Sunday, October 7, 2012

Maine Sardines

I came across a sardine use and preparation booklet awhile back. 

I'm not much on sardines being in recipes. Honestly, the occasional sandwich or on toast is about as fancy as I get. Straight from the tin with crackers is my sardine dining choice. After seeing that the booklet was published in 1952, the height of sardines' popularity, I was in a weir. I love old literature from the 50's, when snake oil was still snake oil. A brief flip through the booklet has some info; then it opens up to sardine recipes, lots of sardine recipes. I have decided to use every recipe and post pics of them in the recipe section. Since every recipe calls for Maine sardines, and since Maine is no longer canning sardines, I'll venture up North and use some from Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick Canadian cannery. * Some of the fish they can are from Maine* . As I opened the booklet, I came across a little intro from the governor of Maine, congratulating everyone who has the opportunity to receive this booklet. Then I see a line that has 1950's all over it: “We would like to see them used to best advantage by every housewife in America.”  There is even a page entitled “The Woman’s Touch.”  It points out that all women who work in the cannery are “immaculately uniformed.”  No provocative or sloppy dress in that cannery!  Yet the picture caption reads 

Reading through the list of preparation ideas, the wording is great.  My favorite suggestion reads “Bachelors’ Budget Snack.” 

Remember, whether you like it or not.

Other sections and suggestions have the wonderful 50’s drawings to coincide with the suggestions.  

One reads “Sports Special.”  How convenient it is to just eat sardines straight from the can at a sports event. But, “If the gal friend objects to such informality, take along a bunch of sandwiches as per suggestions on preceding pages.” (Now will the gal friend have a copy of this booklet?  By giving a gal friend a copy of this, and she reads the housewife bit, will she think, ‘you want to go steady or even play on a promise ring?’  Oh poor gal friend.  Would the gal friend make the sandwiches, or would the guy’s mom make them for him?  I can’t help but picture June Cleaver making sardine sandwiches for Walley’s gal friend.)

   Other suggestions are:

·         Picnic Perkups: The star of every picnic. (While 
dating my wife, we did a lot of picnicking, and we still do, but if I had brought a tin of sardines for her to a picnic, well, I just don’t know!)
·         Refrigerator Raids: It suggests sardines for a bedtime snack.
·         Rod ‘n’ Gun Refreshers:  Every hunter and fisherman should have a tin available. (There’s no mention of tree huggers!)
·         Card Party Snacks:  At the next card game, be sure to serve sardines.  (I must say, we have friends who play cards on a regular basis, and I have seen a particular lady mix up sardines for a card playing snack, so I can relate.)
·         School Set Snack Spread: “After school, when hungry moppets are homeward bound in search of more than higher education…”  (How many moppets in today’s America are going to ask for a tin of sardines?  Most are ruined on over processed crap!)
·         Radio-TV Treats:  It suggests sandwiches during radio and TV time.
·         Lunchbox Specials:  “These will please the palate of Junior and his father.”

Every other page shows pictures of prepared sardine dishes.  I love the old picture set up of the dishes.  Nothing like today’s food dish set ups.  Those just make you feel all “Leave it to Beaver” not “Sex and the City.”  A life less rushed where families sat down for dinner and didn't eat on the fly.

One page mentions the variety of pure salad oils and 
sauces that sardines were packed in at that time.
·         Soybean oil
·         Mustard sauce
·         Olive oil
·         Peanut oil
·         Cotton seed oil
·         Tomato sauce
I’ve never tried or seen sardines in peanut or cottonseed 
oil.  I see that hot sauce was not mentioned in this booklet.  I’m curious as to when sardines in hot sauce made its debut.  Do you know?  It does mention sardines in tomato sauce.  At the bottom of each page that the recipes are on are little info sentences.  Each one begins with “Maine sardines have/will/provides etc.” 

                            Some of my favorite are. 
                             Straight teeth?  Who knew?

Maine sardines contain Vitamin A, which maintains healthy skin and night sight. (They turn you into a vampire).

A list of a few things they say eating Maine Sardines will help:
·         Builds and repairs body tissues (high quality protein)
·         Normal functioning of digestive and nervous systems (Niacin)
·         For good red blood (Iron)
·         General physical well being (Vitamin B2)
·         Prevents simple goiters (Iodine)
·         Twice as much lime as fresh milk
·         Promotes steady nerves
·         Improves digestion (Vitamin B1)
·         Low cost protein

I believe the first recipe I will try will be sardines on toast or a sandwich. 


  1. Bahaha! I love those old cookbooks, too. I'm glad to see you agree on the virtues of sardines just plain, on crackers.
    About the evolution of hot sauce packed sardines... that's an interesting question. I might research it.

  2. "These officers.......never lose sight of the fish from the sea to the can." Such highly trained individuals!

  3. I love this blog! I never would have thought a blog on Sardines existed!

  4. I don't know, sardines mashed up with mayonnaise and celery is pretty good on toast...