Vintage Kitchen: Carnation’s Noodle Ring with Creamed Chicken, 1935.

Why, yes, these are noodles. Thanks for noticing.

I turned up a copy of the “Carnation Cook Book” at a used-book shop in Santa Rosa the other day, and for a measly $2, I had to rescue it. Written by Mary Blake in 1935, this promo pamphlet is chock full of product placement, bound with staples, and just under 100 pages long. I believe this little cookbook was probably a giveaway, or perhaps cheap mail-order fodder, but I’m not totally certain about how it was originally distributed. As the author, Blake is credited as being Carnation’s “Director, Home Economics Department,” which fascinates me as a chef. Corporate recipe testing, and in that era — I wonder what the kitchen looked like, and how Mary Blake had become accomplished as a cook. Or did she cook anything, and only supervise a staff?

The photograph above is what sold me. [… read more …]

Vintage Kitchen: Antiques from Heritage Culinary Artifacts, Napa Valley

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Hand-painted citrus juicer, Japan, 1930s-1940s.

Heritage Culinary Artifacts has been a staple at Oxbow Market ever since the venue opened in 2008, but the shop will close at the end of January after a five-year run. I definitely enjoyed browsing the ever-evolving display of antique cookware, which is already available for purchase online. Owner-curator Lisa Minucci has a great eye for original pieces, and she has traveled the world to procure a truly unique collection. I always felt that Heritage had a museum aura about it. It’s only by sheer coincidence that I finally got around to pitching this feature to Lisa a couple weeks ago; that’s when I first discovered that she was set to close her brick-and-mortar shop.

I’m a born collector, beginning with baseball memorabilia at an early age, followed by vinyl records, cookbooks, pulp crime paperbacks, and of course, wine. I also collect a [… read more …]

Food and Art: “Cochon Prodigue”

"Garçon" means boy; "cochon" means pig.

Question: How have I not already stumbled across this jaw-dropping, early-20th-century French advertisement? Wow, the ticklish glee of the pig’s smile really says it all: Fresh, delicious sausage, happily sliced to order. When you’ve got it, flaunt it. There’s certainly no shame in acknowledging the source of your food, and besides, what a splendid way to ward off vegans and vegetarians. Bon appetit!