Thursday, February 23, 2012

purging the past

This post isn't what you might think. I have spent the past few months trying to go through our stuff. mostly because I am trying to downsize our clutter. One of the things that I seem to have collected is cookbooks. I am not talking about your latest and greatest fad things from today. I am speaking of the latest and greatest from the 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's, etc…there seems to be an incredible amount from that casserole age.

I have been making my own bread exclusively for the past 2 weeks or so. It came out of the desire to have a whole grain product that had a lot of flavor with zero salt and only needed fat. So far I have made oatmeal bread, a dark rye, and this afternoon a whole wheat polenta bread. While I started to think about culling cookbooks I decided to make some recipes from them first. I wanted to "test" things out before I dismissed the "old". The CIA cookbook is my latest keeper. Published in 1969 it has some interesting recipes. One thing I decided was that I would also pay close attention to serving sizes. I learned that we have expanded our portions greatly. Actually that revelation was not a new one but the actual portion sizes when I stuck to them were about 1/3 of what we are accustomed to now.

I made some meatballs tonight- it called for 3/4 of a pound of ground beef, 2 eggs and breadcrumbs along with a range of spices. The recipe served 7-9 people (and made between 28-32 meatballs). Think about that  for a minute, less that a pound of meat to feed 8 people. I encountered this thought in Korea a few years ago- the average serving size of meat per person was about 70- 90grams, about 2 oz per person. What was surprising to me is the calorie count for this recipe, nothing special in it, each meatball was about 150 calories so my serving actually was limited to 300 calories, not the 450 for the average called for serving.

These vintage books are fascinating though, less Americanized than I would have suspected too considering they were from that "wonder bread age". So as I work my way through them eliminating the salt, halving the butter and sugar and keeping to the suggested serving I am learning a great deal about both my mother and grandmother and Kenny's mother and grandmother(s) from the notes that they have left behind.

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