Old Favorites from Childhood and The Best Table in Town

Excerpted from the Eugene Register, May 5, 1981:
When nostalgia stirs the taste buds with childhood scenes and smells, nothing beats the compliment, “Like my mother used to make.” Mother’s cooking is food for both body and soul, arousing memories with the simple flavors of apple pies, potatoes and gravy and creamy, back porch ice cream.
But what happens when the child becomes a great cook, even goes into the profession of cooking for hire, writing cookbooks, appearing on television and collecting fancy fees for teaching? So muses Dan Sellard as he writes a column for the Eugene Register in 1981. Included was the following:

Craig Claiborne, New York Times food editor, may have come by his love of food genetically. His mother, he has boasted in the past, was the best cook in the state of Mississippi.

Claiborne’s enthusiasm for his mother’s fine cooking brought her national exposure for some favorite recipes long before her son’s food reputation eclipsed her own standing with food lovers.

“I was mired in Chicago in public relations in 1948,” he says. “One of the programs I handled for the American Broadcasting Company was “Beulah Karney,” a food show on radio. Beulah also was food editor of Liberty Magazine and one day, knowing I was from the South, she asked me if I knew any good cooks in that region.

“Yes, my mother,” I told her. “She’s the finest in Mississippi.

“Beulah traveled there and wrote about some of the foods she enjoyed in my mother’s kitchen, and one of them happened to be one of my childhood favorites, a layered jellied affair made with one layer of green lime Jell-O, a second layer of cream cheese and a third layer of tomato aspic.

“My taste has gone a long way since then and I am too insecure to ever print that recipe, but some day I want to try it for fun and remembrance sake. In any event, when I was 13, I thought that was the ultimate in sophistication.”

This startling salad was included in the spread for Liberty Magazine in May 1948 which includes other favorites from Mrs. Clairborne such as Southern Fried Chicken Pie and Pearl’s Sweet Potato Biscuits. Beulah’s daughter Ann used to serve the Southern Fried Chicken Pie when she needed to impress society ladies of Lodi CA. And it worked, she was even written up in the Lodi News Sentinel!
Three Layer Party Salad
Party salad
Kathleen Claiborne

First and second layers
1 package lime gelatin
2 packages cream cheese
1 cup cream, whipped
1 teaspoon grated onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon plain gelatin
4 tablespoons cold water

For the first layer, make up lime gelatin, following directions on the package. Pour into wet mold (an 8 x 8-inch pan cake pan can be used). Chill. Let set thoroughly before adding second layer.

To make the second layer, soften cream cheese with a little milk. Whip until fluffy. Blend mixture into whipped cream mixed with onion, lemon juice and salt.

Dissolve plain gelatin in cold water. Dissolve over hot water until liquid. Then blend with cheese-cream mixture and pour over set lime mixture. Chill. When second layer is set, make a tomato aspic for third layer.

Third layer
1 tablespoon plain gelatin
¼ cup cold tomato juice
1 ¾ cups additional tomato juice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
Dash of red pepper
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Soak gelatin in cold tomato juice. Meanwhile, boil together the additional tomato juice and seasonings. Grate stalk of celery over tomato juice and gelatin mixture. Pour boiling tomato juice over dissolved gelatin. Stir and allow to become well chilled but not congealed.

Pour this last layer over cheese layer and allow to set. Unmold by dipping mold for a moment in hot water. Shake loose from sides. Place serving platter on top. Flip over. Garnish with greens and pass mayonnaise. Makes 8 large servings.

