Recipes from the Trunk

Amongst the items I found in the trunks (read Transitions & Traditions, December 2021) were some brand name recipe booklets. Now, many of you who know me know that cooking is not my…passion. It’s not that I can’t cook, it’s just that I don’t relish (no pun intended) cooking…at all. And yet, there have been occasions (say, once every 2 – 3 years) where I’ve awakened and thought, “I think I’d like to bake a 4-layer raspberry chocolate truffle cake with raspberry cream filling and chocolate buttercream frosting today.” There has to be some kind of cosmic glitch or star alignment for that to happen, though!

However, considering these booklets are vintage, and passed down from my great-grandmother to grandmother to mother, how can I not feel an attraction to them? So, occasionally, and much sooner than once every 2-3 years, I will make a recipe from one of these cook booklets. Mwahahahahaha…

The Walter M. Lowney Co. Limited was founded in Boston, MA in 1883. They made chocolate, hard candy and marshmellows (Smithsonian Libraries, 2021). In 1905, they built a factory in Montreal, QC with offices in Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver (McMaster University, n.d.). It is probably from one of these offices that my grandmother Rebecca ordered “55 Dainty Marshmallow Recipes”. She payed 10¢ for the booklet. It cost the Lowney Company 2¢ to drop it in the mail on May 15, 1957.

A little background about Marshmallows:
Marshmallow is a sticky sap that comes from the roots of the mallow plant that grows in, you guessed it, marshes. The Romans used the sap to sooth such ailments as sore throats, tooth aches, bee stings and other small wounds (Wells, 2016). It was the Ancient Egyptians that started mixing it with honey and nuts, consumed only by nobility, and as an offering to the gods. In France in the early 1800s, marshmallow became a treat sold from small candy stores. Made by the store owners themselves, they combined the sap with sugar and egg whites to form into their own confectionary delights. Since the late 1800s the sap was replaced with other protein sources, including beef or pork gelatin, to improve and increase production (Wikipedia, 2022).

Looking through this marshmallow recipe booklet, the first thing you would note is how recipes have changed, in both looks and taste, since the 1950s. During WWII, families were rationed such foods as meat, dairy and sugar. Imagine the new recipes that came about after all the creative cooking women did in the 40s with a ration of 1 cup of sugar per week per person (CBC Kids, 2022). Notably, today the average American consumes 77 gms (over 1/3-cup) of sugar per day (American Heart Association, 2022).

If you have ever looked through a recipe book or cooking magazine from the 50s you would definitely see several jellied recipes. Most every food item made its way eventually into a jelly shape of some form or colour. So, the recipe I just had to try first was Moonbeam Salad Loaf. Not sure why it’s called “moonbeam”, but seemed fitting considering my previous cosmic glitch comment.

Moonbeam Salad Loaf
Lisa’s Ingredients:
1 pkg of lime jello (I used Sobeys’ Compliments brand)
2 cups of water (1 boiling + 1 cold)
1 500g container of 2% M.F. cottage cheese (I used Scotsburn)
24 regular-sized marshmallows, cut in eighths

Lisa’s Instructions, with photos:
• Boil some water.
• While water is boiling, put cottage cheese through a sieve into a small bowl.
This will break the curds into a smaller, more uniform size. Set aside.
• In a medium bowl, mix lime jello powder with 1 cup of hot water.
Stir until sugar crystals dissolve then add 1 cup of cold water.
(I used the package directions rather than just adding 1-1/2 cups of boiling water.)

Sieved cottage cheese. Cup of hot water being added to jello powder.

• Add sieved cottage cheese to jello mixture. Place in fridge until mixture gets quivery (their word, not mine…lol).
• Count out 24 marshmallows and cut each into 8 pieces.
(Honestly, cutting marshmallows with scissors is a true exercise in futility.
The cut pieces stick to your fingers and hands as well as the scissors which also get gummed up between the blades.
After dipping the blades in a mug of hot water, the exercise got a whole lot easier.
Easiest, however, would have been to just buy mini marshmallows;
eight minis to one regular marshmallow would have worked perfectly!
However, I was trying to be as true to the recipe as possible,
using the regular-sized marshmallows and truly having fun!)

• Remove quivery (half set) lime jello and cottage cheese mixture from the fridge and add cut marshmallows.

Quivery (partially set) lime jello and cottage cheese mixture ready for cut marshmallows to be added.

• Once the marshmallows have been added, stir well to break apart those that are stuck together.
• Pour the mixture into a single-loaf glass bread pan. Place in fridge until set.

Cut marshmallows added, the mixture is put in the fridge until completely set.

• Once the mixture is completely set (a few hours or leave overnight), remove from fridge.
• Using a knife or spatula, loosen the salad loaf from the sides of the pan.
• Place decorative serving plate upside down over the glass bread pan.
Flip pan and plate over as a unit to allow the salad loaf to gently plop onto the serving plate.
(You might have to shake the pan a bit, but who doesn’t like jiggling a pan of jello?)

The set salad loaf ready for transfer to serving plate.

• Garnish with grapes and serve to anyone willing to experience this delightful 1950s recipe.
(The recipe mentions peaches as an optional garnish, but I couldn’t imagine
the two colours – lime green and peachy-orange – working together in an appetizing fashion.

But I do think a peach version with peach jello would work very nicely.)

Here it is! Moonbeam Salad Loaf.

My thoughts on this recipe:
It actually tasted good. It was sampled by my husband, son and daughter-in-law with a surprised nod and smile. Yeah!

As an afterthought, since those cut marshmallows were sticky, I could have stuck them on the inside bottom of the glass bread pan so as to appear in the finished dessert as they do in the booklet photo above, or some other pattern. That would be fun for next time.
I would also love to try this recipe again in another flavour, such as peach, raspberry or orange.

Do you have the “55 Dainty Marshmallow Recipes” booklet? If you do, have you ever made, or do you have, a favourite recipe from it? Will you try Moonbeam Salad Loaf? Let me know if you do, and share your thoughts in the comments.

Smithsonian Libraries, Adopt-A-Book, Lowney’s Cook Book, May 2, 2021:
McMaster University, Archives & Research Collections, Collection RC0401 – Walter M. Lowney Company of Canada collection, March 8, 2022:
Mental Floss, From the Archives, The Long, Sweet History of Marshmallows, Jeff Wells, October 13, 2016:
Wikipedia, Marshmallow, February 18, 2022:
CBC Kids, Explore, Did you know we had to ration food during the war?, March 7, 2022:,about%201%20stick)%20of%20butter.
American Heart Association, How much sugar is too much?, March 7, 2022:,%2Dpound%20bowling%20balls%2C%20folks!

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