August 3rd, 2011
05:20 PM ET
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The Vintage Cookbook Vault highlights recipes from my insane stash of books and pamphlets from the early 20th century onward. It's a semi-regular thing, as is the Reader Challenge.

When folks are using sidewalks as griddles and baking biscuits in their cars, you know you've got a heat wave on your (sweaty) hands. Take a tip from the folks at Knox who published "Dainty Desserts for Dainty People" way back in 1915. They didn't need any newfangled plug-in freezers or schmancy ice cream gizmos to keep cool in the middle of a blistering summer - just a block of ice in a chest, or crushed ice mixed with rock salt.

Where'd the ice come from without a home freezer? Let's not get too hung up on the details (a strapping delivery gent would come around with a wagon full of blocks and some tongs) when there are brains to be frozen and tongues to be tantalized.

Here's your assignment, should you choose to accept it.

Using one of the vintage sherbet, bomb, ice cream or parfait recipes above, make a frozen dessert, chilling it either in a makeshift icebox (a cooler full of ice might work well and we'll just pretend the dude with the tongs dropped by) or using the coffee can method below. For safety's sake, if you're using eggs or dairy, make sure it stays below 40°F lest ye perish of "summer complaint" or something equally nasty.

Plate it up all pretty, take a picture and either post it in the comments or on your own blog and leave a link in our comments. As we have in the past, we'll happily, giddily, gleefully link to your blog and show the world just how cool our readers really are. Get churning!

The Coffee Can Method

Pour your mixture into a 1 lb coffee can and seal it tightly.

Place that can into a 3 lb coffee can, layer ice and rock salt around it and seal that tightly as well. Roll the large can between your feet or between two people for 10-15 minutes.

Then open the can, take the smaller can out, clean it off, unseal, and stir the contents. Reseal the can, pack it into the larger can, place in more ice and rock salt and repeat the process until the mixture is semi frozen. Pour it into a container and place in whatever you're using as a freezer until it reaches the desired solidity.

Previously – The big chill: frozen treat facts



soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. cookbookmaven

    Well, I am impressed by all the intrepid vintage cooks out there! I'll be sitting this one out, but watching eagerly to see the results!

    August 4, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  2. MLH860

    The downside is that none of these recipe use fruit you can get (around here) at a farmer's market or farmstand or in your CSA, except maybe the watermelon. I really would love to do a peach sherbert, or something with plums or berries or cherries, which are really abundant here. Would it be OK to make variations like this, or do we have to stick to the fruits listed in the recipes? I know one says "any fruits desired" but it mostly uses orange juice.

    August 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  3. mettle69

    Hilarious coming from a bunch of lazy stay-at-home moms and self-emasculated house husbands.

    August 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • RichardHead@mettle69

      We all work for a living, not sit in our Mommy's basement jerking off to Archie and Veronica comic books.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
      • I Heart Evil Grin

        @RH....In the tool's defense, Archie was kinda hot, right Mettle?

        August 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • I Heart Evil Grin

      LOL, I am none of those things, but if that makes you and your tiny pee pee feel "MANLY" feel free to think it! Your still a tool!

      August 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • mettel's uncle

      Get yourself out to the barn right now. I am ready for you. And bring your ky if you don't want to be walking funny tomorrow. And no crying this time!

      August 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  4. alr

    I remember doing the coffee can method in my 8th grade science class. Best class I ever had and the ice cream was awesome!

    August 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  5. Sencho

    Vintage Knox Gelatine recipes? Oy.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  6. culinarykitten

    i'm crazy about vintage recipe pamphlets and cookbooks...i'm going to have to accept your challenge...

    August 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      I can't wait to see how it all shakes out!

      August 4, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  7. Mildred

    Ok, let me love over the recipes when I get home, I'll see if I can do this this weekend. :)

    August 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  8. Jeannie

    I noticed you did not warn about the use of raw egg. It might be wise to include a warning with the page and offer alternatives such as using pasturized egg substitute.

    August 4, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Captain Nelson@Jeannie

      That's because not everyone needs to have their hands held when they cook. There was also no warning about excessive consumption of salt or the dangers of playing with nuclear fuel rods.

      Now go back into your bottle....

      August 4, 2011 at 10:57 am |
      • Phil@Capt

        Agreed. If Jeannie were twice as smart as she is now, she'd be absolutely stupid.

        August 4, 2011 at 11:01 am |
      • Katie Jo

        I agree. Sometimes, common sense should kick in. However, if you're dumb enough to eat raw eggs and get sick, I think I'm ok with survival of the fittest kicking in.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Jess

      Actually they do mention it: For safety's sake, if you're using eggs or dairy, make sure it stays below 40°F lest ye perish of "summer complaint" or something equally nasty.

      August 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • One Who Reads The Entire Article

      I noticed this in the middle of the article:

      "For safety's sake, if you're using eggs or dairy, make sure it stays below 40°F lest ye perish of "summer complaint" or something equally nasty. "

      August 4, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
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