I recently found a hundred-year-old recipe for Creole Eggs, which are shirred (baked) eggs topped with tomato, green pepper, and onion. Shirred eggs are surprisingly easy to make. And, when topped with the tomato mixture, they are absolutely delightful.
Here’s the original recipe:
I found this recipe confusing – though the eggs turned out well. It is an odd mixture of very specific directions – “2 tablespoonfuls green pepper”; “Garnish each dish with a tablespoonful of the tomato mixture.” And, very general directions – “one to two eggs per individual” with no clue how many individuals the recipe was supposed to serve. If only 1 tablespoon of the tomato mixture was put on top of the eggs in each ramekin, it seems like this recipe would make enough tomato mixture for a lot of eggs. In the end, I decided that another option would be to just make fewer servings and use more of the tomato mixture per serving (2+ tablespoons).
It also was not clear how big “two large tomatoes” were supposed to be – though the comment that 1/2 can of tomatoes (a 1 pound can?) could be substituted for the fresh tomatoes made me think that it was calling for about a cup of canned tomatoes. The statement that just the “solids” from a can of tomatoes were supposed to be used, also made me think that the recipe was calling for about 1/2 cup of canned tomatoes after they were strained. And, that if fresh tomatoes are used (which is what I used), that there should be about 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes.
I used clear glass ramekins, and didn’t grease them or “dust” with breadcrumbs, because I was concerned that the photo would not look very nice with the breadcrumbs around the edge of the ramekin. I didn’t have any problems with the egg sticking excessively to the edge of the ramekins, so don’t think that it is necessary to grease and dust them. I also reduced the salt from 1/2 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon, since the original amount called for seemed like a lot.
Bottom line – This recipe appears to be an attempt to provide exact measurements for a recipe that actually is very flexible. It’s not important to have exact amounts of onion, green, pepper, or tomatoes – just make an amount that seems appropriate for the desired number of servings.
2 tomatoes, diced (about 1/2 cup) or 1 cup of canned tomatoes, strained (measure before straining) – I used fresh tomatoes.
Melt butter in a saucepan. Add onion and green pepper; cook until tender. Stir in the tomatoes and continue cooking until the tomatoes are thoroughly cooked; stir occasionally while cooking. Stir in salt.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 400° F. Break 1 – 2 eggs into each of four ramekins. Place in a shallow pan that contains about 1 inch of hot water. Put in oven and bake until the white is set, and yolk is the desired firmness. (About 10-15 minutes.) Remove from oven and remove the ramekins from the pan with water.
Spoon the tomato mixture on top of the cooked eggs (about 2 tablespoons per ramekin), and immediately serve the eggs.
Candy is tasty, though it probably isn’t the healthiest food. Here’s what a 1920 home economics textbook said about candy:
The Use of Candy in 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. Such 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. Note the large quantity of carbohydrates and ash in raisins.
Candy should never be used to excess or at the wrong time. A little eaten at the end of a meal is not harmful to the normal person. At that time the sugar is diluted because it is mixed with other foods. When diluted it does not irritate the digestive tract to the extent that it would if eaten between meals with no other foods. It is well to drink a generous quantity of water when eating candy or other sweets. Since molasses, honey, and maple syrup are not so concentrated as is sugar, they are desirable sweets for children – provided they are used moderately at the right time, and are mixed with other foods.
School and Home Cooking (1920) by Carlotta C. Greer
The old book mentions the role of “ash” in the diet. Today ash would be called minerals.
When were animal crackers invented? Until I saw a recipe for Chocolate Animals (Chocolate Animal Crackers) in a hundred-year-old cookbook, I’d never given it any thought.
I knew that animal crackers have been around for a long time (or in other words, since I was a child), but I would have guessed that they were invented mid-century. However, the recipe in the 1920 cookbook suggests that they have been around much longer.
This led me to check what it said in Wikipedia. I was surprised to discover that animal crackers have been around since the late 1800’s. It also said:
Animal biscuit crackers were made and distributed under the National Biscuit Company banner. In 1902, animal crackers officially became known as “Barnum’s Animals” and evoked the familiar circus theme of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. Later in 1902, the now-familiar box was designed for the Christmas season with the innovative idea of attaching a string to hang from the Christmas tree.
