In 1908 members of Chapter "M" of the P.E.O. in Knoxville, Iowa, compiled the P.E.O. Cook Book: Souvenir Edition, complete with 575 of the organization's best recipes, fully tested, and 24 original photographs of the Knoxville community. Now this charming cookbook, long out of print, is made available again in a facsimile edition as part of the Iowa Szathmáry Culinary Arts Series.
The recipes in this remarkable cookbook take the modern cook back to a time when the ability to prepare attractive, delicious dishes with economy and innovation from a sometimes limited supply of ingredients was both a challenge and a major source of pride. The P.E.O. Cook Book reproduces the cream of the crop: unusual dishes such as Kebobbed Oysters, Oyster Short Cake ("If this is carefully made it is delicious"), Green Corn Balls, Tomatoes Stuffed with Eggs, Nice Candy, and the requisite P.E.O. Salad, in the club's colors of yellow and white. Club members present tasty renditions of familiar themes in breads, meats, soups, salads, condiments, and desserts and several dishes that are extraordinarily thrifty. Here are honest, forthright recipes that modern readers will thoroughly enjoy.
A familiar feature in many towns, the P.E.O. Sisterhood was founded in 1869 at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. The meaning of the club's initials remains a closely guarded secret, but the P.E.O. now stands some 240,000 strong and is a worldwide philanthropic educational organization with projects on the international, national, state, and local levels.
"This reprint of a 1908 women's society cookbook…is the equivalent of a Junior League cookbook published 100 years hence: it is both a curiousity and a cultural artifact."—Publishers Weekly
Cup Caramel Custards
Mrs. L. M. Cox, Pella, Iowa
Melt four tablespoons of sugar until a light brown, pour into six custard cups and shake them quickly so that the caramel will line them. Beat three eggs without separating; add to them three tablespoons of sugar, and then a cup and a half of cream. Mix thoroughly, add a teaspoon of vanilla, and pour the mixture in the cups on top of the caramel. Stand them in a pan of hot water and bake in the oven ten to fifteen minutes, until they are set in the center. Turn out while hot on individual dishes and set aside to cool. Serve very cold.
Mrs. C. W. Cornell
Pare and grate six large raw potatoes. Add two eggs, well beaten, one-half teaspoon of salt, one tablespoon flour, four tablespoons of sweet milk. Have plenty of lard smoking hot in skillet, and fry a golden brown. Serve with porter house steak and mushrooms.