Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vintage Recipe for Cole Slaw Dressing

As many of you probably know, the Midwest has been socked with sweltering weather for the last few days.  This has made it so that we haven't had any desire to fire the Margin Gem since the 17th, and we have been avoiding cooking much with the gas stove, too. Tonight, however, I headed down to the summer kitchen to try a quick vintage recipe.

During the summer, I spent some time looking at more of the recipes in the 1926 West Pottawattamie County Farm Bureau Women's Cookbook (some of you may recall that I had tried a candy recipe from this cookbook just before Christmas).  I know that many of the regular readers of this blog are interested in homesteading and self-sufficiency, so when I ran across this recipe, I made a mental note to try it because it uses ingredients that many homesteaders would either be able to produce on their own or would usually keep on hand.  I'm excited to also tell you that it turned out to be delicious!

For one head of cabbage, you'll need 3 egg yolks, 2/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup cream, salt and pepper. 

Here is what you do:

In a heavy saucepan, beat the egg yolks.  Then beat in the sugar.  Add the vinegar and place it over the fire to bring it to a boil.  Stir constantly.

The egg yolk, sugar, and vinegar mixture on the fire.

I was able to cook the dressing on a very small fire
made only of corn cobs and pieces of bark picked
up from the ground in the shed where we split our

Once the egg, sugar, and vinegar mixture has come to a good boil, add the 1/2 cup cream.  Bring back to a hard boil and then remove from heat.

The salad dressing once the cream has been added.  I was using
cream from our own cow, so you see white lumps of cream
which were very thick and had not yet melted when I snapped
the picture.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and then chill the dressing mixture.  It will congeal to a soft set as it cools in the refrigerator.

Nancy shredding the carrots and cabbage using
Granny's Saladmaster.
While the salad dressing was chilling in the refrigerator, Nancy and I prepared the cabbage and carrots with my grandmother's ancient Saladmaster.  Somewhere I have the advertising brochure that went with the Saladmaster cookware set. It was purchased for three hundred and some dollars in the 1960s, and I'm sure that it was a major purchase for my grandparents at the time. 

I can remember Granny making cole slaw with this machine when our house was still her house in the late 1970s.  Her cole slaw was always outstanding, but she made the dressing with Miracle Whip--which, of course, would have meant that there would have been no reason to fire up the Riverside Bakewell and write a blog post. :)

When the cabbage and the carrots were ready, the dressing was cool.  We combined everything and threw in a few dried cranberries.  The results were great!

The finished cole slaw.
Here is how the recipe originally appeared on page 129 of the 1926 cookbook:

Dressing for Cabbage Slaw
Mrs. Geo. J. Ward
3 egg yolks beaten                            2/3 cup vinegar
2/3 cup sugar                                    Salt and pepper

Beat the sugar into egg yolks, add vinegar and seasoning.  Boil this mixture, stirring all the time.  Add 1/2 cp sweet cream, let boil again.  When cold mix with chopped cabbage.

Again, I have to say that I'm very impressed with this simple old recipe.  It is easy and delicious, made of things that I always have on hand, and I can pronounce everything that is in it.  That's what I'd call a winner.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Flameview Owners, Please Help!

Blog reader CS (subaru_cookstove) is considering purchasing a Flameview cookstove but has some questions.  If those of you who own a Flameview would be so kind as to put your opinions in the comments section, I'm sure that CS would appreciate it.  I'm copying and pasting the questions below.  They were originally posted as a part of the comments in the blog entry entitled "Purchasing a New Woodburning Cookstove."  However, I wanted to give the questions more attention than they would have received there.  Thanks, readers!

"I have come across many favorable reviews about the Flameview's operation. However there is one very comprehensive youtube review that does not give the Flameview a good overall review. This review id dome by a dealer in Montana, Woody Chain. He seems very knowledgeable on stoves. He sells nearly every make available in North America and beyond (or so it seems). So I feel he is being objective in his review, and has lots to compare the Flameview to. In his series of videos, he takes apart a Flameview to see it from the inside. He points out some flaws in this relatively brand new unit.

