1950s Archive

Food Flashes

Originally Published March 1951

A de luxe variation for the Lenten menu is frogs' legs from the frogland of America; these shipped by express the day after the night they are caught. The frogs are packed in kegs, the minimum order five pounds.

We opened the mail one morning to learn a barrel of frogs' legs, medium sited, 35 to 45, was coming our way. They came. We gave half of them away and cooked the rest for an important little dinner for three. The very thought of frogs' legs sent memories reaching back to our first interest in the "greenies"—as we used to call frogs. Then we children were the hunters along the banks of a creek out Kansas way. We were small savages with clubs who caught froggies with a wallop over their noggins, took them home, and ate the shanks, a choice morsel. We'd wind up with only a few mouthfuls after a couple of hours' work, but it seemed worth the effort.

So much easier to get them by the barrel now, shrouded in ice, the legs fresh as fresh. You can order these delectable frogs' legs from The Frog Man, Sebastian, Florida, 5 pounds, $2 a pound. You pay the express. Take your choice of the small, 60 to 75, medium, 35 to 45, or jumbo 25 to 30. A word of advice: Eat frogs' legs with knife and fork, then forget the whole procedure and pick the legs up in the fingers. Eat the meat from the bone; there are bones and bones and every one tucked tight with the sweet flesh.

It's an excitement to eat as the Greeks eat, a blessed change from routine. Take stuffed vine leaves for a difference, for a first course. These leaves are a stock item of the Greck grocer, meant to stuff with cooked rice, to flavor with onion and dill, to saturate with olive oil, to season well with spices, to serve cold as hors-d'oeuvre. Greek cooks like making this concoction which they call dolmàthes. But American cooks refuse to take the time, although they love the stuffed vine leaves served in Near Eastern restaurants. Now the appetizers comes ready-made out of Turkey, tender the leaf, savory the filling. Selling in New York, the 14-ounce tin is 75 cents at the Cosmopolitan Market, 30 East Ninth Street; Kehayan's, 380 Third Avenue; and Couphopoulos Grocery, 306 West Fortieth Street. And Greek groceries of every kind at Margarite's, 374 Eighth Avenue at Twenty-ninth Street.

Greek black olives are being vacuum-packed in globe jars, the Gilyone brand selling in Gimbel's Epicure Shop, New York. These are jumbo-sized, firmer than the usual Greek blacks, coming from Salona—one of the finest olive growing areas in all Europe. Price for the 7½-ounce jar is 47 cents, plus postage.

Do as the Greeks do and serve a sweet, syrupy coffee made of the pulverized, well-roasted bean, typical of that made by the Turks and other Mediterranean peoples. A coffee perfumed, wafting the scent of rose water. Little copper coffee pots in which the brew is made hang in a glowing frieze along the back-counter walls in Greek grocery stores.

Remembering these little pots reminds us of a Turkish coffee concentrate that now comes ready-mixed. Prepare the brew not too sweet, not under sweetened, the grounds settled in the cup, the dark liquid pecking up through the creamy foam.

But its making is the sort of task American women won't be bothered with. It takes a special open-top coffee-pot for the brewing, coffee pulverized almost to a dust; sugar must be added to boil up with the brew and always a touch of some spice.

Frederick Johnson, owner of the Spice Island Company of San Francisco, a lover of the dark, thick coffee of the Near East, decided to package a concentrate for quick work in the making. The directions are simple as this: Add coffee to water, boil, and pour. A saucepan will do the job, but then the pouring must be done in the kitchen. It's more festive to bring to the table one of the brass pots, tall and tapering toward the top, no cover, and long handle on the side. These pots can be purchased in Armenian, Syrian, and Turkish shops. Abraham Sahadi, 195 Washington Street, New York, has them in all sizes.

The Spice Island Turkish coffee is premixed with the sugar and cinnamon, is sold in a 12-ounce jar, with directions, the price $1.34, at Macy's grocery department. Perhaps the Turks can make this coffee a bit better, but Mr. Johnson has done a very good job, indeed. One can't always have his leisure and drink it, too.

Four Seasons is a four-in-one salad dressing base to make four different dressings. Four packages of the mix come to a box, each containing the herbs, spices, sugar, pepper, and salt to make each special dressing, one for Old Fashioned Garlic Dressing, another for Paprika French Dressing, the third called Exotic Herb, the fourth truly Old French. Each one can be made without fuss or guesswork, without using a single bowl, dish, spoon, or measuring cup. Time required is forty seconds.

