CARE’s Old Time Recipes Book

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PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Robert and Kathy, seen here with their three children, combed through cookbooks from 1800's and early 1900's to find the old time recipes for the We CARE Cookbook. 

Robert and Kathy Reed–a young married couple living
in Saratoga, California–are just plain folks like
most of us except for one astounding fact.
Since December 1972 they’ve helped feed 1,500,000 children
scattered throughout Honduras, Haiti, Greece, and other
hunger-pocked areas of the globe! How so? The Reeds each
made a very personal decision to not let a
crisis-crunched world overwhelm them. Instead, Bob and
Kathy optimistically concentrated on finding something
they could do to alleviate human suffering. And
this lead to their affiliation with the Cooperative for
Assistance and Relief Everywhere.

“Although we were vaguely aware of CARE’s existence
before,” Bob says, “we’d never contributed. But now the
light came on.” And a blazing light it was. Quickly
bypassing the easy option of making regular donations to
the Cooperative, the Reeds used their own natural ingenuity
and deep concern to produce something that would snowball
their talents into massive assistance for a famine-ridden
world. That “something” is–of course–a book of old time recipes the Reeds call the We
CARE Cookbook.

After spending weeks researching hundreds of “receipt
books” from the 1800’s and early 1900’s at the University
of California–and working with the close cooperation
of the San Francisco Field Office of CARE–Bob and
Kathy published the cookbook. It contains 300 of the best
old-timey recipes they could gather, all based on
natural-food ingredients and reprinted in their original
wording (hurrah!). Here’s a sampling of the goodies that
graced the dining tables of our forefathers and are
featured in the Reeds’ kitchen manual: scalloped tomatoes,
individual chicken shortcakes, oyster croquettes, ham
boiled in cider, chocolate gingerbread, wine jelly, lemon
ice cream (from scratch) and deviled crabs. The attractive
pen sketches and borderline prints throughout the guide
further enhance its old-fashioned appeal.

Like to see for yourself? The following three recipes are
reprinted straight from the We CARE Cookbook:

Stewed Brisket of Beef

Put the part that has the hard fat into a stew-pot, with a
small quantity of water; let it boil up, and skim it
thoroughly; then add carrots, turnips, onions, celery and a
few pepper-corns. Stew till extremely tender; then take out
all the flat bones and remove all the fat from the soup.
Either serve that and the meat in a tureen, or the soup
alone, and the meat on a dish, garnished with some
vegetables.

The following sauce is much admired served with
the beef: Take half a pint of the soup, and mix it with a
spoonful of catsup, a teaspoonful of made mustard, a little
flour, a bit of butter and salt; boil all together a few
minutes, then pour it round the meat.

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

Parboil and chop lean mutton, mix it with an equal quantity
of boiled rice, and season with salt, pepper, and butter.
Use the white leaves of cabbage. Lay a large spoonful of
the meat and rice on each leaf. Fold and tie securely. Tie
all the prepared leaves in cheese-cloth and boil slowly for
half an hour in the water in which the mutton was boiled.
Take off the cloth, remove the strings, and serve with
melted butter.

Cheese Straws

One-quarter of a pound of grated cheese, two ounces of
flour, four ounces of butter, yolk of one egg, dessert
spoonful of mustard. Make a thick paste of all the
ingredients; roll it out, and cut into long and narrow
strips. Bake a light brown. About ten minutes will be
sufficient.

Bob and Kathy–assisted by publicity and cooperation
from CARE–have generated enormous enthusiasm for
their country-kitchen Baedeker in the past 18 months. And
it’s little wonder! Each copy of the cookbook that is sold
($3.45 for California residents, $3.30 for out-of-state
buyers) sends one dollar winging into the coffers of CARE where that single buck is transformed into a
nourishing, protein packed breakfast or lunch for 300
children!
What kind of a meal? “A better one than most
American kids eat each morning,” says Robert. “The meal
consists of CSM–corn, soya and milk–the main
food substance used by CARE in their overseas food
programs. The CSM is mixed with water and then local
vegetables are added to the dish.” The Reeds have actually
enjoyed a few CSM meals around their own family dining
table with the full concurrence of the littlest
household members: Robby (8), Alan (6) and Tanya (5).

“So far,” Kathy says, between what must be joyous smiles of
triumph, “the project has fed what Tanya calls ‘sezma food’
to over a million and a half youngsters. It has also helped
finance a few things for some local groups. We contribute
50¢ a copy to clubs that sell 25 or more cookbooks, so ten people selling ten copies each can feed 30,000
children plus earn $50.00 for one of their organization’s
own projects.”

How do the Reeds feel today about that “bright idea” they
had back in December 1972? “It’s been a lot of work to take
care of all the shipping, advanced monies for printing, and
other business chores,” the young Californians confess,
“but it’s just been a great thing–a very
satisfying thing for us to work on. We
hope to feed a million more kids by Christmas ’74. ”

Folks who’d be proud to cut themselves in on some of that
warmhearted glow can order their old-time recipe book
from Kathy’s and Bob’s storefront operation: We CARE
Cookbook. Or–if you have all the recipes you need right
now (is it possible?)–Kathy suggests that you still
“send a little to help CARE. We’ll be glad to pass it
on.”–CK.