Old-fashioned Baked Pears

baked pears

Pears are a wonderful Fall fruit that often get overshadowed by apples, so I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Baked Pears. The pear halves were easy to make and very tasty. The Baked Pears were coated with a buttery brown sugar sauce.

I was surprised how little sauce this recipe made – just enough to coat the pear halves. There was not enough to spoon extra over the pears when serving. I did not really miss the extra sauce, but extra sauce would have made a nice presentation.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Baked Pears
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

I skipped the whipped cream when I made this recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Baked Pears

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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8 pears (Use pears that are ripe, but still firm.)

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cut the pears in half lengthwise, and then core the pears. Arrange the pear halves in a large baking dish (such as a lasagna dish or a rectangular cake pan). Sprinkle each pear (2 halves) with one tablespoon sugar, and dot each half with 2 or 3 small pieces of butter. Place in oven and bake until tender (about  30-35 minutes). Increase heat (425° F.) to lightly brown the pears. (The pears can be browned using the broiler, if a dish is used that can go under the broiler.)

Remove from oven. Best when served warm. If desired, serve with whipped cream.

Smaller versions of this recipe could easily be made. For each pear, just use a tablespoon of brown sugar, and a little butter.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

 

Old-fashioned Jelly Omelet

Jelly Omelet on plate

I’m always looking for looking for nice breakfast foods, so decided to try a hundred-year-old recipe for Jelly Omelet. For the omelet, the eggs are separated and the whiten beaten, which results in a light and fluffy omelet. I’ve seen many recipes in old cookbooks that call for beating the egg whites when making an omelet, and I’ve previously made several of them – and they always turn out wonderfully.  By comparison modern omelets seem heavy. Modern recipes seldom call for beating egg whites. I can’t figure out why the older method of making omelets seems to have largely been lost over time.

To make a Jelly Omelet, the cooked eggs are spread with jelly prior to folding to make the omelet. I used currant jelly – though other jams, jellies, or marmalades could be used. The sweet tartness of the currant jelly was a nice complement to the eggs.

This recipe is a keeper, and I anticipate that I’ll make it again. I have lots of jellies that I made last summer, and this is a tasty way to use some of the jelly.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Jelly Omelet
Source: The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1921 Edition)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Jelly Omelet

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
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4 eggs, separated

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 tablespoons hot water

1tablespoon butter, melted

jam, jelly, or marmalade

additional sugar to sprinkle on top of omelet (optional)

Preheat oven to 375° F. Place egg whites in a bowl, and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then stir in the salt, sugar, hot water, and melted butter. Fold in the beaten egg whites.

Heat a large oven-proof skillet (or use an omelet pan) on the top of the stove using medium-low heat. (If needed to prevent sticking, liberally grease the skillet before heating.) Pour the egg mixture into skillet, and gently cook for 1 minute. Turn the pan 90° to help ensure that the omelet cooks evenly, and gently cook for another minute. Then move the skillet to the oven, and bake for about 8 – 10 minutes or until the egg mixture is set. Remove from oven, and loosen the edges of the omelet from the skillet with a knife or spatula, then turn onto a plate. Thickly spread jam, jelly, or marmalade onto one half of the omelet, and the fold in half. If desired, sprinkle sugar on top of the omelet. Serve immediately.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Spider Cornbread

Piece of Spider Cornbread on plate with additional cornbread in background in skilletI was intrigued by a recipe for Spider Cornbread in a hundred-year-old cookbook. What an unusual name! After doing a little research, I discovered that Spider Cornbread is a regional food that is eaten in New English and some other sections of the U.S.

Spider Cornbread has a creamy middle layer that is made by pouring milk on top of the batter after the has been poured into the skillet that will be used to cook the cornbread.

The verdict: The Spider Cornbread was tasty, though the creamy layer wasn’t very thick.  I baked the Spider Cornbread in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. If I made it again, I’d use a slightly smaller skillet – maybe a 10-inch skillet. This would result in a thicker cornbread and  a thicker creamy layer.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Spider Corn Bread
Source: The New Dr. Price Cook Book (1921) published by the Price Baking Powder Factory

Is “cornbread”, one word or two? I think that it’s one word, but see that the old recipe makes it two words – corn bread. Maybe the two word version is an older way of writing cornbread.

When I made this recipe, I reduced the salt by a small amount, and used 3/4 teaspoon rather than the 1 teaspoon called for in the original recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Spider Cornbread

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 tablespoon shortening

1 egg

1 cup milk + 3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup cornmeal

1/3 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a 10 – 12 inch cast iron skillet; with the shortening; then put skillet into oven while it is preheating.

In the meantime, put egg in mixing bowl and beat; add 1 cup milk and beat. Add sugar cornmeal, flour, salt, and  baking powder; beat to combine. Remove skillet from oven and pour batter into it. Pour the remaining 3/4 cup of milk on top of the batter, but do not stir. Return skillet to oven, and bake for approximately 25 minutes. When a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, the cornbread is done. Removed from oven and cut into triangles.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Apple and Celery Salad

Celery and Apple Salad in dish

I always enjoy Waldorf Salad, so was intrigued by recipe for Apple and Celery Salad in a hundred-year-old cookbook. It seemed very similar to Waldorf Salad – but with fewer ingredients (just apples and celery). I wondered, would I miss the nuts and raisins in the typical Waldorf Salad?

