PPC 124 (December 2022)



PPC 124 is a casserole of ideas, with “How to Cook Reagan’s Goose” a highlight as we come into the Christmas season. George Lewis discusses the party political cookbooks of the United States. Then William Sayers compares Clafoutis and Clabber. Clabber? A milk pudding, naturally curdled. Or else a derivative of the Irish Gaelic term clabber, for mud. Or Old Irish clapach, meaning ‘big-mouthed’. Plenty to discuss while enjoying a Christmas dinner, and a great replacement for those cracker jokes.

13 Antecedents, Authenticity and Adaptation in the Nineteenth- century Kitchen: a Case Study of Mobile, Alabama

Blake Perkins

35 F(e)asting on Mehlspeisen Margie Gibson

40 M.G. Saphir, Jewish Cuisine’s First Food Writer András Koerner

69 Recipes for Success, and Otherwise: the Party Political Cookbooks of the United States

George Lewis

97 Savoury and Unsavoury Origins of the Terms Clafoutis and Clabber
William Sayers

101 Biogastronomica III: De Capsicis, the Wild Chillies of Texas Andrew Dalby

110 Runes on the Horn, Leeks in the Ale William Sayers

119 Book Reviews

Extract from PPC 124 from George Lewis’ article on the Party Political Cookbooks of the United States:

The Republican Mayor of Dillon, Colorado, consented to having his recipe included in the state party’s cookbook because it came with hyper-masculinized credentials. His ‘Barbecued Liver’n’Bacon’ had taken third place in the Kaiser Foil Cookout Championship for Men Only in 1964, which meant that it had been prepared outdoors, with fire, and in a competitive all-male environment.28 Some other offerings were far less competitive, such as a recipe for ‘Vegetable Soup’ which began with an ominous ‘Open all cans,’ but more common were recipes that were pinned to specifically masculine pursuits. ‘(Captain) Matty Bernard’ went minimalist with a three-ingredient ‘Eine Braune Suppe,’ the appeal of which lay in it tasting ‘good on a cold night when anchored.’ Erstwhile sailors could augment the Captain’s dish with A.R. Whittaker’s ‘Shrimp and Peppers,’ which could be cooked ‘underway or at anchor.’ 1969’s A Treasury of Great Republican Recipes offered a toss-up as to which recipe was the more improbably masculine sounding, Charles H. Carr’s ‘The He-Man’s Meat Loaf’ or Chuck Reisdorph’s ‘Steak in a Paper Bag,’ a contest which the latter probably won on account of an added note: ‘If using for a man’s stag supper, this recipe should be doubled to serve 6.’ The note on Joe Cannon’s ‘Steak Tartare’ now reads as though it was intended as satire, but at the end of the 1960s it was not. ‘This is the kind of thing to have when the hurricanes come and the power goes off and the electric stove and electric can opener won’t work,’ wrote Cannon. ‘If the telephone is still working and you prepare this Tartare Steak according to specifications, call me and despite wind and high water I’ll be there!’29  Elsewhere, key signifiers of masculinity with which to counter the perceived femininity of indoor, household cooking included descriptions of wartime service. Indeed, the biographies of male politicians presented in The Republican Cookbook of 1969 were often built around notes of military service in the Second World War or Korea, and in rarer circumstances the First World War. In one extreme case, the description of war wounds sustained was so macabre that it jarred with the very idea of preparing food for consumption, especially when the recipe presented called for the mincing of meat.30

Contemporary societal values were etched into the cookbooks. The NFRW President’s message at the start of one 1960s cookbook began ‘Dear Homemaker,’ while the Preface to The Republican Cookbook instructed readers that they would all ‘be gratified to perceive that Republican leaders are family-type people like you and me,’ even though the ‘me’ was never identified, and one US Senator’s wife, when asked for further information about her own biography, replied that ‘The most important thing I ever did was to marry my husband.’ Other entries were constructed with such an obviously heavy hand that they, too, appeared close to parody or satire. A biography of the wife of David M. Kennedy, for example, proclaimed that ‘Mrs Kennedy enjoys babysitting and being with her seventeen grandchildren. Proud of the flowers she grows at her Illinois home, Leonora Kennedy also likes to cook and sew, often making her own dresses … she sings in the choir regularly.’ Frances P. Bolton, who was elected to fill the vacancy for one of Ohio’s US Congressional seats following the death of her husband, Chester, admitted that ‘They named me to the House first because they said I knew my late husband’s thinking … Actually, I didn’t have the faintest idea what he thought. I had never really been interested in politics. Until I was fifty-five I had concentrated on being a wife and mother.’31