Thursday, June 7, 2018

Menus and recipes shared by Mrs. Anna B. Scott in 1936

Shown above is the cover of a 6⅛-inch-wide, 32-page recipe booklet that was included as a supplement in The Philadelphia Inquirer on November 15, 1936. There is no advertising whatsoever within the booklet, so it was just a perk designed to spur newspaper sales in the middle of the Great Depression.

The "Cook Book" is presented by Mrs. Anna B. Scott, who also authored Mrs. Scott's North American Seasonal Cook Book in the early 1920s. Here is an excerpt from Scott's foreword to the Inquirer booklet:
"It is important that every housewife know how to set a table correctly and she should definitely strive to prepare and serve correctly seasoned food if it is to be relished by her family and friends. Since taste varies with individuals, this knowledge can only be obtained by practice, making changes when repeating formulas. ... It would give me untold pleasure to assist every housewife personally, but since that is impossible, I hope the above statements and contents of this book will inspire effort which will be crowned with successful results."
The individual sections focus on all the foods and recipes needed for full meals, and so the index is divided into the likes of "Roast Turkey Dinner," "Braised Guinea Fowl Dinner," "Rabbit Dinner," "Oyster Pie Dinner," "Vegetarian Dinner," and "Inexpensive Dinner."

Here's the full menu for the Roast Turkey Dinner, which is clearly NOT designed for your average family struggling through the Great Depression:

  • Grapefruit
  • Celery
  • Sweet Pickles
  • Roast Turkey, Moist Bread Filling, Giblet Sauce
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Candied Sweet Potatoes
  • Mashed Turnips or Creamed Onions
  • Old-Fashioned Coleslaw on Lettuce
  • Pumpkin Pie or Individual Molds of Ice Cream
  • Coffee
  • Dinner Mints
  • Mixed Nuts
  • Bowl of Fruit

And here's the full menu for the "Inexpensive Dinner":

  • Tomato Juice
  • Celery
  • Rolled Stuffed Breast of Veal
  • Roast Sweet or White Potatoes
  • Cauliflower, Bechamel Sauce
  • Bread and Butter
  • Beet and Onion Salad
  • Chocolate Sponge Cake
  • Coffee

These are some of the individual recipes from the booklet that I thought you might find interesting.

Sardine Appetizer
  • 1 can small sardines
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon scraped onion
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 hard-cooked egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
  • Very finely chopped parsley
  • Paprika
  • Rounds of rye bread
Remove skin and bones from sardines and mince very fine, add mayonnaise, peppers, onion, sauce and dry mustard; mix until very smooth. Spread on small rounds of rye bread, spring with finely chopped parsley and fine chopped white of egg. Rub yolk of egg through coarse wire strainer and sprinkle a little over top of appetizer. Dust with paprika.

Hawaiian Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/4 pk. sweet potatoes
  • 1 can crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash white pepper
Brush bakedish with butter; then put in a layer of sweet potatoes which have been washed, boiled, skinned and cut into half-inch slices. Cover with half the sugar, sprinkle with salt, pepper and half the pineapple, then the rest of the sweet potatoes, salt, pepper, a little butter and the remainder of the pineapple and cover with the sugar and remainder of the butter. Place in moderate oven and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Serve in dish in which they are baked. This is an exceptionally rich dish. A shallow glass bakedish or pie plate is best.

Mock Turkey
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups mixed nuts
  • 2 cups boiled rice
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 3 raw eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated onions
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • pepper to taste
Put the breadcrumbs in a saucepan with two cups of water; cook for a few minutes; add the hard-boiled eggs (chopped). Take saucepan from fire and add the nuts (a mixture of peanuts and pine nuts is best) and the rice. When this is well mixed add seasoning and the raw eggs, slightly beaten. Form this into ten-inch oblong shape, reserving a portion for the legs and wings, which are fastened to the body with toothpicks. Take a tablespoon of the mixture in your hands and press into the shape of a leg; put a piece of dry macaroni in it for a bone and fasten it to the turkey. Do the same to the other side. Form the remaining portion into small pieces looking like wings tucked under; press them to the side of the turkey. Brush the turkey with butter and bake one hour.

Chocolate Icebox Cake
  • 1 qt. milk
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 18 to 20 graham crackers
  • 8 marshmallows
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Brush dish about 2 inches high with butter, line with whole graham crackers, breaking crackers in half for the sides. Put in a layer of chocolate cornstarch while hot, then a layer of graham crackers, then a layer of chocolate. Arrange the marshmallows and pour over the balance of the chocolate. When cold, turn out and garnish with whipped cream or serve with a custard sauce.

To make the chocolate cornstarch: Mix the dry ingredients with a little of the cold milk, add to the boiling milk and boil three minutes.

* * *

Final note from Anna: "Make a special effort to use every particle of food for which you have spent money. Gather as many hints on this subject as you can. Save all the water in which foods are cooked for soups, sauces and gravy. If you would avoid waste, learn how to make proper use of all left-overs. Lack of knowledge for the utilization of food makes for expensive living, as much of the nourishment which should be consumed is wasted."

Note from me: See, on this topic that was close to Anna's heart, the 2010 book American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It), by Jonathan Bloom.


  1. That cover is EVERYTHING! Yes to the Chocolate Icebox cake but a great big NO to the Sardines!!

    1. Also not sure about mock turkey.

    2. The mock turkey recipe itself sounds interesting, and pretty easy to make. No need to shape it into a bird, though.

    3. Chris, Chris, Chris ... if you don't form it into the shape of a bird then it's just a Rice-Nut-Egg Blob. Tsssk, Tsssk.

    4. Have you SEEN the shape of a Tofurky? Yummy blob for my tummy!

  2. Any suggestion as to where I can get a copy of Mrs. Scott's Inquirer supplement?