Lo and Behold! I found something that hasn’t been Googlized. You are surprised? So was I. It’s true, I have succumbed to the universal notion that Google knows all and tells all. But upon typing in the question, Who coined the word Popperized?, Google didn’t have a clue, not even a hint of the subject for which this word was invented.
That fact is just one of the many bits and pieces of information floating across my desk as I clean office in readiness for a garage sale. By the time you read this the sale will be over but the pieces of paper and little booklets and labels and bookmarked recipes will still be on the table.
And like anybody knows, out of sight, out of mind. But I can’t put them back because their spaces have been filled with other, well, more important bits and pieces. So the only thing to do is give them to you in one bunch.
Popperized? Yes, it has to do with popping corn. Used as a bookmark in an old cookbook which was part of a box of books, which was purchased at auction a few years back, was a one page folded flyer entitled, Contest-Winning Popcorn Recipes from Earl May Seed & Nursery Co., Shenandoah, Iowa, no date. Apparently the May’s seed company held a contest to see who could create the best recipe using May’s popping corn. Over 1100 entries came in. Twenty-seven were printed in the flyer. A savory recipe for Corn Snacks was the winner. There was also Chocolate Popcorn Fudge (there were four chocolate recipes); Popcorn Balls including a lemon-nut variation, a pink pearl variation, a peanut brittle variation and a peanut butter variation. Mixing popped corn with beaten egg white, sugar and cinnamon produced a popcorn crackle. There was candy, caramel corn, sugared corn, snacks with peanuts, marshmallows, pineapple juice, cheese, coconut, red gelatin and butterscotch morsels. Just reading it all conjured up that hot corn aroma.
The most intriguing recipe was Rice-Cheese-Popcorn Croquettes, said to be a delicious meat substitute, easy on the budget. Least amount of ingredients (3) was for Sugared Popcorn. The most popcorn used in a recipe was 2 gallons-Honey-Corn Chips in Cheese.
The end note on the flyer said, “Whatever the recipe, popperized popcorn makes the difference. Earl May Popperized Popcorn is always fresh, always tender, always pops to the last kernel. That’s because it’s sealed in air-tight bags when its moisture content is exactly right for perfect popping.”
A yellowed newspaper clipping read, “Never be caught without maple syrup for those pancakes. Take six medium potatoes, peeled, quartered and place in pan with two cups of water. Boil without cover until about one cup of the water remains. Remove potatoes, discarding or using for other purpose. Stir liquid left in the pan until boiling resumes. Slowly add one cup each of granulated and brown sugar. Keep stirring until completely dissolved. Set off heat. Cool slowly. Bottle, storing in dark, cool cupboard or cellar. Must stand for some time to develop flavor.”
Another old cookbook, circa 1948, published by the J. R. Watkins Co. (flavoring and extract king of years gone by) held a much easier recipe. “Place 3 ½ cups brown sugar in a quart jar. Pour 2 cups boiling water over it. Add 1 teaspoon Watkins maple flavoring. Mix well. Cap jar and let stand 24 hours to develop flavor. One quart syrup.”
That same Watkins cookbook held 13 recipes for toast. Good to know if one has an abundance of corn cob jelly or any other preserve. But the best tip about toast to come across my desk in years was found in Bonny Wolf’s book, Talking with My Mouth Full. In the chapter titled An Ode To Toast, Bonny explains in scientific detail the enticement of toast. And, she recommends eating it hot. So, on a busy morning, how does one keep the toast hot? Stand vigilantly next to the toaster. Toast one slice at a time and upon the toaster’s release of the bread, quickly spread softened butter on it. Eat it immediately. Hot toast, yes, it is a comfort food for sure.
Comfort food brings us to a wrinkled list of food days for October. It was tucked inside my mother’s much used Culinary Art Institute Bread booklet. We probably had talked about October 4, as the list was in the pages of cinnamon rolls and sweet dough which Mom used for cinnamon rolls often. October 4 is Cinnamon Roll Day in Sweden. We had cinnamon roll day just about every autumn and winter Saturday or Sunday when I was growing up. Mom loved to bake bread.
Of course, she knew bread was a wholesome way to fill up hungry kids. But there was more to baking bread than what it would do for the family. Mom used kneading bread dough as a personal stress release. She explained it years later to me. The time spent kneading, gathering the dough again and again and pushing it against its will was time she could contemplate problems, gathering them, looking at them from all angles and finally pushing them into a solution or pushing them out of mind. All around, the cinnamon roll days were comforting.
What do popcorn, pancakes, toast and cinnamon rolls have in common? Butter. How to make butter at home so as to know what is in it? Another odd bit of paper from another era gives this instruction: “Take one pint heavy whipping cream and a pinch of salt if desired, placing them in a clean quart jar. Tighten the cap down and set in a draft free place until the next day. Holding both ends of the jar, shake jar hard. After a short time it should be filled with butter. Empty into a mixing bowl, place bowl in sink. Run COLD water into the bowl, whipping the butter with a fork constantly. Drain well. Repeat the rinsing and draining twice more. Drain well and beat with the fork, keep draining until all water is drained out. Put butter into mold or dish. Refrigerate.”
Sweet Dough Cinnamon Rolls
- 2 packets active dry yeast
- ¼ cup lukewarm water
- ¼ cup butter or shortening
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup milk, warmed
- 5 cups all-purpose flour (about)
- Softened butter
- Cinnamon/sugar mixture
Place yeast, warm water and a pinch of sugar in cup to soften and activate yeast. It should be bubbly in about 10 minutes.
In large mixing bowl place butter, sugar, salt and eggs. Beaten to mix. Add warmed milk. Stir to mix. Add yeast and enough flour to make a thick batter. Beat well. Continue to add flour until stiff dough pulls away from bowl sides.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface, knead until satiny and smooth. Place in greased bowl, turn dough to grease top. Cover. Let rise until dough in bulk, one to two hours.
When doubled, punch down. Divide dough for easy handling. Roll each piece into a rectangle, spread with softened butter. Sprinkle heavily with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Roll up dough, jelly roll style. Pinch seams to seal. With sharp knife cut 1 to 1½ inch slices. Place cut side up in greased pans. Let rise till double in bulk. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool. Ice with a blend of confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla. Mom’s Note: Number of rolls depends on how thin dough is rolled and how many are cut. Pans of baked rolls may be cooled completely, wrapped tightly and frozen for later use. Do not ice until thawed. Chopped nuts or raisins are a nice addition to the filling. Icing may be made with maraschino cherry juice instead of milk for a pink, flavorful treat. Other options are orange juice, apple juice, any favorite flavoring with milk such as maple.”