Onion Souffle (Recipe 2)

Onion Souffle in Casserole DishIt fascinating how much variation there can be from one recipe to the next. Three years ago I posted a recipe for Onion Souffle which called for chopped onions, bread crumbs, and egg. The mixture was cooked in individual ramekins. That recipe was good (at least that’s what I wrote at the time), but not memorable. I recently came across another hundred-year-old Onion Souffle recipe that was very different from the other one, so I decided to compare the two recipes. The second recipe called for pureed onion, and was a savory custard.

I can’t tell a lie-

I somehow forgot that I’d previously made an Onion Souffle recipe for this blog until I got ready to write this post. I’d already made the 1921 recipe, and had taken photos of it. When I loaded the photo into my computer and attempted to save it, my computer indicated that I had another photo with the same name. I did a search of A Hundred Years Ago posts for Onion Souffle, and a 2018 post immediately popped up.

Oops! I’d previously done an Onion Souffle post – though I have no memory of it. (It clearly was not a memorable dish).

Who would have guessed that the food I’m inadvertently make twice would be a quirky food like Onion Souffle? Apparently, at some subliminal level, Onion Souffle recipes appeal to me. Strange . . .

In any case, the “new” Onion Souffle recipe turned out well. The savory custard was light and smooth – and had a delightful onion flavor that was just right (and not too strong). I think that this Onion Souffle recipe will be a bit more memorable that the last one.

Here’s the original recipe:

Onion Souffle Recipe
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Onion Souffle

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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6 medium onions

2 tablespoons butter, melted

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs beaten

1/2 cup hot milk (I heated the milk in the microwave.)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Peel and quarter onions. Put onions in a saucepan, cover with water. Put on stove and bring to a boil Reduce heat and simmer until onions are tender (about 15 minutes).  Remove from heat and drain. Puree onions. (I used a Foley mill to puree the onions; though a food processor or blender could also be used.) There should be approximately 1 cup of pureed onion.

In the meantime, combine butter, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add, eggs and beat until smooth. While beating, slowly add the milk. Then add the onion puree and stir quickly to combine. Put in a 1-quart casserole dish. Set the dish in a pan of hot water and place in the oven. Bake 30-45 minutes or until the souffle is set.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Macaroni and Green Peas

Macaroni with Green Peas in Bowl

I recently came across a nice vegetarian recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook. Macaroni and Green Peas can be served as either an entree or a side dish. The dish is vegetarian (not vegan, since cream coats the macaroni and peas). The cream adds flavor and richness to the dish.

recipe for macaroni with green
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

The source of this recipe, The New Cookery cookbook, contains nutrition information for each recipe. This is the only hundred-year-old cookbook that I’ve ever seen with this much information.

This recipe didn’t make very much- and according to the nutrition information – the entire recipe only contains 604 calories. The old cookbook indicated that the serving size was 4 ounces which seems small for this type of dish. In my opinion, if this recipe was made as the main dish, there would be enough for 1 generous serving. If it was served as a side dish, it would make enough for 2 servings.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Macaroni with Green Peas

  • Servings: 1 - 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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1/2 cup macaroni

1/2 cup green peas (fresh, frozen, or canned) – I used frozen peas. I put them in boiling water until they were hot, then removed from heat and drained.

1/2 cup light cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat water in a saucepan to boiling; add the macaroni and cook 7-9 minutes until al dente. Remove from the heat and drain. Add a little cold water, then drain again. Add cream, peas, and salt; return to stove. Using medium heat, bring to a boil; reduce heat  and simmer 5-10 minutes until the cream thickens into a sauce while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Hot Toasted Cheese Sandwiches

Hot Toasted Cheese Sandwich on Plate

I often make toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch (actually I make grilled cheese sandwiches, but I call them toasted cheese sandwiches), so I was intrigued by a hundred-year-old recipe for Hot Toasted Cheese Sandwiches.

The old recipe called for toasting the sandwiches in the oven (or over a coal fire!). It also called for making a cheese filling that contained grated cheese, dry mustard, and paprika – rather than just using slices of cheese.

The sandwiches turned out well. The Hot Toasted Cheese Sandwiches were crisp and toasty, and nice and gooey in the middle. The cheese filling had just a hint of the spices.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Hot Toasted Cheese Sandwiches
Source: Mrs. Scott’s Seasonal Cook Books (The North American Newspaper, Philadelphia, Winter, 1921)

The recommended way of softening the grated cheese by putting it in a bowl that is then placed over another pan containing hot water seemed very old-fashioned, but I followed the directions and it worked well. The cheese softened quickly so that the spices could be easily stirred into the cheese, and it was very spreadable.

