Castaway Kid by r.b. mitchell

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orphanage food

Everyday, the two Children’s Home cooks made Swedish Egg Coffee. The staff loved it and big boys and big girls could have it only on Sunday mornings. Since many people have never heard of this, I bought a cookbook with the recipe for Swedish Egg Coffee: Swedish Recipes Old and New, Library of Congress Catalogue Card No. 56-8018 by the American Daughters of Sweden, Chicago, IL December, 1955, pg 172. 

Coffee (with egg) (Kaffe) 

  1. Bring 24 cups of cold water to a boil.
  2. Just before water boils, break 1 egg into 2 ½ cups of regular ground coffee.
  3. Add crushed egg shell and 2 Tbsp cold water, mix well and add to boiling water.
  4. Let this come to a boil slowly then turn off heat and let stand until bubbling stops.
  5. Bring just to a boil again, turn off heat and let stand.
  6. Bring to a boil the third time and turn off heat.
  7. Add ½ cup cold water (to help settle grinds).
  8. Let stand 5 minutes.
  9. Pour out about ½ cup coffee and pour back into coffee pot (I don’t know why).
  10. Repeat two times. (I also don’t know why).
  11. When grounds have settled, coffee is ready to serve.

Yield = 24 cups coffee.

Nola helped my memory on what the cooks normally fed the usually 60 kids and adults each meal.

Breakfast at the Home during the school week was always different kinds of cold cereals and in the winter, an occasional bowl of hot oatmeal or cream of wheat with buttered toast and jelly. On Saturdays we enjoyed either pancakes or scrambled eggs but bacon or sausage were a rare treat. Sunday breakfast was a fabulous cinnamon roll but otherwise, there was no bread on Sundays.

Lunch was often soup from institutional-sized soup cans such as tomato, chicken noodle, or vegetable beef, along with grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I often saw large containers of U.S. government-issued soup, green beans, peanut butter, cheese, frozen burgers, sacks of potatoes, and milk stacked in the pantry or our walk-in refrigerator. We always had some kind of canned fruit such as peaches, pears, plums, apricots, or fruit cocktail either at lunch or supper.

Saturday lunch was one of two different meals with almost no variations: either hot dogs and potato chips or chili with crackers. Sunday lunch was the biggest meal of the week with either roast beef or roast pork, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, canned fruit, green beans or corn we grew and froze or some other green-and-yellow vegetable combination. We always tried to stuff ourselves since Sunday evening meals were the pits-leftovers or soup.

The rest of the week suppers varied widely but usually was some kind of casserole or goulash, often with hamburger in them. Hamburger was our usual meat and it seemed the cooks could serve it in any of 1,000 varieties; the most memorable were meat loaf and Swedish meatballs. Often we also had one or two vegetables. About twice a month supper was chicken that we raised and froze. Usually dessert was cookies, a piece of sheet cake and occasionally ice cream.

We may not always have had all the quantity we wanted, but we ate ok.

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