For me it's all about a book, specifically this one
It came to me as a gift from a friend all wrapped with paper and a bow. She knows me well that I would appreciate such a fine book.
"Tempt Me The Fine Art of Minnesota Cooking" it not just your ordinary book of recipes. It's the perfect book for people who love to read food history and enjoy learning or viewing the art of advertising. Before there was food photography — and Instagram — there was food illustration. Minnesota's food companies, with their national and even international reach, hired fine artists such as N.C. Wyeth and Norman Rockwell to paint finished dishes and illustrate the era's kitchens to entice consumers.
In "Tempt Me," local authors and designers Kathryn Strand Koutsky and Linda Koutsky (a mother-and-daughter team) honor Minnesota's food history . The book features a comprehensive history food advertising art from the late 1800's up until the 1980's as cookbooks and other commercial literature was illustrated using graphics.Some of the other familiar ads you'll find include advertisements for both Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and Watkins. Ads that may not be as familiar include advertisements for Washburn-Crosby or Miss Parloa's New Cook Book.
Advertising changed over to photography by the 1980's leaving the era of food art behind.
If you enjoy the beauty of seed packet artwork, you'll find seed packets from companies such as Farmer Seed Co. or Northrup, King and Company.
You'll find tips on how to create dresses and other sewing projects using flour sacks. Recipes are sprinkled throughout Tempt Me and the recipes range from the 1800's onward and include tips such as how to live frugally to support the war effort.
In the late 1880's standard measurements for cooking did not exist. Recipes were written in paragraph form, ingredients were not always listed in order and methods were were not spelled out. Consider this Federal Cake recipe from "Miss Parloa's New Cookbook".
One pint of sugar, one and a half cupfuls of butter, three pints of flour, four eggs, two wine glasses of milk, two wine, two of brandy, one teaspoonful of cream of tartar, half a teaspoonful of saleratus, fruit and spice to taste. Bake in deep pans, the time depending on the quantity of fruit used.
Here are some of the recipes you can find
- Maraschino Cherry Cake
- Baked Ham with Curried Fruit
- Great Aunt Vivian's Really Good Hot Spam Sandwich
- Never-Fail Cheese Souffle
- Emergency Steak
- Lazy Wife Pickles
- Beer-Cheese Soup
- Old Dutch Snappy Dip
- Teatime Ribbon Sandwiches
The book is impressive with 250 color illustrations and 175 recipes. "Tempt Me" is a history lesson, coffee table art book and kitchen resource in one. That recipe for pineapple sticky buns using a tube of refrigerated biscuits? It's right here.
Pineapple Sticky Buns
1/2 cup crushed drained pineapple
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sunflower meats
1 can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
Mix pineapple butter, sugar, sunflower meats, and cinnamon.
Spoon into 10 greased muffin cups
Place biscuits over mixture.
Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool in pan 5 minutes then invert to release from pan.
Cook's notes: This book is a real winner in my estimation and you don't have to be a Minnesotan to appreciate the gorgeous illustrations sprinkled with bits of cooking history.