With Christmas approaching, I searched the other day for holiday cookie and cake recipes in my cache of old-time recipes. I came across two tattered Island recipe collections. One, undated, was put out by the Delta Alpha Class of the First Baptist Church of Vineyard Haven. The other, from 1924, was a compilation of recipes put together by Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church of Oak Bluffs for the benefit of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Among the latter’s highlights were favorites of President Calvin Coolidge, prepared by Mrs. Coolidge, a frequent Lambert’s Cover guest of Massachusetts state Sen. William Butler’s wife. One of these was for doughnuts made with mashed potatoes and butter, along with eggs, sugar, salt, sweet milk, baking powder and nutmeg if desired. There were no frying instructions.

There is a stuffed prune salad recipe from Mrs. Alice Dexter of Edgartown made by removing the stones from prunes that have been cooked, then filling the holes with cream cheese. Another version substitutes mayonnaise for the cream cheese.

There are two raisin sandwich recipes, a Pet Sandwich recipe (presumably to be eaten by humans) and a Radio Sponge Cake recipe (with no explanation for its name). The radio cake recipe was supplied by Mrs. Ethel Adams of West Tisbury.

There are recipes for roasting wild duck and wild goose. A recipe for Oyster Patties comes from Edgartown that requires cutting an oblong cavity in top of a shredded wheat biscuit to form a well for the oyster.

Mock Chicken Pie is made by Mrs. Howard Downs with one large can of tuna fish, two carrots cut fine, two potatoes cut small, one medium onion, chopped, and one cup of peas.

Sea Moss Blanc Mange is made by Elizabeth Lord. She says to wash one small handful of sea moss (then often found on the north shore) until free of sand. The sea moss is eventually cooked in small bits, combined with lemon or vanilla flavoring, and turned out in mold form. Serve with cream and sugar or chocolate blanc mange.

The Eel Stifle recipe from Mrs. Morris Cleveland calls for six medium-sized eels with the tails and fins cut off. The eels are then cut into pieces two and a half inches long, and boiled in saucepan until they are soft. Do not overcook. Season with salt and pepper. Add salt pork, onions, potatoes and fry in pork fat.

Oddly enough, the books did not contain many seasonal recipes for sweets, other than a pumpkin and cranberry pie, and President Coolidge’s favorite mashed potato doughnuts. But the Radio Cakes sound promising, with perhaps some Eel Stifle and Sea Moss Blanc Mange.