Universal Translator

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Cotton Style Show Luncheon, 1949

 “King Cotton-whose lint and seed in the Mississippi Delta alone this past season were valued at over $200,000,000-will receive royal tribute from at least four Delta counties planning extensive observances for National merchants throughout the 18 Delta and part-Delta counties also are expected to join in local promotion of cotton products, according Delta Council. Leflore, Coahoma, Bolivar and Sunflower are the counties planing detailed activities during Cotton Week.” ----The Delta Democrat-Times, May 6, 1953 

Cotton Style Show Luncheon

April 28, 1949

Clarksdale, Mississippi

(From the Souvenir Menu)
Planter’s Plantation Punch
Hors d’oeuvres

Spiced Coahoma Ham                    Breast of Turkey

Carrot Curls                    Pickle Sticks

Creole Casserole                    Asparagus Mousse

Hot Rolls
Cranberry Salad Supreme
Cotton Bale Ice Cream Mold          Cotton Blossom Cakes
Cotton Square Mints

(The recipes from Favorite Menus and Recipes by the Coahoma Woman’s Club, Coahoma, MS
N.B. Recipes are not changed, they are rewritten as they appear in original document.)

Planter’s Plantation Punch
1 can orange juice (46 ounce can)
1 can pineapple juice (46 oz.)
1 qt. ginger ale
1 qt. lemon sherbet
Cool punch bowl and cool juices.  Put sherbet into punch bowl.  Add juices with ginger ale last.

Asparagus Mousse
2 T. butter
4 egg yolks
juice of 1 lemon
1 can asparagus with liquid
1 pt. whipping cream
¼ lb. Almonds (about 1 tea cup)
2 T. flour
2 T. gelatin
1 T. onion juice
Season to taste with salt, pepper, and paprika
Melt butter I double boiler, stir in flour, mix thoroughly, add asparagus juice, stirring constantly ‘til thick.  Pour over eggs which have been beaten lightly, stirring all the time.  Put back into double boiler and cook ‘til eggs are done.  Add dissolved gelatin, seasoning, onion and lemon juices.  Cut up asparagus, and when cool fold in asparagus, nuts and whipped cream.  Have nuts cold.  Pour into mold.  Serve with mayonnaise.

Creole Casserole
1 can English peas, drained
1 cup grated Chedder cheese
½ cup buttered bread crumbs
1 recipe Creole Sauce*
2 cups white sauce
3 T. grated cheese
Season white sauce to taste with mustard, Durkee’s horseradish mayonnaise, salt and pepper.  Add one cup grated Chedder cheese.  Place bread crumbs in the bottom of casserole, then place alternate layers of peas, white sauce, Creole sauce, finishing off with sprinkled 3 T. grated cheese on top.  Brown in oven first before serving.

[* I have no idea of what Creole Sauce is. It might have been a local sauce in the late 1940s, of which everyone knew.  I found a recipe for a Creole Sauce in the Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cook Book and it appears at the end of this article -tfc]

Cranberry Salad Supreme
2 cups raw cranberries
2 ½ cup water
1 cup sugar
2 packages lemon jello
Juice of pineapple
1 can crushed pineapple
1 cup white grapes
1 cup nuts, chopped
Cook berries, sugar, and water until berries are soft.  Add lemon jello, pineapple juice and cool.  Add fruits and nuts.  Pour in large mold or individual molds.  This serves 14.

Additional Recipes

Creole Sauce Recipe a’la Fannie Farmer
Put in a saucepan: 2 Tb. chopped onion, 4 Tb. finely chopped green pepper, 2 Tb. butter.  Cook 5 minutes, then add: 2 tomatoes or ½ cup canned tomatoes, ¼ cup sliced mushrooms, 6 pitted or stuffed olives, cut into pieces.  Cook 2 minutes, then add 1 1/3 cups of Brown Sauce (below) or gravy or water with two bouillon cubes.  Bring to the boiling point.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and sherry.

Brown Sauce

Melt 2 Tb butter or bacon fat.  Add ½ slice onion (if desired).  Cook slowly until fat is well browned but not black.  Add 2 Tb flour or 2 tsp potato flour, ½ tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, few grains sugar.  Add gradually 1 cup brown stock, consomme’, or water.  Bring to the boiling point.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Strain or remove the bit of onion.  Cook 15 minutes in double boiler or over very low heat.  Makes about one cup.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

"Hop-John Party for New Year's"

The following is taken directly from The Fast Gourmet Cookbook by Poppy Cannon, published in 1964 by Fleet Publishing Corporation.  I wanted to do an article on New Year’s Southern food tradition –but Ms. Cannon did it better than I could. So, Ladies and Gentlemen, Ms. Poppy Cannon:


“It is the day after Christmas and in your mind the thought keeps stirring that you ought in some way to pay off some of your holiday social debts.  So why not an old-fashioned Hop-John party on New Year’s?  For briefing on this interesting project, we sent an appeal to Eloise Barksdale, since Hop-John parties are a tradition in her hometown of Fort Smith, Arkansas.
       Post haste came help.  Eloise went so far as to write us a poem.

