Maybe back in 1936, when this was published, you just didn't get all that excited about food. It was more a means to an end. You're hungry. You need to eat. Here's some stuff. It's cheap. It's easy. Period.
But wait - that doesn't make sense, because a quick Google search shows that in 1936 alone the Cobb Salad was invented, the first American blue cheese plant opened, the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile was created, and cola flavored Jell-O was introduced. Okay, so now I don't know what is with the lack of enthusiasm from this little cookbook.
This cookbook is actually not bad as far as recipes go. Of course, there is plenty of shortening, buttermilk, lard, butter, and other ingredients that today's society would grimace at. And forget any gluten-free or vegan options here. Nope, everything comes with plenty of flour, fat, and dairy!
The book is filled with recipes for biscuits, waffles, muffins, and every other kind of recipe that includes baking soda, but my favorite is this "Hard Sauce" -- which doesn't include a drop of Arm & Hammer or Cow Brand products:
I'm stuck on the name "Hard Sauce." Is it called this because it's difficult to make? After all you have to "work" the butter with a spoon until it gets creamy, then "beat" in some sugar, then "grate" some lemon rind... all very taxing chores in baking, I'm guessing. "Honey, I spent all afternoon making this hard sauce, so could you put some liniment on my arm?"
Or is it called a "Hard Sauce" because the sauce turns solid? And if so, is it desirable to have a solid layer of sugar on top of a baked item? I'm guessing some would say YES. But my dentist would tell me NO.
It's also interesting that the "Hard Sauce" is on the same page as "Fluffy Frosting," as if they are complete opposing views of topping a food item. It could become a monumental debate of baked goods, but Arm & Hammer has got you covered. "You want something soft and fluffy like a cloud on your cupcake? Well we got it! No? You want something rock solid to crack a tooth? We got that too!"
I'm not a baker, nor do I crave sweets very often. So if any of you bakers out there can answer any of these burning questions, please let me know!