Linda Marrone: Celebrating the women of our past

The cover of Carson City Historical Cook Book.

The cover of Carson City Historical Cook Book.

I have been perusing my old cookbooks lately trying to downsize and get rid of a few that I really don’t use anymore but it is hard for me and I find that I would just rather keep them. There is so much history in their pages of a simpler way of life, a really different style of cooking and many old names and faces that go with the recipes. Some I knew many I didn’t.

The Carson City Historical Cook Book, sponsored by the Nevada Landmark Society, was edited by Noreen Humphreys and illustrated by Thelma Calhoun, also a former council woman. I had the privilege of knowing these ladies and think it’s fitting to shed a light on them in March during Women’s History Month. These two were movers and shakers in their time. The cookbook is an ethnic collection of recipes dating from the birth of Carson City to the present (1975). “Carson City’s pioneers comprised every race, faith and color, left their mark in the houses they built and the foods they prepared,” said Noreen Humphreys.

As you can see by the cover it was a well-used cookbook and it is literally falling apart but still has some of my favorite recipes. I love looking at the ads in the back of the book. It’s a glimpse into Carson’s past. With St. Patrick’s day next week I’m going to share a little bit of what’s in the book about the Irish.

Many of the emigrants continued in the occupation they were accustomed to, the Irish and the Cornish dug ore. The Irish introduced an age-old custom to their new land of Nevada. They had their well-known “wake” of eating, music and drinking during the long night watch of their beloved deceased. It seems that when St. Patrick was dying he requested his weeping and lamenting friends “to forgo their grief and rejoice at his comfortable exit and advised each one to take a drop of something to drink.” The last injunction of the saint was complied with at every Irish wake and whisky was the preferred drink.

I’m sharing two recipes from the book. Grapefruit Supreme from Irma Callahan Carville, First Lady from 1939-1945 and Bubble and Squeak that uses leftover corn beef with only a date 1897.

I made the grapefruit supreme and I admit it was delicious. I did cut down the brown sugar by half and the butter really did add an extra that made them “pop.” Save this for a special occasion or not.

Grapefruit Supreme

Cut a grapefruit in half, separate sections and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar between the two and dot each with a little butter. Place in a pan and broil until slightly brown and juicy. Serve warm.

Bubble and Squeak

Slice cold corn beef thin, season with salt and pepper then saute in a fry pan with a little butter, remove and brown some cold boiled cabbage in the same pan.

In a well-buttered scalloped dish alternate layers of the corn beef and cabbage starting and ending with the corn beef. Over this pour a sauce of melted butter, sliced cucumber pickle and a bit of minced onions. (I would probably saute the onions with the cabbage, sliced or minced) Bake and serve.


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