Chocolate Chip Cookies

And bridge, and retail options in Detroit. And we meet the Arnfelds.

Here’s the back:

This is a personalized contract bridge scoresheet, if you’ve never seen one (although I really wonder whether the apostrophe was intended; was the point that they owned the score sheet?). The play of contract bridge is somewhat beyond the space and time limitations of Yesterdish, but I do suggest you read up on the game here.

Oddly enough, there weren’t a lot of Arnfelds near this recipe box in the metro Detroit area (Warren is about 35 miles from the Motor City). In fact, it seems pretty likely it was a specific couple.

Eugene Arnfeld was born in 1904 in Pennsylvania to Carrie and Abe. Abe and his brother Maurice learned the retail clothing trade from their father, and in 1915, the brothers went to work for the Frank & Seder department store as the manager of the men’s department. By 1930, Eugene was working as a manager there, too.

Clare Wineman was born in 1915 in Michigan to Elsa and Andrew, who owned a furniture store. In an odd parallel, Andrew and his brother Henry also learned the retail trade from their father, and by the 1910 census, Andrew had his own store (and a live-in maid, too). In 1925, he was one of the prominent members of the Detroit Jewish community that founded the Franklin Hills Country Club after being denied membership elsewhere on the basis of his heritage.

How well-off were the Winemans? Well, here they are in the 1930 census with three maids and a chauffeur:

You might well be wondering what their home looked like. As it turns out, it was last sold in 2012, and the image to the right is from that sale. It’s comparatively modest, considering; built in 1926, it’s 5,000 square feet with five bedrooms, which would be just enough, given that the chauffeur was married to one of the maids.

But a fun fact is the location is physically on the course of the Detroit Golf Club — one of the clubs that wouldn’t let Andrew or other Jews join. I think I would’ve liked Andrew Wineman.

Anyhow, in 1935, Clare Wineman became Mrs. Eugene Arnfeld. From the September 6, 1935 edition of The American Jewish Outlook, published in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:

Weddings

 

Wineman-Arnfeld. Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Wineman, of Detroit, Michigan, announce the marriage of their daughter, Miss Clare Wineman, to Mr. Eugene Arnfeld, son of Mr. and Mrs. Abe Arnfeld, of Marlboro Road. The ceremony took place at 6 o’clock in the evening on Wednesday, September 4, at the Book-Cadillac Hotel, Detroit, with Dr. Franklin officiating.

Caption: Mrs. Eugene Arnfeld Mrs. Arnfeld is the former Clare Wineman of Detroit. Her marriage to Mr. Arnfeld took place this Wednesday in Detroit with many Pittsburghers attending.

(As usual, click to enlarge the original.)

And here’s the family in 1940 in Detroit, with the addition of their then 1-year-old daughter Joanne, as well as a maid and a nursemaid:

Their daughter Joanne moved to Illinois when she married Lawrence Barker in 1957 — but let’s stick to the Detroit Arnfelds.

The 1940 census shows Eugene still managing stores, so which store did Eugene Arnfeld manage? Frank & Seder had a Detroit store until 1951, and while I’m not entirely positive on this point, yet, it seems likely that Eugene worked there (especially since his father died in Detroit in the same year).

After 1951, there’s a clue to where he likely worked in this detail from a larger Detroit Free Press file photo, circa 1960, of a groundbreaking for a store at the Pontiac Mall.

In the top right is Aaron Gershenson, a co-founder of the company now known as Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust, a retail developer. But he’s not really part of this specific story. The other three people are.

The top left is Eugene Arnfeld himself. The bottom right is his wife Clare’s cousin, James Wineman (her father’s brother’s son).

And at the bottom left is J.L. Hudson, Jr., the chairman at the time of the J.L. Hudson company. Remember this was a groundbreaking for a store? It was for the Hudson’s department store at the Pontiac Mall.

Which is interesting, because if you turn the recipe box over…

Eugene passed away in 1982 and Clare joined him in 1993. The Hudson’s department store chain was rebranded to Marshall Field’s, then Macy’s, though its parent corporation lives on, now with the name of its most famous brand, Target.

So is this the Arnfeld’s recipe box? Tough to say; my guess it was someone who was in their social circle, or even possibly a maid, but not the Arnfelds themselves. While it does have a number of distinctly Jewish recipes, and a store manager’s wife is exactly the kind of person who would leave a store’s sticker on a recipe box, a quick glance didn’t reveal any other ephemera with the Arnfeld name on it.

A more likely scenario is that this box belonged to someone who played bridge with the Arnfelds — remember, we started down this path because the recipe is written on a blank personalized bridge scoresheet. In 1940, over 40% of American households played bridge regularly; it was the social game for polite company.

My guess is that, one night, Clare Arnfeld served chocolate chip cookies as snacks at the bridge game, someone asked for her recipe, and she wrote it down on the closest piece of paper at hand.

From a box sold in Warren, Michigan. Click here to see the front in full size.
This box was a birthday gift to AdGo from Julie at Covetpaper.com. Thanks Be!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. soft butter or margarine
1/2 c. coarsely chopped nuts
1 pkg. (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate pieces

  1. Preheat oven to 375 deg.
  2. Into large bowl, sift flour with baking soda and salt.
  3. Add sugars, egg, vanilla, and butter. With wooden spoon, or portable electric mixer at medium speed, beat until smooth and well combined, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in nuts and chocolate pieces.
  5. Drop by teaspoon, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Remove to wire rack. Cool 5 to 1 minutes. Remove cookies.


One Comment

  1. This is a fascinating blog entry. I love it. There is a story behind every recipe you post. Too bad we might never know most of them. Thanks for this.

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