The Vancouver Sun librarians have dug a lot of items out of the trash over the years, when they’re not yanking dusty items out of storage lockers or piecing together crumbling negatives.
One great find from the great pile of history that is the Sun archives was a recent discovery in the now closed test kitchen of an eight-foot tall stack of scrapbooks, containing every page, every recipe, and every household tip from the 30′s right through to the 60′s.
These books, some of which haven’t seen the light of day in decades, aren’t in such great shape these days. Some of the glue used to hold pages together back then is smears of yellow and brown today, but most of it is impeccable, having been lovingly scissored out of the newspaper and filed away… just in case.
Alongside those scrapbooks were boxes of index cards, containing every recipe the Edith Adams crew pumped out during that same time. Conservatively, there’s thousands of them, ranging from sections on poultry, beef (pre-refrigerator – if you had leftovers, Edith was fond of putting the scraps in muffins for the next day) to sauces, cakes, even medicines and poisons.
The recipes on this site are the first 1200 or so, scanned lovingly by our scanning department and uploaded by our PNG digital team. But the scrapbooks… there’s just no way we could even put a dent in the mountain of content that is that stack. So, instead, we’re leafing through it, one page at a time, and sending out tidbits on Twitter under the Twitter account @EdithAdamsFood.
Here’s a selection of some of our favourites from the early 50′s.
• Plastic bags make good emergency footwear. Keep a few to protect guests’ shoes from surprise storms.
• Light coloured wool stays clean if kept in plastic bag sealed with cellulose tape. Leave an opening for wool to pull through.
• Your little girl can get at least one season’s added wear out of dresses she has out grown if you make them into summer midriffs. To do this rip the waist seam and finish the bottom of the blouse; use the sash for a band on the skirt.
• Use a buttonhole stitch every three inches when hemming a wash dress by hand. Then, should the thread break, the hem won’t come out — the buttonhole stitch stops the break and the damage can be repaired quickly.
• Leftover fish can be used as an appetizer. Cut the fish in small pieces, dip in batter seasoned with crumbled basil leaves and fry in deep fat until brown. Serve on toothpicks.
• Baking dishes will come clean more easily if they are soaked in hot soapy suds while still warm from the oven.
• To get perfect halves of English walnuts for garnishing, place the walnut on its flat end. Hold it by the seam and strike with a hammer on the pointed end. Use a sharp but bouncing blow.
• When you are a guest remember that you have a duty to make the party a success. Even when you “aren’t in the mood” for a party, put yourself out to be pleasant and to talk to others.
• To guard the heels and toes of your nylon stockings, rub them with a bit of beeswax.
• Onions, like other vegetables, should be cooked only until tender. Over-cooking of onions causes unpleasant odour and undesirable colour.
• Spread both inner surfaces of bread slices for a sandwich, especially when using gooey fillings. Keeps filling from soaking into the bread.
• To ensure a crisp under-crust on a pie shell, bake it on the lowest rack in the oven.
• You can grow an exotic palm-like plant from the top of a pineapple. Planted in a pint jar or water, the top will quickly sprout.
• For greater nutritive value, add powdered milk to cream sauces, gravies, scrambled eggs and cream soups.
• To remove cod liver oil stain from white cotton or linen, sponge the spot with carbon tetrachloride and wash in hot suds.
• When you’re folding or ironing your youngster’s clothes, put the hanky right in the pocket then. You’ll never be confronted with a runny-nosed child without a hanky.
• A small rack placed over a radiator can be used as a drying rack. It will utilize the heat which rises naturally from the radiator