             Hopping John in the Southern way
                should be eaten for Health
            On New Year’s Day
                The recipe handed down to me
            Says this fine dish
                Brings prosperity

            Boil a fresh hog jowl
                with some black-eyed peas
            Add rice and red pepper
                and it’s bound to please.

       For those of us who might not have immediate access to the jowl of a hog, nor time to soak and cook the black-eyed peas, we have evolved, with Eloise Barksdale’s assistance, a quick and tasty version using canned black-eyed peas and what she calls instant rice.  The menu is traditional and unalterable.  ‘Turnip greens and turnips too, cole slaw, corn bread, buttermilk and egg custard pie.’

Barksdale Hopping John
Turnip Greens
Diced White Turnips, Eloise
Cole Slaw
Arkansas Corn Bread
Egg Custard Pie

BARKSDALE HOPPING JOHN…dice ¼ pound salt pork and fry out nice and crisp.  Add 1 ½ cups packed pre-cooked rice, 1 large can of black-eyed peas with the liuid and 1 cup water or stock. (There should be about 2 cups of liquid all together.)  Bring to a boil uncovered. Season quite jauntily with red pepper or several drops of Tabasco sauce as well as freshly ground black pepper.  Add salt if it is needed.  Stir with a fork.  Cover and allow to stand in a warm place about ten minutes so that the rice will absorb all the rich flavors.  Four to 6 servings.

TURNIP GREENS…Prepare quick-frozen turnip greens according to directions and add to each package, 2 tablespoons finely-chopped onion which has been browned in a little pork or bacon fat.  For the true Southern taste there should be a sting of hot pepper.

DICED WHITE TURNIP, ELOISE…To serve 6, wash, peel and dice 2 pounds of white turnips.  (These are milder, cook faster than yellow.)  Cook tender (10 to 15 minutes) in salted, peppered, boiling water in a covered pan.  Drain.  Fold in ½ cup heavy cream which has been whipped and seasoned delicately with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or rum.

ARKANSAS CORN BREAD…Mix and sift together 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt.  Add 1 cup milk or buttermilk, 2 eggs, well beaten, 2 tablespoons melted shortening (preferably bacon, ham or sausage drippings).  Bake in a shallow well-greased  (8 by 8-inch) pan in a hot oven (425 degrees)about 20 minutes and serve in squares.

EGG CUSTARD PIE…Follow your grandmother’s rule or buy it quick-frozen or from a bake shop.  Sprinkle with nutmeg and slivered almonds or coconut.”

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas Breakfast Menu, 1964

This Christmas breakfast menu appeared in 1964 in The Fast Gourmet Cook Book by Poppy Cannon.  Ms. Cannon was food editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal magazine, as well as Mademoiselle and House Beautiful.  Besides writing cookbooks, she also lectured and appeared on television.  The Fast Gourmet Cook Book is based on her column “The Fast Gourmet”, which appeared three times a week in 120 newspapers.

Christmas Breakfast Menu

Silver-spangled Grapefruit
Broiled Ham Slices
Baked Eggs in English Muffin Shells
More English Muffins, Plain-toasted and Buttered
Cinnamon Candy Jelly
Large Cups of Coffee or Tea

The Recipes

SILVER –SPANGLED GRAPEFRUIT…Cut grapefruits in halves.  Scoop out the fruit in sections.  Sweeten with a little honey and add, for each grapefruit, a tablespoon of sherry (optional).  Paint grapefruit rims with a little honey.  Place each half cut-side-down on a saucer covered with 1/3 cup granulated sugar made verdant with 3 drops green coloring.  Refill the shells adding orange or cubed apple sections if fruit looks skimpy.  Dot the green rim with silver candies and garnish with cranberries cut to look like flowers.

BAKED EGGS IN ENGLISH MUFFIN SHELLS…Tear English muffins in half with a fork.  Scoop out soft centers.  Drop an egg into each one.  Season with salt, pepper and a couple drops of Worchestershire.  Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) 6 to 8 minutes or until set.

YOUR OWN CINNAMON CANDY JELLY…In a large saucepan place a quart of sweet apple cider or apple juice.  Add 2 tablespoons red cinnamon candies and 1 box powdered fruit pectin.  Mix well.  Place over high heat, stir until mixture comes to a hard boil.  Then all at once, dump in 4 ½ cups sugar.  Bring to a full rolling boil.  Boil hard 1 minute stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, skim off foam, pour into 8 jelly glasses.  Cover with 1/8 inch melted paraffin.  For gifts, decorate paraffin with silver dagees and red cinnamon candies.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."

In 1897, eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's now-defunct newspaper, The Sun, concerning Santa Claus' existence. In response, Francis Pharcellus Church published the editorial 'Is There a Santa Claus'.  The editorial became the most reprinted English-language editorial in history.


Virginia's great-grandson appeared with the letter on the Antiques Roadshow in 1997, where the letter was valued at $20,000 – $30,000. You can watch a clip in which the letter was valued here

Monday, 16 December 2013

Eight-year-old to President Kennedy: "Save Santa!"

