At first glance, the fourth chapter of Rudkin’s book strikes me as the strangest, departing from the linear storyline of her life to feature her interest in old cookbooks. As if to explain, she writes that she developed this interest while in the food business. In fact, knowing her hobby, on the twentieth anniversary of Pepperidge Farm, her employees surprised her with a copy of the world’s first printed cookbook, with a scroll signed by each one. Read More
Like most middle-class American children of the ‘80s and ‘90s, I grew up on goldfish crackers, Milano cookies and other foods branded with that famous red banner displaying the Pepperidge Farm name. When choosing a recipe from this third section of Rudkin’s book, however, dubbed “Pepperidge Farm,” I decide to go basic. If bread could grab her doctor’s attention, launch Rudkin’s foray into the food business and be the impetus for a business now known around the world, perhaps it will appeal to me, too. Read More
Before Margaret Rudkin wrote the world’s first cookbook to land on the New York Times Bestseller list, she was a mathematics and finance major who joined the working world and met the man she’d marry, Henry, at a job. They wed in 1923, three years before they’d, “to live a real country life,” buy 125 acres of land in Connecticut and name it Pepperidge Farm.Read More
“Soup was a great favorite in our house, for we were a large family of children, and soup and bread and butter could be counted on to fill us up.” Margaret Rudkin
Beef and Vegetable Soup is The Pepperidge Farm Cookbook‘s first recipe, in the chapter dubbed Childhood, just after a narration of Rudkin’s formative years of life. It’s a recipe that originated with her grandmother, who lived along with Rudkin’s family in their New York brownstone, and a recipe that was beloved enough to become Rudkin’s meal of choice for her birthday each year. It features ingredients I can’t say I’ve ever found in my shopping cart–such as a shin of beef and a large veal knuckle–and says it will serve six to eight. Read More
Margaret Rudkin has been planning my meals lately–and why not? When the late Pepperidge Farm founder was my age, she, too, was a mother of small children. She developed an interest in healthy cooking out of necessity, as did I (she, to help her son’s allergies; I, to alleviate symptoms of a digestive disease). She wrote a cookbook; so did I. She wondered why she had ever agreed to write that cookbook; anyone who knew me in 2013 knows I said the same. Read More
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