What exactly constitutes a cake anyway: Adventures in 1960s church cooking

This is one of my Nannas cookbooks from the 1960s. Its very old and falling apart but I still keep it very securely locked away.

So, friends, lets talk about the 1960s.

Back in the distant past [it was 60 years ago, I’m allowed to call it that], there was a big trend for what we now would consider strange yet surprisingly convenient recipes.

This is probably due to a few reasons:
– The relative ease of buying quick and easy ingredients
– The rise of convenience foods
– A sense of discovery
– Big families were still pretty normal and more women were going back to work so lack of time was an issue
– Women were still expected to do all the cooking and shopping with no help from their husbands

So, convenience recipes and ready to eat meals were a huge boon for the housewife, trying to have it all. I can’t judge, I spent the entire first year of my university course eating continental packet pasta, red frogs and drinking coke because it was easier then cooking.

Now, my Nanna had 4 kids and a husband to take care of and worked full time so she needed to be able to get meals on the table pretty quickly. My Dad and his siblings were either in primary school or nursery during the 60s and my Pa worked full time as a joiner. She also ran a Scouts group and was heavily involved in their local church so the pressure for her and her church friends was pretty intense.

Enter, church cookbooks.

An easy way for women to be able to coordinate with each other recipes that could be made easily and quickly for church lunches, bake sales, family meals ect. Each woman in the church would submit recipes and they would be typed up and bound together to form a handy guide for everyone.

Although, I do have to wonder, as I look through it, what exactly they were eating in the 1960s.

Some of these recipes….well, they’re a lot. Beef Stroganoff, for example, uses as its main ingredient canned mushroom soup.

So, I thought I would include one that always amused me every time Nanna would let me look through her cookbook collection. In modern terms, this would be more a slice then a cake but Nanna called it a cake, so I will too.

Kit Kat Cake
Margaret Street Church of Christ Ladies Fellowship

1 cup icing sugar
1 cup rice bubbles
1/2 cup salted peanuts
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup coconut
6oz [170gms] copha

Mix together well
Place in slab tin and leave to set

And…thats it.

If you do decide to make this recipe, please let me know how it goes by leaving a like or a comment.

More recipes from this cookbook will appear in future posts, because there’s a lot and they all are so unique I have to share them with you all.

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