At long last a group of us was able to gather for a luncheon meeting. We were socially distanced and properly masked. The best part besides seeing everyone was getting to taste foods that someone else had made.
One of my friends at the meeting commented that she enjoyed seeing the old recipes in this column. Sorry I don’t remember who said it, (so much brainpower must be used keeping up with glasses, keys and phone that there are few brain cells left to remember many other things, like names.) The first recipe that I am sharing with you is, as all are today, from the time when we cooked and entertained in a manner that takes more time and energy than many of us can spend now. In fact, one of my requirements for recipes today was that each came from cookbooks that are from the 1970s or before. Each book needed to be worn, spotted, stained and much used. Also, my rule — three ingredients, one pan and five minutes had to be broken. At our meeting last week, we touched on this topic: Very few of us or our children pull out the silver, fine china and crystal and spend many hours preparing for fancy parties as we did when we entertained several decades ago. My dear friend, Gay Harrison, brought a salad that used to be a standard at all salad luncheon gatherings. It is one of my favorites and there are many versions of it. This version comes from “The Bounty of East Texas,” the Junior League of Longview cookbook, compiled in 1977, and still available at the Junior League office at 1109 N. Fourth St., Longview (903) 757-5740.
Anita’s 9-layer Salad
1 head iceberg lettuce shredded
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red or white onion
1 package (10 oz.) frozen English peas, cooked and cooled
2 cups mayonnaise (Hellman’s suggested)
2 tablespoons sugar (mix with mayonnaise)
6 ounces grated cheddar cheese
8 strips bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
In a large salad bowl, layer the ingredients in the order given. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. Makes 10-12 servings
From the same cookbook (duct tape is great for holding cookbooks together), I am sharing the late Claire Foster’s elegant chicken dish. I have served this with wild rice and a fresh fruit salad.
Breast of Chicken with Artichoke Hearts
6-8 large chicken breasts
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 cup melted butter
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) beef consommé
1/2 cup sherry
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
2 cans (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained
Place chicken breasts, skin side up, in roasting pan. Season with salt, poultry seasoning, and paprika. Mix butter and consume. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 1 hour, basting every 20 minutes with butter mixture. Add sherry to drippings in pan and bake 30 minutes longer. Remove chicken, add mushroom and artichoke hearts to drippings in pan, and heat. Pour over chicken to serve. Makes 6-8 servings.
From the Excelsior House Cookbook from Jefferson, I am sharing one of my favorite cookie recipes.
Lemon Cookies (Drop)
1/2 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons strained lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts
Cream shortening and sugar. Add lemon juice, lemon rind, and water. Sift dry ingredients together. Add all to shortening mixture with nuts. Drop by teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees.