Post #637 Vintage Cooking

April 21, 2019 at 1:37 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Back in the day, ladies magazines were the go to places for new cooking ideas and new recipes.  Most of these recipes were “sponsored” meaning that a company created product and needed to create interest in it, or revive interest in it if it was an older product.  Obviously, for food products, new recipes were the way to go.  Teams of product testers and recipe developers spent hours trying to come up with new ways to use products that would inspire cooks and increase sales.  Some of these were truly unfortunate, like spam in any form.  Others were good, like flavored instant gelatin.

I love looking through old magazines and looking at the recipes.  My mom had notebooks and file folders full of recipes cut out of magazines.  I once bought an antique book at a flea market and when I browsed through it, someone had used recipes at bookmarks and they were interspersed throughout the book.  They were so old (book and cuttings) that they had stained the pages of the book.

The coming of the personal computer and the ‘net has made searching for these treasures immeasurably easier.  I’ve featured some of them in the blog before.  I stumbled across this one on a site where I was doing research and couldn’t resist saving it.

First, the kid is wearing an indian head dress.  It’s a hand drawn piece of art, so it’s someone’s idea of what a kid would be wearing “back in the day” although it strikes me as being American 40s-50s time frame.  But when I looked closer, I realized they were products I’d never heard of before, and the main product that was the base of the recipe didn’t even exist in America.

Copha is an Australian product.  While I’m no expert on all things Australian, I have spent some time there.  Never heard of this stuff.  So what exactly is it?

First, it’s a registered trademark for a company called Peerless.  So, not to step on anyone’s toes, I’m just going to report what I’ve read in Wikipedia and not commit myself to any firsthand knowledge of the stuff.  It’s a Crisco-like product, a vegetable shortening, used in baking primarily, and is made from hydrogenated coconut oil.  It can be found in areas of Europe, in Australia and New Zealand, but not readily available in the U.S.  You can buy the product on Amazon but I have no idea if the listed price is high or not.  Interestingly, you can also buy Tshirts in many formats proclaiming your love and loyalty to the product.

Second, even though the trademarked product is not available in the U.S., the product itself is.  It’s basically solid coconut oil.  In the past few years, there’s been an upsurge in the popularity of using coconut based products in cooking as a healthy and natural substitute for oils, sugars, flour, etc.  So, with a little ingenuity, it shouldn’t be too hard to get this stuff.

So, a break down of the recipe really reads:

  • 8 oz coconut oil (1 cup)
  • 8 oz powdered sugar (1 cup)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of cocoa (about a half cup)
  • 1 cup flaked coconut (sweetened or not, your taste)
  • 4 cups puffed rice cereal

Over low heat, gently melt the coconut oil and set aside.  In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly.  Add the coconut oil, stirring with a rubber spatula until completely mixed through.  Spoon onto parchment paper by tablespoons, or into small cupcake papers.  Allow to set, and store in a cool place.

The interesting thing about this recipe is the coconut oil.  Once it reaches room temp, it’s going to revert back to solid form.  Kind of cool, when you think about it.  Whatever gets mixed in, goes solid.  Not likely great for anyone battling cholesterol issues, though.

The recipe also gives fun ways to mix it up.  I think this would be a fun and slightly different treat to take on a picnic or barbecue pot luck, or just to give to a neighbor.  As I was reading about Copha, I found that like peanut butter in the U.S., and vegemite in Australia, there is a strongly loyal group of fans.  This recipe in particular is a favorite and any substitutions aren’t accepted.  The coconut flavor of the oil adds to the treat’s overall appeal, and fans will brook no changes to it.

So, have you guys ever run into a magazine recipe that piqued your interest?  What was it, and did you ever make it?  Let us all know.

Hope you enjoyed today’s post, and feel free to share at will.

As always,

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