Tag Archives: Aunt Eileen


Grunt, Buckler, Crisp and Crumble. Add some Cobblers and Pan-dowdies. Betties. We mustn’t leave out the Betties. These are the Goldie-Oldies of the fruit and butter and flour, baked in a dish but not quite a pie, classic New England treats.

These ‘Olde-Thymie’ treats just aren’t as oldie as they like to pass themselves off as. But, since they’re now nearing their centennial….well, I guess they’re old at last!

Welcome to the Colonial Revival! When the New Fashion was to be old-fashioned even though you’re new…..Old Days Old Ways the way they never were…rather like the Bi-Centennial…..we just never stop reinventing the past.


Orchard House circa 1940.  Home of Louisa  May Alcott in Concord MA – this is where she wrote Little Women. She nicknamed the house “Apple Slump”.

I can’t remember not knowing cobblers, and crisps and crumbles…..and knowing there was some extensional difference between them even if I couldn’t articulate it.But I remember quite clearly when I first heard about  Apple Slump – The summer between third and fourth grade.

The Christmas before Aunt Eileen (Grampy’s only  sister) had given me several brown paper bags FULL of books. She felt it was important to have books on hand, before you thought you could be ready for them, lined up and ready for you when you were ready for them. Chapter books. Book with more words then picture books. And one of them was :


And – I’d seen the movie! Twice!


The Katherine Hepburn one….




the 1949 version with June Allyson

I’ve since seen the 1994 – of course!


Hello Winona and Susan Sarandon

Anyhow, I must have looked Louisa May Alcott up in the encyclopedia…that’s a big set of books we used to go to to find stuff out before the internet…..and found out that she called her house Apple Slump.Actually, the house was named Orchard House – Apple Slump was it’s nickname. A house with a pet name!

The first food  Apple Slump reference is in a Salem MA newspaper 2 years before Louisa’s birth

20 November 1830, Salem (MA) Observer, pg. 2, col. 3:
The pumpkin pies and apple slump, bacon and plum-pudding, were smoking on the table, when the old gentleman, gathering round him his smiling guests, said grace in the following manner: “May God bless us, and what is provided for us.”

The Big Apple


Louisa May Alcott

And LMA left a recipe for Apple Slump –

Pare, core and slice 6 apples and combine with one c(up). sugar, 1 t(easpoon) cinnamon, and 1/2 c. water in a saucepan. Cover and beat to boiling point. Meanwhile sift together 1 1/2 c. flour, t t/4 t. salt and 1 1/2 t. baking powder and add 1/2 cup milk to make a soft dough. Drop pieces of the dough from a tablespoon onto apple mixture, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 min. Serve with cream.”
John F. Mariani. Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, (p. 297)



And then there’s pandowdies….



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Filed under Books, Eating, New England, Recipe, Wicked Wayback

Good Housekeeping

  1. What you want people to think when they come over
  2. A magazine since May 2, 1885.

    Good Housekeeping 1908

    Good Housekeeping 1908

  3. A Seal of Approval since 1909.

    Original 1909 seal of approval

    Original 1909 seal of approval

  4. A cookbook – mine is the 1963 edition.
    1963 edition of Good Housekeeping Cook Book

    1963 edition of Good Housekeeping Cook Book

    This is what the dust jacket looks like - I lost mine so long ago, I don't remember, but there's more then one image of this on the vintage cookbook e-bay place....

    This is what the dust jacket looks like – I lost mine so long ago, I don’t remember, but there’s more then one image of this on the vintage cookbook e-bay place….


But this is not just ANY cookbook….it is my FIRST cookbook.

Christmas, 1971.

This was a gift from my Aunt Eileen. She was my Grampy’s sister, so properly my great- aunt, although she might have better approved of the title ‘Grand-Aunt’.  She gave me books by the shopping bag full, to read what I was ready for, and to have something left for later.

Fill with books and call it Christmas - I learned to wrap from Auntie Eileen....

Fill with books and call it Christmas – I learned to wrap from Aunt Eileen….

She said cook books were great to read.

Every recipe is a story. And they don’t all have happy endings

Truer words were never spoken. Just because it’s written as recipe doesn’t mean it’s any good. Or that you’ll like it, no matter how precise your measurement or how gourmet your ingredients.

The foreword is by Willie Mae Rogers and in many ways shaped how I approach food and cooking and the whole foodways spectrum.

“A cookbook can be many things – depending on its author and its purpose. The only one element all are sure to possess is recipes.

This cookbook almost defies classification. It is so many things. It is years of Good Housekeeping’s knowledge of and respect for food – its preparation, its serving, its role in family life.

It is a loving compilation of favorite recipes from our famous cookbook series, a complete chapter of our teenage Susan’s cherished step by step directions for fabulous dishes, more quick-and-easy recipes than ever before. It is what to do to make those ever-present leftovers seem new and exciting. It is how to cook for that magic number – two. It is cooking with utmost confidence because the recipes have been tested and proved beyond any question.

It is the tremendous contribution of the food industry to our country – and the zealous care and protection of our government agencies.

Overwhelmingly, it is American women. It is the grandmother who writes from a small town in Montana to say: “My grandchildren’s birthday cakes have made me famous. I owe it all to Good Housekeeping.

It is the young bride who valiantly copes with the complexities of a new marriage, an outside job, no knowledge of cooking, and who says to us: Dear Good Housekeeping, what would I ever do without you?”

It is the “older” woman who says: “Now that my children are grown, now that our budget is bigger, I can truly enjoy and use all those wonderful ideas for gourmet dishes. Thank you for your food pages.”

It is the young high school or college graduate who writes to us: Dear Good Housekeeping, I’m being married in June. My mother says you taught her to cook. Please, will you teach me too?”

It is a Foods and Cookery staff that almost defies belief in its dedication and devotion, its enthusiasm and creativity.

But perhaps more than anything else, this cookbook is the spirit – the caring – the untiring giving of a magnificent food editor and a great and gracious lady, Dorothy B. Marsh.

It comes to you with the gratitude and best wishes of all of us at Good Housekeeping.”

The Chapter titles (The Story of Meat; The Best of Susan; Dreamy Desserts, The Macaroni Family….) and then sections like ‘Menu Planning Can Be Fun’ and so many of the sample menus……

There’s been some recent interest with vintage (I admit I’m having a hard time referring to my childhood as vintage) recipes which shouldn’t come back.

May I submit for your consideration :

Roast-Beef Hearty Party Salad

illustration from p. 311 ; recipe on p. 459


I have never been the least bit tempted to reconstruct this particular tableau

For 4 serving – 3 # of sirloin ….and then there’s the LIMA BEANS.

Lima beans turn up ALL OVER in this cookbook.

I come from baked bean people and pasta and beans (pasta fazoole) people, but not from lima bean people.  So much of this cookbook was like a visit from another planet when I was reading – and re-reading it – back in the day.

What’s missing from this book, besides the dust jacket, is smudges and smears and other evidence that I’ve ever cooked from it. I might very well have saved most of my cooking for other books, and newspaper clippings and  pages from magazines, and maintained this as my how to cook reference manual.

And I continue to view cookbooks as short story collections.

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Filed under Books, Influencers, The 1970's