While you're planning your holiday parties this year you could search the Internet for the hottest trends in recipes; you could watch an extreme cooking show to learn what to do with only shark filets and a cup of water; or you could take a look at some of the time-tested recipes of our forefathers and mothers. In the Western History and Genealogy archive we have many sources for finding recipes. You could find a classic, or you could try something new to your friends by revamping something that has long fallen from foodie trends. I've chosen some of my favorites I've come across, but you can do your own sleuthing and find something interesting to try in one of our cookbooks or menus to make your party unforgettable.
Why not start the night with a fancy croquette from the Ladies of the First Baptist Church's cookbook 300 Choice Recipes compiled in 1892? Fortunately, it's been digitized so you can still use your iPad in the kitchen. Here is the choicest recipe I found in that book:
Sweet Rice Croquettes
Boil one cup of rice in milk until done. Add one tablespoon of butter, two tablespoons of sugar, the grated rind of two lemons, yolk of one egg, and a little milk. When cold, shape into ovals, roll in cracker crumbs, dip in egg and fry.
The Daniels & Fisher's Family Cook Book from 1884 has some great life advice, like if someone is struck by lightning put them in a cold shower.* It also contains some classic recipes that sound interesting, here's one to make for breakfast after your friends stay over after the holiday party.
*Please don't heed this advice for a lightning strike.
Graham Breakfast Cakes
Two cups of Graham flour, one cup of wheat flour, two eggs well beaten; mix with sweet milk, to make a very thin batter; bake in gem irons; have the irons hot, then set them on the upper grate in the oven; will bake in fifteen minutes.
When talking about holiday parties we can't forget the drinks. Luckily in our Douglas Fine Print collection we have The Holiday Drink Book, hand-illustrated by Vee Guthrie in 1951. In addition to the wonderfully sassy illustrations, it is also filled with recipes and practical advice about maintaining your home bar. Here is a recipe for a warm drink that sounds like it would be perfect for snowy weather.
Into a large casserole put 1 oz. bitters, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 pint claret, 1 pint sherry, 1/2 pint brandy.
place over fire until piping hot. Put 1 large raisin and 1 unsalted almond in an old fashioned glass and fill glass 3/4 full. (A spoon in the glass before pouring in the hot liquid prevents the glass from cracking).
Each year the small town of Palmer Lake, Colorado, holds a Yule Log Festival and wassailing is a large part of the festivities. In our newspaper clippings files we have a file for Palmer Lake which contains a small book of carols, as well as a classic recipe for a non-alcoholic wassail
2 gallons sweet cider, 2 lemons with rind and pulp, 2 oranges with rind and pulp, 1/2 tsp. ground cloves, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 2 baked apples with pulp taken out and put thru fine sieve, 1 tsp. finely chopped cinnamon bark, 2 cups sugar. Heat cider and spices, then add finely chopped fruit and serve hot.