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Item of the Week: Cooking L.V.I.S. Holiday Favorites

Thu, 11/30/2023 - 08:45

From the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection

The weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of December seem packed with events featuring special food. For anyone looking for a recipe for an upcoming get-together or meal, the 75-year-old "East Hampton Ladies' Village Improvement Society Cook Book" is filled with inspiring traditional favorites.     

This 1948 cookbook will not come in handy, however, for those seeking a salad to serve, unless you have a fondness for mayonnaise-based or Jell-O "salads" like cold fish salad.     

For fruitcake recipes, the L.V.I.S. offers more than a dozen, including boiled raisin cake, tomato juice fruitcake, white fruitcake, and Christmas-specific fruitcakes. Hazel Miller McGuirk's seasonally appropriate recipe for pumpkin cookies is in the book, and there are entire chapters on pies, breads, puddings, cakes, and ice cream.

For those providing beverages, the L.V.I.S. has recipes for rhubarb punch and a bourbon-based wine punch for 32 people.     

Eunice Telfer Juckett and Mary Tillinghast Dayton's ham recipes will make a holiday dinner, and there's a recipe for traditional roast beef with Yorkshire pudding from Edith Derby Robinson.     

For those struggling with turkey leftovers, the book offers Helen Beggs Rhodes's Southern cornmeal dressing, and a sweet and sour sauce from Elizabeth Stettinius Trippe would work with turkey. It incorporates chicken livers, sherry, tomato paste, orange juice, and currant jelly.     

For work-night dinner ideas, the cookbook has recipes for salmon loaf, a popular variation on meatloaf, from three different members.     

Multiple recipes for clam pie and "deviled" or baked stuffed clams provide options for locally inspired warm appetizers, and Jeannette Edwards Rattray's fish pudding recipe is also in the book.     

When it comes to vegetables, there's a recipe for lima beans, carrots, and salt pork in tomato from Charlotte Davis Mulford, and Nellie Lawrence Tiffany's recipe for pineapple parsnips.     

Finally, in honor of the 300th anniversary of East Hampton's founding, the cookbook contains historical commentary, including references to the price of a dozen eggs in the 1840s or a pound of various meats in the 1880s.


Andrea Meyer is a librarian and archivist in the East Hampton Library's Long Island Collection.

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