A 1 Diner

In 2006 a local publisher, Tilbury House, published a book by Sarah Rolph that celebrated a local diner, the A 1 Diner.  The book gives a history of the diner featuring both those who work behind the counter and those in the kitchen.  Many recipes that have become customer favorites are revealed in the book.  Below is one of them.  For more of these wonderful recipes and to enjoy the history of this local institution, visit the library to borrow the book, A 1 Diner: real food, recipes, and recollections by Sarah Rolph.

Hazel Newell’s Squash Custard Pie:
This pie is unusual in that it separates during cooking into a squash layer and a custard layer.
5 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 cup canned squash puree (fresh squash has too much moisture)
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1  9 inch pie shell, uncooked (bottom only)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the eggs and the sugar with a whisk.
Add the squash, the milk, the cream, and the vanilla, and mix, but do not beat.
Pour into the large pie shell and bake for 60-60 minutes until just set.  Chill before serving.

Picnic Like It’s 1928!

Green grass, blooming buds, and sunny skies all make us want to get outside and savor every minute.  In the Archives, the budding season makes us look at old treasures with new eyes.  This week, a 1928 cookbook compiled by Christ Church Parish Helpers made me wonder what tasty treats might make a perfect step-back-in-time picnic.

Here’s a selection of some of the most seasonally appropriate offerings for an outing.  See if anything strikes your fancy and let us know how they turn out (we’d be happy to taste test samples!)   And while we’re on the subject, what are some of your own long-standing family favorites?  Share some with us on Facebook — and have a very Happy Picnic Season!

  

This is the most marked-up recipe in the book – it must be good!

 

 

Enjoy!
Dawn Thistle, Special Collections Librarian

 

Salad Time!

 Summer time is salad time . . . . and nothing beats the comfort foods of Maine like those featured in the cookbooks of Marjorie Standish.  Cooking Down East was published in 1969; Keep Cooking – The Maine Way was published in 1973.  Both books are available at the Gardiner Public Library.  Try the recipe that follows for macaroni salad or check out one of the titles to look for other down home comfort foods from Maine.

MACARONI SALAD
2 cups elbow macaroni
½ cup mayo
1 tbl lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp diced pimiento
¼ tsp celery seed
¼ cup diced green pepper
1 cup finely diced celery
1 slice onion, finely minced
Cook elbow macaroni, rinse with cold water and drain.  Mix mayo with lemon juice, salt and sugar.  Combine cooked macaroni, vegetables, celery seed and mayo mixture, blending thoroughly.  This may be stored covered in fridge for overnight or all day.  You may want to add other seasonings, such as chopped dill pickle or chopped sweet pickle.  Chopped cucumber and chopped fresh tomato add interesting flavors, too.
Serve on crisp lettuce leaves.  This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.

Sure Signs that Spring is Coming!

Backyard Grilling: Last weekend, I joyfully cooked hamburgers and hotdogs outside on the grill with friends and family. Of course, the ground was covered with snow, but the food and camaraderie were fantastic.

2.    No Jackets: On Wednesday of this week, we had a delightful taste of Spring weather. I rebelled in the morning by not wearing a jacket as I headed to work, and on the way home I had the windows rolled down in the car as I enjoyed 53 degrees. Okay, so it was only one day, but it was simply gorgeous.
3.    Walking: People are beginning to take leisurely strolls to enjoy the sunshine. At work, people are taking walks outside on their lunch-break instead of eating, just so they can soak up the warm sunshine.
4.    Productivity Increase: After yawning all week due to the time change, I am finally feeling great and full of energy, ready to tackle my To Do list in full force and with a smile!
5.    Birds: While washing dishes, I looked out my kitchen window and was pleasantly surprised to see a little Robin Redbreast happily fluttering in the tree. A sure sign!
So winter can have one last hurrah this weekend, and I will enjoy snowshoeing one last time. Then I shall declare winter OVER. I know Spring is coming, because yesterday, on the way home from work, I saw MOVING WATER in an otherwise frozen lake. So bring on the thaw! Bring on mud season! Soon I will be having lunch outside at my favorite spot, the Gardiner Waterfront, doing my favorite thing, reading a book (checked out of course from the Gardiner Public Library).

Party Time!

We are coming up to the big party date.  Here are some books to get you in the mood.

The Bachelorette Party by Karen McCullah Lutz
The Dinner Party by Howard Fast
Perfect party food by Diane Phillips
Boston Tea Party by Pamela Duncan Edwards
Slumber Party by Judith Caseley
The Cocktail Party by T.S. Eliot
Lydia’s Party by Margaret Hawkins
Lithgow Party Paloozas! by John Lithgow
The Costume Party by Victoria Chess

Summer ! Being outside ! Cook-outs !

 And all hail to Marjorie Standish and her down-home Maine recipes.  Marjorie was a local resident who was the longtime food columnist for the Maine Sunday Telegram.  Her two books of collected recipes – Cooking Down East and Keep Cooking – The Maine Way – are both available to borrow from the Gardiner Public Library.

Check out her delicious and classic recipes for:
                Melt-in-your-mouth blueberry cake
                Baked beans
                Barbecued chicken
                Dilled string beans
                Dump bars
                Baked stuffed lobster
Now those would make a great cookout meal !

Autumn means it’s soup time!

As the temperatures drop, the phrase “Soup is good food” runs through my mind.  There is nothing like a delicious bowl of soup to warm you up on a chilly day.  The library has at least three books dedicated to only soup recipes:  Maine-Course Soups & Stews by Dorothy Ivens, Saved by Soup by Judith Barrett, and Lee Bailey’s Soup Meals by Lee Bailey.  Of course any general cookbook will also have great section of soup recipes.  They are so varied in scope, can be so easy to throw together, and can be stretched to feed many.
Some soups that are given in one of these three books are:
Summer squash soup with fresh herbs (uses basically 4 ingredients)
Cabbage-soup-diet soup
Steak and mushroom dinner soup
Sweet and sour meatball soup
YUM.
Scott Handville, Assistant Director