Chelsea and Rachael are cooking up something a little different for Cooking with Collections over the next few weeks. We are going to be writing a series of three blog posts all based on our exhibit Meet Me at the Fair. This exhibit showcases the spirit of innovation and invention, the rise of tourism, and of course, the presence of soft drinks at the various World’s Fairs. Quite a few food products had displays at the many fairs and some of them even offered cookbooks as souvenirs. Lucky for us (and you!), we were able to get our hands on a few of these cookbooks and the idea for this blog series was born. We hope you can join us on this culinary adventure and even possibly make some of these recipes at home!
Heinz has had a presence at many of the World’s Fairs. They first appeared at the Centennial Exposition in 1876, but it wasn’t until 1893, at the World’s Columbian Exposition, where they really began to stand out! Because H.J. Heinz’s booth was located on the 2nd floor, fair-goers had to climb 44 stairs to reach it. Due to the sheer size of the fair, many did not want to make that trip. To entice visitors, H.J. Heinz had representatives go down to the 1st floor and hand out cards offering a free gift at the Heinz exhibit. He gave visitors to his booth a pickle-shaped charm that could be hung with a straight pin. And thus, the Heinz pickle pin tradition began! The Kraft Heinz Company continues this tradition to this day due to the popularity of the pins. Throughout the years, Heinz received many awards at the various fairs. At the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, Heinz gave out cookbooks, which is where we got the recipes for today’s blog. We have heard the saying “I put ketchup on my ketchup” but we never dreamed we would find recipes for baked goods that utilized ketchup! Nonetheless, here we are.
We focused on two recipes for today’s blog – Jumbo Jems and Hot Doggities. Since reading the cookbook, Chelsea has been fascinated by this interesting cookie concoction called Jumbo Jems and so we decided to give this recipe a whirl. The recipe appeared relatively standard… that is until we got to the part that told us to add 1/4 cup of ketchup and 3 1/3 cups of miniature gum drops! Fun fact: It was incredibly difficult to find gumdrops in Waco! Many stores offered spice drops, but that is not what the recipe called for unfortunately. After venturing to many stores, we decided to cut up candy fruit slices and got relatively the same result. Candy fruit slices are essentially gum drops but in the shape of fruit slices! If you want to try this at home, maybe order those elusive gumdrops online ahead of time. We followed the recipe as close as we could to what was in the cookbook in spite of our gumdrop debacle. We even decided to use Simply Heinz™ Ketchup as it uses no artificial sweeteners. We believe that is closest to how Heinz Ketchup would have been formulated in 1964 before many companies started using sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup in their products. The dough, even after adding the ketchup, looked like a standard cookie dough, but it was a little orange! Chelsea, a big fan of raw cookie dough, was brave enough to taste a little bit of it. She determined it tasted like regular cookie dough with a hint of something at the end, but she didn’t taste ketchup. Folding in the “gumdrops” was reminiscent of our adventure making Dr Pepper Fruitcake. We followed the baking instructions and we think the cookies turned out just like they were supposed to. When we got to the tasting part, we had some very mixed reviews. Some of our staff taste testers hated them, some loved them, and some were just indifferent. Certain gummies tasted better than others and people seemed to like the yellow gummies best. We were actually surprised at how many people enjoyed them! Some even went for seconds!
Rachael had been wanting to make the Hot Doggities (mostly because they are called Hot Doggities) since reading the cookbook so that was our second choice. From beginning to end, it was a very simple recipe to make. You could definitely try it at home with your kids, but we would recommend having the adults spiral cut the hot dogs! It did feel a little weird rolling the hot dogs in ketchup. It felt like we were playing with our food (which, of course, we were)! Overall it was very simple, and the staff taste testers all enjoyed it! As always, your hosts of Cooking with Collections have an opinion, and although the recipe is delicious as is, we think that you could try crushed potato chips or crackers instead of cornflakes. Additionally, the recipe does not say to use a food processor to crush the cornflakes, but we think that would create a better consistently than hand crushing them. If you know someone who prefers French fries with their ketchup, this is the recipe for them! The recipe also says that you can swap the ketchup for other Heinz products like mustard, so if you aren’t a ketchup fan (although we hope you are if you are reading this) you could try that!
Between the Hot Doggities and the Jumbo Jems, our staff taste testers had quite the interesting feast! As always, we are thankful that they let us use them as guinea pigs for our experiments and can’t wait to try out more recipes on them in this series. You can check out the recipes and more photos of our adventure below!