As a youth, I found cereal commercials endlessly frustrating. This is partly because I wasn’t allowed to have anything that was advertised during Saturday morning cartoons. If my sister and I were lucky, Mom might spring for a box of Kix or Kellogg’s Raisin Bran (which had sugar-coated raisins, as opposed to Post’s, which didn’t). More frustrating, however, was the part in every commercial where they’d tell you that “Brand X is part of a complete breakfast,” while panning to a table laid with a bowl of cereal, a pitcher of milk, a glass of juice, a tiny bowl filled with freshly plucked berries, and a plate of toast with square pats of butter, perfectly centered, because never in my young life was I ever served a breakfast that looked like that, on account of the fact that my parents had lives.
So, I was very excited this week when I took a picture of my first dish, and thought, “It looks like PART OF A COMPLETE BREAKFAST!”
Orange Cereal Muffins
1 3/4 cup sifted flour
3 t. baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 t salt
1 cup Grape Nuts cereal
2 eggs, well-beaten
3/4 cup orange juice
1 T. grated orange rind
2 T. melted butter
Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add cereal. Then combine eggs, orange juice and rind and butter. Add to flour mixture and mix only enough to dampen flour. Bake in greased muffin pans in hot oven (425 degrees) 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.
As you might expect, these are rather dense muffins, though not unpleasingly so. Really, they’re quite satisfyingly chewy.
In Peacock Pie and Other Perfections, the recipe appears in the chapter entitled, “Battle Creek’s Own,” which features recipes from the various cereal companies in town, as well as several well-known Battle Creek dieticians and nutritionists. Having spent most of my last post on John Harvey Kellogg and the Battle Creek Sanitarium, I felt I had to make it up to C.W. Post somehow, and Grape-Nuts seemed the key.
And though Dr. Kellogg and Post were bitter rivals in life, I wanted to join the two of them on my dinner plate in a spirit of wholesome deliciousness. Dr. Kellogg would certainly have disapproved of the Post Company’s entree as it involves filthy, bowel-contaminating beef, but I think using Grape-Nuts to stretch a half-pound of ground beef into four generous servings is both health-conscious and economical. Pretty tasty, too.
Stuffed Peppers Fiesta
4 medium green peppers
1 can (1 lb.) stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup Post Grape Nuts
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 T. chili powder
1 t. salt
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
Remove stem ends and seeds from peppers. Parboil 5 minutes. Drain; set aside. Mix 1/2 cup tomatoes and cereal. Brown meat and garlic. Blend in seasonings. Stir in cereal mixture. Fill each pepper with about half cup mixture. Place in shallow baking dish. Pour remaining tomatoes over peppers and top each with cheese. Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) 25 minutes. Serves 4.
Dr. Kellogg’s Favorite Salad
1 1/4 cup diced, peeled apple
2 1/2 cups shredded carrot
1/2 maraschino cherry
5 T. golden dressing
1 T. shredded coconut per serving
Mix apple, carrot, and golden dressing. Place on garnished salad plate. Top with coconut and cherry. Serves 5.
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
Beat eggs (not foamy). Add other ingredients and cook in double boiler stirring constantly until thickened. Cool before serving.
The stuffed peppers have a light barley flavor, and the peppers come out firmer and better-tasting than in many other stuffed peppers recipes I’ve eaten before. As for Dr. Kellogg’s salad, it’s exceptionally yummy, though I have a hard time believing that Kellogg would actually go for maraschino cherries. Unless you want a colorful garnish for the salad, you could probably lose them (not the coconut, though – the Doctor swore by it).
We finished off our meal with a light, refreshing, yet surprisingly decadent dessert from Mary Barber. Barber was hired by the Kellogg Company (which was William Kellogg’s baby, not John Harvey Kellogg’s) in 1923 to head up the home economics department. In 1942, she was hired by Quartermaster General Edmund Gregory to prepare standardized menus for every U.S. Army command – three squares, all the necessary nutrients, and at least 5000 calories a day – and she accepted only $1 a year for her services. This dessert was probably not on the menu.
Plump, unhulled rosy strawberries
Sifted brown sugar
On each dessert or salad plate, arrange 6 or more strawberries, a generous mound of brown sugar, and a tiny, dainty bowl filled with port wine. With fingers dunk each strawberry first into the port wine, then into the sugar mound. Then pop it into the mouth and enjoy.
After dinner, Potts and I enjoyed a glass of port while speaking in ridiculous accents about our time in the Royal Navy. When you drink port, you have to talk about your time in the Royal Navy. It’s a law.
And on that note, I’ll be leaving the Junior League of Battle Creek and Peacock Pie and Other Perfections. Never did quite figure out where that title came from, though they do include a recipe for it (suggesting turkey as a practical protein substitution). However, it’s been awhile since I had a cookbook that presented so much meaty history to dig into (apologies to Dr. Kellogg), and I now know far more about electro-hydric baths, sinusoidal currents, colon maintenance, and turn of the century health nuttery than I ever dreamed.