Cleaning Out the Basement–Prohibition Punches

Prohibition Punches by Roxana B. Doran
first printing, August 1930, Dorrance & Company, Inc

Wine is sure proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy

–Benjamin Franklin

It just seems hopeless when government tries to ban something that is fundamental to human culture.

Of course, that doesn’t mean government won’t try to legislate who and how we love, when and how we have families, and how we drink.

Luckily, we can look back on Prohibition as a mistake, an overreach, a cup of unintended consequences.

I found this book at the St. John’s Opportunity Shop, a storefront Aladdin’s cave that regularly reveals new treasures.

This book was a good faith effort to make appealing drinks for every time of day and type of gathering and, in the our time of mock-tails, actually offers a bit of inspiration.

Some of the drinks are more like dessert: raspberry ice, vanilla ice cream, orange ice, and strawberry preserves. Others are more like a salad–tomato wedges, asparagus tips dressed with ketchup, worcestershire, and lemon juice, crabmeat optional. Lemons step in to cut through sweet fruit juices and the strongest mixer is tea.

The preface, by a Dr. Harvey Wiley, describes the book as “a very fine thing” and the Eighteenth Amendment as a “permanent part of our Constition” and promises these drinks “will make for a healthier and more contented mental attitude…”. You know the history–no further comment needed.

The recipes come from various college home economics departments and from various women identified only by their husbands names and titles (this is Washington after all where your spot in the bureaucracy is noted). Laura Volstead Lomen shares a recipe for fruit punch that calls for fresh fruit and a quart of sugar. Somehow the author manages to discern which recipes are suitable for children and offers a recipe from Mrs. John B. Henderson of Henderson Castle on Washington’s 16th Street, known as “the playground of diplomats.”

Apparently Mrs. Henderson decided “that liquor, even the best of it, is injurious to the health of an individual and worse than detrimental to the life of a nation. Without more ado, she ordered the contents of her extensive wine cellar–rated one of the finest in Washington at the time–poured down the gutters outside her castle walls.”

I can only imagine what Senator Henderson had to say.

About Appetite for Books

read, cook, eat, repeat
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