Really not a substitute for cake and ice cream.
A recipe, and some thoughts on its value, appeared in the October 8, 1929 edition of the syndicated “Sister Mary’s Kitchen” column (this scan from The Helena (Montana) Daily Independent):
Graham Cracker Roll
One pound graham crackers, 1 pound dates, 1/2 pound marshmallows, 1 cup white meats, cream.
Wash and stone dates. Any kind of nuts except peanuts can be used. Put crackers, dates, nuts and marshmallows through the food chopper, alternating the ingredients to prevent chopper from becoming clogged. Turn into a large mixing bowl and work with a wooden spoon ,adding cream to make mixture moist enough to hold together. Shape into a roll about three and one-half inches in diameter and put on a platter. Put in refrigerator to chill and become firm. Allow at least 12 hours for the roll to chill.
Cut in slices about one-half in ch thick and serve with a garnish of whipped cream.
Dates are a natural sweet, perfectly harmless for children.
Since the nuts are very finely chopped there is practically no danger of their being indigestible for children.
Graham crackers are the children’s “own” and marshmallows are a pleasant confection.
Cream is one of the most easily digested fats. So taking the roll in whole or in part, it’s an ideal dessert for children as young as five years of age.
Sister Mary also suggested that you could use slices of the roll as a substitute for cake and ice cream at a child’s birthday party. Good luck with that today.
Since we’re talking about Sister Mary, the name gives the impression that she’s a nun; she wasn’t, although she did have a sister. Sister Mary was Mary Ebright Dague, an Ohioan who would edit a revised edition of the The White House Cook Book in 1928 (link is to the original). Her sister, Ruth Ebright Finley, co-wrote the supposedly non-fiction book Our Unseen Guest with her husband, which was about the ghost of a dead soldier with which they communicated from the beyond.
This recipe is from the sixth page of the notebook; here’s the page in full (click to enlarge).Click to expand a longer explanation...
|In the words of the seller:
I acquired this book from the great granddaughter of the woman who wrote this book back in a small Nebraska town in the 30’s. She belonged to that generation of rural housewives who worked tirelessly to make ends meet and “keep body and soul together” for their families working the farms.
[A]fter a conversation I had with a friend’s sister who used to live in North Eastern Colorado, given the type of recipes listed we decided it might be from a small town there, i.e., Sterling or Fort Morgan. Also North Platte or Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Even Cheyenne, Wyoming. If you Google a map of Sterling, Colorado and pull back, you will see all these little towns in that tri-state area.
Graham Cracker Roll
1 lb. graham crackers
1 lb. dates
1 lb. marshmallows
Roll the crackers and cut the marshmallows in, then put in chopped dates and fold in lightly.
Add enough cream so you can mold in two rolls. Put in cold place overnight. Cut in slices and serve with whipped cream. Add nuts and cherries if you like.