Old-fashioned Green Peppers Stuffed with Fish

It’s always fun to find a “new” way of serving a classic in a hundred-year-old cookbook. I recently was browsing through an old cookbook and found a recipe for Green Peppers Stuffed with Fish. Of course, I had to give it a try.

The Green Peppers Stuffed with Fish were delightful.  The tender and flavorful peppers balanced nicely with the mild, delicate taste of the fish. (I used flounder.)

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Larkin Housewives Cook Book (1917)

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

Green Peppers Stuffed with Fish

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3-4 medium peppers (The number of peppers needed will vary depending upon size. Green peppers must have been very small a hundred years ago. The amount of stuffing would not come even close to stuffing  8 modern “good-sized” peppers.)

2 cups cooked halibut or other white fish, flaked (I bought 1 pound of frozen flounder, baked it, and then flaked it. It made approximately 2 cups.)

1 1/2 tablespoons butter + approximately 1 teaspoon butter for bread crumb topping

1 tablespoon flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut thin slice from stem end of each pepper. Remove all seeds and membranes. Wash inside and out. Put peppers in a large sauce pan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook peppers for 5 minutes; drain.

In meantime, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan. Stir flour, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce into melted butter. Slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly. Place a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of the hot white sauce mixture into dish with beaten egg, stir quickly.  Then add egg mixture to the remaining white sauce, and cook for two minutes using medium heat. Stir in the flaked fish and continue cooking until the mixture is hot.

Lightly stuff each pepper with the fish mixture. Stand peppers upright in ungreased baking dish. Top the fish mixture with bread crumbs and small dabs of butter.  Cook until the bread crumbs are lightly browned and the stuffing is very hot (20-30 minutes).

1917 Pillsbury Flour Advertisement

Source: Good Housekeeping (July, 1917)

A hundred years ago, companies were already branding their products and aggressively competing with one another.  At that time, General Mills advertisements for Gold Medal flour asked, “Eventually, why not now?”

A very successful Pillsbury ad campaign responded, “Because Pillsbury’s best.”

Hundred-year-old Corn Fritters Recipe

Remember the first time you had corn on the cob this summer? . . . and, how special it was? . . . and, how much you ate? The corn was so sweet and tender. Back then, I’d buy a half-dozen ears at the farmer’s market – and my husband and I could easily polish it off at one meal.

Now, as the season winds down, I’m getting a little tired of corn. So when a neighbor gave me ten ears of corn a few days ago, I was looking for ways to use it. And, then I remembered Corn Fritters. . .

I found an incredible recipe for Corn Fritters in a hundred-year-old cookbook. The Fritters were crispy on the outside and contained just the right amount of corn. The recipe was perfect – it was both easy to make and tasty. Bring on the corn!

Here’s the original recipe:

Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

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

Corn Fritters

  • Servings: 15-20 fritters
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup corn (fresh corn cut from the cob is best; canned creamed corn could also be used)

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

dash red pepper

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon olive oil

shortening or lard

Put flour, salt, red pepper, egg, milk, and olive oil in a mixing bowl; beat until combined. Add corn and stir until the corn is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Heat 1/2 inch of shortening until hot in large frying pan. Drop spoonfuls of batter into hot shortening.  Flip fritters and fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Cook’s note: The original recipe called for 2 teaspoons salt. This seemed like a lot to me, so when I updated the recipe I only used 1 teaspoon.

Hundred-Year-Old Breakfast in Bed Place Settings

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

Breakfast in bed . . . those three words convey the ultimate in pampering to me. A century-old article in a popular women’s magazine, suggested that breakfast in bed may have been more popular than it is now.  American Cookery showed several examples of beautiful place-settings that could be used to serve breakfast in bed. The article indicated that breakfast is bed was not just a luxury for wealthy people, but a nice change of pace for anyone:

But to all, even hum-drum women, there dawn days when a bit “under the weather” we merit the pleasure of a secluded breakfast. When a rarity, it is a joy. Many women who could not stand it daily – who like to be “up and at it” – confess to a veritable delight in a dainty bedside breakfast when overtired or indisposed.

