Old-Fashioned Squash Pie

If you like pumpkin pie, but are looking for something a bit richer and more flavorful, Squash Pie is the pie for you.

I used  heirloom hubbard squash to make this hundred-year-old Squash Pie recipe, but other winter squash would work equally well.

This recipe uses less milk and more eggs than the typical modern pumpkin pie recipe. Similarly the spices are just a little different  from modern recipes.  Many modern recipes call for cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger – the old recipe lists cinnamon and nutmeg, but does not call for any ginger. All of these tweaks are good – but the texture and taste are a little different than modern Pumpkin Pies.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

Paste is an archaic term for the pie pastry. When I made this recipe I used my usual pie pastry recipe, but sometime soon I’ll try the old recipe for “Chopped Paste.”

Here’s the Squash Pie recipe updated for modern cooks:

Squash Pie

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 3/4 cups winter squash (hubbard, butternut, etc.), pared and cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 9-inch pie shell

Put cubed squash in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 20 minutes); remove from heat and drain. Puree squash. (There should be approximately 1 cup of pureed squash.)

Preheat 425° F.  Put pureed squash in mixing bowl, add sugar, eggs, milk, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pie shell. Place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°. Continue baking (approximately 40-50 minutes) until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.

1917 Mistletoe Oleomargarine Advertisement

Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book (1917) by Lilla Frich

Hundred-year-old cookbooks often included advertisements at the back of the book, which helped defray the costs of printing the book. Here’s a 1917 cookbook advertisement for oleomargarine. (Yes, they had margarine back than – though they called it by a longer name.). It appeared in The Housewife’s Cook Book (1917) by Lilla Frich.

The book was self-published by Ms. Frich. (Is Ms. the right title to use when writing about a woman who wrote more than 50 years before the term was term was commonly used?) She was the Supervisor of Domestic Science for the Minneapolis Public Schools.

Even though the book’s title refers to “housewife’s,” I think that the book was written for use in high school domestic science (home ec) classes. I guess the presumption was that students needed to be taught skills in school so that they were prepared for their future careers as homemakers.

Old-fashioned Creamed Carrots and Onions

I’m currently auditioning foods to serve on Thanksgiving. Some people love to try new recipes when family and friends convene for the holidays. I, on the other hand, prefer to try new recipes ahead of time to help ensure that all goes smoothly on the big day.

So when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Creamed Carrots and Onions, I had to give it a try.  It just said Thanksgiving to me, and brought back vague memories of wonderful creamed vegetables lovingly prepared by my grandmother and other elderly relatives when I was a child

The recipe did not disappoint. The Creamed Carrots and Onions passed their audition. They were easy to make, colorful,  and tasty — and definitely deserve a spot on the Thanksgiving table.

Here is the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (August, 1917)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Creamed Carrots and Onions

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 cups sliced onions

water

2 cups bite-sized carrot chunks (peel or scrape carrots, then cut into chunks)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 cup milk

Put onions in saucepan and cover with water; bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add carrots and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender. The carrots should be tender but not mushy. Remove from heat and drain.

In the meantime, in another pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens. Gently stir in the cooked carrots and onions. Remove from heat and serve.

Wanted: Recruits for an Army of Kitchen Soldiers!

Source: Good Housekeeping (December, 1917)

A hundred years ago, the United States (and many other countries) were engaged in World War I. Much food was being shipped to Europe to feed the troops, and women were being encouraged to support the effort.  Good Housekeeping magazine was even encouraging its readers to join the effort by becoming “Kitchen Soldiers.” Here’s a few excerpts:

Wanted: Recruits for an Army of Kitchen Soldiers!

Women of America, this is a call to you to enlist in an army of food conservation. It is an opportunity to fight a battle that is being waged as earnestly, as bravely, and as skillfully as any battle overseas. It is a call to put your heart and soul into winning this war — to be a Kitchen Soldier!

For Washington the Government is working with a giant’s strength. But the first official request is for cooperation. The Food Administration can make us think, can lay down great, broad, general plans, can tell us what our country and our Allies need. But then the burden comes to us–to work out for ourselves the details of the ways in which each one can serve best.

And that is where Good Housekeeping knows that it can aid you as a central point of contact, a clearinghouse of ways and means, a vast recruiting station for the women of this country.

If you are willing to play an active, vital part of saving food and making every meal a blow for freedom, send us your name to be enlisted in the Kitchen Soldiers’ Army. As a symbol of your devotion to the cause in which the Allied nations are engaged, you will receive from us a richly printed certificate. Hang it upon your kitchen wall to remind you of your pledge!

Good Housekeeping (December, 1917)

Hundred-Year-Old Cranberry Tarts (Turnovers) Recipe

I tried to make a hundred-year-old recipe for Cranberry Tarts, but I think I actually made Cranberry Turnovers. Is there regional variation  in the meaning of “tart”?

I’m probably just looking for an excuse to justify my mistake, but I’m really hoping that someone other than me thinks that a tart is made by putting a filling in pie crust dough and folding it over.

Let me explain –

On Saturday morning, I made a tasty filling using chopped cranberries and raisins.  I then hummed as I  prepared the pie crust dough, rolled it out, cut it into rounds, put some filling on one-half of each round, flipped the top half over, sealed, and baked.

The results were outstanding. The “tarts” were enticing with a wonderfully balanced filling that was slightly acidic, yet also slightly sweet. All was good.

