Cattail City

One wall of Blank’s library is anchored by thousands of cookbooks compiled by churches, schools, auxiliaries and clubs in communities across North America. Here are recipes for crab cakes from Maryland, south Louisiana rabbit etouffée, Navajo fry bread and endless congealed and ambrosia salads.

There is also a section devoted to the towns of Blank’s youth, including the swampy developing neighborhood of Pennsauken, New Jersey, nicknamed “Cattail City” where his family lived. Though the chef does not have a voluminous collection of materials about his early days, New Jersey remains a powerful draw.

The Jersey shore is a great interest of mine. Those great old hotels like the Shelbourne and the Traymore fascinated me while my friends went to the steel pier. Unfortunately, I just don’t have much from that era.

Since Atlantic City was too expensive for frequent trips and Wildwood was “too city” for young Blank, he and his friends often visited small town eateries and food shacks. A number of books from these small towns highlight regional specialties like muskrat or seafood, a continuing passion for the chef.


Dock to Dish: What to do with a Fish.
Wildwood, NJ: Eat More Fish, Inc., 1981.

Ridgway, Arlene Martin, ed.
Chicken Foot Soup and Other Recipes from the Pine Barrens.
New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1980.

Our Best to You.
Belmar, NJ: Goodwill Hose Auxiliary, n.d.

Fires for Fun.
Np: New Jersey Dept. of Conservation & Development, 1919.

Fun in the Kitchen.
Montclair, NJ: Women’s Guild of Central Presbyterian Church, 1949.

The “Home” Cook Book:
For the Benefi t of the Children’s Summer Home of Cinnaminson, NJ.


* Atlantic City images courtesy of the Culinary Archives and Museum of Johnson and Wales University.

Hotel Windsor, Atlantic City, NJ.
Menu. Philadelphia: Loughead & Co., 1900.*

Postcards. Atlantic City, NJ, n.d. *

Menu. Atlantic City, NJ, 1951.*

Postcards from Atlantic City.
Early 20th century.

Menu. Atlantic City, NJ, n.d. *

The Seaview.
Brochure. Ocean City, NJ: n.d.

Cooking Favorites of Tuckerton.
NJ: Tuckerton Library Board, 1966.

Hotel Traymore Breakfast.
Menu. Atlantic City, NJ, 1933.*

Lobster Eating Champ Hailed at Hackney’s.
Hotel Gazette.
May 3, 1952.*

Home | Exhibit Introduction | A Chef and His Library | Someone's in the Kitchen with Fritz | Standing in the Stockpots of Giants

Great Composers | Victus Populi | A Fine Mess | My Dear Heinrich | Cattail City | May I Take Your Menu? | Guten Appetit

Acknowledgements | Fritz Blank Biography

© 2002 University of Pennyslvanian Library Trustees