Sometimes, it's not the antiques I find but the stories behind them that I like the most. During a recent visit to an antique mall in Rome, I came across this old black notebook filled with recipes using Fleischmann's products, including yeast, which I had long associated with Fleischmann's, and egg whites and baking powder, which I did not!
And while the vintage look of this binder is what made me turn the pages, I also enjoyed reading this note attached to the cover telling me that these old recipes had belonged to the 62-year-old seller's father. I decided immediately I was going to ask the salesclerk at the antique mall if I could keep the note if I bought the book. When I asked her, she actually looked rather sentimental because she happened to be the woman who wrote the note and her father was the baker! I explained to her that I sometimes write about old recipes, and I told her that her father's old recipes would be in good hands! She was just lovely, and in fact she asked for my phone number because she's got some more of his old recipes she'd like to give me, including a cake recipe she said I can have IF I can figure out the one ingredient she knows is missing! Apparently one ingredient was left out, and she's perfectly happy for someone else to try to figure out what that is.
The recipe that caught my eye there in the store was for Orange Crunch Squares. I love orange-flavored treats for teatime, so that one recipe sold me on the book immediately.
When I got home, I also loved seeing that the baker had typed up some of his own recipes in back.
And when I started thumbing through the book, I paid attention and noted for the first time that these recipes are for production in commercial quantities, like this recipe for lemon treats that calls for 7 pounds of cake flour, 4 ounces of baking powder, 1 ounce of salt, 2 pounds of shortening and 4 pounds of sugar! Have mercy! So … while I fully intend to use this book and break down some of these recipes into "home baker" proportions, it may be a while before I'm ready to tackle those Orange Crunch Squares. I'm still very pleased with my cookbook purchase, however, and love knowing a little about the man who once kept it.