Then I decided to google “Cranberry Tarts” to see if there were similar modern recipes – and discovered to my horror that I had not made tarts, but rather that I’d made turnovers.

My recipe success, suddenly became a recipe disaster. I’d misinterpreted the recipe.

In any case, here’s the original recipe :

Source: American Cookery (November, 1917)
Source: American Cookery (November, 1917)

And, here’s the (turnover) recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cranberry Turnovers (Tarts)

  • Servings: 10 - 12 turnovers
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup raisins, coarsely chopped

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

milk

sugar

enough pie dough to make a 2 crust-pie (or  use packaged prepared pie crust or puff pastry)

Put the cranberries, raisins, sugar, flour, and salt in a saucepan; stir to combine. Add the water, then bring to a boil using medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. If the filling to too thick, add additional water. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 425°  F. If using pie pastry, roll until 1/4 inch thick, then cut int circles or rectangles. (I used an inverted cereal bowl to cut the rounds.) Place 2 tablespoons of the cranberry mixture on one side of each round or rectangle, fold the pastry over and press edges together. Put filled pastries on a baking sheet; brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Put in oven and bake until the top is lightly browned (about 20 minutes).

Cook’s note: I needed to add about 1/4 cup more water than the hundred-year-old recipe called for to create a filling that had the typical pie-filling thickness. I also did not cook it for as long as the original recipe called for since it was so thick.

 

Desserts We Can Afford

 

Photo Caption: Rice cooked with gelatin, molded when cold, and served surrounded with apricots makes a delicious dessert and a very healthful one. (Source: Good Housekeeping, November, 1917)

Do you ever worry about desserts being too expensive?

Well, it was also  a concern a hundred years ago. It was the middle of World War I, and food was costly.  Here’s some excerpts from a 1917 magazine article:

Desserts We Can Afford

Ought we to deny ourselves desserts? With all the stress that is being placed upon economy of food, many housekeepers are asking themselves this question.

But luncheon without dessert, or dinner without dessert, would be disappointing to many of us who crave something sweet with which to top off a meal. And what would the children do if they could not look forward and guess what was coming at dessert-time?

To omit desserts entirely is too much to ask in the name of economy. And it would be an unnecessary denial. At present, desserts often come as a superfluous course at the end of a heavy meal. This is a mistake. Do not omit them altogether, but make them count as food. They may be made from materials which furnish concentrated nourishment and that are rich in energy-yielding material. A simple, light meal, topped off with such a dessert will be rich in food value while being economical.

Just because you don’t like the old-fashioned rice pudding, don’t discard rice altogether for dessert. Rice, gelatin, and milk combine very attractively.

Fruits, home-canned or the commercially tinned variety, preserved or dried, are a source of inspiration for inexpensive dessert combinations. All of them combine exceptionally well with rice.

Good Housekeeping (November, 1917)

I only occasionally eat desserts – though this article brought back memories of always having dessert after both lunch and dinner when I was a child.  I’m probably using my only occasional dessert-eating as an excuse, but I decided to pass on making rice cooked with gelatin and served with canned apricots.

Boiled Cider Pie

Old-fashioned Boiled Cider Pie is a delightful Fall treat. This pie has a smooth and delicate filling with a mild apple flavor and (even though it contains no milk) a lovely custard-like texture.

This recipe is from a 1905 cookbook published by a church in Berwick, Pennsylvania. I found the cookbook last summer when I was visiting the area in Central Pennsylvania where I had lived as a child. My husband and I were to meet someone for lunch – but we finished a visit with another friend earlier than anticipated. So when we saw that a tiny country church was holding a rummage sale, we decided to stop in to fill the time.

There was a sign which said, “Donate whatever you think the items you select are worth.” I was immediately drawn to the book table. There were lots of colorful cookbooks from the 1960s and 70s on the tabke. But then I noticed an a small dog-eared cookbook with  pages browned by age. I gently flipped through the book. Several pages were missing. But I could tell that it was old, really old; and that it was a church cookbook compiled by women in the nearby by town of Berwick.  My heart beat a little faster. I really wanted this book.

But there was no price. I was to donate whatever I thought it was worth.  I dug into my wallet, and pulled out a $1 bill, a $5 bill, and a couple 20’s.

I picked up the 1905 Berwick cookbook, and another small pamphlet from the 1930s that contained recipes. I handed the church member serving as cashier $6 for the two items. She said, “Some of the other cookbooks are nicer, are you sure you want these?”

I said,  “I like old cookbooks” and walked out to the car. The woman obviously felt like I paid more than enough for the items I bought. Yet I’ve felt a little guilty ever since. To me, the hundred-year-old cookbook was a find worth much more than what I paid. Should I have made a larger donation?

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Berwick (PA) Cook Book, No. 2 (The Ladies of Directory No. 2 of the Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1905)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Boiled Cider Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups cider

1 egg

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups water

2 8-inch (small) pie shells or 1 9-inch deep-dish pie shell

Put the cider in a saucepan, and bring to a boil using medium heat. Reduce heat and boil gently until it is reduced to approximately 1/2 cup (about 45 minutes). Stir frequently. Remove from heat. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Put egg in mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add sugar and flour; stir until combined. Then stir in the water and boiled cider. Put in pic shell and place in oven. Bake until the top is lightly browned, and the filling does not move in waves. (This pie takes a long time to bake. Start checking it after 45 minutes, but don’t be surprised it it takes more than 1 1/2 hours for the filling to thicken.)  Remove from oven. Cool pie before serving.