Such as:

Gaps in the internal flue that directs the hot gasses around the oven. Where it seems that smoke could leak out into your home until the gaps become sealed with creasode.

Again, gaps around the oven hinges that would appear to allow smoke and gasses to leak out.

Painted steel interior of the oven that was already starting to rust before it ever had steaming food cooking in it. (As opposed to porcelain enamel or stainless steel as other brands have.)

Blower fan that is oppressively loud. And in the opinion of this dealer, is a design flaw that disrupts the thermo-dynamics of the stove by cooling a section of the flue, there by causing smoke to leak from the stove.

Glass that doesn't stay clean. Apparently the airwash causes you to burn through fuel too quickly, and doesn't work that great anyways.

Can anyone with a Flameview or other Margin stove give me some input on the points I raised earlier? My two biggest reservations are the potential smoke leakage problems and rust forming in the oven. I don't expect the stove to be perfect. For instance dirty glass is not that big of deal. A loud fan (as long as the whole this works) is not a big deal either.

I understand that all stoves leak a little smoke when they are new. I am not super picky. It is just alot of money to spend and I want to make the right choice.

Thank-you all for your input."

P.S. For some great answers to these questions, please see the Dec. 2, 2013 comment from Green Mommy posted on the "Purchasing a New Wood Cookstove" entry which is linked above.  She has some great firsthand input that she has shared there. 

Also, the Sept. 8, 2020 comment from Oldplaner below gives an excellent update.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Blog Reader's Cookstove - I

I have always wanted this blog to be a clearinghouse of information about wood cookstoves.  Toward that end, I'm excited to have the opportunity to show you a reader-submitted cookstove photo from Tim in central Minnesota.

Reader Tim's Monarch cookstove in central Minnesota.
Tim's Monarch range is a model 272AT serial # P 3077
from the 20's or 30's.  Monarch stoves were made by the
Malleable Iron Range Co. in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.
After Tim had contacted me, I sent him a bunch of questions because I always like to talk to my fellow contemporary wood cookstove cooks.  Like many of us who are cookstove lovers, Tim has basically been interested in wood cookstoves for as long as he can remember, and though Tim is a little more than a decade younger than I am, he does have the added advantage of having watched his grandmother cook on a Monarch combination range when he was young.   In my part of the world, most of the grandparents could recall cooking on a wood cookstove, but memories were all that we heard about. 

Because my post about buying a cookstove is one of the most popular here on the blog, I asked Tim what motivated him to buy this particular stove.  One of the aspects of this stove that caught Tim's attention first was the fact that it was almost identical to a cookstove that his great-grandmother had cooked on at one time.  He also noted that the firebox was in very good shape and that he was able to purchase it for only $150.00--a bargain if I ever saw one!  Tim also mentioned that he likes the front-feed option on the firebox because one doesn't have to move cooking vessels away from the fire in order to refuel.  However, the biggest attraction for Tim--who has owned and cooked on several wood cookstoves--was the presence of the warming oven. 

During the cooler seasons, this cookstove not only cooks Tim's food but also works in tandem with another wood stove to heat his house, which is actually where his grandparents lived in the early 60s.  The house was then vacant until 1999 when Tim began the long process of refurbishing it.  Clearly, he has done a fantastic job on this fixer-upper.  For summer cooking, the Monarch range is supplemented by a choice of two gas ranges, one of which is a vintage Chambers.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Cookstove at the Iowa State Fair

Nancy and I went to the Iowa State Fair yesterday in Des Moines.  We try to go every year, but we go for different reasons.  Nancy likes to go because she likes to be at the fairgrounds.  For her, being there conjures up memories of camping at fair for several days with her grandparents, roaming the fairgrounds, seeing the sights, and taking in the shows.  I go because I like to make sure that nothing has changed and because I like to "eat my way through the fair" as Mom always puts it.

The Iowa State Fair is known for its many deep fat fried delectibles.  I don't go for the deep fat fried Twinkies, Oreos, or Snickers.  I have even been known to happily pass by the funnel cakes.  This is all sort of strange because, I swear, a person could deep fat fry rocks and I would eat them! 

