Vanilla Ice Cream with Marshmallows (c. 1931) ★★★★★
Today I have a menu for "Christmas Dinner," taken from The Settlement Cookbook. This cookbook was originally published in 1901 and was so successful that a further 34 editions were published. Today's excerpt comes from the edition published around 1931, which seems to be one of the more popular editions. In this edition the author, Lizzie Black Kander, includes several menu suggestions, including ones for holidays such as Christmas, St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, Lent, and Washington's Birthday. Since making the whole Christmas menu would be a little...overwhelming, I chose to make just one dish, marshmallow ice cream. The menu didn't indicate a specific flavour, but the book gives a few varieties, including chocolate, coffee, orange, and New York.
What caught my attention while reading this cookbook was that it was written by a Jewish woman who wanted to assimilate young Jewish girls into mainstream American society. One might see Kander's fight for Americanization of immigrants as a negative thing - after all, she was encouraging the abandonment of traditional culinary values. However, it would be difficult not to describe Kander as a strong, courageous woman who actively sought out her goals (despite the fact that she proclaimed the importance of the woman in the domestic sphere).
The focus of the cookbook explains the emphasis on American holidays in the menus section. However, I did notice a few traditional Jewish recipes throughout the book, such as matzo balls, matzo pudding, and kugel. There are also a number of German and Eastern European influences present - in fact, the book is one of the largest collections of Jewish and German recipes published in the United States.
The Settlement Cookbook was also a charity cookbook - its aim was to raise funds for the Jewish Settlement House in Milwaukee, Wisconsin ("settlement work" was a term used to describe charitable work among immigrants). The success of the book meant that charities in Milwaukee benefited from the book's sales for over 75 years.
Overall, Kander's work was extremely influential in Milwaukee and the United States as a piece of socio-cultural history. Indeed, it is still influencing North American society today, in facsimile and new revised editions.
This ice cream is ridiculously creamy. I was shocked at how silky it was on my tongue. I liked the flavour, but I think I might have preferred the chocolate variety a little more. Mr. Man thought it was cream cheese at first. He didn't like it, but that's because he doesn't like marshmallows.
I also happened to accidentally burn a little bit of the mixture while it was on the stove, but it actually gave a nice toasted marshmallow flavour. Really, this recipe is nice the way it is, but next time I would toast the marshmallows beforehand.
(Adapted from The Way to A Man's Heart ... The Settlement Cook Book)
1 cup MILK
1 cup CREAM or EVAPORATED MILK
1 teaspoon VANILLA
1. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk. Cut the marshmallows into small pieces and add to the hot milk, stirring until dissolved.
2. To the saucepan, add the vanilla. Let cool.
3. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the cooled marshmallow mixture.
4. Put the ice cream mixture into the freezer to set or follow the directions on your ice cream maker.
Fritz, Angela. "Lizzie Black Kander and Culinary Reform in Milwaukee, 1880 - 1920."Wisconsin Magazine of History 87.3 (2004): 36-49. Wisconsin Historical Society. 2007. Web. 20 Dec. 2012. <http://content.wisconsinhistory.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/wmh/id/42933/show/42910>.
"Lizzie Black Kander." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 May 2012. Web. 20 Dec. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lizzie_Black_Kander>.
"The Settlement Cook Book." Feeding America. Web. 20 Dec. 2012. <http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/html/books/book_52.cfm>.