28 February 2009

From Grammy's Recipe Box: Temperature in Cooking

This is another contribution from Grammy's recipe box. I inherited this recipe box as a young girl when my Grammy passed away from ovarian cancer. Over the years, I have cherished its contents. Some recipes date back to my Grammy's mother El and Grammy's aunt Esther in the 1910-20's. If you use a recipe or cooking tip from Grammy's recipe box, I'd love to hear about it.

To see more of Grammy's recipes, click on the "Grammy's recipe box" label at the end of this post.

This card sits in the front of Grammy's recipe box. It was obviously an important reference. Written in fountain pen, I'm guessing it dates back to the 1910-30's. It's a simple reference--one that was probably very important in the kitchen of my great grandmother and my Grammy.

I'm including conversions below for readers outside the U.S.:

Freezing temp 32F/0C
Body temp 96.5F/35.833C
Simmering temp 185F/85C
Boiling temp 212F/100C
Coagulation of protein 158-167F/70-75C
Ferments are destroyed 160F/71.11C

Both Grammy and her mother lived at near sea-level. I know that when my Grammy moved to a higher elevation (in the early 1940's) she probably had to adjust her temperature references.

I'm curious as to why "coagulation of protein" was such an important temperature. And I wonder if the temperature listed for "ferments are destroyed" is still accurate according to today's standards. I haven't researched this and would be interested in anyone's insights and findings.


Joanie said...

I just happened to see this post on the sidebar of your main blog. Oh, the memories that flood back when I look at Mom's recipe box. We had so many wonderful times in the kitchen with me as her #1 HELPER! Than you for sharing this photo.

Pumpkin said...

Well, coagulation of protein is important in bread baking- you want to make sure your bread gets past the temperature where its protein coagulates. Otherwise, your bread won't "set". That also happens to be the temperature (ish) where just about any foodbourne illness will be killed, though I don't know how much they knew about that back in the 30s.
As for "ferments" being destroyed, I don't know what she means by that. Yeast dies at about 140F, so that's on the high end if she's meaning yeast by "ferments".

Joy @ Joy Of Desserts said...

Love your grammy's recipe box and your other vintage posts. You would be a great fit for my new Vintage Recipe Thursday. I hope you can join us. Stop by to see the details. :-)

Joy Of Desserts


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