09 January 2011

In which I state my mission and share my first recipe.

And so I ordered a cookbook off eBay...

Well, it kind of ended that way. I've been collecting cookbooks for a good while now, the older and more horrendous the better. I spend hours flipping through them, weirding out family members on the ins and outs of pre-Food Network cookery. The pictures alone are fabulous--the one at the top is the middle spread on one called 500 Snacks or somesuch. Doesn't that red cabbage with various appetizers stuck in it look divine?

Anyway, going through the many blogs I read, not one quite matched what I wanted to read. There's a few I follow, namely No Pattern Required, The Vintage Cookbook Trials, and Retro-Food, that come close. What I wanted to read, however, was a blog that combined new & old cooking, from someone who collected cookbooks... like myself. I figured that if I'm not seeing the blog I wish to read, I should create one! So we'll see how this goes.

Tonight's recipe, Corn Chowder! Taken from my collection of weekly pamphlets from none other than Helm's Bakeries. I got them, I believe, at an estate sale. They run from '56-'59, many weeks missing but for the most part you have twelve months, more or less, of full dinners. The illustrations are adorable, and the instructions clear and always paired with some loveliness from Helm's.

I didn't quite follow the recipe to the letter. I rarely do, I don't like doing what I'm told. So here's my recipe! Deviate as you wish, or follow the original.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped small
Bay leaf
3 cooked, diced potatoes (I boiled these in their skins &
cut them afterwards)
1 package diced, cooked Canadian bacon (couldn't find a ham steak,
otherwise I'd do one of those!)
3 cans corn (I wanted a lot of corn)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (do you know how hard it is to
find condensed at Whole Foods?)
The following to taste: salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper
Enough milk to cover
Garnish: finely chopped parsley, paprika, grated sharp cheddar cheese

Heat a deep soup pot over medium heat. Melt butter into the olive oil and add the onions. Cook them gently until tender and translucent, then add the bay leaf and a few grinds of pepper. Add in the ham (or Canadian bacon, don't be picky), potatoes, soup, and corn. Mix, and season liberally. Let the mixture settle and pour milk to barely cover your veggies (be wild and do it directly from the carton. No one's watching, and no reason to get a measuring cup dirty). Bring to a boil, turn down heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes while you do something useful for a change. 

I served this in shallow bowls dusted with paprika and parsely, and when I sat down, dumped a handful of cheese on top. We had bread & salad alongside. Delicious!

I do solemnly swear to provide better quality pictures in future posts. My phone was in my pocket, therefore that is what I used. If you try this recipe, please let me know how you enjoyed it!


  1. Oh my gorsh, this is an incredible idea! ... well now I'm hungry.

  2. First of all, this looks really, really divine, and second of all, I love that you have a tag for "success." I presume there will be one for "failure" as well? :)

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Jimmy! And hopefully there will be more to come...

    And Krista, I hope to have some spectacular failures. Egg timbales, anyone?

  4. Congratulations. And dad and I are the guinea pigs for all your experiments, I see. Thank god the first one gets a thumbs up. You sure you want me to comment??? Good Show.

  5. Next I'll make you lark's tongues in aspic and moderate your comments...

  6. Great idea for a blog Elise, and NICE JOB! :)