It’s a pretty good bet that when it comes to big book sales, there’s something for everyone.
At a recent sneak peek of the upcoming sale at Northminster Presbyterian Church — which moved there four years ago from the former Third Presbyterian Church on East Washington Street — I was amazed at the organization and the categorization of the many books, puzzles, games, magazines, Bibles and other literary things that people had donated.
The organizers, Jean Reynolds and her son, David, have kept the sale going and growing with the help of many willing volunteers. They say they hope to sell 11,000 books at this year’s sale on June 3, 4 and 5. They took over as sale directors from the lady who founded the sale, Mabel C. Kocher, at Third Presbyterian Church. She was the librarian at Westminster College for many years, and she died in 2015 at age 105. She worked at the sale until she was about 100, according to Jean.
The books for sale, some brand new, some old, are all donated and the sale proceeds benefit different charities of the church.
Jean invited me there early, knowing that I have written occasional food columns for the New Castle News. She was excited to share that one donor took in more than 330 cookbooks and she wanted me to see them. A collector of cookbooks myself, it was interesting to see what was there. There were so many that the cookbook category has its own room at the sale.
It isn’t surprising that a lot of the books already are in my collection, which I started about 50 years ago as a teenager.
I was in high school home economics class when my family had bought me a Betty Crocker Good and Easy cookbook for a birthday one year, and I’ve kept my mimeographed home-ec recipes tucked away in there for many years. The purple ink has become hard to read on some of them.
When I went to the Northminster “preview,” Jean let me purchase a couple of books ahead of the sale. I chose a “Maxwell House Coffee, Drinks and Desserts” cookbook by Barbara Albright, because coffee is one of my passions. I also picked the “Lancaster County Cookbook “ by Louise Stoltzfus and Jan Mast, and one called “The Wooden Spoon Dessert Book,” because I figured if I wanted to bake something on a lazy day, I wouldn’t have to get out my mixer.
The Lancaster book was published by Good Books of Intercourse, Pennsylvania, and was copyrighted in 1993 and 2003. It seems to be a compilation of recipes from area women who knew how to cook Pennsylvania Dutch specialities. One homespun recipe I found in it is for homemade Sloppy Joes, which I’m sure all of our mothers made at one time to feed larger families.
Thumbing through the coffee cookbook, there were a lot of recipes calling for instant coffee, which most real coffee lovers might not have in their house. But I found an amazing-looking recipe for Tiramisu, which calls for strong brewed coffee.
And since I’m always looking for a good basic recipe for peanut butter cookies, I found one in the “The Wooden Spoon Dessert Book” that I’m looking forward to trying.
Then, to my surprise, Jean dropped off another book as a thank-you for the promo article on the sale.
The book is a real treasure. It’s called the “Purity Flour Cook Book” from the Western Canada Flour Mills Co. Limited of Toronto and Winnipeg. The pages are aged and delicate and the copyright is 1917. That makes it 103 years old.
According to online information, Purity Flour was first milled during Canada’s “wheat boom” in 1905 by the Western Canada Flour Mills Company. It grew to become the largest flour milling company in Canada. And although it might be hard to find Purity Flour outside of Canada, the recipes in the book I’m sure will adapt to regular flours we have available in the United States. One of the first recipes that jumped out at me was for “Excellent Layer Cake.”
So let’s try these recipes out, enjoy them, let me know what you think, and if you have some of your own recipes you’d like to submit, I would welcome hearing from you. You may send them by email to: email@example.com.
And if you’re going to the book sale, I hope to see you there.
Excellent Layer Cake
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup butter
2 cups (Purity) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs, separated
Cream butter and sugar, add beaten egg yolks, then the beaten egg whites and milk, and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to wet mixture. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for about 20 minutes. Ice with chocolate frosting or the icing of your choice.
(Lancaster County Cookbook submitted by Esther Gingrich of Lancaster
and Pam Nussbaum of Rheinolds)
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
6-ounce can tomato paste
In a skillet, brown ground beef. Add onion, celery and green pepper and heat through. Add all other ingredients except tomato paste, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add tomato paste and heat through. Serve on buns.
(Maxwell House Coffee, Drinks & Desserts)
1/2 cup cooled freshly brewed double-strength coffee
1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons Marsala wine
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
24 hard ladyfingers
1 pound mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping) cream, whipped
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder or grated semisweet chocolate
Mix the coffee, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the wine and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.
Arrange half of the ladyfingers in a bottom of a 9-inch square dish. Brush them with half of the coffee mixture, allowing time for them to absorb the coffee mixture.
Stir the mascarpone cheese and remaining sugar and vanilla together until well blended. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Spoon half of the mixture over the ladyfingers. Brush the remaining ladyfingers with the remaining coffee mixture, and place them on top of the cheese mixture in the dish. Spread the remaining cheese mixture over the ladyfingers. Sift the cocoa powder over the cheese mixture or sprinkle with the grated chocolate.
Refrigerate for three hours or until ready to eat. Cut into squares when ready to serve. Makes 8 servings.
(Mascarpone cheese is a rich, creamy Italian cheese that is available in Italian and specialty food stores).
Real Peanut Butter Cookies
(The Wooden Spoon Dessert Book)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets or use non-stick.
In a mixing bowl, cream together:
8 tablespoons soft, unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Stir together, pressing out any lumps with the back of a spoon. Then gradually cream into the butter mixture:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
Beat in, in this order:
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on baking sheet about 3 inches apart. When one sheet is filled, press each ball flat with a fork that has been dipped in flour. Bake for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 48 two-inch cookies.