Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Lorain

As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.

I came across this old cook book from the 1920's, copyright in my printing, 1930 in a piece of history which few people ever contemplate and that is once upon a time there were not such things as thermostats on stoves. You had a valve and it was no or off, and if it was a cook stove with wood, you had a damper to try and control burning and hope that the wind was not gusting that day so you ended up with black bread and charred meat.

This was the Lorain Cooking, cookbook, and in the opening of this hardcover book it focused on the Loraine Oven Heat Regulator, which was quite an invention to actually control gas cooking stoves to maintain a proper heat that cooked and did not burn.

The book was priced 1 Dollar.......I paid 50 cents.  I doubt anyone was shelling out 1 dollar, but that this was some give away if you bought one of these stoves from the American Stove Company, St. Louis Missouri.

This company only lasted about 20 years it seems as it lists from the 1920's to 1930's, but this was NASA technology back then and it changed the world really for American women in the kitchen.

Cooking before this was a mix of moving things around on a stove, and setting draft, heating an oven, and then figuring out how long to cook it and turn it, as nothing came out of the oven pretty as a Betty Crocker picture.

I would be remiss if I wrapped up my brief look at the American Stove Company in Lorain without mentioning the famous Lorain Oven Heat Regulator, which is considered to be the first thermostat for manufactured kitchen ovens. It was invented by Benjamin E. Meacham, of Lorain, Ohio, who was the superintendent of the plant.

He designed his automatic heat control, called the "Lorain," in 1913 and tested it at home in his own kitchen for eighteen months. After the success of this test trial, the factory put it into production and the first range equipped with the device shipped in December 1914.

The American Stove Company adopted the regulator for all six of its divisions in 1919.

The thing is, this cook book from Lorain, is a good cook book. I mean it is not French cooking, but for a new housewife this thing gives you everything from baking bread to plum pudding to oven canning. That really interested me as my Grandpa always canned wild duck in the wood cook stove he had. No one did that and I never heard of anyone engaged in such things, and here was the process in this Lorain cook book.
There was also Rocks in there. I have a cut out cook book from my Gram, who was forever cutting out the worst recipes on the planet, and she had several recipes for Rocks. Rocks were cookies and were really the cat's meow back in the day in exotic cooking to impress the other ladies. I have not seen a reference to rocks except here, and in Lorain they are fixated on orange things too in sauces and frosting. That was what Gram had too in orange pies and things. People of that era growing up were fixated on lemons and oranges.

This is really a treasure in this cook book for it's historical window and insights to a part of world history which was most important as it was in the kitchen, and of an era of scientific advancement in refrigeration, Henry Ford cars, high strength steels, chemicals, fertilizers, herbicides to regulators on cook stoves.

This all sounds like nothing now with microwaves, but if you were a woman cooking or a family eating half raw or complete charred food, that gas regulator was a God send, just like gas was out of the ground, as your cities did not have coal smoke out of every house cooking food that all tasted like oil. This was the step in human advancement where great advances were appearing in medicine and industry.

I will end this with Maryland Chicken, and pay attention to singing the chicken, as chickens do have hairs on their skin and need to be singed. See in this period, people got chickens unsinged. Things have changed.

Maryland Chicken
350 degrees; Time; 1 1/2 hours
275 degrees; Time, 3 hours

1 chicken 4 1/2 to 5 pounds, 1 year old
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8th teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup boiling water

Singe the chicken and cut it into pieces. Wash thoroughly. Add the salt and pepper to the fine bread or cracker crumbs.
Beat the egg and add the milk.
Dip the pieces of chicken into the egg and milk mixture, then into the crumbs.

Repeat this process and and brown the chicken in deep fat heated to a temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit or in a frying pan in 4 tablespoons of melted fat.

Place in a baking dish and add 1/2 cup boiling water.

Cover and bake at either of the above temperatures.

As I close this visit in history up, notice two additional things, in this was all FAT, as in lard which was the cooking base. Crisco was not in wide spread use nor other oils like cotton seed. In addition, the reason the water was boiling is cold water would take too long to heat up in the oven, and actually cool the oven off. This was not the era of convection ovens in instant heat. This was the real world in how people had to learn to live in it rather than crushing the world around them in demands of things done in seconds.


Nuff Said