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

Old-fashioned Eggplant en Casserole

During these last days of summer I’m enjoying all the wonderful fresh vegetables, so when I saw a recipe for Eggplant en Casserole in a hundred-year-old magazine, I was intrigued and had to give it a try. The recipe had an old-fashioned goodness, with a taste and texture that was a little different from more modern eggplant casseroles.

The recipe is made with mashed eggplant that blended nicely with the other ingredients. In addition to the eggplant, the recipe called for corn and onion – as well as a little tomato soup, and it was topped with a crispy bread crumb topping.

Source: Good Housekeeping (August, 1917)

Eggplant en Casserole

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 small classic eggplants (approximately 4 cups mashed)

2 tablespoons shortening

2 medium onions, chopped

1 cup corn cut from the cob (approximately 1 cup)

1/2 cup tomato soup (I used canned tomato soup.)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375° F. Peel eggplants and cut into slices. Put into a steamer basket, and steam until tender (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and mash.

In the meantime, melt the shortening in a skillet using medium low heat; add chopped onion and saute until tender. Stir in the mashed eggplant, corn, tomato soup, salt and pepper. Put into a casserole, cover with bread crumbs and dot with butter. Put in over and bake until hot and bubbly (about 1/2 hour).

When “Time is Money” Serve Ready-to-Eat Cereals

Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1916)

There are lots of things to think about when deciding whether to serve hot cereal or cold “ready-to-eat” cereal. Here’s what a hundred-year-old home economics textbook says:

The ready-to-eat cereals commend themselves to those whose time is money. For the house-mother whose chief business is housekeeping the uncooked cereals will make the greatest return for the money spent. A cent’s worth of oatmeal when cooked is as much as the very heartiest laboring man can eat. A cent’s worth of cornmeal makes a breakfast for him, and there will be some left to fry for supper.

A cent’s worth of a ready-to-eat cereal is less – one shredded wheat biscuit or a dainty dish of corn flakes. The saving all depends upon the value of the cook’s time. For uncooked cereals she expends time in preparation, for the ready-to-eat cereals she expends money.

True economy for one family may be extravagance for another family. The intelligent housewife considers all these facts in order to make a wise decision.

How to Cook and Why by Elizabeth Condit and Jessie A. Long (1914)

Hundred-year-old Baked Bean Recipe

Baked beans are a classic summer dish to take to picnics, barbeques, and potluck dinners. So I was excited when I found a hundred-year-old recipe for Baked Beans.

It takes a long time to make Baked Beans the traditional way. They need to be soaked overnight and then cooked for many hours. I thought about possible shortcuts (using canned beans or cooking the beans in a pressure cooker), but I decided that it would be more authentic to follow the directions in the old recipe.

The old-fashioned Baked Beans were hearty and tasty – however, they had much less sauce than most modern versions. When I served them, I asked my husband what he thought. He said, “They remind me of Baked Beans relatives used to bring to reunions years ago.”

I still had a few doubts, so when I begin to write this post I said to him, “I’m still not sure about this recipe. The beans seemed a little dry and there wasn’t much sauce.”

He replied, “They were good.”

So the final verdict is that they aren’t quite like modern Baked Beans, but they’re good.

Source: Larkin Housewives’ Cook Book (1915)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Baked Beans

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups dried pea or navy beans (I used navy beans.)

4 cups water + additional water

1 small onion, diced (approximately 1/3 cup)

2-3 slices bacon, diced + bacon for top of dish

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons canned diced tomatoes (or use diced fresh tomatoes)

2 tablespoons molasses or brown sugar (I used molasses.)

1/8 tablespoon baking soda

pepper

Soak dried beans in 4 cups water overnight, then drain. Put the soaked beans in a large saucepan, add onions, diced bacon, and salt, then cover with water. Bring to a boil using high heat. Reduce heat and gently simmer until the beans are almost tender (about 1 hour).  Remove from heat and add tomatoes, molasses/brown sugar, and baking soda; Place in 2-quart heavy casserole dish or bean crock; arrange bacon slices on the top and sprinkle with pepper; cover.  Put in oven (preheated to 325° F.), and bake for 4-5 hours. If necessary, add additional hot water to keep moist while cooking. (I didn’t add any water.)