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Coffee Can Evolution

-----Original Message----- 
From: Ray
Sent: Friday, August 08, 2014 10:58 AM
Subject: Boring the Grandchildren

If I had any, about superseded food matters, worked up into a monologue when 
I could corner the kids.  Not so much the food as the associated technology. 
But lacking kids, I write a question here.  I've got friends I can get at, 
even if no offspring, the more material I can get together the longer I can 

Lately, on the very threshold of septuagenarianism, I was thinking of things 
"no longer to be seen."  My collection included:  cork linings of bottle 
caps, pull-off soda/beer tabs, wax-coated milk cartons, margarine you had to 
knead the color into, and just today a recall of how coffee cans used to be 
opened with a little key that pulled a strip of metal off all around the 
top.  And the question came to me, and a little research did not tell me, 
just when did coffee stop coming packed that way?

Dear, distant days!  A lot more gone by than I've got left...

Very dry here, although the summer's been without any extended HHH spells. 


Hi Ray,

Your questions are always thought-provoking and always welcome. I'm a few years behind you getting to septuagenarianism - not many, though.

I remember those coffee cans and how they sighed when the seal first broke and air went rushing in. I remember that occasionally, the strip or tab would break prematurely and I had to complete the opening of the can by gripping the end of the strip with a pair of pliers.

I could not find solid information about the evolution of coffee containers. This person apparently had a similar experience: My Country Life

With no more reliable source available, I'll have to wing it from memory...

It seems to me that those coffee cans with keys faded away at about the time that electric can openers became popular. That makes sense, I suppose. I remember that when the cans with the key became unavailable, and I did not have an electric opener, then I had to open my new can of coffee with one of those manual can openers that you twisted round and round as it traversed the circumference of the can. A plastic lid was provided for keeping your coffee (somewhat) fresh after opening. I think this was also about the time when percolators became extinct and were replaced by drip coffee makers. A "Mr. Coffee" was the first that I remember owning, although there may have been earlier ones - Melitta, perhaps. It seems to me that these changes occurred in the seventies. The next step, from mostly cans to mostly bags, occurred in - the eighties? I'm not sure. I recall that for a time, I kept one of the old Folger's cans and plastic lids, and I dumped my bag of coffee into the empty can whenever I bought a new one. A lot of people had coffee "canisters", but I was never quick to buy such things when I already had a perfectly fine Folger's can handy.

I do recall the cork-lined bottle caps, but not the margarine in which the color came separately. Perhaps my family only used real butter at the time. I remember the wax-coated milk cartons and how one occasionally refused to open properly. I have fond memories of the first soda in a can that I had. It was a "Royal Crown Cola". I still think that the cokes in the short green glass bottles tasted better than the "King Size" or the later product sold in cans and plastic bottles although I think that's mostly due to the sweetener used then rather than the type of bottle used. The first soda cans were quite thick and had to be opened with a "church-key". One had to have a strong grip to crush one of those cans with one hand. The thinner aluminum cans came later. I remember a lot of concern about fish and birds swallowing those pull-off tabs from the aluminum cans before they were replaced with the ones we now have that stay with the can.

We had heavy storms and even some hail here yesterday. Hoping for a couple of consecutive dry days so that I can mow without leaving tire tracks in the low spots of the yard. It's been a very mild summer. I hope that doesn't portend a bad winter. I've read that the mildness is due to our having several large volcano eruptions around the world in recent months, spewing a lot of sun-light-blocking ash in the upper atmosphere. I recall something similar occurring one summer in the 1990s, when Mount Pinatubo blew its top and flooded the upper atmosphere with ash.


Houston's Coleslaw

From: Sheila 
Sent: Saturday, August 02, 2014 11:02 PM
Subject: Looking for recipe

I'm looking for the Hillstone (formerly Houston's) cole slaw recipe with tarragon. 
Thank you!

Hello Sheila,

Hillstone Restaurant Group changed the name of some of their Houston’s locations to Hillstone, but not all. They’re still Houston’s in several cities.

Houston’s has given out their coleslaw recipe freely. It’s been published in newspapers. See these sites:


Washington Post


However, there is no tarragon in either the slaw or the dressing. I could not find any indication that Houston’s or Hillstone’s coleslaw contains any tarragon. None of the recipes or copycats for Houston’s coleslaw has any tarragon. I checked a dozen or so Hillstone’s and Houston’s menus on line, and the only description that I found on any of them is that their coleslaw dressing is called “Ding’s Dressing”. I could not find a recipe or an ingredient listing for “Ding’s Dressing.” I did find a couple of descriptive statements about it. One called it a “relish” and the other said it contained “lots of dill.”. The recipe that Houston’s provided to the public contains dill pickle relish. I did not find any mention that it ever contained any tarragon.

The only Houston’s or Hillstone’s dressing recipe that I could find containing tarragon was the below “Houston’s Chef’s Dressing”, which is apparently the dressing used on their chef salad.


Houston’s Chef's Dressing

1 quart mayonnaise
8 oz. anchovies, lightly drained
1.0 oz garlic, peeled & minced
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chives (ends removed,minced med.)
3/4 cup parsley (chopped medium fine by hand)
1/4 cup fresh tarragon (chopped medium)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Place first 4 ingredients in Cuisinart and process until small pieces of anchovy appear.
Remove processed ingredients and place into bowl. Stir in all remaining ingredients except lemon juice. 
Allow to sit in refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
Add lemon juice when you are ready to serve.
The herbs are the secret to this and they must be fresh.
Thank you, Phaedrus !
I love that chef's salad recipe!  I'll try it on coleslaw but it looks like a keeper either way!

Nestle Quik Cookies

From: Cathy 
Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2014 1:31 PM
Subject: Nestle Quick cookie

Hi, my mother has been searching for this lost recipe for chocolate cookies made with Nestle’s Quick powder (not cocoa). 
She made these in the 60’s when I was a kid. The original recipe was on the Nestle Quick tin. She doesn’t remember if 
they were rolled into balls or a drop cookie, but she does remember they were topped with granulated sugar which then 
formed a “crackled” top. No other ingredients stand out that she can remember beyond the normal cookie dough basics. 
They were light chocolate colored and light chocolate tasting (just like the Nestle Quick) and they were a chewy cookie 
that stayed nice and didn’t get hard too fast ( one reason she liked keeping them on hand in the cookie jar) Us kids 
loved them and so did she, the light chocolate taste made them easy to pop into your mouth one after the other J.  
She even tried writing to Nestle’s thinking they of all people would know, but no luck.



Hi Cathy,

I can’t find a recipe that fits your description. I searched by “Nestles’ Quik Cookies” and “Cookies made with Nestles’ Quik”. I’ll post this on the site. maybe a reader can help.



Thanks to all who sent recipe suggestions for this request, but the only suggestion so far that appears to be close to Cathy's description of "topped with granulated sugar which then formed a 'crackled' top" is the one below.

Hi Phaed,

In your 9-8-14 edition, Cathy asked about Nestle Quik Cookies. The following recipe is from my mother's recipe box. 
I have no idea if it is the one off the tin or not but it sounds similar. Sometimes Mom would add nuts or chocolate chips to them.



Chocolate Cookies


1 c butter
1/3 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 c flour
2 Tbsp Nestle's Quik
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 c sugar for rolling.


Mix butter and sugars until light and creamy.
Add in egg and vanilla.
Sift together flour, Nestles, baking soda and salt.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time to the batter, stirring well after each time.
Refrigerate batter for an hour.
Roll into a ball and coat in sugar.
(I use a small scoop to speed up the process)
Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 min. or until set, when edges of cookies start to flatten or deflate.

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