Back in the day there were book clubs galore
For a mere 99 cents, you could get 4 or 5 hardback "book club" editions
of popular or famous novels and then with the promise to buy 4 or 5 more in the next year (at regular price), you could build your library.
And I did!
And so because I did, I got an advertisement for a "cookbook" book club.
That first year of marriage, I desperately wanted to learn how to cook
And so I was a sucker --
I subscribed and one of those 4 or 5 books I got for 99 cents
The Butt'ry Shelf Cookbook
by Mary Mason Campbell
With darling illustrations by one of my favorite illustrators
I fell in love -- instantly!!!
What I loved most was that each chapter was a different "holiday"
And so there was a charming story
And then the "receipts"
which were very good and simple --
New England country food
I loved to cook from that book!
I learned so much!
Sometime later the cookbook book club
The Butt'ry Shelf Almanac
The second book by Mrs. Campbell and again illustrated by her friend and neighbor,
I loved it as much as the first --
It was a month by month book of birds and flowers and a story
With receipts that went with the story
(July was canning and so a corn relish and pickle receipt were given, for example)
And I learned something new about the birds and the flowers
Sometime with three moves
(one long distance move from Kansas City to Nevada, Missouri),
I lost The Butt'ry Shelf Cookbook
And back then there was no Amazon or internet to find a copy.
I got brave and wrote Mrs. Campbell
(she had her address, at least town and state in the forward of the Almanac),
telling her how much I enjoyed both of her books but that somehow, the
Cookbook had gotten misplaced and did she have a copy she could sell me.
She wrote back!
And yes she did and by the way, she had another book,
And she had a copy of that for sale and would I be interested.
I loved the other two books and new I would love the third one
And so I said yes.
She autographed them, included a clipping of rosemary
And I absolutely fell in love
with the third book.
It is my herbal bible!
Not many receipts but more a gardening book
And it's because of her and this book that I have a herb garden!
Sometime later, I found she wrote a fourth book --
Yes, a long time later because I found this on ebay
and bought it
So my collection is complete!
But this isn't a post really about Mary Mason Campbell
it's a post about a Fifty Year Adventure!
I've made a lot out of this first book
And quite a bit out of the second one
But one receipt had always intrigued me --
A receipt for "Pink Pudding"
It sounded good
But it contained unflavored gelatin
And it's always been intimidating to me
You soften it in water and then you have to melt it
I didn't want to have anything to do with it!
Too "fussy" for me
But everytime I picked up
The Butt'ry Shelf Cookbook
I was drawn to the receipt.
And wanted so to make it!
Wanted to taste it!
And fifty years later . . .
I finally did!
It's as pretty and as tasty as Mary Mason Campbell described in her book
"The little girl always chose the dessert she loved even more than cake. It was just called Pink Pudding. It always looked very beautiful turned out on the pink Haviland chop plate with pink candles lighted around it and a garnish of strawberries or little pink rosebuds or sweet peas. Best of all, she was allowed to have all she could eat of it, which was quite a lot. (It still is many years later."
(In a tin (or aluminum) cup soak 1 T. unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water until soft, then melt it over boiling water until gelatin is very thin and liquid.
Squeeze the juice of 2 oranges and 1 lemon and pour it over 1 cup sugar with the grated rind of 1 orange added. Stir until sugar is well dissolved. Add 1/2 t. vanilla, 1/4 t. almond flavoring and a few grains of salt. Add some pink food coloring and mix well.
Whip 1 cup heavy cream very stiff, then fold int he quit juice mixture and last the melted gelatin. Pour into a small fancy mold or into individual molds and put in the icebox for several hours or until well set.
This receipt makes a serving for four, and may well be doubled to put into a larger fancy mold. When serving, invert on a pretty plate. Tiny birthday candles may be placed around the top of the pudding. Fresh flowers arranged around the edge o the plate add to the festivity.
And like other receipts in Mrs. Campbell's books,
I'll make this again!
Her receipts are never
"one and done"