Old-fashioned Celery Dressing

Celery Dressing in Bowl

Dressing (or stuffing as I often call it) is one of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal, so when I came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Celery Dressing I decided to give it a try. This recipe makes a bread dressing that is embedded with lots of celery, and is nicely seasoned with sage.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Mrs. DeGraf’s Cook Book (1922)

Most times when I make hundred-year-old recipes, I try to follow the recipe as closely as I can, but with this recipe I ended up making several adaptations. When I updated the recipe, I quadrupled it.  The original recipe didn’t make much stuffing.

I used 1-inch soft bread pieces rather than dried bread crumbs.  This recipe called for an awfully lot of butter (3/4 cup of butter for every 2 cups of bread crumbs), so I reduced the amount when updating the recipe. Maybe the very large amount of butter would work if I’d used dried bread crumbs – but even then it seems like it would be too much.

Finally, I didn’t have any onion juice, so instead of using the juice, I used finely chopped onions.

This dressing can be stuffed into a turkey. Addiitonal adaptations may need to be made (such as addiing both or other liquid) if cooked in a casserole dish.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Celery Dressing

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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This recipe makes enough for a 9-10 pound turkey.

8 cups 1-inch pieces of bread or bread cubes (I tore bread into small pieces.)

1 cup butter

4 cups chopped celery

4 teaspoons onion juice or 1/2 cup finely chopped onions

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons ground sage

Melt butter in a skillet, stir in the celery (and chopped onions, if used). Sauté for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the salt, pepper, and sage (and onion juice, if used). Pour over the bread pieces and stir to combine. Stuff turkey with the dressing, then roast turkey.


A “Dry” World?

Advertisement for Hearst's Internation Magazine
Source: Good Housekeeping (Nov. 1922)

Some ideas that seemed promising in 1922 just never happened. The November, 1922 issue of Good Housekeeping had an advertisement for the current issue of another magazine called Hearst’s International Magazine. The ad listed the feature articles, including one article titled “A ‘Dry’ World?”.

Part of advertisement for Hearst's International Magazine
Source: Good Housekeeping (Nov. 1922)

Old-fashioned Coconut Pumpkin Pie

Slice of Coconut Pumpkin Pie

When it comes to planning my Thanksgiving menu I always struggle with getting the right balance between traditional foods and new recipes. New recipes that are variations of traditional foods can be a nice way to strike that balance. I recently came across a new recipe (well, actually a hundred-year-old recipe – but it was new to me) for Coconut Pumpkin Pie, and decided to give it a try.

The coconut gave the pie a lovely milky sweetness that blended nicely with the pumpkin. The recipe called for two spices – nutmeg and cinnamon. My standard pumpkin pie recipe does not use nutmeg, so the flavor was noticeably different from many typical pumpkin pies, but it was lovely. The verdict – this recipe is a keeper and I may make it again for the big day.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Coconut Pumpking Pie
Source: Cement City Cook Book Compiled by the First Baptist Church Alpena, Michigan (1922)

What is the correct way to spell “coconut:”? The old recipe spells it “cocoanut” though I usually see it spelled “coconut,” so I went with the latter spelling when I updated the recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Coconut Pumpkin Pie

  • Servings: 6 - 7
  • Difficulty: moderate
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4 eggs, beaten

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup shredded coconut

1 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 425° F.  Put the eggs in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth and lemon colored. Add pumpkin, brown sugar, white sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg: beat until combined. Stir in the coconut, and pour into the pie shell. Put into oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F and continue baking until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.


Fruit Essential in the Daily Diet

fruit bowl

People have known for a long time that fruit is an important part of a healthy diet. Here’s what it said in a hundred-year-old cookbook:

Fruit Essential in the Daily Diet 

Fruit is really indispensable in a well regulated diet. Formerly it was considered an accessory, rather than an essential food, and was eaten mainly for its flavor and refreshing qualities. The food value of most fruits is not high, but the mineral salts they contain are necessary to good health. A person who eats quantities of fruit is usually in excellent health, and has a clear complexion, due to the body regulating qualities of the various mineral salts and organic acids contained in fruit. These organic acids import an agreeable acid flavor and help to keep the blood in good condition. Most fruits contain a large proportion of water, also of value in the diet.

If the family does not care for fruits between meals, which is really one the best times to eat them, see that fruit in some form is furnished for at least one meal a day, for it is a necessary part of the daily diet. Do not consider fruit an extravagance and accessory. If we are to have healthy bodies, fruit is an essential, and although its actual food value, if fresh, is not high, its health-giving properties are a necessity.

Mrs. DeGraf’s Cook Book (1922)


Old-fashioned Cranberry Applesauce

Cranberry Applesauce in bowl

Fresh cranberries are only available for a short time each year, and each Fall I look forward their arrival on the produce aisle. I was pleased to see them this week. I then looked through my hundred-year-old cookbooks and found a simple but very tasty recipe for Cranberry Applesauce. The recipe turned out well. The Cranberry Applesauce wasn’t as tart as Cranberry Sauce, but it wasn’t as sweet as Applesauce. In other words, it was just right.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Cranberry Applesauce
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries (1922)

Even though the old recipe spelled “applesauce” as two words, I think that it is usually spelled as one word today, so that’s the way I spelled it. Apparently, it was at least sometimes spelled as two words a hundred years ago.

‘Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cranberry Applesauce

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 1/2 cups apples, sliced (peel and core before slicing) (use Gala, Honeycrisp, or other apple that makes a good sauce)

1 1/2 cups cranberries

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

Put all ingredients in a large saucepan, then using medium heat bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue cooking until the apples are soft are tender and the cranberries have burst. Periodically stir. Remove from heat. May be served hot or cold.


Hundred-year-old Advice for Making Cocoa and Chocolate

HCocoaHere’s some information in a hundred-year-old cookbook about making cocoa and chocolate. Not quite sure how cocoa differs from chocolate.

Cocoa and Chocolate

Theobromine is the stimulating element in cocoa beans, and is much less pronounced in its effect than the corresponding principles in tea and coffee. The high percentage of fat, together with other food principles, places this bevarage in the class with foods. As a rule, when making cocoa or chocolate, follow the recipes found on the package. It will be well to bear in mind, however, that boiling will greatly improve it. Beating constantly with an egg beater while cooking will thoroughly mix the ingredients and prevent a thin skin from rising to the surface.

Mrs. DeGraf’s Cook Book (1922)