Sunday, April 13, 2008

Vintage chowder

So, how does one define vintage, particularly if the object is not a bottle of wine? In researching this definition, I discovered a range of dates and no clear-cut winner. For the sake of this entry, I’ll say it’s about 25 years or so. Following that guideline, I apparently have a vintage cookbook collection. Oh, there are new ones to be sure, but I’ve kept some old friends as well.

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

chopped chives

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.


Deborah said...

I wish the grocery store still gave away cookbooks!

I've never seen a recipe like this - it sounds wonderful!

The Apron Queen said...

I bet this would be great in the crockpot in the chiily months! Yum! :D

For your daily dose of vintage goodness & a bit of silliness, stop by Confessions of an Apron Queen, the home of Vintage Thingies Thursdays.

Anonymous said...

mmm...nice.. I second the vote for the crockpot

Sara said...

Those books sound great. Thanks for taking part in WCC this month. Hope to see you again.

Sarita said...

This was delicious, and really quick to make! Appreciate the new recipe. :)
Cheers ~

saritabee said...

Okay, I am just sitting down to make this recipe so it'll be ready when guests get in from the airport later tonight, and had to say thank you again. This has turned into a family favorite! My father-in-law polished off an entire half of a pot the first time I made it (back in Feb 2012 it looks like), and it has been a huge hit every time I have made it since. Vintage recipes are so awesome. :)