Thursday, July 12, 2012

It's Fun to Cook, Circa 1959

 A couple years ago I posted a picture of me at a 4-H summer cooking class my neighbor held.  This was our Favorite Foods project guide, produced by the University of Wisconsin Extension Service in Madison.  I don't know what happened to my old copy.  I probably left it with my mother who probably eventually got sick of the food stained yellow booklet and threw it away.  But it's summer, and I got to remembering those cooking classes with my friends, and longed to find a copy.  I scored this one from an online auction site, and then the woman who was the Home Economics agent in Walworth County sent me a photocopy of hers, and so now I have two.

It's ironic that I was so nostalgic for this little booklet, since for the past twenty years or so I have turned over the kitchen to my husband.  He likes preparing food, hunting for recipes, and even shopping, all of which I find to be tremendous drains on time I would rather spend other ways.  I do like to bake occasionally, always have liked baking.  But in summer I get the evil eye from him when I fire up the oven and heat up the house, and neither one of us needs bakery laying around the house.

Still, reading over the booklet, I have the urge to make one of the recipes a week, including the cheese casserole recipe that our 4-H leader despised and skipped over every year. 

An anonymous reader of this blog asked for the muffin recipe, and now I have it.  The recipe looks quite plain, but I bet the muffins are good right out of the oven with a little jam. I remember having an awful time learning to mix them just enough, not too much.  My first ones were dense, heavy, and full of the dreaded tunnels. Eventually I learned to use a lighter touch.

Yummy Muffins

2 cups sifted flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup soft or melted fat

1.  Heat the oven.  Set the control for 400 degrees F.
2.  Grease muffin cups using a piece of waxed paper
3.  Sift together the measured flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center.

4.  In a small mixing bowl beat the egg until it's foamy.  Add the milk and melted fat.
5.  Add the milk mixture all at once to the dry ingredients.
6.  Stir until the dry ingredients are moist but the mixture is still slightly lumpy.  It takes about 17 to 25 strokes.  Over-mixing will cause tunnels in the muffins and they will be heavy and tough.
7.  Fill the greased muffin cups 1/2 to 2/3 full.
8.  Put in preheated oven. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Variation: You may vary the muffins by adding one of these:
1. 1/2 cup chopped nuts
2.  3/4 cup fresh blueberries
3.  1/2 cup chopped cranberries
4.  3/4 cup cut-up dates

Good muffins are:

Light for their size
Golden brown
Slightly rounded on top - without knobs or peaks
Even in texture - without tunnels running from the botton crust to the top
Pleasing in flavor

1 comment:

Judy Beck Lobos said...

Sherry! I printed out your recipe and plan to try these muffins tomorrow! --I've got fresh BlueBERRIES!!!!
The cover of your vintage book is delightful.