Depression-Era Cheese Souffle Recipe

I consider the following recipe to be an interesting find. Not so much for the recipe, but instead for the card on which it is written. The images below show the front and back of the bard, and although I’ve resized them poorly, the images should be the same size.

On the back side is written a recipe for a souffle, while the front is a receipt for ice delivery from W. P. Sweet dated July 27th, 1931.

I’m interpreting the receipt to show how many pounds were delivered each day (i.e. 25lbs) and for the week it came to .87 cents. The receipt is signed as paid with the initials WPS (W. P. Sweet). I can only imagine what life was like in the days before modern day refrigeration.

Although ice was first harvested and shipped commercially in the early 19th century, an ice revolution occurred largely toward the end of the 19th century. In 1879 there were 35 commercial ice plants in America, but by 1909 the this number had grown to 2000. There is an interesting article called The Impact of Refrigeration which is quite intriguing to read and explains the development of this industry.

History lessons aside, the recipe on this card appears to be for a souffle although the recipe isn’t named. I’ve found quite a few souffle recipes in this collection as they must have been popular with this cook.

Update: I made this recipe 5/25/09 – how to make cheese souffle

Cheese Souffle
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
speck cayenne
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated cheese
3 eggs, separated

The recipe instructions need some clarification as they don’t specify what to do with the cheese. I am providing my interpretation of how to prepare this recipe.

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and stir to combine, cooking about 20 seconds. Add milk and cook for an additional minute until begins to thicken. Stir in cheese until melted. Turn off burner and set the sauce aside to cool slightly.

Beat the eggs white until stiff peaks are formed, set aside. Beat egg yolks in a separate bowl and then stir them into the sauce mixture until combined. Slowly fold in the egg whites until combined.

Pour mix into a greased souffle dish or other pan with high sides. Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 325F oven or until the souffle tests done.

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