Behold! The Power of Cheese

The American Dairy Council’s slogan from the late nineties — “Behold! The Power of Cheese” — would have been the perfect title for the one-hundred-year old Farmer’s Wife article below. Home cooks from the 1920s were well aware of the ability of cheese to elevate any meal through both flavor and nutrition. During WW I, just a few years prior to this issue’s publication, the U.S. government promoted using cheese as a meat substitute on the home front so that beef could be made available to feed the US troops. By then American cheddar cheese was readily available even in rural areas and a good value for money. So common was cheddar, in fact, that it was referred to rather casually in old recipes and cookbooks as “cheese”, “American” cheese (not meaning the processed cheese of today), “store” cheese, “dairy” cheese or “yellow” cheese. Softer cheeses were available as well, with cream cheese being wildly popular during the 20s and 30s. Dairy women frequently made their own cottage cheese (recipe below) and often served it as part of a salad with fruits and/or vegetables. (It was not until reading the article below that I heard of garnishing cottage cheese with conserves or marmalade). For special occasions, such cheeses as Camembert, Roquefort, Edam and Swiss would have been available, but were a luxury most rural folk could ill afford.

I hope you enjoy reading “Cheese Is Choice”

Elaine
Dutch or Cottage Cheese
MRS. ALLEN’S COOK BOOK 1917

Cheese Is Choice — It Should Be Used As A Staple Food

By Edith M. Barber

Cheese for “trimming” other less savory foods and for making leftovers go farther is indeed a boon to the cook. How often it helps answer that ever-present question “What shall we have for supper?” Sometimes it serves to flavor a white sauce to pour over hard-cooked eggs on toast or to cover raw eggs in a baking dish which is set in the oven until the eggs are firm. Sometimes cheese sauce is used with vegetables such a cauliflower or cabbage, which are then covered with crumbs and baked until brown. Escalloped vegetable with cheese has a certain “body” which makes it satisfying as a main luncheon or supper dish.

A dish of fresh cottage cheese on the table will supplement the summer vegetables and fruits which we like to use lavishly in their season. It occasionally may be varied by mixing with cut chives or chopped onions, or surrounded with preserves or garnished with jelly.

The fancy cheeses which have more distinct and individual flavors lend themselves to occasional use but for every day, the plain American or cottage cheeses are the most satisfactory. Cottage cheese in its own form can be digested easily by children, as well as by the older members of the family, but the richer cheeses which contain more fat should always be diluted for the children and often for the rest of the family. Mixed with other blander foods such as white sauces, vegetables and rice or macaroni, cheese should appear often on the table.

Toasted Cheese with Bacon

Slice bread one-half inch thick and cover with thin slices of cheese. Sprinkle with salt and paprika and lay two slices of bacon on each piece. Place in dripping pan and bake in hot oven (400 degrees F.) until bacon is crisp and cheese is melted. If you have a use for hard bread crumbs, the crusts may be removed from the bread, dried and ground.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Cheese

  • 6 tomatoes
  • 3 c. bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. chopped onion
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Cheese

Remove the pulp from tomatoes and mix with crumbs. Cook onion in butter one minute and mix with crumbs and seasonings. Stuff tomatoes and bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F.) ten minutes. Remove from oven and cover with slices of cheese. Return to oven until cheese is melted and serve at once. This same recipe may be used for peppers.

Corn and Cheese Souffle

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Paprika
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 ½ c. canned corn
  • ½ c. grated cheese
  • 3 eggs

Melt butter and blend with flour. Add milk and seasoning and cook until smooth and thick. Mix egg yolks, cheese and corn and add to sauce. Fold in beaten whites and bake in greased dish in pan of hot water in moderate oven (350 degrees F.) about twenty minutes until set. One-half cup chopped ham may be used instead of corn.

Quick Supper Dish

  • ½ lb. soft cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. mustard
  • Black pepper
  • Paprika
  • 1 c. milk or more

Cut or break cheese into large greased pie pan. Break eggs on top and sprinkle with mixed seasoning. Add milk to cover cheese and mix all together with fork. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F.) about fifteen minutes until cheese is melted and mixture is set.

Cheese-Tomato Rice

  • 4 c. boiled rice
  • 1 small can tomatoes
  • Salt
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp. bacon fat
  • Pepper
  • ¼ lb. cheese

Cook onion in bacon fat one minute and add to rice, mixing lightly with fork. Add tomatoes, season to taste and place in greased baking dish. Cut cheese in thin slices and place on top. Bake on hot oven (450 degrees F.) until cheese is melted.

Pinwheel Cheese Biscuit

  • 3 c. flour
  • 5 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp. fat
  • ¾ – 1 cup milk
  • 1 c. grated cheese
  • Paprika

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder, rub in fat and add enough milk to make dough soft enough to roll. Roll into oblong one half inch thick and sprinkle with cheeses and paprika. Roll like jelly roll and cut into inch pieces. Place close together in pie pan with cut side up. Bake in hot oven (450 degrees F.) about fifteen minutes until brown.

Grape Conserve

  • 4 qts. grapes
  • 6 oranges
  • 3 lbs. raisins
  • 1 lb. nuts (not peanuts)

Pulp the grapes, cook until soft, put through colander and add skins, oranges and raisins. To every cup of mixture add a cup of sugar and cook to desired consistency. The nuts are added just before removing from fire.

Grapefruit Marmalade

  • 2 grapefruit
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • Sugar
  • Water

Slice fruit very thin, removing seeds but not rind. It is easier to slice on a board. Fruit may be put through food chopper if preferred; this saves time but the product is not so perfect. To each pound of fruit, add three pints of water. Place in an enamel bowl and let stand for twenty-four hours. To each pound, add one pound of sugar and cook slowly until thick and clear. Test by chilling a little on a saucer. Do no overcook. Pour into sterilized glasses or jars, and seal.

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife — A Magazine For Farm Women, October 1926, Page492; by Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota

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