I am sure you have come across the hoary old joke “I like to cook with wine, and sometimes I even put it in the food.” Drinking the cooking wine would by definition have been illegal during early decades of the twentieth century in the USA, by virtue of the great social experiment called Prohibition. The use of wine and spirits in cooking was, however, not inherently sinful, as a significant amount of the alcohol was presumed to be destroyed by the cooking process. But how could the housewives and cooks of the nation be saved from the evil results – both secular and spiritual - of guzzling the cooking sherry? By salting the cooking sherry prior to sale, of course.
I have no idea who the genius was who thought of this idea, and had never heard of it at all until I serendipitously came across the concept in an article in the Los Angeles Times of April 21,1928. I give you the article in its entirety because it contains other things of interest – a menu and a recipe for Welsh Rarebit (even though it should be Welsh Rabbit.)
Household needs and Timely Suggestions:
SUGGESTED BY SALLIE
Bananas and Cream
Almond Coffee Cake
Coffee or Hot Chocolate
Crab Meat Cocktail
Leg of Lamb
Escalloped Egg Plant Green Peas
Fresh Strawberry Gelatine
Welsh Rarebit on Toast
Home Made Pickles
Tea and Petite Fours.
Welsh rarebit is improved a thousand times by the use of sherry, as you know if you were wont to make it in the old days “B.P.” (before prohibition.) Yet why lament that you cant sere such dishes any more because a lack of sherry makes them tasteless? Indeed, you can have sherry – its sold under the name of Guasti Cookin Sherry, and its made by the Italian Vineyard Company, whose name is symbolic of the best.
Guasti (pronounced Gwah-stee) Cooking sherry is perfectly splendid, for instance, for chops, for scalloped or creamed meats, crab, lobsters, and oysters. All you do is omit the salt you would ordinarily use because Guasti Cooking Sherry is slightly salted – enough put in to meet with government requirements.
Now, in order to avoid any mistake, why not send for a free copy of their recipe book known as “Treasured Flavors”? It has been compiled from favored recipes of famous chefs all over the world, and once you own this book you will find the making of the most delectable viands the greatest joy in the world – nor will it be difficult, because of the simplicity of each recipe.
In case you do not know how to make a good welsh rarebit, copy this one from “Treasured Flavors” until you get your book:
One tablespoonful butter, ½ pound (approximately 2 cupfuls) of soft mild cheese cut in small pieces, ¼ teaspoonful mustard, few grains cayenne, dash of paprika, ⅓ cupful Guasti Cooking Sherry, 1 egg. Put butter in chafing dish or top of double boiler and when melted add cheese and seasoning. As cheese melts add sherry gradually, stirring constantly. When cheese is entirely melted, stir in slightly beaten egg and serve at once on toast. This is enough for four servings.
lol! This salting of the sherry brings an episode to mind during my professional cooking life.
I was head chef on a North Sea oil platform. We were allowed wine for cooking. I used to draw litre bottles from the Camp Boss who was in charge of supplies which were kept strictly under lock and key.
One day I got a litre of red to use in cooking. I left it for a moment and when I returned the wine had been broached and sampled! I said nothing - *but* I poured very big quantities of salt into the bottle, shook it up, then left it. Some five minutes later after leaving the bottle alone, I heard the satisfying yell of, "Oh! You b*stard!"
I chuckled and all was well with the world again.
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