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Bill Knapp's Au Gratin Potatoes

From: "Ray"
Date: Monday, January 24, 2011 9:09 PM

OK, I had to do some searches on the au gratins.This is a close to the
real recipe as I can remember.NO VELVEETA!

1 tablespoon chicken fat*
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk 
1 cup shredded cracker-barrel sharp (important!) cheddar cheese
about 4 med. potatoes, diced
1) make a roux with flour & fat. if I don't have fat, butter is darn close.
2)add milk, bring to boil and thicken for 1 min. Add cheese, stir, & remove
from heat.
3) meanwhile, boil potatoes until tender but still firm and drain.
4)mix with cheese sauce, top with paprika, and bake around 450 until top is

*Our emergency recipe book (which I wish I had) called for using chicken fat
from the tubs of precooked chicken we got everyday from the commissary in
the au gratin potato recipe. For the batches we made, probably ½ cup butter,
½ cup fat. If you ordered correctly every night, you never had to prep in
the restaurant from scratch.


Bill Knapp's Pancakes

From: "Ray" 
Date: Monday, January 24, 2011 8:56 PM

Saw your article on Bill Knapp’s.I worked at Bill Knapp’s from 1975-1983.
Clinton B. Knapp died in 1974.

The Pancake and Waffle mix we used was Carbon’s Golden Malted, mixed
according to the directions.Still the best. 

Golden Malted 


Progresso Eggplant Caponata

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Bob 
Sent: Sunday, February 06, 2011 7:42 PM
Subject: recipe request

Hello Phaedrus, 

I've looked high and low for Progresso "Caponata" apparently they discontinued 
the product.
It was a delicious eggplant based appitizer. There are other brands on the market 
but Progresso's was the best by far. 
I can't understand why they stopped making it. In any event if you could figure 
out why it was the best and how they did it
that would be wonderful. It contained eggplant, roma tomatoes, black & green olives, 
celery, capers, olive oil, vinigar and probably other things too. 
Please see what you can do. 

Thanks for your time

Bob in Idaho 

Hello Bob,

I had no success locating the actual Progresso eggplant caponata recipe. Even if it were available, it would be a commercial recipe that likely wouldn't be practical for home use. Without that recipe, there's not much way to discover what made it unique. There are a couple of recipes on the web that have been recommended as similar, if you want to try to make your own caponata. See:

NC Times

And below.



3 ripe, medium-sized eggplants 
Salt to sprinkle on eggplant 
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/3 cup pure olive oil 
2 large onions, coarsely chopped 
4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped 
1 can (12 oz.) crushed tomatoes or tomato puree 
3 fresh basil leaves, slivered 
1 tsp. salt 
1/2 tsp. black pepper 
1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed 
1 cup small green olives, pitted and sliced 
11/2 tbsp. sugar, or more to taste 
1/4 cup (scant) red wine vinegar 

Remove the stems from the eggplants and discard. Cut unpeeled 
eggplant into 1/2 -inch cubes and salt liberally. Drain in a colander 
with a heavy weight, such as a pot or glass mixing bowl, on top for 
1 hour to allow the bitter juices to drain off. Rinse off salt, squeeze 
well, and dry with absorbent paper. Set aside. Heat 3 tablespoons 
of the olive oil in a large skillet; add onions and celery and saute, 
covered, for 5 to 8 minutes until slightly softened. Pour in 
tomatoes. Add basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add 
capers and olives, and cook for 5 minutes longer. Set aside. In 
another large skillet, saute the eggplant in 1/3 cup of hot olive oil 
(add more oil if necessary to prevent sticking; eggplant absorbs a 
lot of oil as it cooks). After 15 minutes, transfer the sauteed
eggplant to the skillet with the onion and celery mixture, stirring 
until evenly mixed. Sprinkle the mixture with sugar, pour vinegar 
over, and stir. Cover and simmer slowly over low heat for 10 to 15 
minutes. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, or up to three days. 
Serve warm or cold.

Christine sent this:

Hi Phaed

Bob from Idaho was looking for Progresso caponata.  My father always bought it, 
and I have found this recipe to be a pretty close match.
1 eggplant (diced, but not peeled)
1/4 cup sliced celery
3/4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup green Sicilian olives, sliced
1/4 cup capers in  vinegar (drained)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cocoa
salt and pepper
olive oil
Cook celery in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Drain and save water.  Brown diced 
eggplant in hot olive oil. (Enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.)  Add more 
oil if necessary. Add sliced onions, and cook until golden.  Blend in tomato paste, 
celery, water, olives, capers,and the rest of the ingredients.  Let simmer until 
everything is thickened and vegetables are tender.  This is delicious on Italian 
bread, crackers, pasta, ors a side dish.  The sweet and sour elements are what 
make it Sicilian.


What's a Wet Tin?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Helen 
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2011 1:46 AM
Subject: need help


I am trying to make a recipe from my mothers very old cookbook and I need 
to know what the term pour ingredient into “wet tin” means. I hope you can 
help me. I have searched all over the internet with no luck

Thank you,

Hello Helen,

Is that a printed cookbook or something handwritten by your mother? If printed, what is the name of it? Who wrote it?


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Helen 
To: Phaedrus 
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2011 12:22 PM
Subject: Re: need help

Hi Phaed,

Thank you for the reply. It is printed Edmonds Cookbook 1914.


Hello Helen,

A quick Google search tells me that "wet tin" simply means that you rinse the tin (pan) with water, then shake it a bit, but don't dry it with a cloth or anything. Then you pour in the cookie or candy mixture. Using a "wet tin" helps prevent it from sticking to the pan when it cooks. Probably doesn't work very well. Nowadays, we'd use a silicon or teflon coated pan instead, or line the pan with baking paper, or spray it with "Baker's Secret". See the below recipe from the same cookbook, which is a New Zealand cookbook.

This is from the blog at: Hungry and Frozen. The comments are the blogger's.


Moonshine Biffs

From the Edmonds Cookery Book.
3 dessertspoon's Gelatine (I used a regular, stuff-eating spoon, the kind you'll 
find in the spoon compartment in your cutlery draw, you know...spoon.)
1 breakfast cup sugar (I used just under a 250ml measuring cup)
1/2 pint water (A heaped measuring cup) (psych! You can't heap water)
1/2 pound icing sugar (250g)
Place gelatine, water and regular sugar in a saucepan and boil for eight minutes. 
This was a little scary, but because the Edmonds Cookery Book is always pretty vague, 
to put an instruction in italics made me want to follow it. That said, if you suspect 
your stove-top generates a significantly hotter heat than what they had in the 70s 
then go slow and boil a little less.
Add the icing sugar and vanilla (I had some vanilla paste, proper extract would be fine, 
you could, I suppose, go era-specific and use essence) and beat until thick and white - 
I used a silicon whisk and nearly fainted from the exertion, you're welcome to use 
electric beaters or whatever.
Pour into a wet tin - again, silicon makes life easier here, otherwise use baking paper 
to line the tin - and leave to set for a couple of hours. It doesn't matter if it won't 
fill the tin - it's not a huge mixture and just stops and sets where it is. Slice up, 
toss in coconut. FYI, mine set very smooth and coconut wouldn't stick to one side of it. 
Edmonds didn't prepare me for that but I was chill.

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