Monday, August 23, 2010

Take one cup of beer …

If you have ever wanted a beer-themed dinner for the beer-lover in your life, I do believe I have found a prototype menu for you to follow. All I need to find over the ensuing weeks is a recipe for each of the items mentioned, or at least some reasonable alternatives, and you will have no excuse not to go ahead.

The Wisconsin newspaper, the Rhinelander Daily News of June 2 1937 printed the following article about some promotional activity on the part of the United Brewers Industrial Foundation.

‘Some of the foundation’s ineffable squibs of information would seem to indicated that the beer-makers press agents have been sampling something stronger than the mild amber fluid manufactured by their employers. Witness the latest creation of the foundation’s press contact men – a blurb for the use of beer in cooking which asserts:
“Recipes which excited the interest and enthusiasm of the guests at the luncheon included such exotic and wholesome items as melon balls with beer dressing, beef kidney with beef, beer bread, sweet potatoes in beer, beer cabbage slaw, beer sauce on asparagus, potato salad with beer dressing, jellied vegetable salad containing beer, beer spice cake, chocolate beer cake, and for pure liquid delight, beer with eggs!” (exclamation point ours.)
These proclaimed “exotic” creations impelled a recheck on the meaning of “exotic”. The Webster unabridged dictionary gives these meanings: “not native, extraneous, foreign.”
“Exotic” is the word. It is hoped, for the sake of peace and quiet at dinner time, that melon balls with beer, sweet potatoes in beer, beer cabbage slaw, and all the rest of these beery innovations will remain “not native, extraneous, foreign.” – Grand Rapids Press.

Chocolate Beer Cake sounds quite tame after Sauerkraut Cake, doesn’t they? Nevertheless it will be the first on our list. It seems that this novel cake did indeed burst onto the scene in the year of 1937, with various interpretations of the idea making the housewifely sections of a number of newspapers. We will almost certainly never know for certain who ‘invented’ this cake, but a hotel chef (either in Milwaukee, or at the Waldorf in New York City) seems to be the most popular theory.

The Oakland Daily Tribune, of June 11, 1937 began with: ‘Recently there was an inquiry for a chocolate beer cake, so here it is.

Chocolate Beer Cake.
1 ¾ cups sifted Globe A1 cake flour
1 teaspoon any kind of baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup Golden State butter
1 cup sugar
2 Golden State eggs, separated
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
¾ cup Budweiser beer (cold)
Mix and sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together three times. Cream butter until soft. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating until well blended. Add chocolate. Beat until smooth. Add flour alternately with beer, a small amount at a time, beating until smooth arter each addition. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Turn into two greased seven-inch layer tins. Bake in a moderately hot ove (375 deg.) 30 minutes or until done. Cool. Spread butter frosting generously between and on top of layers.

I shall endeavour to bring you more beer cookery ideas over the coming weeks – may be one more tomorrow, then we shall move onto another topic.

Quotation for the Day.
There are better things in life than alcohol, but alcohol makes up for not having them.
Terry Pratchett


Keith said...

On occasions I have had trouble purchasing stout, because many of the chefs in Armidale use stout in their cooking and purchase cases of it whenever it is available.
Good post.

Anonymous said...

The local favorite is beer bits, which is the fish part of fish and chips, but with beer used as the liquid in the batter for the crispy coating.

Jenny Islander

Liz + Louka said...

Maybe this is a worthwhile beer recipe to try on my husband, but how much is a "square" of chocolate?

The Old Foodie said...

Thanks for your valuable comments, folks - and apologies for the late reply, life has been Busy (that's a capital 'B', in case you didnt notice!)
Liz - I think 'a square' is 2 oz (pesky American measures - its like a stick of butter, which I think is about 4 ounces)

Nancy said...

I'm much more than a day late and a dollar short, but a square of chocolate is one ounce. It may have been different in 1937.

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Nancy - it is never too late for a good explanation. What do they say - two countries divided by a common language?