Now, I’m probably dating myself big time, but do you remember when grocery stores gave away items like cookware and dishes and cookbooks with every visit? When I was growing up, the local grocery store had one of these give-aways. Each week, after a trip to the store, my mother would return home with a new cookbook. These books were part of a series – Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery -- 12 volumes worth of deeply fascinating information. At least for me. Each week, I could barely wait for the new cookbook to appear. There was so much to absorb! Not just recipes (8500 of them to be exact), but histories and stories and poems and menus and photographs and preparation guidelines. My oh my! When I went off to college, I made my mother promise not to give them away, and eventually, they ended up in my collection. I’m still using them to this day, as a reference and as a source of interesting recipes. I suspect you’ll find them in used bookstores now, but I wouldn’t part with my set for anything.
Carla of Chocolate Moosey is hosting this month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge and the chosen theme is vintage cookbooks, ones published before 1980. I was already going to prepare one of my longtime favorites from my vintage encyclopedia, so I decided to submit it as my entry in this event. Over the years I’ve played with the recipe a bit, but now I find I use the original recipe just as is. Hope you enjoy it.
Cheddar Tuna Chowder
(Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, 1965)
2 cups boiling water
salt to taste
1 large potato, peeled and diced (I don’t usually peel it)
½ cup each diced carrot and celery
1 small onion, chopped
¼ cup butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
¾ pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (I use about 1 ½ cups extra sharp – more flavor, less cheese)
1 6.5-ounce can tuna, drained and flaked
1 8-ounce can cream-style corn
pinch of dried rosemary
few drops of hot pepper sauce
Put the water in a 3-quart saucepan and season with the salt. Add next 4 ingredients and return to a boil; simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are just barely tender; do not drain. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and blend in the flour, making a roux. Gradually stir in the milk and cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Add to the vegetable mixture along with the tuna, corn, rosemary, and hot pepper sauce. Season to taste and garnish with chives.
Makes about 6 servings.