive Events” … oh, I see, this is where Mother’s Day and Father’s Day get covered. Also a Derby Day Brunch and Election Night Supper. As you can see, these mini-sections have suggested menus too, so if you need to have an After the Game Pancake Supper, or a Graduation Swim Supper, you are covered. You’re also covered for a Poker Party Snack. They end the book with what must be the most important menu of the all for the garden club members … the cherished Bridge Buffet.
So if you want to salute the memory of St. Patrick with a Leprechaun Pudding Cake, or honor Abraham Lincoln with a wonderful Barley Casserole, you are covered. Almost every Washington’s Birthday favorite has cherries, except for two bizarre inclusions, Coconut-Raspberry Bavarian, and Strawberry Marshmallow Whip. I guess they wanted other red fruits to be represented. Sad that they missed the whole President’s Day transition, but, well, anachronistic trends help make old cookbooks even more interesting. Most other represented holidays have good recipes for the holidays they represent. As expected, recipes for Memorial Day and Labor Day are a bit of a stretch. The former concentrates on camp food and the latter concentrates on barbeque favorites.
There are pictures throughout the cookbook and although many are in black and white, it does have quite a few color plates. The pictures are irritating because they aren’t captioned. This absolutely hideous cake picture is in the Easter introduction. Each section has an introduction narrative which is pretty useless because they ramble on and on and even throw in an extra recipe or two. Note: if you don’t put it in the recipe section, it isn’t going to make it into the index. I think the cake in the picture is what they called a Spring Bonnet Cake in this awful narrative. This recipe did not make it into the index.
I think if If there was a UFO Day, this would be the perfect cake.
With so many recipes to choose from it was difficult to pick one, but since it is October (and they totally ignored Columbus Day, I decided to go with a Halloween recipe.
So, there are good things cooking at the Garden Club, but it isn’t all tea and crumpets. Still, it was an interesting find.