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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dominion's "Its Mainly Because of the Meat" Cookbook with Vegetables and Short Ribs & Veal Goulash Paprika

Vintage Cookbook: Dominion's "Its Mainly Because of the Meat" Cookbook
Publication Details: Published by Dominion Stores Ltd., 1969

The Dominion chain of grocery stores was once Canada's largest and dominated the supermarket scene. It was far larger than any of its rivals, but it, for a variety of reasons, basically collapsed in the 1980's and now the only stores that still operate under the Dominion name are in Newfoundland.

One of Dominion's ubiquitous advertising slogans was "Its Mainly Because of the Meat". I remember the TV ads that ran with this slogan and a smiling butcher from when I was a kid, but the slogan ran back to before I was born. Hence 1969's "Its Mainly Because of the Meat" cookbook that was released by the chain and available at its stores.

This cookbook is really worth tracking down as a throwback to a different, and certainly not always better, era of cooking in Canada. The cookbook has a certain camp value, with some of the least appetizing  and unintentionally bad photos of  dishes to ever appear in any cookbook that I have ever seen, and some truly awful (as well as some very good) recipes. These recipes, however, act as a window to a style of cooking and retain their charm, even if one would never make them.

The worst of the book's dated moments are centred around two areas. In an attempt, presumably, to appear "sophisticated", the cookbook includes some faux "International" recipes spread throughout that are humourously inauthentic. The "Pork Chop Suey" springs to mind as does what has to be the most atrocious recipe for "enchiladas" ever put to page. One need only glance at it to know that it should not be prepared.

The cookbook's entire "Sausage" recipe section contains one recipe after another that are so bad they are almost long as one were to never actually try them! The "Mock Spaghetti" recipe (that uses hot dogs) and the "Pilaf with Franks" (a name that rather speaks for itself) are particularly heinous.

However, there are lots of really good classic recipes, dozens of them, especially when it comes to steaks, roasts and stews. The cookbook also contains very useful charts related to cuts of beef, roasting times, storage of meat, etc.

Today we are, as usual, sharing two recipes exactly as they originally appeared, both of which stand up well, over forty years later.

Vegetables and Short Ribs (Serves 4)

3 to 4 pounds beef short ribs
salt and pepper
1 onion, sliced
1 cup tomato juice
8 small white onions, peeled
4 medium potatoes, halved and peeled
8 carrots, sliced
3/4 pound whole green beans

- Brown ribs slowly on all sides; pour off fat and season with salt and pepper.
- Add sliced onion and juice; cover and simmer for 2 hours or until tender.
- Add whole onions and potatoes; cover and simmer for 30 minutes, basting several times with liquid in pan
- Add carrots and beans, cover and simmer until meat and vegetables are tender

Veal Goulash Paprika (Serves 8)

2 tablespoons butter or margarine [Editor's note: Do NOT use margarine!!!]
3 cups thinly sliced onions
3 pounds shoulder of veal cut in 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot beef broth
1 cup julienne cut green peppers
1 cup peeled, diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 cup sour cream
cooked egg noodles

- Brown onions and meat in kettle over medium heat, stirring to brown all sides.
- Add paprika, salt and broth; cover and cook over low heat 30 minutes
- Add green peppers, tomatoes and caraway seeds; recover and cook 30 minutes longer or until tender
- Blend in sour cream. Serve with noodles

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