Since I know that cheese contains a lot of salt, I skipped adding salt when I made this recipe. Also, I used a level teaspoon of dry mustard instead of a rounded one that was called for in the recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Hot Toasted Cheese Sandwiches

  • Servings: 3 Sandwiches
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar cheese. American would also work well.)

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon paprika

6 slices bread

butter

Put grated cheese, dry mustard, and paprika into a bowl; stir to mix. Put the bowl in a shallow pan of hot water for 2-3 minutes (or put in the microwave for a few seconds). Once the cheese has begun to soften, stir again to get the spices evenly spread throughout the mixture.

In the meantime, butter the bread on one side. Place three slices on a baking sheet with the buttered side down. Spread the slices with the cheese mixture. Top with the remaining bread slices. The buttered side should be up.

Put under the broiler in the oven, and toast until the bread is lightly browned. Flip the sandwiches and return to broiler. Toast until the second side is lightly browned. Remove from oven and serve.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Fish Loaf

Sliced fish loaf on plate

When I saw a recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook for Fish Loaf, I knew that I needed to give it a try. Now that the holidays are starting to wind down, I’m ready for comfort foods. Maybe most people won’t consider Fish Loaf a comfort food, but for me it fits into that category. I have vague memories of eating (and enjoying) Salmon Loaf many years ago, and I wanted to see if this recipe was similar.

The old recipe called for using any canned fish (or flaked, cooked fresh fish) so there’s lots of flexibility- though I chose to go with salmon.

This recipe was very easy to make – and it tasted just like the Salmon Loaves that I remember from my childhood.

Recipe for Fish Loaf
Source: A New Snowdrift Cook Book (1920)

One teaspoon of salt seemed like a lot to me since the canned salmon that I used already contained some salt, so I when I updated the recipe, I reduced the amount of salt to 1/2 teaspoon.

Snowdrift was an old-time shortening that I don’t think is sold any longer.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Fish Loaf

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 pound can fish or 2 1/2 cups flaked, cooked fresh fish (I used a 14.75 ounce can of Salmon.)

3 eggs

1/2 cup soft bread crumbs (I tore 1 slice of bread into small pieces.)

1 tablespoon melted butter or shortening

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350° F. Separate the eggs. Put the egg whites in a mixing bowl, and beat until stiff. Set aside.

Put the egg yolks in another mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Flake the fish and add to the bowl with the beaten egg yolks.  Add bread crumbs, butter or shortening, salt, pepper, and parsley; stir to combine. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Put in a greased loaf pan, and place in oven and bake until firm (about 40 – 50 minutes). Remove from oven and cut into slices. If desired, serve with peas, cream or white sauce, egg sauce, or tomato sauce.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Eggnog

glass of eggnogEggnog is one of my favorite holiday drinks, so I decided to make a hundred-year-old eggnog recipe to see how it compared with the modern version. The old recipe made a lovely eggnog that had a hint of vanilla and nutmeg. It was less sweet and thinner than the typical modern eggnog – but, in my opinion, that was a good thing.

Eggnog is considered very festive today, so I was surprised to find the old recipe for it in a 1920 home economics textbook, in a chapter titled “Illness in the Home.”  Back then it was common for cookbooks and textbooks to include a chapter on cooking for invalids – and eggnog was considered a nutritious, easy to eat and digest food for someone who was sick.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Eggnot
Source: Household Arts for Home and School (Vol. II) (1920) by Anna M. Cooley & Wilhelmina H. Spohr

This recipe makes one fairly small serving. A hundred years ago, it was probably served in an 8-ounce (1 cup) glass.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Eggnog

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 egg (I used a pasteurized egg.)

1 teaspoon sugar

dash of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup milk

dash of ground nutmeg (or grate a small amount of whole nutmeg) (optional)

Put egg in a small mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla; then gradually add the milk while continuing to beat. Strain, and pour into a glass. If desired, sprinkle or grate a little nutmeg on top. Serve at once.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Honey and Cocoa Cushions Candy

Pieces of Honey and Cocoa Cushions Candy

Ever wonder how to make a homemade candy that tastes similar to Tootsie Rolls? Well, I had never even thought about making Tootsie Rolls, but when I made a hundred-year-old candy recipe for Honey and Cocoa Cushions, I was surprised to discover that they tasted very similar to Tootsie Rolls.

