Friends often give me their parents’ cookbooks, knowing that I will love any cookbooks that pre-date the 1960s. I recently was given a gold mine of early cookbooks by my friend Anne whose mother passed away last year. My heart was racing as I loaded up the car knowing I’d have many hours of fun reading these gems.
But the most intriguing to me was a newsletter called Cook and Tell mainly from the 1980s-1990s and a bit into the early part of this century. The newsletter was the brain child of Karyl Bannister whose address on Love Cove, Southport, Maine gives you an idea of the hominess of the newsletter.
Karyl wrote her newsletter long before the rage for food blogging. She writes about her newsletter that it “is dedicated to fun in the kitchen. I think food should be reasonably wholesome and taste good.” And indeed all the recipes are super simple and those I’ve tried so far are excellent, though many are too heavy with sour cream and cream cheese as was popular during this time period.
Karyl’s other main attribute is that she’s an excellent writer. Her monthly letters immediately pull you into her quiet life filled with cooking on the coast of Maine. After reading many of the newsletters, I feel as if I know Karyl and her family.
Here are three Christmas desserts all of which came out splendidly.
Apple Cranberry Crisp
- 4 medium-sized apples, peeled, cut into 1/4″ slices
- 1 1/2 c. fresh cranberries
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 2 Tbs. flour
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1/3 c. butter
- 3/4 c. rolled oats
- 3/4 c. chopped walnuts
Make the topping by combining flour and sugar
Cut in the butter
Stir in oats and nuts
Strew this topping mixture over the apple mixture
Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour in a 350 degree oven (the dish should be bubbly and golden brown)
She suggested serving with vanilla ice cream or cream
- 3 c. flour
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 1 tbs. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 1/2 c. eggnog
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick), melted
- 1 c. candied fruit (I used dried cranberries)
Spray a standard muffin pan with cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg
Combine the eggnog, egg and cooled melted butter
Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry mixture and blend
Fold in the fruits
Fill muffin tins 3/4 full
Bake for 25 minutes
- 1 1/2 c. flour
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 1 apple with peel on, chopped fine
- 1 c. cranberries, chopped fine
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/4 c. of the flour and 1/2 c. of the sugar and the butter
Blend with a fork or pastry blender to fine crumbs and set aside
In another bowl, mix the fruits, eggs, vanilla and lemon juice
In a cup, mix the remaining 1/4 c. flour, the remaining 1 c. sugar, and the cinnamon and add to the fruit mixture, mixing to blend
Press half the crumb mixture firmly in a 9 x 13 pan
Sprinkle remaining crumbs lightly over the fruit and a little more around the edges
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or till golden brown
Cool before cutting into squares or bars
I took these bars to a party and they were a huge success! The recipe is from the June 1996 newsletter.
Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed, I love cranberries!