Eight-year-old Michelle holding Kennedy's letter in 1961

In 1961, after hearing her parents discussing possible Soviet nuclear tests at the North Pole, 
8-year-old Michelle Rochon grabbed a pencil and wrote a letter to U.S. President John F. Kennedy, asking him to sop nuclear testing for one special reason. Her letter, and the reply she received from the President, can be read below.

Dear Mr. Kennedy,

Please stop the Russians from bombing the North Pole because they will kill Santa Claus. I am 8 years old. I am in the third grade at Holy Cross School.

Yours truly,

Michelle Rochon



October 28, 1961

Dear Michelle:

I was glad to get your letter about trying to stop the Russians from bombing the North Pole and risking the life of Santa Claus. 

I share your concern about the atmospheric testing of the Soviet Union, not only for the North Pole but for countries throughout the world; not only for Santa Claus but for people throughout the world. 

However, you must not worry about Santa Claus. I talked with him yesterday and he is fine. He will be making his rounds again this Christmas. 


(Signed, 'John Kennedy')

Miss Michelle Rochon
Marine City, Michigan

(Source: The Letters of John F. Kennedy, published by Bloomsbury Press on October 29, 2013, via www.lettersofnote.com )

"Letter from Santa Claus" by Mark Twain

On Christmas morning of 1875, three-year-old Susie Clemens found this letter from "Santa Claus".  I'm guessing that her father Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) might have played "Santa's helper" that day. 

Palace of St. Nicholas.
In the Moon.
Christmas Morning.

My dear Susie Clemens:

I have received and read all the letters which you and your little sister have written me by the hand of your mother and your nurses; I have also read those which you little people have written me with your own hands—for although you did not use any characters that are in grown peoples' alphabet, you used the characters that all children in all lands on earth and in the twinkling stars use; and as all my subjects in the moon are children and use no character but that, you will easily understand that I can read your and your baby sister's jagged and fantastic marks without any trouble at all. But I had trouble with those letters which you dictated through your mother and the nurses, for I am a foreigner and cannot read English writing well. You will find that I made no mistakes about the things which you and the baby ordered in your own letters—I went down your chimney at midnight when you were asleep and delivered them all myself—and kissed both of you, too, because you are good children, well trained, nice mannered, and about the most obedient little people I ever saw. But in the letter which you dictated there were some words which I could not make out for certain, and one or two small orders which I could not fill because we ran out of stock. Our last lot of kitchen furniture for dolls has just gone to a very poor little child in the North Star away up, in the cold country above the Big Dipper. Your mama can show you that star and you will say: "Little Snow Flake," (for that is the child's name) "I'm glad you got that furniture, for you need it more than I." That is, you must write that, with your own hand, and Snow Flake will write you an answer. If you only spoke it she wouldn't hear you. Make your letter light and thin, for the distance is great and the postage very heavy.

There was a word or two in your mama's letter which I couldn't be certain of. I took it to be "trunk full of doll's clothes." Is that it? I will call at your kitchen door about nine o'clock this morning to inquire. But I must not see anybody and I must not speak to anybody but you. When the kitchen doorbell rings, George must be blindfolded and sent to open the door. Then he must go back to the dining room or the china closet and take the cook with him. You must tell George he must walk on tiptoe and not speak—otherwise he will die someday. Then you must go up to the nursery and stand on a chair or the nurse's bed and put your ear to the speaking tube that leads down to the kitchen and when I whistle through it you must speak in the tube and say, "Welcome, Santa Claus!" Then I will ask whether it was a trunk you ordered or not. If you say it was, I shall ask you what color you want the trunk to be. Your mama will help you to name a nice color and then you must tell me every single thing in detail which you want the trunk to contain. Then when I say "Good bye and a merry Christmas to my little Susie Clemens," you must say "Good bye, good old Santa Claus, I thank you very much and please tell that little Snow Flake I will look at her star tonight and she must look down here—I will be right in the west bay window; and every fine night I will look at her star and say, 'I know somebody up there and like her, too.'" Then you must go down into the library and make George close all the doors that open into the main hall, and everybody must keep still for a little while. I will go to the moon and get those things and in a few minutes I will come down the chimney that belongs to the fireplace that is in the hall—if it is a trunk you want—because I couldn't get such a thing as a trunk down the nursery chimney, you know.

People may talk if they want, until they hear my footsteps in the hall. Then you tell them to keep quiet a little while till I go back up the chimney. Maybe you will not hear my footsteps at all—so you may go now and then and peep through the dining-room doors, and by and by you will see that thing which you want, right under the piano in the drawing room-for I shall put it there. If I should leave any snow in the hall, you must tell George to sweep it into the fireplace, for I haven't time to do such things. George must not use a broom, but a rag—else he will die someday. You must watch George and not let him run into danger. If my boot should leave a stain on the marble, George must not holystone it away. Leave it there always in memory of my visit; and whenever you look at it or show it to anybody you must let it remind you to be a good little girl. Whenever you are naughty and somebody points to that mark which your good old Santa Claus's boot made on the marble, what will you say, little sweetheart?

Goodbye for a few minutes, till I come down to the world and ring the kitchen door-bell.

Your loving 

Santa Claus

Whom people sometimes call "The Man in the Moon"

(Source: Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children via www.lettersofnote.com )