Packed with the four envelopes of mix is a 10-ounce graduated mixing bottle. The rules read: Pour the contents of one package into the bottle, add vinegar or lemon juice to the designated line. Next add water as indicated, or add tomato juice, ketchup, or chili sauce, white wine, red wine, canned tomato soup, or salad oil. Screw the cap tightly on the jar and shake. Store in the refrigerator to mellow. Each package contains just the right seasonings to make an 8-ounce bottle of delicious dressing.

These mixes can be used in other ways than dressing for the salad. The garlic blended with oil is excellent for marinating meat. The one with paprika is ideal for a dip for fish before frying or for chicken before broiling. The dressings can be used as a marinade for shrimp, artichokes, crab legs, and steak cubes which are to be served as hors-d'oeuvre. Marinate small pieces of tender beef in the Exotic Herb Dressing for two hours, then sauté in butter over a hot fire. Prepare mushrooms the same way. To flavor crab legs or shrimp, soak for two hours in the garlic dressing.

The dry-base refills are sold separately in the four flavors, meaning Garlic, French, Paprika, and Exotic Herbs, 5 packets for $1, But it's well to buy two complete sets to start with, as bottles of mixed dressing improve on standing, and it's handy to keep two kinds ready-mixed in the refrigerator.

Four Seasons has been selling in Los Angeles for a year now, but only this month is it around in New York. The price is $1, at Charles and Company, 340 Madison Avenue; Vendome Table Delicacies, 415 Madison Avenue; and at R. H. Macy's grocery.

Food treat unique, this Gourmet's Chest. Three guesses; you lose. It holds Cariani salami, a thin, white mold streaking the surface; it's a salami properly cured, correctly aged. There are few places today outside of Italy's famed salami-producing areas where this mold can be cultivated successfully. But in San Francisco the humidity is ideal for mold production, and that's home base for Cariani's salami. This boasts being the only American salami ever to win Italy's coveted Gran Premio Medaglio d'Oro, the ultimate in awards. This particular sausage has been a favorite of gourmets and epicureans for half a century and over, made as it is by a family recipe brought to San Francisco from Italy in 1898 by Louis Cariani and handed down to his sons John and Alfred, the present-day makers.

The Cariani plant is recognized as one of the most modern in America, yet cleaves to the standards the father established. Floors and walls are of tile, steam-cleaned three times a day. The salami is made of selected grades of U.S. Government-inspected meats—carefully boned and stripped to retain the most succulent portions. The product is federally inspected, that is, a government meat expert is on the premises during all working hours to insure the rigid standards of quality. One requirement, that the salami must be aged for a minimum of twenty-eight days, guarantees against trichinosis.

This sausage carries the tangy flavor of the dry wine used in the curing and seasoning, giving that certain delicacy so appreciated by salami-lovers. The meats used include beef, pork, and pork fat; with spices and garlic in addition to the wine.

The gift chest contains 3 pounds of salami, price $4.95, postage prepaid. Address Curiam Sausage Company, 2424 Oakdale Avenue, San Francisco, California.

Another item we like to remind lovers of quality meat rolls about is the Lebanon beef bologna from Pennsylvania Dutch country. Seltzer's brand is all-out beef, uncooked but long-cured and hickory-smoked. It's a luncheon meat to please everyone who comes within sniffing distance of its spicy fragrance. Boneless beef of choicest quality makes it outstanding, and no filler at all finds its way into those plump cellulose casings. Just one bite of it makes us think of hot potato salad and dark rye bread and a stein of cold dark beer.

Meat markets in various cities throughout the country carry this beef roll, but just to be sure, you can order the genuine Seltzer's Lebanon direct through the mail from the Palmyra Bologna Company, 2370 College Street, Palmyra, Pennsylvania. Rolls of approximately 3 pounds are shipped for $3.25, which includes postage and guarantee of safe arrival.

Little Smokies, but not smoked, is the name of the new fresh sausage offered by the Jones Dairy Farm in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, these to serve with cocktails. Little fellows are made from smoked ham, smoked bacon, fresh pork, and all smartly seasoned. Get that taste of the sage? But sage isn't the half of it. There is black pepper, mustard, ginger, red pepper. Bake, don't fry, these short links is the Farm's advice, as the casing is less apt to break.