Honey is the only sweetener called for in the Honey and Cocoa Cushions recipe, so it may be a tad healthier than many candies (at least that is what I tell myself when I nibble on the candies).

It is tricky getting this candy cooked to exactly the right stage, but similarly to taffy, it needs to be pulled, which can be a fun family activity.

pulling candy

Here’s the original recipe:

recipe for Honey and Cocoa Cushions
Source: Mrs. Scott’s Seasonal Cook Books (The North American Newspaper, Philadelphia, Autumn, 1920)

The ingredients list calls for a pinch of baking soda, though it is never actually mentioned in the directions. I assumed that it was combined with the cocoa and water when the thick paste was made. I generally try to avoid using old-fashioned terms like “pinch” when updating recipes – but couldn’t figure out what other term to use for the small amount of baking soda required in this recipe, so kept the original terminology and used the word “pinch” in the updated recipe.

The original recipe calls for cooking the mixture to the soft ball stage. When I made the recipe, the candy didn’t seem firm enough to pull when cooked to the soft ball stage, so I cooked it to the hard ball stage.

The original recipe also calls for cooking the mixture in an iron frying pan. When I poured 1 cup of honey into my 14-inch cast iron skillet, it barely covered the bottom of the pan, so I ended up doubling the recipe. Another option would be to use a smaller pan that is approximately 8-inches in diameter.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Honey and Cocoa Cushions Candy

  • Servings: about 20 pieces of candy
  • Difficulty: difficult
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(I doubled this recipe when I made it, and used a full-size cast iron frying pan.)

1 cup honey

1/4 cup cocoa

a pinch of baking soda

1+ tablespoon water

Put the cocoa and baking soda in a small bowl. Add water and stir to make a very thick smooth paste. (A small amount of additional water may need to be added to create the paste.) Set aside.

Put honey in a small cast iron skillet (about 8 inches in diameter). Using low heat, bring to a slow boil. Add the cocoa paste, and continue boiling while stirring constantly. Boil until it reaches the firm-ball stage. The firm-ball stage is when a small amount of the syrup is dropped into cold water. If it can be gathered together to form a firm ball (though malleable when pressed), it is at the right stage—or just use a candy thermometer (255 – 265 degrees F).

Remove from heat and pour onto a buttered platter. Let cool until it is cool enough to be handled. Then butter hands and pull the candy until it becomes cold and glossy (about 5 – 10 minutes). Form long thin strips of the candy and place on waxed paper; then cut with a buttered knife or scissors into pieces approximately 1/2 inch long.  If desired, the pieces can be wrapped in squares of waxed paper.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Traditional Gingerbread Men Cookies

Gingerbread men on baking sheet

Making cut-out cookies is one of my favorite holiday traditions, so I was thrilled to see a recipe in a hundred-year-old home economics textbook for Gingerbread Men.

These delightful molasses and spice cookies are decorated with raisins or currants, and are a little thicker and chewier than some gingerbread cookies. They’d be lovely on a holiday cookie tray.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Gingerbread Men
Source: Household Arts for Home and School (Vol. II) by Anna M. Cooley and Wilhelmina H. Spohr (1920)

The caption under the illustration in the old textbook says, “Some suggestions to please the children.” Today Gingerbread Men often are topped with lots of colorful icing, and very sweet. Would children in 2020 be pleased by Gingerbread Men decorated with only raisins or currants? My gut feeling is that many today wouldn’t fully appreciate  this old-time flavorful, healthier option – and would miss the icing. Which is a pity. The Gingerbread Men were wonderful.

Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Gingerbread Men Cookies

  • Servings: approximately 18 cookies
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1/3 cup shortening

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 cup molasses

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups flour

raisins or currants

Preheat oven to 375° F. Put shortening, brown sugar, egg, and molasses in mixing bowl; mix together. Add baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and flour; stir to combine. Roll to 1/4 inch thickness. (If too sticky to roll, add more flour.) Cut into shapes using a Gingerbread Man cookie cutter. Put on prepared baking sheet. Raisins or currants may be used for eyes, mouth, and buttons. (Cut raisins into several pieces if they are too large.) Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com