The Vintage Cookie

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Play Dough from the Women of Galilee

A couple of days ago I was visiting my father, who lives in a high rise condominium tower. In the basement, on your way out to the parking garage, there are a couple of bookshelves where residents leave books they want to be rid of. Often these include cookbooks. On my last visit I found two interesting cook books: an English language translation of the classic French cookbook Tante Marie, and Loaves and Fishes from the Women of Galilee Episcopal Church, Virginia Beach, Virginia.

I love community cookbooks. Even when most of the recipes aren't very good, the collection tells a story about the group that chose them and put them together. Occasionally, the books are also promising as cookbooks. Loaves and Fishes looks to be one of the promising ones. The book is undated, but based on the illustrations it is post-1962. I would guess it is actually late 70s or early 80s. There is an unusually limited use of canned soup and other prepared foods, and a nice variety - plenty of seafood dishes, as well as lamb, buffalo and venison. But one of the most charming chapters is "Children's Recipes," which include a few treats, bubble soap, face paint, and several recipes for modeling doughs. One of them looked simple enough, and it was. Fifteen minutes after starting, my four year old and I had:

Play Dough (contributed by Leslie Reid Baker, p. 41)

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Food coloring

Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture leaves the sides of the pan. [Turn contents out onto a large cutting board.] Knead in food coloring. Store in airtight container.

Who knew that Play Dough was really a salty choux paste? Anyway, this worked remarkably well. The Dough is lovely and soft and models well. I think I like it better than the commercial stuff. The recipe is  generous. We had enough Dough to fill 5 of the larger empty Play-Doh containers. We made five different colors, picking from my vast collection of food colors. Next time I think we will make more colors. And the whole project took fifteen minutes from reading the recipe to settling my son down for a couple of hours of quiet play with his new Play Dough.

Score one for the ladies of Galilee.

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