Food Fantasies

Do you associate particular foods with specific events or places? I was watching the Wimbledon tennis tournament and immediately wanted strawberries and cream. Viewing the John Deere Classic golf tournament on TV made me recall the delicious pork chop sandwiches I used to enjoy many years ago when I attended. A Facebook group I belong to from my hometown often brings up longings for the wonderful chocolate rolls we all adored from our little town bakery, lamenting where the recipe might be found.

Davenport and the Quad City area can boast foodie favorites, too. Before Riefe’s restaurant closed a few years ago, we loved to order their fried chicken and evidently they were also famous for their Key Lime Pie. I found the recipe in one of the cookbooks in our collection, Davenport/Central Centennial Cookbook published in 2004.

Who remembers Bishop Buffets? My father loved to go there. My favorite was this dessert!

Although undated, there are several recipes “submitted by Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of President John Kennedy” leading  one to narrow a publishing date of 1961-1963 for The Green Tree Cook Book.

Another restaurant going strong in the 1960s was the Plantation, later known as Velie’s, across the river in Moline. Evidently their salad dressing was to-die for. There have been a lot of copycat recipes, but this one seems pretty authentic, and Mrs. Graham signed her name to it! I found it in The Best of the Open Line Bulletin – August 1963.

PLANTATION SALAD DRESSING

1-pint mayonnaise
1 bottle creamy French dressing
1 can grated Romano cheese
2 chopped garlics
½ tube anchovy paste

Mix in blender and store in refrigerator. (This is the recipe for the dressing used in the Plantation Restaurant in Moline Illinois.) Use dressing on mixed lettuce, radishes and tomatoes. Just before serving, break in melba toast and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. (Mrs. Ivan Graham, Davenport, Ia.)

In a 2003 fundraising effort to build a branch library on the west side of Davenport (Fairmount Library) the Davenport Public Library Staff pulled together some history and recipes for this cookbook, including favorites from some local restaurants. This popular recipe was also shared in a 2015 Bill Wundram Quad City Times newspaper column where credit was given to Helen Stoefen, who apparently worked at Petersen’s Tea Room and made the spread for years. Evidently the spread was served on “toast points”. The tasty spot was located in the basement of the building we now know as the Redstone.

According to a handwritten history in our collection (#2010-11 History of a Davenport Neighborhood by Ruth Peters) Walcher’s Bakery was located on the southwest corner of 8th and Marquette. In another Quad City Times Wundram piece, this time from 2014, he was describing things he missed.

“THE LITTLE BAKERIES that were here and there on corners of our towns. Downtown Davenport had luscious places like the Bon Ton and Federal Bake Shop. Out in the neighborhoods, there were places like Walcher’s Bakery, which made the best cream horns in all the universe. Bakeries like Walcher’s were so friendly that they would bake a ham for your Easter dinner in their big ovens and not charge you a dime.”

We didn’t locate a cream horn recipe (darn!) but did include one for Walcher’s German Black Bread in our little cookbook.

Shannon’s Restaurant was before my time in Davenport, operating from 1916-1979 at 116 West Third Street however many on our staff raved about it. We included six recipes from Shannon’s in our Novel Cuisine cookbook, but I stumbled upon another that was published in a Dispatch-Argus “Curious Cook” column by Liz Meegan in 2008. 

Shannon’s Pea Salad

2 cans (16 ounces each) peas, drained
2 to 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup sweet relish
1/2 to 3/4 cup cubed Cheddar cheese
Miracle Whip, 1/2 cup or more if needed for taste

Just mix all together (the first five ingredients), and add the Miracle Whip.

I can vouch for the last recipe from our cookbook as I made it right away in 2003! I honestly can’t recall if I stored it in a glass jar with a rubber ring under the lid, though.

Do any of the above seem familiar? What old favorites do you find yourself hungering for? Maybe the recipe is awaiting you right here in the cookbook collection at the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center. Now excuse me please. I’m off to try Shannon’s Pea Salad recipe for supper!

(Submitted by Karen)

Bibliography:

SC 641.5 DAV Davenport/Central Centennial Cookbook (2004)

SC 641.5 GRE   The Green Tree Cook Book by Le Claire Civic Club Auxiliary   Le Claire, Iowa (1960s)

SC 641.5 NOV   Novel Cuisine  by Davenport Public Library (2003)

The Best of the Open Line Bulletin – August 1963. http://www.n-connect.net/lynxy/bulletaug1963.html Accessed July 15, 2021 

  

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