Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Recipes from "Star in My Kitchen" Motion Picture Cooking School

I found this brownish sheet of paper folded up inside a 1912 edition of Lowney's Cook Book. As you can see, the sheet highlights:

Sponsored By
APRIL 5, 6, 7, 1938

The Bremen Inquirer, by the way, is still around. Established in 1885, it is now a weekly publication that is handled by The Pilot News Group of Plymouth, Indiana. Bremen, located in the northcentral portion of the state, is a town of about 4,500 people.

So what was the Motion Picture Cooking School?

Ann Middleton, director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center in Bossier City, Louisiana, tackled that very topic in a pair of columns this summer:

Here's an excerpt from one of Middleton's columns, in which she quotes the June 16, 1938, issue of The Planters’ Press:
“The Planters’ Press’ Motion Picture Cooking School, entitled ‘Star in My Kitchen,’ will be the real community attraction for three days at the Southland Theatre.”

“This fascinating and different cooking school is open entirely free to every woman in town, and The Planters’ Press as well as Bossier City merchants, extends this last invitation to join in the home-making lessons and jolly entertainment for at least one day.”

The motion picture cooking school will be a practical rally of home-makers to contribute fresh perspecti[v]e for the ‘same old job’—the monotonous day-in-and-day-out job, yet the most important business in the world. Just as men have their annual conventions, where they listen to lectures from specialists, Bossier Parish women will have their convention to consider home-making problems.”

Another news release that Middleton quotes states: “The finished dishes which will be shown in full color, will look as though they could be picked right out of the picture and eaten on the spot.”

Apparently, newspapers across the country could host and sponsor these cooking schools. The Planters' Press was one. The Bremen Enquirer was another.

This 1938 handout includes recipes for pancakes, banana friters, potato salad, lattice top peach pie, lemon meringue pie, banana tea bread and more. The use of brand-name products is widespread. Recipes call for Aunt Jemima Ready-Mix, Kraft Velveeta, Miracle Whip Salad Dressing, Pillsbury's Best Flour and Spry Pastry Mix.

Here's the recipe for banana tea bread...

  • 1¾ cups sifted Pillsbury's Best Flour
  • ¾ teaspoon soda
  • 1¼ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup Spry
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup mashed banana (2 to 3 bananas)
Sift the flour, soda, cream of tartar and salt together 3 times. Rub the shortening to a creamy consistency with the back of a spoon. Stire the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, into the Spry and continue stirring after each addition until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add flour mixture, alternately with banana, a small amount at a time. Beat after each addition until smooth. Pour into a well-greased loaf pan and bake in a moderate oven (350° F.) about 1 hour or until bread is done. Makes 1 load, about 8½ x 4½ x 3 inches.

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