Food and Community: Recipes from "Progress"
Woven through the yellowing mimeographed sheets that make up the nearly 20 years of Progress are dozens of recipes contributed by the women of Windsor, Cummington, and other nearby towns. As I was researching the November 2016 issue of Flashbacks (Vol. 11), which is all about the East Windsor Progressive Club and their monthly newsletter, these recipes struck a strong chord of nostalgia. This is the food of my childhood.
I was also struck by the level of underlying kitchen know-how that the recipe-writers assumed -- probably correctly. For example, there's the blithe assumption that we all know what goes into biscuits and how to make them, so no need to specify THAT little detail in the very first recipe to appear, in September, 1951: Golden Cheese Crusts. The belief that the instruction "beat vigorously for 300 strokes" belongs in a bread recipe labelled "streamlined." Exactly how hot is a moderate oven? If you need to ask, these recipes are not for you.
Then there's the question of what you are likely to have on hand. Your larder should contain lard. And several key varieties of canned soup, notably that workhorse of mid-20th century American cooking, cream of mushroom soup. On the other hand, the recipe for sukiyaki includes a useful guide to how to pronounce the word.
In honor of the women who made Progress great, here is a selection of recipes, including one for Breakfast Rolls that I recommend you NOT try at home.