The verdict- Apple and Celery Salad was nice, but I prefer Waldorf Salad with the added crunchiness and sweetness of the nuts and raisins.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Celery and Apple Salad
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

I went with the mayonnaise option when I made this recipe, and I did not garnish with lettuce. (Exactly how do you garnish with lettuce?) I also did not peel the apples. To be totally honest, I somehow failed to notice that the apples weren’t supposed to be peeled until I started writing this post. When I made this recipe, I was in a hurry and just glanced at the recipe, and thought that this would be an easy recipe because it was Waldorf Salad minus half the ingredients. I should have read it more carefully. The salad would be different (and less colorful) if the apples had been peeled.

And I also failed to notice that I was supposed to marinate the apple pieces in lemon juice – but we ate the salad soon after I made it, so the apples didn’t discolor. (I think that coating them with mayonnaise also slows discoloration).

I used just enough mayonnaise to coat the celery and apple pieces (about 1/2 – 2/3 cup).  I previously made the Golden Salad Dressing recipe that is listed in this recipe when I made another recipe from this cookbook: Pineapple and Strawberry Salad with Golden Dressing. Golden Salad Dressing recipe can be found in that post.

I’m now realizing that I barely made the original recipe for Apple and Celery Salad – and am fascinated that I somehow failed to do so many things quite right with such a simple recipe. I guess it’s a lesson learned about carefully reading directions even for the easiest recipes. That said, the recipe turned out well, so the updated recipe for modern cooks is based on how I made it..

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Apple and Celery Salad

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 cups chopped apples (about 1/2 inch pieces) –The apples can be either peeled or not peeled.

2 cups chopped celery (about 1/2 inch pieces)

1/2 – 2/3 cup mayonnaise

Combine apple and celery pieces; stir in enough mayonnaise to lightly coat the pieces.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-Fashioned Baked Bananas

Baked banana on plateI’d never heard of Baked Bananas, so was intrigued when I flipped through a hundred-year-old cookbook and saw not one, but two, recipes for Baked Bananas. The first recipe involved peeling the banana, adding several ingredients and then baking. The second recipe just called for baking the banana in the skin. Over the years, I’ve learned that the easiest and simplest recipes are sometimes the best, so I decided to go with the second recipe.

The Baked Banana was sweet, creamy, and soft – and a nice change of pace from just peeling and eating a banana.

baked banana in dishHere’s the original recipe:

Recipes for Baked Bananas
Source: The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1921 Edition)

I made Baked Bananas II.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Baked Bananas

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 banana per serving

sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Put bananas in shallow pan or baking dish; cover. Place in oven and bake until the skin is very dark (almost black). Remove from oven, and let cool slightly; then remove the pulp from the skins and place in serving dish. Sprinkle with sugar.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Chicken à la Crème

Chicken a la Creme on Toast

As the days get shorter and the evenings cooler, I find that I crave comfort foods. So when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Chicken à la Crème, I decided to give it a try. Chicken, sliced mushrooms, and chopped red pepper are embedded in a rich, creamy sauce that is served over toast.

This recipe is a keeper. I’ll definitely make Chicken à la Crème again. It is quick and easy to make, and very tasty.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Chicken a la Creme
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1921 Edition)

Is Chicken à la Crème another name for Chicken à la King? A few years ago I made a recipe for Chicken à la King that was similar to this one. Both recipes called for chicken and mushrooms. This recipe called for red pepper; Chicken à la King called for green pepper as well as for a small amount of onion. For this recipe, the sauce was a white sauce; the sauce for Chicken à la King was made using cream, chicken broth, and lemon juice.

Here’s the Chicken à la Crème recipe updated for modern cooks:

Chicken a la Creme

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1 red pepper, finely chopped

2 cup milk

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir the flour into the butter; stir in salt and pepper. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the chicken, mushrooms, and red pepper. Bring back to a boil; remove from heat. Serve over toast.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Cornflake Fancies

Even though I don’t often think about it, a wide range of commercially-produced foods were available a hundred years ago. Cornflakes was one of those products. According to Wikipedia, William Kellogg invented cornflakes in 1894 to serve to patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. They were first mass-marketed in 1906. And, soon thereafter, people began, not only eating them for breakfast, but also using them in recipes.

I came across a recipe for Cornflake Fancies in a 1921 church cookbook. The recipe is made by folding cornflakes and coconut flakes into beaten egg whites that have been sweetened with sugar, and then placing heaping teaspoonfuls of the mixture on a baking sheet. They are then baked until lightly browned The Cornflake Fancies were light and airy, and reminded me a little of Coconut Macaroons, but with a slight crunch from the cereal.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Cornflake Fancies
Source: Ladies’ Union Cook Book compiled by the Ladies of West Concord Union Church (Concord Junction, MA) (1921)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cornflake Fancies

  • Servings: about 2 1/2 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 teaspoon salt

2 cups cornflakes

1/2 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350° F. Put egg whites in bowl and beat until stiff. Gradually add the sugar and salt, while continuing to beat. Fold in the cornflakes and coconut. Drop heaping teaspoons of the mixture about 1-inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake until set and lightly browned (about 10 – 12 minutes). Remove from oven, and let sit for about two minutes, then remove from the baking sheet with a spatula. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com