Beef Stroganoff

Written on the back of a check.

Don’t worry too much about the risks posed by the check being out there–there’s no such institution anymore. South Shore National Bank of Massachusetts operated from 1836 until it was absorbed into Bank of America in 1994. Here are the Moultons in the 1940 census, where John worked as a painter for a scale manufacturer:

Hmm. First things first: while there are a few recipes in this box written on cancelled checks like this, I don’t think this recipe box belonged to either Mabel or John. Maybe Mabel’s sister, Bertha, but I can’t confirm that yet.

For one thing, if this was Mabel’s recipe box, she’d have it at home, and at home, she could find something else to write on. But even if we assumed she couldn’t–like, let’s say this was an old account and the checks were no good, so she was using them as scrap paper–why go through the trouble of scribbling out the account information on old checks to put them into your own recipe box?

So that said, I’m equally curious as to which scale manufacturer John worked for. The Fairbanks and Morse Company factory would’ve been 200 miles from his house, making that sort of unlikely; the Toledo company had salesmen in Boston, but I’m not sure they did any manufacturing there. Smaller companies made specialty scales (for example, scales for babies that parents would rent for the first year of a child’s life), so that’s a possibility. I’ll keep looking.

From a box sold in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Beef Stroganoff

1 lb. chuck cut in 1-1/2 inch cubes
1 Tbsp. flour
2 oz. butter
1 chopped onion
1 cup beef bouillon
1/2 cup sour cream

Roll the meat in flour and leave overnight. [In the refrigerator…]

Brown meat in butter.

Add the onions and cook until softened. Place the meat and onions in a large pot and add hot bouillon.

Simmer 1-1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Stir in the sour cream until heated but do not let it boil.

One Comment

  1. Leslie Slade

    I was born in 1965, I remember as a young girl my mama or aunt or even grandma… Ripping out checks to write grocery lists on and recipes and so on… They would also scratch out the bank routing numbers and checking account numbers before handing the checks over to people…
    Back then the banks didn’t charge for checks. The good old days!!!
    Thank you for taking the time to post all of these wonderful recipes!! They bring back memories!!!

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