1940s Archive

Food Flashes

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Henny Wyle, the Vienna candy maker, is bitter-chocolate dipping those dried banana fingers coming now from the Honduras and Mexico, the price $2.20 a pound in the glass-mirrored shop at 557 Madison Avenue. Another Wyle specialty of the autumn is the jumbo prune, chock-a-block with grape-fruit. So large the prune, so fancy that stuffing, one sells for a dime—and sells!

Big basket news is looming on the horizon—sophisticated Christmas refreshment in the form of a twenty-pound hamper of fruit from the Blue Goose, Orchards in Oregon. Check up the loot: French du Comice pears, once the luxury fruit of kings. Super-sized Delicious apples—both the red and the gold! Oranges—my gracious!—big as grapefruit. Emperor grapes—and grapes, you know, are slim picking this year. White figs, and these, too, a. rarity. Coachella Valley dates—creamy the texture, dreamy the eating. One conclusion: the price must be something terrific—but no, only $10.95, express prepaid. Address your order to the Blue Goose Orchards, American Fruit Growers, 213 Fir Street, Medford, Oregon. Or would you prefer to be really economical? Then order a box of the world famous du Comice pears, ten to fourteen in each box, $2.95—yes, including express.

Ladle and Spoon is a new herb-and-spice seasoned salt put out by Twin Tree Gardens, Lynbrook, Long Island, a unique preparation to take the guess-work out of seasoning. It's an all-purpose salt, prepared to blend with virtually any type of food. Use it in cooking, use it at the table. It does its best by meat, and then docs as well by egg and cheese dishes. Use it, too, in soups, for vegetables and salads. The salt is bag packed, three-fourths pound 50 cents, at Lewis & Conger, 6th Avenue and 45th. A tag-a-long is a wooden salt box for wall hanging done in reproduction of a historic box found in an early — day Long Island collection, the price $1.75-a charming reminder of old days and old ways.

Those who have the price to whet the taste in caviar at $22 a pound will find the fresh eggs big as shirt pearls, if they shop at Wynne and Treanor's. 712 Madison Avenue.

Another “whet” idea is marinated Icelandic herrings, these to be cut in thin strips and laid on fingers of dark bread spread with sweet butter. Twenty barrels of Matjes herring from Iceland are in the storage cellar of the Old Denmark Food Shop, 135 last 57th. The fish are mellowing to tenderness in a white wine vinegar mingled with sliced onion and intriguingly spiced, 25 cents for a filet. Danes prefer this herring bedded on ice and passed with new potatoes, boiled mealy dry and served melting hot, with a big chunk of sweet butter. Beer goes with this simple repast, and dark bread thinly sliced. For the supper's ending, try a fruit soup peaked over with small dips of stiffly beaten egg whites.

“Gin-Rum-E” is a cake that tastes like a highball, a second Aunt Martha take, baked by Mrs. Mildred French of the Old Stone House of Wayside Farm. Broomall, Pa. It comes to town as an autumn partner to that whisky cake of the Bourbon taste.

These cakes are the same cake except for “their spirit,” and spirit it is. In the whisky cake, one quart of Bourbon gives its strength to six pounds of batter. That's why the after-taste is so lasting, so pleasurable. In the Gin-Rum-E, a half-and-half blending, it's the rum that speaks out.

A family cake it is, the recipe out of England, handed along by Great-Aunt Martha Elizabeth Williams, born in New York City in 1837. Great-Aunt Martha had it from her mother, who had carried it from England in the 1820's. It's like a fruit cake, but isn't. Butter, sugar, fresh eggs, a little flour—that's the stuff that holds the nuts and raisins together. Little blonde raisins are used, and pecan meats left in halves. The cake is delicately spiced, its color honey gold. It is a cake long baked, thoroughly baked. It slices fairly thin, and is so moist it should keep just next to forever. First flavor impression is of good ingredients, winy raisins, crisp nuts, the richness of real butter. Then comes the liquor taste, not a vague do-you-get it? but, wow, whisky!

The cake-baking venture started as a neighborly gesture to oblige a few friends. Soon this country town cake was drawing orders from Philadelphia. Within a year Aunt Martha had a private trade ordering around 100 cakes weekly. The Broomall housewife's ambition got growing pains. Aunt Martha took a train to New York and stayed for two days and sold her cake in six stores. That cake doesn't need a salesman. Just lift up the lid. One whiff—it blows the boys down. Ten stores, twenty stores asked for whisky cake. Aunt Martha had a time to keep up with the orders. Last fall she decided to concentrate on two stores. Today R. H. Macy has Gin-Rum-E, introduced in early spring, the one-pound ten-ounces, $2.59. Hammacher Schlemmer, 145 East 57th Street, handles the whisky cake, this at $2.75.

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