June 15, 2011

In the Mood(y)

The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago might not be the last place that you would expect to publish a cookbook, but it's probably close. FOOD for the Body for the Soul is quite an agglomeration of recipes, bible verses, handy hints, prayers and inspirational essays, all meant to sustain a household physically and spiritually through the war years. Our editor is apparently the pictured Mrs. Frances Youngren, shown wearing her sheer "dress" apron in front of her faux window. In addition to being an expert at frosting cakes without looking at them - in mid-air, no less - she directed the Home Hour on radio station WMBI, the Bible Institutes' very own broadcast medium. Here's a sampling of some of the "extras" she dishes out along with the recipes.
On buying meat:
There are more different cuts of meat than you realize, perhaps - actually more than 200, including various types of sausages - yet the average woman knows only 12. [Shame on you! Go talk to your meat-man (as Frances calls him) immediately].
On the necessity of vitamins:
 In the last few years, we have been consistently educated in the knowledge and use of vitamins.....Beauty demands close acquaintance with and daily use of all these vitamins. Vitamin A, or Acceptance Vitamin stands for new life or life eternal.....Vitamin B, or the Belief Vitamin, is essential to the development and functioning of the new life....Vitamin C, Confession Vitamin.....Vitamin D, Determination Vitamin....Vitamin E, the well-known and absolutely necessary Endurance Vitamin, is the demanded element of true beauty.
On faking butter:
Spread oleomargarine on salted crackers and slightly brown in oven for a few minutes. Very good - tastes like buttered crackers. [ You're kidding! Really?]
On the diet of the Israelites in the desert:
Did you ever notice God's menu for the children of Israel on their journey through the wilderness? "Honey and waffles for breakfast and quail on toast for supper." [ I think the quote is from that famous authority, herself]
On removing coffee stains:
If stains cannot be removed by warm water and soap, pour on boiling water from a height of 2 or 3 feet.[She does not offer a companion hint on treating scalds, however]

But I digress. The frightening food contribution for today was submitted to the cookbook by Mrs. G. Kuiper, who obviously delights in a little joke. Russian Fluff is the name of the recipe. I should have known by its position above the Macaroni Ham Casserole that this was not to be a tasty cold dessert reminiscent of the fluffy snows of the Russian winter. It's a meat casserole, and it sounds more like, say, Kansas Catchall than it does like Russian Fluff. If you can figure out why such a prosaic dish deserves it's slightly exotic name, please let me know.

Also, beware: naughty Mrs. Kuiper also leaves out that all-important instruction to bake the dish. Unless, of course,  you like your browned meat topped with cold corn, cold canned tomato soup and raw bacon, in which case you should prepare it exactly as instructed.


3/4 lb. ground meat
1 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
1 cup celery
1 onion, cut fine
3/4 cup rice
1 can corn
1 can tomato soup
Crumbs (type unspecified)
Simmer together the seasoned meat, celery and onion. Put the mixture in a greased casserole, over this pour the boiled rice. Then add a can of corn and over this pour the tomato soup. Cover with crumbs and bacon cut in 2-inch pieces.

FOOD for the body for the soul, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1943

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