Hundred-Year-Old Nestle’s Food Advertisement

Source: Ladies Home Journal (August, 1913)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (August, 1913)

Hundred-year-old advertisements that pique my interest generally make me smile. This one didn’t.

I found the ad upsetting., and it raised so many questions:

  • When did companies first start selling commercial products that were advertised for use as a baby formula?
  • What information, other than advertisements, was available to help parents decide how to feed their infants?
  • What was the reaction of new mothers and mothers-to-be to this ad?
  • What percentage of the women breastfed their babies a hundred-years-ago?

I have no answers,  but I  just can’t get this advertisement out of my mind – so I decided to post it.

Peach Cup (Individual Peach Cobblers) Recipe

lndividual Peach Cobbler

I always think of  peach season as cobbler season, so I was excited when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Individual Peach Cobblers.  The cobblers are delightful when served warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

These cobblers are a double peach dessert that contains both sliced and mashed peaches. Hot juicy peach slices are embedded in this homey cobbler; and mashed peaches, which are mixed into the batter, infuse the cobbler shortbread with a light peachy sweetness.

This dessert was called Peach Cup in the original recipe. In the early 1900’s, individual cobblers and shortcakes were called cups because they were made in custard cups or muffin pans.

Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Peach Cup (Individual Peach Cobblers

  • Servings: 6 - 8 cobblers
  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Difficulty: moderate
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4 small (3 large)  fresh peaches

1 egg, separated

3/4 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, optional

Preheat oven to 425° F. Prepare custard cups or jumbo muffin pan by generously greasing the cups.

Peel the peaches, then mash 1  peach (3/4 of a peach if using large peaches). (I used a blender to puree the peach).  Set aside.

Slice the remaining peaches.  Set aside.

Beat the egg white until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, egg yolk, milk, melted butter, and mashed/pureed peach. Beat until smooth. Gently fold in the egg white.

Put 1 tablespoon of batter in the bottom of each cup, add a layer of peach slices, then cover with the remaining batter. (It’s okay if the peaches are not completely covered.)

Place in the oven, and cook for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes, then remove from cups.  To remove from cups,  run a butter knife gently around the edge of the cups, then turn upside down on a plate. After the individual cobblers slide out of the cups,  flip them so they are upright.

Best when served warm. May be topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Cook’s note: Canned or frozen peaches could be substituted for the fresh peaches.

And, here is the original recipe:

Peach Cup
Source: A Text-book of Cooking by Carlotta C. Greer (1915)

Notes: I divided the recipe by 2 when I made it.  The original recipe called for using peach halves, but my peaches were too large to fit in a custard cup, so I cut the peaches into slices.

Should We Eat Candy?

Sour Cream Fudge
Sour Cream Fudge

I like candy, but always feel guilty when I eat it, so I was pleased to discover hundred-year-old advice on the role of candy in the diet.

The Use of Candy in the Diet

Candy is an energy-giving food, but, unfortunately perhaps, it is not (at all times) a most desirable energy-giving food. Sugar exists in candy in concentrated form. In this condition, sugar is irritating to the organs of digestion.

Sugar is contained in large quantity in some fruits, especially in dried fruits, figs, dates, prunes, etc. These fruits are a much better source of sweets for children than is candy, because they do not contain as much sugar, and have, in addition, valuable food materials in the form of ash.

Candy should never be used to excess. A little eaten at the end of a meal is not harmful to a normal person. At that time the sugar does not come in direct contact with the walls of the alimentary canal, as it would if eaten between meals.

A Text-Book of Cooking by Carlotta C. Greer (1915)

The quote mentions “ash” in fruits. Ash is an old-time term for the minerals in foods.

Old-fashioned Fried Cucumbers Recipe

 

Fried Cucumbers 2

I had a problem – too many cucumbers to eat in salads, but not enough to make pickles. This sent me searching through my hundred-year-old cookbooks for cucumber recipes. One cookbook suggested dipping cucumber spears into a batter and then frying them. I decided to give it a try.

The Fried Cucumbers were delicious and easy to make with a lovely crispy coating and a delightful slight  crunch when I bit into them. They are versatile, and make a great appetizer or side dish. Fried Cucumbers would be lovely with a dipping sauce – though it definitely is not needed.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Fried Cucumbers

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk

3-5 medium cucumbers (number needed depends upon size)

shortening or oil

Prepare a batter by combining the flour, salt, eggs, and milk in a mixing bowl. Beat until combined.

