Our team won! The Louisiana State University Tigers are the National Football Champions. This is something to celebrate. Before the game was over, today’s food page was being constructed — flashback to yesteryear — LSU 1976.
Not a great or memorable football year that I can recall, but it was the first year the LSU Alumni Federation, in cooperation with the LSU Home Economics Alumni Association, compiled a cookbook. “Tiger Bait Recipes” were contributed by alumni and friends of LSU and the A&M College.
A “Just In Case You Don’t Know …” comment on the inside front cover explained about LSU’s Bengal tiger, the Tiger Bait war-chant and the long awaited accomplishment of the first cookbook printed by LSU. The 10,000 copy first printing was released in October 1976, the year of the American Bicentennial. Significant for me personally as I was on campus. The introduction and personal inscription for my birthday and Christmas that year was from my roommate and sorority sister. The subject for today’s page seemed to be a poignant offering to the celebratory week that follows Monday night’s victory.
By Way of Introduction
The idea of Tiger Bait Recipes surfaced in 1972. The idea, credited in the introduction, belongs to Frances and Jay Jalenak. It was under their good-humored prodding that LSU alumni started that very year soliciting favorite recipes. The alumni responded with characteristic enthusiasm to the eventual extent of more than 1,500 recipes. Organizers felt with so many submissions, the recipes should be tested by a professional group with experience in the field of cookery — the LSU School of Home Economics Alumni Association subsequently became partners in the project.
Hundreds of recipe testers and workers contributed thousands of hours and thousands of dollars in the long, painstaking four-year process, the book said. A major challenge was to arrive at a uniform presentation of the recipes that would be understood by all. The committee felt they accomplished their goal with minimal revisions while still retaining the individuality of the contributor. A special feature in Tiger Bait was the inclusion of metric measurements with each recipe, omitted from today’s versions. At the time, the U.S. was on the verge of adopting the metric system as a standard, plus, LSU alumni thought the book would find its way to other parts of the world already using the metric system.
Metric Made Easy
To ease the cooks into the metric system, the cookbook committee included some instructions still informative today. Reviewing the comparisons gives reason for pause — to praise the continued use of the U.S. measurements.
LENGTH — a meter is about 3 inches longer than a yard.
WEIGHT — a kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.
VOLUME — a liter is a little largre than a quart.
The U.S. was changing to metric — and it has been more inclusive without demanding conformity.
“Our shrinking world demands a change if manufacturers are to service many nations,” the editors said. “In one industry, it is now official, the mandatory date for conversion to metric sizes for alcholic beverages is Jan. 1, 1980. It is permissible for beverage producers to start using new sizes on Oct. 1, 1976. Goodbye, ‘fifth.’ Hello, ‘750 milliliters!’ ”
The text went on to say that measuring cups manufactured by Foley Company, which were used to test the recipes, were marked in both metric and standard measures. The American Standard Association tolerance for household measuring cups allows a variance of plus or minus 5 percent of the total volume or at each marking, so it is possible for one cup to be 250 ml. and one-fourth cup to be 60 mil. Metric can be expressed in exact conversions or rounded converions. It is the rounded conversion which will eventually take over the marketplace.
Two student Tigers at the time expressed the comparison as follows.
NOTE TO ALUMNI IN FOREIGN LANDS — Some of the metric measures, especially those for canned goods, are not expressed in the standard measures likely to be used in foreign lands. This is because can sizes in the U.S. differ at the present time. The nearest rounded measures may be substituted without affecting the recipe.
Mary-Ann Liebenberg, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
ABOUT THE USE OF THE METRIC SYSTEM — In many countries that use the metric system many of our volume measurements are expressed in weight measurements such as 200 grams of sugar instead of 2 cups of sugar. Most countries use the teaspoon and tablespoon like the U.S. For academic purposes in this publication, all measurements, even the teaspoon and tablespoon, have been converted into the metric sytem. It will probably seem strange to many of our alumni in foreign lands.
Do-la-Tuan-phuong, South Vietnam
Narrowing the Competition
Just like in the national championship, teams — or rather recipe categories — were eliminated before today’s featured recipes were selected — and only some of the soup recipes are reprinted. Due to limitations of cost and space in the original book, all submitted recipes also were not included. In cases where recipes were very similar or identical, the committee attempted to divide the credit, reflected herein as well. Final well wishes from the committee were a hope that Tiger Bait would become an invaluable aid to cooks whether a “beginner, or a cordon bleu chef.”
Let It Simmer
In the final moments of the Clemson versus LSU game when it seemed apparent, finally, the LSU lead would stand — this selection of unique recipes rose to the top, just like the Tigers. If the last two weeks have proven anything about winter in the kitchen, a good pot of soup is a delight to family and friends especially with so much sickness going around.
Hope you enjoy the offerings from the faculty, students, alumni and test subjects who compiled this “new” cookbook. Perhaps a good ole chicken soup might just do the trick to get your family back on the well side of life.