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The Year Is 1932. The Recipe Is Toast.

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Another hobby of mine is collecting ephemera which if you don’t know is collectable paper. Letters, papers, bookmarks, postcards, recipe cards, advertising pieces, stock certificates, basically all kinds of paper. Some people say it includes pamphlets and magazines. Some say not.

What does this have to do with cooking or even Kitchen Warfare you ask? Well probably not as much as it should. But hang in there, we’re still going to learn to make toast.

I particularly like paper from the last 120 years or so that shows the emergence of modern technology. An example might be an 1890 instructional manual for telegraph operators or literature advertising the first televisions. But in the hunt for these gems you’ll run into (here comes the tie in . . . wait for it . . . ) a lot of kitchen and food oriented items often because they have recipes on them and people keep them forever. The instruction book that came with your great-grandmothers first oven might have come with a recipe or two that she wanted to save so she tossed it in a drawer. It was a lot harder to collect recipes back in those days and without all today’s instant foods there was a lot more pressure to cook for the family whether you wanted to or not. Good simple tested recipes were very helpful, especially to the inexperienced cook.

But I never thought anyone would need a recipe for toast. But according to the 1932 Metropolitan (Insurance) Cookbook how to make good toast deserves a mention.

(click the image to enlarge)

They make a good point, it will go soggy on you if you’re not careful (perhaps we’ll test this recipe in a future series of articles).

At first I had a good laugh at the expense of our great (great?) grandparents but the more I thought about it perhaps it wasn’t so absurd after all. I tried to Google for a toast museum or some other toast authority to shed some light on the subject but the closest thing I found before I got bored then hungry was the wikipedia article on toasters which says they were first on the market in 1913. But the first popup model wasn’t available until 1925. So it’s probably likely could be that toast just wasn’t a part of the conventional breakfast like it is now.

You know come to think about it, when I was a kid I remember that every time I tried to ditch a slightly too dark piece of toast my Dad would tell me how back during the Depression they ate burnt toast all the time cooked over the gas stove. All these years I just assumed it was one of those hard luck stories you tell kids to get them to stop whining. As it turns out, maybe he just needed a better recipe.

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