Advertising,  Desserts,  Pie

Happy Pi Day!

In honor of Pi Day, here is a recipe from 60 Praise Winning Pastries by Martha Meade.

This book was published in 1936 by the Sperry Flour Company. Consumers could obtain the book by mailing in the order form printed in Sperry advertisements, ten cents, and a sales slip showing the purchase of Sperry flour.

60 Praise Winning Pastries order form from a Sperry advertisement in the Santa Ana Journal, February 17, 1937.

The first Sperry flour mill opened in California in 1852. By the 1890s, the company had merged with several other California mills, and by the 1920s, it was one of the largest western flour producers with facilities in California; Spokane, Washington; Ogden, Utah; and Portland, Oregon. In 1929, the company became a unit of General Mills, but it continued to sell flour and other products under the Sperry name for several more years.1

“Martha Meade” was a Sperry trademark. Basically, she was their version of Betty Crocker, a fake home economist created by advertisers to be the face of the brand. Like Betty Crocker, Meade hosted a radio program, authored cookbooks, and featured prominently in Sperry advertising through the 1930s and 1940s.

60 Praise Winning Pastries has a delicious variety of fruit and custard pies, as well as some savory entree options like chicken pot pie. I’m excited to test out more of the recipes in this book. So far, I have only tried the recipe for Grape-Raspberry Pie. I have found this recipe in a few other mid-century cookbooks, but it is not a common flavor combination. They do compliment each other well. During cooking, the grapes take on the pink of the raspberries, so don’t expect contrasting colors in the final pie. Enjoy!

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