1950s Archive

Food Flashes

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The sauces are made with sweet butter, the best of liquors, the finest of fruit. The goodness of these products is evidenced by the ready acceptance of the New York City store buyers. The crêpes and the two sauces are at Vendome Table Delicacies, 415 Madison Avenue; Seven Park Avenue Foods, 109 East 34th Street; Dover Delicatessen, 683 Lexington Avenue; Hammacher Schlemmer, 145 East 57th Street.

Slewed prunes have been added to the grocer's cold case. The humble is no longer humble, not these plump, rounded beauties packed by James Mills Orchards of Hamilton, California. This firm, by the way, is the largest independent prune company in the country, their orchards located on the banks of the Sacramento River at the very foot of seething Mount Lassen, the only active volcano left in the United States. It's the lava-enriched soil that is said to be responsible for producing some of the finest prunes in the West. A picture of the peak serves as the trademark on, the 1-pound heavy cardboard pack made with a metal top and bottom. We counted 29 prunes in the package, the fruit precooked in pure prune juice with a small amount of sugar and a dash of lemon. The prunes arc small, seeded, tender-fleshed, almost without wrinkles.

The formula was developed in cooperation with the University of California, the Prune Institute, the Palace Hotel of San Francisco, and food experts of the Union Pacific Railroad. Serve the prunes the moment they are defrosted, nothing to add, they are flavored just so, unless you would like to smack them up with a jigger of sherry.

Newest munch team is a jar of cocktail crackers, diamond-shaped crackers, Karats so-called, traveling to shops with a green-gold spread, a cream cheese blended with spices, touched lightly with curry. This pair are home-kitchen-made by Mrs. George I. Malcom of Norfolk, Connecticut.

The cheese came first, but Mrs. Malcom thought the salty crackers on which she served the spread spoiled its delicate flavor. Her son John, a young gourmet, said, “Try this on those biscuits you turned our last week,” biscuits Mrs. Malcom had found in her mother's cookbook and tried just for fun. She made a second batch. “Too big and too thick.”

She tried the recipe again, adding, omitting, and finally developing a biscuit simply perfect as a base for virtually any snack topping. The cracker has a pleasing flavor of its own, yet doesn't detract from a delicate spread such as caviar or pâté de foie gras or the spiced cream cheese. The final product is a perfect two-bite size, a noncrumbling type of cracker, so tender it snaps in the middle without showering bits of the spread on the eater.

Karats sell in New York at Bellows and Company, 67 East 52nd Street; Charles and Company 340 Madison Avenue. In Connecticut at Sage Allen in Hartford, Henri's in New Haven, Food and Bakery Shop in Litchfield, Mayflower Gift and Tea Room in Washington, and Richard Whalen's Shop in Norfolk. In Massachusetts, The Wine Cellar in Stockbridge, and Gorham and Norton in Great Harrington. Price of Karats is 85 cents for the 5-ounce jar, the cheese spread 60 cents for 4 ounces.

Czechoslovakia's Prague hams return, the first since the war, can-packed 7 to 8 pounds At $1.29 a pound, handled by Bloomingdale's, Lexington Avenue at 59th, New York City.

A row of odd things on the tasting table. Indian condiments and all strangers to us, Hot, hot stuff! Some hot enough to make the mouth smoke. A nip of this, a nip of that, strange thrills are recorded on the palate. These mixtures are each a curious spicy alchemy of genuine Indian inventiveness. Only one slightly familiar, this labeled tomato chutney and reminiscent of the tomato preserves made in our grandma's kitchen, except for one thing—a strong taste of ginger. A sweet-hot preserve, clear, with little pieces of tomato to surprise the teeth.

Taste here the prawn balchow. Zingo! It leaves the taste buds virtually paralyzed by its heat. Yet it's something we would certainly enjoy mixed in with curry, if used in the tiniest of dips. The ingredient listing reads fruit, ground chilies, mustard, mustard oil, garlic, turmeric, salt, sugar, and vinegar.

A curry paste next, to be used instead of curry powder with the advantage that the paste is more complete in its seasoning elements.

Lemon pickle in mustard oil is hot and oily, spiced with the fragrant herbs of antiquity. Use it, we'd say, as a curry accompaniment. Bombay duck pickle is slightly tart yet a bit sweet, hot as unmentionable places. It is most unusual in its flavor, with little brusque fumes for the nose and a bitter sharpness for the throat. Even the mango pickle becomes an oddity, done as it is in hot mustard oil.

It is a fact that mulligatawny paste gets into Indian dishes about as often as salt and pepper does into American cuisine. This paste is to be used like the curry paste, the ingredients the same but in slightly different proportions and with tamarind added. Indian cooks use the curry paste or the mulligatawny as a seasoning for soup, meat, poultry, vegetables, and stew.

One syrup in this Indian line is rather thick, fragrant of rose, clear pink, pretty for flavoring a pudding. We would like it, too, for the icing on a white layer cake, one tinctured with rose water.

Widely traveled Americans who have eaten their way around the world and found themselves eternal converts to Indian cooking will find these curry accompaniments well worth sampling. Tomato chutney, 8-ounce jar $1.50; prawn balcbow, 1-pound jar $2.25; curry paste, 1-pound jar $2.25; lemon pickle in mustard oil, 1-pound jar $1.60; Bombay duck pickle, 1-pound jar $2.25; mango pickle in mustard oil, 1-pound jar $1.60. Mulligatawny paste, $2.25 per pound; and rose syrup, $2 for a bottle containing 26 fluid ounces. All handled by C Henderson, 52 East Fifty-fifth Street, New York. Packed by A. Kalvert and Company of Bombay.

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