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Patica – Czechoslovakian Christmas Bread

The Beulah Karney Program & WENR held an heirloom recipe contest, entries came in by the bagful. Here is Beulah at her desk with some of the entries. Even envelopes addressed to “Beulah, Chicago Illinois” made it to her. Imagine that today!

recipe contest entries by the bagful

This prize winner was a favorite at my house (still is) growing up…it wasn’t Christmas morning without Patica…

Bread dough
2 yeast cakes
¾ cup sugar
1 pint warm buttermilk
1 tbs salt
7 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup soft butter or margarine
3 eggs

1 cup honey
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups finely chopped walnuts
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
Crumble yeast cakes on bowl. Add ¼ cup sugar. Pour buttermilk over yeast and let stand 10 minutes. Add 3 cups flour to mixture. Beat smooth, then let stand until light and bubbly. (This will take 20 to 30 minutes, depending upon temperature). Beat in butter or margarine and remaining sugar. Add 3 eggs, remaining flour and salt. Beat smooth.

Set in warm place to rise. Cover with damp cloth or paper. (rising will take from 1 to 1 ½ hours). When light, punch down, and allow to rise again. (This last rising can be eliminated).

After punching down, toss onto floured cloth. Roll very thin in one long strip about 6 inches wide. (You may have to double this on your table as it will be a strip some 6 to 8 feet in length). Spread strip with beaten egg and honey. Then sprinkle with half of chopped nuts and mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Roll lengthwise two or three times into rope. Press seam to hold dressing in. roll should be about 1 ½” in diameter.

Grease tube pan with cold butter or margarine. Line pan with remaining finely chopped nuts so that outside of ring will be crusty when baked. Now coil dough round and round in pan. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F.) from 1 to 1/1/4 hours. Remove from pan at once. When cool, the ring can be iced and decorated with candied cherries, citron, etc.

To make an attractive centerpiece, put glittering Christmas tree balls around the platter and rest it on spruce boughs. Patica may be made a day or two before it is to be used. Then the flavoring will really permeate the whole ring.

Mrs. J. W. Humfreville
Chicago, Illinois

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An arm and a leg

Meaning: A large, possibly exorbitant, amount of money. Origins are considered a bit murky, one theory has to do with portrait painters charging more to paint limbs…but according to Gary Martin,  author of the Meanings and Origins section of the Phrasefinder site and of the Phrase A Week posts the phrase is “in fact an American phrase, coined sometime after WWII.  The earliest citation is from The Long Beach Independent, December 1949:

Food Editor Beulah Karney has more than 10 ideas for the homemaker who wants to say “Merry Christmas” and not have it cost her an arm and a leg.”

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The Most Exclusive Recipe in the World

Beulah Karney Fact Sheet: (a resume in recipe format compiled in or around 1950…perhaps as a part of a going away book)

Frankly, Beulah Karney’s background in both homemaking and in selling to the homemaker is so extensive and intensive, we feel you haven’t time to read about it. So, here are the capsule facts in The Most Exclusive Recipe in the World:

Product: Beulah Karney
Preparation Time: Over 25 professional years

4 years Occidental College and 1 year graduate work with feature writing for Los Angeles Times and Bakersfield Californian

A stint at school teaching and Post Graduate work in Mexico.
Let all blend during period of homemaking and child-caring.

1 country newspaper (Holden Enterprise) and add feature writing for Kansas City Journal Post

Set aside above writing experience.

In new “container,” add
Appointment as Food Conservation Supervisor for State of Missouri, including supervision of 9,000 employees, and full responsibility for 110 canneries.

In third “container,” pour
200 cooking schools, gathered from all over Midwest.

Combine all three sets of experiences
and you will achieve 1 extraordinary radio program at KMBC, Kansas City.

Let rise until size of three radio programs:
Happy Kitchen
, Woman in the Store, and Market Basket.

Transfer all to Chicago, add
Agency Experience (Research director for U.S. Advertising Co.)
Heading Research Kitchen for Wilson and Company
Authoring Geroge Rector Column

Re-form into:
1 daily radio program Woman Today, aired over WENR. Add food editor for Liberty Magazine
Network What’s Cooking show, sponsored by Chef Boy-Ar-Dee
Network Shopper’s Special show
Transcribed Meal of the Day program, aired in U.S., Hawaii and Canada

Shape into finished product:
Daily half-hour radio program
Daily half-hour television program

Tested for Quality: EXCELLENT

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