Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Society Museum
“Bake in a hot oven,” “add lump of butter the size of an egg,” “add plenty of salt and pepper,” and this writer’s favorite, “cook until done.” These are some of the instructions found in recipes in the Millinocket Historical Society’s cookbook, A Little Taste of History. Compiled 5 years ago and still a favorite in the Museum Store, it gives a look into the meals Millinocket ladies fed their families in earlier days. Most of the recipes have been handed down to younger generations and have been “borrowed” from Millinocket community cookbooks in the museum’s collection.
Several “famous” local ladies’ recipes are included. Boiled raisin cake is a recipe from early 1900’s lady Pearl Thorpe whose teenage daughter Verna ran away with a circus troupe when it came to town. (Book about Verna No Time for Moss written by son Sid McKeen available at museum.) A chocolate pie recipe is from Josepha Sweetser Evans, writer of the Portia column in the Millinocket Journal for many years. All photos of her, show her in profile even when all others are looking at the camera.
A hunting group photo shows Dawn Bowler (Dot Laverty’s mother), Minnie Felix and Myrtie Stearns (Mrs. George, in knickers, armed) and preparing to bring something home for the dinner table). Mrs. Stearns recipe for carrot pudding says to “dissolve a teaspoon of soda in hot water” and then “steam all ingredients for 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream.”
There are recipes for “feathers cake” (no real feathers included) from Mrs. Fred Gates, Jr., “lazy woman’s sweet sours” from Mrs. Ruth Moran, “self-frosting cake” from Mrs. Bernice Murphy and “balloon cake” from Mrs. Winifred Emerson. The list goes on and on with both sweet and savory recipes. Most require a minimum of ingredients which were on hand always in most kitchens of the day and most give sparse instructions.
This cookbook veers from the traditional arrangement of appetizers, main dishes, desserts, etc. The divisions include recipes from families of GNP employees, town and school employees, early businessmen, store owners, special ladies and more.
A Little Taste of History is a fun read even if you do not wish to try any of the recipes. Cookbook available at museum $20.00 each and by mail $20.00 each plus $5 SH to Millinocket Historical Society, PO Box 11, Millinocket, ME 04462.
Recipe for Queen of Puddings (Mrs. Minnie Morgan) –
One pint bread crumbs, 1quart sweet milk, the yolks of four eggs well beaten, butter the size of an egg, 1 cup sugar, grated rind 1 lemon, mix and bake until done but not watery. Beat whites of eggs to a stiff froth, place on pudding, return to oven and brown lightly. When taken from the oven add a layer of preserves, then serve with whipped cream.