Not too long ago my grandma gave me her collection of Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks, circa 1963. With crisp white pages, and barely broken-in bindings, they are like brand new. Intact as the day she bought them, there is not a sauce spot, sticky finger print, torn edge or crinkle in sight.
The books are a part of Better Homes & Gardens’ 8-Volume Creative Cooking Library. At 79 cents a pop, every week a new hard cover cookbook with a theme such as “Best Buffets,” “Lunches and Brunches,” and “Snacks and Refreshments,” would be revealed on supermarket shelves.
Looking through these books is always a lot of fun. Each page is filled with the definitive style of the era in which they were created; the photos are so retro, the recipes so characteristically sixties. It’s kind of like being transported to a different point in time. Food has a great way of being able to do that.
|Another gelatin mold!|
I wasn’t too familiar with divinity candy but it looked and sounded so festive as one of several recipes described as, “just the ticket for Christmas!” for a holiday dessert buffet. Very similar to a meringue, the ingredient list was really simple. Reading up on divinity, I found that it can be tricky to make. The conditions have to be just right, as with many candies, it does not get along well with humidity. It just so happened to be the most humid day ever.
|“The young set put on a wingding!” |
The soda jerk serves his friends shakes and other sweet concoctions in classic soda glasses
Yield: 1 ½ dozen candies
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ½ cup hot water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 stiff-beaten egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
• In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves and mixture boils. Then, cook to hard-ball stage (250 degrees on a candy thermometer) without stirring. Remove from heat.
• Pour hot syrup slowly over the stiff-beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high speed in electric mixer (about 5 minutes). Add vanilla. Continue beating until mixture forms soft peaks and begins to lose its gloss.
• Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper; swirl each candy to a peak. If divinity becomes too stiff for swirling, add a few drops of hot water. Allow to set in a cool, dry area for about 2 hours.
Yield: 6, 10 oz glasses
- 2, 10 z packages of frozen red raspberries, thawed and sieved.
- 1 quart vanilla ice cream
- 3 cups cold milk
• Add raspberries to half the ice cream; beat smooth. Add milk and blend. Pour into 6 chilled, 10 oz glasses. Top each with a scoop of remaining ice cream.