As to the background of the firm, Mary P. Jones, the president, has written the high lights into a brochure. It was in 1832 that her grandfather, Milo Jones, a Vermonter, came to the Northwest Territory as a government surveyor. He was so enthusiastic about the country that he decided to stay and staked out a homestead on the banks of Rock River. After he had cleared the land, he started a dairy farm and had a "considerable dairy' as early as 1847. His son Milo followed in his father's footsteps, developing a regional business with his prize butter and cheese. Even in those early days, the name Jones Dairy Farm was renowned as a mark of superior quality.

Sausage was made on the farm by a New England recipe from the earliest times, but mostly for the household and a bit extra for friends, a lesser bit sold at the insistence of neighbors. Soon the farm was making and selling more and more sausage to meet local demand. First it was made in the cheese kitchen adjoining the farmhouse. This soon was too small; the kitchen moved a distance from the house, and an addition was built on. Later, the farm built the present modern plant across the meadow from the home.

Although the sausage today has national distribution, it is still produced in the same original manner. The hogs are grown by corn-belt farmers, grown to blueprint specifications to please the sausage makers. Only the choice cuts of pork go into this product: loins, hams, boned shoulders. No variety meats are used, no sausage ever extended with cereal. The seasoning is in accordance with great-grandma's Vermont recipe: salt, sage, and natural spices. Every operation connected with the manufacture of the "little ones" and every order that goes out are under the personal supervision of one of the Jones family.

Other items made at the farm are the two types of hams. First, the old-fashioned ham is cured in a mild, sweet pickle, four days to a pound. These hams get a slow, cool smoke over hickory-log fires to give the old-time texture and taste. Customers who like a mild, tendered ham will prefer the hickorized, these cured with salt and sugar, then tenderized by bringing to a temperature of 138° F. in hickory-log smoke. Both hams require further cooking at home. Jones Dairy Farm sells both sliced bacon in one-pound packages and bacon in the slab. This is given a mild, sweet cure, three days to a pound, and like the hams is smoked over a hickory fire.

Write to Jones Dairy Farm, Fort Atkimon, Wisconsin. Little Smokies, cocktail-sized sausages, 85 cents per pound; hams, old-fashioned cure, 10 to 12 pounds at 71 cents per pound; hams, hickorized, 14 to 18 pounds at 67 cents per pound; 1-pound carton of sliced bacon, 74 cents; 7- to 9-pound piece of bacon, 68 cents per pound. Postage is extra on orders of less than 12 pounds.

Israel manufacturers of every sort of product are seeking new markets throughout the world. Increased exports are a must if the new government is to feed and rehabilitate the hundreds of feed and rehabilitate the hundreds of thousands of refugees now in the new country, and more arriving each month. This spring we were introduced to a new candy line, forty kinds of chocolate pieces and hard candies straight from the Promised Land.

Young Mark Moshevich, vice-president in charge of world exports for Israel's largest chocolate company, came toting the assortment. His company is the Elite, located in the garden city of Ramat Gan on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Mark Moshevich was born in Latvia and educated in England; he majored in chemistry at Cambridge University and came home after college to learn the candy business in his father's factory. He knows his candy all right. He could tell us exactly how each piece was made. His purpose here, he explained, was to acquaint the American public with Elite's quality products and to take home business to bring in the needed Yankee dollars.

With Mark Moshevich at our elbow we picked and pecked at the candies as he pointed out the high lights of the various kinds. The one-tray box with tasseled cord to slide out a drawer load was named Splendid, filled with miniature chocolate bars, bittersweet and milk chocolate, each wrapped in silver. The chocolate is blended by an old German recipe brought to Palestine out of Riga, Latvia, where Mark's father and partner, Eli Fromconke, had the Laima Candy and Chocolate Company, internationally known. A superior chocolate, smooth as cream on the tongue, easy melting, showing high gloss, remindful of the best from Switzerland.

Chocolate bars in the next assortment, some filled with fruit cream: we tasted raspberry, strawberry, cherry, black currant, orange, lemon, and peppermint. The filling, soft and fluffy, is encased in a thin chocolate shell. Sandwich liar, that's a new idea, half bittersweet, half milk chocolate, the two fused together and marked into squares for breaking.

Assorted chocolates in another box, cream-filled, some blended with crushed fruits, others made with finely ground nuts. The pieces are brightly foiled in red, silver, rose, gold.

The hard candies are typical of the kinds made by the best German and Czechoslovakian firms, hard-shelled pieces with soft, chewy, fruit-flavored centers, individually wrapped. One with a sesame-seed center, chocolate-covered, is our pick of the lot. The hard numbers come cellophane-bagged or in bulk.

The candy is now in national distribution. Ask in your local candy shops and grocery stores.

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