I did have a couple of corn dogs today, but for me the best treat at the fair by far and away is the apple sticks at the Applishus booths.  The "stick" part is just your common grocery store bakery apple strudel.  What makes them fantastic is the frosting.  Heavenly, melt-in-your mouth frosting covers these little things, and after years of wondering what made it so good, I've found a recipe that is so similar that I can't tell the difference.  I'll have to share it sometime.

(2014 Update: The frosting recipe can be found here.)

Anyway, as I said, the other reason that I like to go to the fair is to make sure that nothing has changed.  You all have probably figured out that I am a lover of tradition, and the Iowa State Fair is steeped in traditions.  However, it would be grossly inaccurate as well as unfair to say that nothing changes at the fair.  A part of the fair that remains fairly constant, though, is Pioneer Hall.  Basically, this is a building with a lot of antiques on display and for sale.  One of the cubicles is dedicated to antique kitchen furnishings, and it has the cookstove that you see below.  This cookstove is actually quite little as cookstoves go and has been a part of the displays at Pioneer Hall for as long as I can remember.

The cookstove at the Iowa State Fair.

Because I cannot get close to it, I have no idea what brand it is, but my best guess is that it is a Kalamazoo.  I just wish that they had it hooked up to a chimney and had cooking demonstrations on it like the blacksmith demonstrations on the other side of the building.  Maybe someday!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Pardon My Soapbox: Summer Fuel Addendum

If you read my last post, you saw the picture below of a wheelbarrow full of summer fuel: sticks, corn cobs, bark, etc.

Most of this particular wheelbarrow full of fuel was just bits of wood that I had picked up here and there around our farm, the rest was contributed by my dear grandmother from what she picked up around her farm.

I want to tell you what just half of this fuel did last Saturday.

1. Cooked our casserole for noon dinner (a new recipe that I copied out of a magazine in my doctor's office while I waited for my bi-annual cholesterol maintenance appointment--which, by the way, went very well despite the bacon grease that I put in my potato soup).  This new casserole recipe had approximately 75 minutes of stovetop cooking time before it was put in a moderate oven for another 20 minutes.  Thus, it had a total of over an hour and a half of cooking time.  We didn't like it, so you won't see the recipe on the blog.

2. Sauteed zucchini from my sister-in-law for our vegetable side dish.

3. Baked a pan of from-scratch buttermilk biscuits made with buttermilk from our cow Bonnie.  As soon as the casserole was finished baking, I put it into the warming oven, threw a pile of little sticks on the fire and brought the oven up to over 400 degrees for the biscuits.

4. Boiled and canned three and a half pints of pancake syrup made from the drippings that we catch from beneath the caramel sticky rolls baked for the Monday Markets.  (I think that this is a great way to save on the expense of sugar.)

5. Heated water for scalding the Tattler canning lids.

6. Heated water in the teakettle and reservoir for washing the canning jars and a few other dishes.

7. Heated enough hot water to meet all of our needs for the rest of the day, including a nice hot shower for me before we went to town.

Yes, that's right, all of this on half of the pile of sticks and cobs and bark which could have easily been left to rot where they were! 

You see--here is the soapbox part--having a wood cookstove allows a person to take what would often be considered trash and use it productively and efficiently.  It's just one of the many aspects of owning a wood cookstove that I consider extremely advantageous. 

I just wanted you all to know about that.  Thanks, I feel better.

P.S. Don't worry.  I know about the scientific evidence available on the importance of rotting wood as habitat and food source for all manner of flora and fauna which are necessary in balanced ecosystems.  Rest assured, no ecosystems were irreparably harmed in the above activities.  We have PLENTY of rotting wood around here!

P. P. S. The other half of the fuel in the picture above was supplemented by some split pieces that you saw in the winter fuel picture to cook potatoes for our dinner while we were gone to church on Sunday morning, to make another new casserole (also not very good), and, of course, to heat water.  I did get another partial wheelbarrow of summer fuel later on Sunday afternoon to keep the stove going in order to bake three batches of cookies to sell today at the Monday Market.  Efficiency, efficiency!