Sunday, October 24, 2010
If you've ever gone into a restaurant that gave you a generous tub of butter along with the bread, this is the butter-stretcher recipe they used.
It was concocted in 1944 (a period of heavy wartime rationing) by The Mystery Chef, a well-known "radio" chef, and the predecessor of all the current male chefs now on cable TV.
It was such an improvement over previous butter-stretcher recipes (which mixed butter and gelatin, or butter and margarine) that it's still in commercial use today.
In fact, many of his economical recipes weren't just popular with housewives, they also found their way into restaurants and diners.
Here is his recipe, which was broadcast in 1944. It increases the vitamin content, but I don't think it does much to reduce the caloric content:
1/2lb - Butter
1/2pt Light Cream (or 1 Can Evaporated Milk if food rationing is heavy in your area)
-- Cream the 1/2lb of butter until soft & white
-- Break the Egg into the butter and mix with a [hand-held] rotary beater. You can use an electric beater if it has a very slow speed setting.
-- Heat the Cream (or Evaporated Milk) to body temperature.
-- Add 1 Tablespoon of the cream to the Butter/Egg mixture and beat it in until it is mixed completely.
-- Continue to repeat the step above until all the cream has been mixed in.
-- Do not add the next tablespoon until the previous one has been completely mixed in.
-- The finished Butter/Egg/Cream mixture will be very soft, so put it in the refrigerator.
-- It will be ready in less than an hour.
The Mystery Chef was actually Scotsman John MacPherson, a former chemical engineer who arrived in America from London in 1906. He started on radio in the 1930s when he took over a program for a friend and soon began to share his love of cooking with his listening audience. His "Mystery Chef" radio program ran from 1931-45.
His programs featured recipes for a limited budget, limited equipment and limited know how and became very popular with thousands of people.
He did not use his real name on the radio in deference to his mother, who likened his radio appearances to those of actors -- a profession she detested.
Used copies of his best-known book are still available.