Cut the cucumbers into spears that are approximately 1-inch wide.  Dip the spears in the batter.

Heat 1/2 inch of shortening or oil in a large frying pan. Carefully place the breaded spears in the pan in a single layer. Depending upon pan size, the spears may need to be cooked in several batches. Fry for about a minute or until the bottom side of each cucumber spear is lightly browned, then gently turn and fry until the other side is browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

And, here is the description in the old cookbook about how to prepare cucumbers. I didn’t try the suggestion for boiling and mashing them (there’s always another day), and just followed the instructions in the last paragraph about frying them.

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

Cuts of Beef a Hundred Years Ago

Source: Foods and Household Management : A Text-book of the Household Arts (1913(
Source: Foods and Household Management : A Text-book of the Household Arts (1913)

Here’s some  hundred-year-old advice for selecting meat:

Beef should be a bright red and well streaked with fat.

To understand the difference between the tough and tender cuts we must be familiar with the structure of the muscle. Each muscle consists of bundles of tubes held together by connective tissues. In tough meat, the muscle tubes are thicker and there is more connective tissue present.

Exercise strengthens the muscle, and this accounts for the fact that the unexercised muscles of the young animal give us a softer meat. In the mature animal the muscles most exercised furnish a tough meat, and the less-used muscles the tender.

The tough cuts come from the neck and legs, the tender cuts from the middle of the back, the toughness increasing as the cuts approach the neck and the hind legs. The muscles of the abdomen are also tender, but they give a coarse-grained meat.

The tender cuts from the ribs and loin are the most highly prized, and therefore bring the highest price. These cuts are liked because of their tenderness although the nutritive value of the tough meat is as high or possibly even higher than the tender. We must take pains to use the cooking processes that will make the tough meats palatable.

Excerpts from Foods and Household Management : A Text-book of the Household Arts  by Helen Kinne and Anna M. Cooley (1913)

 

Hundred-year-old Creamed Fresh Peas Recipe

Creamed Peas

Sometimes I think that peas are a boring and blasé food; but there are a couple of weeks each year when fresh garden peas are available at the farmers’ market, and that’s a totally different story. Fresh peas are  a to-die-for sweet, yet delicate,  taste sensation – and lovely when served in a traditional “cream” sauce that is made using milk.

I dug out my hundred-year-old cookbooks, and found this recipe for Creamed Peas.

creamed peas recipe
Source: Lycoming Valley Cook Book, Compiled by the Ladies of Trout Run M.E. Church, Trout Run, PA (1907)

The Creamed Peas were lovely and the simple sauce enhanced  the subtle flavors of the tender peas. The dish was simultaneously an easy-to-make,  but almost elegant food, and a delightful comfort food.

Here’s the recipe adapted for modern cooks:

Creamed Fresh Peas

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 tablespoon flour

2 tablespoons milk

2 cups shelled fresh garden peas

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Put the flour in a cup or small bowl, and gradually stir in the 2 tablespoons of milk to make a smooth paste. Set aside.

Put the peas into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the peas, then pour 1/2 cup of milk over the peas. Return to the heat and using a medium heat bring the milk to a boil. Quickly, but gently, stir in the flour paste. Cook the creamed peas for a few seconds while continuing to stir until the milk mixture thickens. Remove from heat and serve.

I was surprised that the recipe author didn’t make a white sauce that was poured over the peas, but instead covered the peas with milk, heated it, and then stirred in a flour paste to thicken it. Maybe she was trying to minimize the number of pans on the stove.  I made the recipe using the flour paste, but it would work fine to make the white sauce separately.

Enjoying Friends, Family, and Dessert on the Porch on Hot Summer Days

Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1912)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1912)

A hundred years ago the summer heat could be oppressive. For example, on July 3, 1911 my grandmother wrote in her diary:

Almost roasted today. Went to Sunday school this afternoon. We had company this evening.

Air conditioning didn’t exit, and my grandmother’s family didn’t have electricity so there were no electric fans.  In those days families congregated on the porch on hot summer days to relax and enjoy the breezes. Friends would often stop by, and a dessert would generally “just appear.”

I’m glad that modern technology makes our summers more bearable now, but I sense that we’ve also lost something. Does anyone sit (or entertain) on their porch anymore? (As I write this, I realize that we now have decks and outdoor rooms. Maybe they serve the same purpose that porches did in days gone by.)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1912)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1912)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1911)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1911)