Monday, February 20, 2017

The Community Cookbooks of New York, Part 3: Barbecued Frankfurters ("Kitchen Kapers" City Club of Albany, Albany, 1949)


Part 1:  Tomato Soup Cake, "Golden Anniversary" - Church of the Master, Rochester, 1977
Part 2:  "Hot Damn," "Sharing Our Best" - Chemung ARC, Elmira, 1996
Part 2.5: Steamed Chickent "From Ridgewood Kitchens," West Side Presbyterian Church, Ridgewood, NJ, 1945

I consider "Kitchen Kapers" to be one of the jewels of my (ever expanding) Church/Community cookbooks of Upstate New York collection. I really owe some more in depth coverage of its contents. The ads, anecdotes, artwork, etc... are mental ambrosia for any City of Albany History buff.

I consider "Kitchen Kapers" to be nothing less than a work of American folk art.


The book was "compiled" by the City Club of Albany. The City Club is apparently still a going concern (they have a Facebook Page).

Will give some more in-depth coverage of the various hand-drawn elements (ads and recipe artwork) in the future, so just a teaser below. The Tobin's ad and the intro. page to "Meats" are both great. I had a great uncle who worked for Tobin's!


I chose a fairly simple recipe mostly due to the fact that I had a pack of hot dogs in the fridge that I wanted to do away with. This recipe is by no means my favorite (or the most interesting) in the book. There is another humdinger of a recipe in Kitchen Kapers that I am going to have to lay on you at some point in the future.

Here we have "Barbecued Frankfurters" by Mrs. Willbur H. Crammel Sr.


This is a fairly simple recipe and is thoroughly typical of other contemporary recipe collections in my collection.

It's basically a ketchup based BBQ sauce poured over hot dogs and then baked.


Here she is pipin' hot out of the oven!


I am going to dig deep here for a reference, bear with me... The appearance of the "Barbecued Frankfurters" immediately conjured to my mind a scene from the seminal 1989 classic film "Robot Jox."

I am, of course, speaking of the "Real Meat Tonight" scene.


Anyhow, I was a little perplexed by this dish. There was not the usual "serve over rice" or "serve on sliced bread" instruction at the end of the recipe to guide me towards a suitable method of consumption.

I flopped a dog on a plate.


Pretty much what you would expect. A baked hot dog with some sweet BBQ sauce. I will say that it reminded me of the "Brat Tub" preparation (click here for an ancient recipe from my blogging past). I love me a good Brat Tub. Should the craving for wurst braised in a sweet sauce strike me in the future, I will be going with the Brat Tub.

Certainly more to follow concerning "Kitchen Kapers." As I am easily the 3 or 4 thousandth most eminent City of Albany cookbook historian, I feel it is my duty to give this recipe collection the attention it deserves.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

For Whom The Bell Toll Gates... (Toll Gate Ice Cream, Slingerlands)


People are tied to places. Places are tied to people. Sometimes places can't survive without their people. Sometimes this is very sad.

The Toll Gate is part of the landscape. Imagining a drive to Thacher Park without passing the Toll Gate is like imagining a drive to Thacher Park without a view of the Heldebergs. It has been there all of my days and I took for granted that it would be there for the rest of my days.

Recently the proprietor fell ill and the Toll Gate shut its doors (go here to help out a little). The community closed ranks around the beloved joint. Money was raised and good feelings were shared. I was not at all surprised. Appearances often to the contrary, people around here are good and kind. When help is needed, help is given.

I will recount a Toll Gate anecdote of mine. One time a year or two ago I was driving back from a day at Indian Ladder with the kids. We came upon a car that had run off the road and struck some trees, maybe a minute or two prior. I pulled onto the shoulder and ran over to see what I could do. Maybe 10 other folks of all ages and sorts had the same idea and joined me.

All turned out well, the authorities arrived, and the family and I continued on to the Toll Gate. I got each of my little ones a cone and perched them on the gate of my truck. As I watched the kids happily dribble melted ice cream all over themselves and told them about how I used to dribble ice cream all over myself as a kid (in this very parking lot!), my wife received a phone call. From my own phone.

I had dropped the phone on the side of the road when I had jumped out back at that accident. A friend of mine was one of the first responders and had come across my phone after clearing the accident! He brought it to me at the Toll Gate and we shot the shit for a minute. One of those happy little coincidences that make you think there may really be some sort of rhyme or reason to life and the rest of the universe...

Anyhow, this is all to say that folks are scared and stupid most times. But when it counts it is a safe bet that people around here will get together and do the right thing.

A couple of weeks ago the Toll Gate opened on a Saturday to offer free ice cream by way of thanks to all those who contributed towards Robert's medical bills.

I took my daughter over.



The line was out the door. Standing outside I had a chance to take in the details. In summer the Toll Gate is covered in ivy.


Should the Toll Gate close I am convinced that it should be preserved as a museum. There just aren't places like this anymore and there never will be again.


There was a table set up with get well cards for all to sign. My daughter signed one.


I chose an eggnog cone (daughter had the Thin Mint). It occurred to me that my lifelong obsession with eggnog may have its genesis in childhood eggnog cones from the Toll Gate.


I have hopes that this was not my (or my daughter's) last cone at the Toll Gate. But the future is very uncertain. At the very least things will change.

As we walked back to the truck I clumsily dropped my half-eaten cone into the muck on the side of the road. My daughter gasped and said, "Oh Daddy! I'm sorry!" Then she offered me her cone. I think she knows that the Toll Gate is an important place to me... She is a good kid.

All kids are good. I think maybe we should turn over leadership of our affairs to the children. Maybe also dogs.

Should Toll Gate open its doors back up, I hope that you will all join me in frequently spending money there. I would like to do anything I can to keep it as a going concern.






Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Every Now and Then I Get A Little Bit Lonely... (Stewart's "Now and Then" Ketchup-Glazed Meatloaf)


Sorry about the title, I was never one to pass up a Bonnie Tyler reference...

Here we have Stewart's "Now and Then" KETCHUP-GLAZED Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes. I am writing KETCHUP-GLAZED in all-caps because I have been saying it in my best "guy shouting descriptors in a commercial" voice.

I find various foodstuffs to be very sad. Not so much sad in and of themselves, but sad because of how my mind's eye pictures them to be consumed. This convenience meatloaf (KETCHUP-GLAZED) falls firmly into my category of sad foods. This is a meal to be eaten over the sink by a recently divorced father of two while he drinks away the pain.


First of all, I was thoroughly disappointed with the KETCHUP-GLAZE. It was more of a ketchup-film. Maybe a ketchup-smatter... The milky mashed-potato-water was likewise a little unsettling.

But in for a penny, in for a pound. I kept going!


The meatloaf isn't that bad. I mean, it's a flaccid gray mess... But certainly not the worst convenience meatloaf I've ever had. However, the mashed potatoes were unforgivable. Rehydrated (then frozen) potatoes with a smattering of what appears to be green crepe paper on top. Sort of an odd musky flavor too (there is also the issue of the mashed-potato-water)...

Ah well. I had to have it. For better or worse, I try every new thing that Stewart's puts out (I sort of like the cold brew coffee...). Also, after all of these years I have maintained my unhealthy interest and obsession concerning meatloaf (and the meatloaf arts).

I am as unchanging as the hills.
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