Friday, June 10, 2016

Book Review: 500 Delicious Dishes from Leftovers

Title: 500 Delicious Dishes from Leftovers 

Author: Ruth Berolzheimer

Date: 1952

Publisher: Consolidated Book Publishers

ISBN: none

Length: 48 pages

Illustrations: black-and-white photos

Quote: "[L]eftovers...challenge the imagination of the alert homemaker. She has learned the importance of their utilization for food value as well as economy."

Fun fact: According to the Quad-City Times web site, although Ruth Berolzheimer became famous as a cookbook writer, she was "not a good cook." Supervising what other people did with recipes, and writing the recipes in a nice clear format, was strictly a job.

Nevertheless, 500 Delicious Dishes from Leftovers sold well enough that it's available in several different editions with different covers. What you see above is the cover I physically own at the time of writing; my copy is not as well preserved--the cover is loose. Whether the cover photo is in color or not, the pictures inside are nice, clear black-and-white photographs, provided courtesy of various corporate sponsors listed on page four. (There are no flyleaves; the page with the publishing information, just inside the cover, counts as page one.)

The 500 recipes are arranged according to the type of leftovers they use up. Sweet and savory dishes mingle. The first section discusses the use of baked goods and crumbs, beginning with seven sweet variations and one salted variation of bread pudding, on page five. This section also includes brownies, fritters, tortes, stuffed vegetables, the classic beef casserole (with the "fat" from the beef and breadcrumbs instead of rice), and salad with what Americans had not yet started calling croutons.

"Cereals," in 1952, was still a technical term for grain dishes--including pasta--more than a retailers' term for packaged "breakfast cereals." The chapter on "leftover cooked cereals" features grits, cornmeal mush, and also rice, macaroni, spaghetti, and canned corn.

Despite a target audience of cooks who had learned to be frugal in the Depression and War period, this book was alert to the food trends of its day. Here are recipes for then-fashionable dishes like aspics, timbales, sherbets, Baked Alaska, and even..."frozen salads." Yes, frugal cooks who had splurged on electric refrigerators and gas stoves could indulge in jello molds! And those who had waffle irons could treat friends and family to apple, bacon, chocolate, corn, ham, nut, and orange-flavored waffles! Oh, the exuberance of marketing in the 1950s...

Although food allergies hadn't been discovered yet, many of these recipes are simple enough to be naturally "free" from whatever you might want to avoid. Of course, that means no substitutes are suggested. If you want to avoid sugar, make something savory. If you want to avoid wheat, skip the baked goods.

Any of these recipes that appeals to you would be absolutely perfect for a "Mayberry R.F.D." theme party.

To buy this book directly from the seller who photographed it for Amazon, click on the image above. To buy it here, send $5 per copy + $5 per package to either address at the very bottom of the screen. 500 Delicious Dishes from Leftovers is not a Fair Trade Book, but it's a slim little book that will fit into a package along with three or four or even more books by living authors...please scroll down and find more to save shipping costs.