Here’s the original recipe:
I used a small (2.125 ounce box) of animal crackers when I made this recipe, so I only needed a little chocolate. If I’d made more Chocolate Animal Crackers I would have need to use more. chocolate.
The old recipe describes a process for making tempered chocolate. This is necessary to get a smooth, glossy coating – or chocolate melting wafers or chocolate candy coating can be used. I generally try to be true to old recipes – but ended up deciding that making a small batch of a fun recipe was the time to make an exception – so I went with the melting chocolate waters.
Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:
Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:
Chocolate Animals (Chocolate Animal Crackers)
chocolate melting wafers / chocolate coating
Put a piece of waxed paper on a plate. Set aside.
Using the microwave or low heat on the stove, melt enough chocolate to coat the animal crackers. (If a small 2.125 ounce box of crackers is used, melt about 1/2 cup of chocolate.) Dip the animal crackers in the melted chocolate, and then place on the waxed paper-covered plate.
Let the chocolate thoroughly cool and harden before serving. (I put the plate of chocolate-covered crackers in the refrigerator for a few minutes to quickly harden the chocolate.)
Word math problems are a great way to engage students in learning how to apply the skills they have learned. Interesting problems encourage students to think creatively about how to solve problems that have applications in the real world.
Both in 2020 and 1920, there were many word problems that are based on food-related topics. However, there are major differences in the problems. Based on a quick scan of food-related problems on Pinterest, restaurant menu, food truck, pizza fraction, and food cost problems are currently popular. Food-related math problems in a 1920 home economics textbook also addressed cost, but with a slight twist. The focus of these hundred-year-old problems was on how to get a given number of calories for the least cost.
A quart of milk gives 675 calories; a pound of lamb chops, 1600; a pound of eggs (eight or nine), according to size, 670 calories. With milk at 17 cents a quart, lamb chops at 48 cents a pound, and eggs at 60 cents a dozen, which food is the cheapest per 100-calorie portion?
Cream of wheat has a fuel value of about 1600 calories and costs 15 cents a pound. Compare the cost of a 100-calorie portion of cereal with that of chops, milk, or eggs.
Large oranges cost 60 cents per dozen. What is the cost of a standard portion?
A good juicy apple yields about 100 calories. Dried apples give about 1320 calories per pound Find the difference in cost of 100-calorie portions, if fresh apples sell at the rate of 3 for 10 cents and dried apples cost 15 cents a pound.
Household Arts for Home and School (Vol. II) (1920) by Anna M. Cooley and Wilhelmina H. Spohr
The tomatoes are rapidly ripening in the garden (and I’m getting close to having excess tomatoes, if such a thing is possible), so I looked for a hundred-year-old tomato recipe. And, I think that found a winner. Old-fashioned Tomato Fritters make a tasty appetizer or side dish. The fritters are crispy and take only a few minutes to make.
During these hot August days, I love light, refreshing desserts. And, I found a wonderful hundred-year-old recipe that fits the bill. Pineapple Bavarian Cream is delicious, and has just the right balance of sweetness and tartness,
Here is the original recipe:
When I made the recipe, I used a little less water than called for in the original recipe because, when I make molded gelatin-based desserts, I tend to have problems with the mixture not getting firm enough.
Note: This recipe makes about 3 cups. I doubled this recipe when I made it because I wanted to use a 6-cup mold.
1 packet (0.25 ounce) of unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 small can (8 ounce) can of crushed pineapple
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup whipping cream
Place the cold water in a small bowl; then sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let the gelatin absorb the water and soften for a few minutes.
In the meantime, drain the juice from the pineapple. Place the juice in a measuring cup, and add enough water to make it 1 cup. Place the pineapple juice and water mixture in a saucepan, and heat to boiling using medium high heat. Reduce heat to low. Add the softened gelatin, and stir until dissolved. Add the sugar and salt and continue stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, then stir in the lemon juice. Chill until the mixture just begins to thicken.
In the meantime, put the whipping cream in a bowl, and beat until soft peaks form.
Once the gelatin mixture has begun to thicken, stir in the crushed pineapple and then fold the whipped cream into the mixture.
Spoon into a 3-4 cup mold (or spoon into individual serving dishes or cups), and chill until firm (at least 4 hours).
To serve (if molded): Quickly dip the mold in hot water, then unmold onto serving plate.