Old-Fashioned Beef Loaf

Meat loaf is the ultimate comfort food, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old beef loaf recipe. This recipe is different from modern meatloaf recipes. In addition to ground beef, it contained ripe olives, oatmeal, canned tomatoes, and onion; and brought back memories of some meatloaf recipes served at family reunions when I was a child.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (June, 1917)

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

Beef Loaf

  • Servings: 8 - 10
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 pounds ground beef

3/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal

12 ripe olives, chopped

1/2 small white onion, chopped

2 cups canned tomatoes (1 one-pound can diced onions)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper


meat drippings from pan (approximately 1/4 cup)

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup water

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Shape meatloaf in a 9″ X 13″ or similar-sized baking dish (or put in a large bread pan). Place in oven, and bake until done (approximately 1 hour).

If desired, serve with gravy. To make gravy,  put meat drippings from the baking pan in a small  skillet. Heat to boiling. Sprinkle with flour and stir to combine. Slowly pour in the water while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the gravy thickens, then remove from heat and serve.

Cook’s note: My meatloaf had relatively few drippings which limited the amount of gravy that I could make. I used ground beef that contained very little fat. Ground beef with a higher fat content probably would provide more drippings.

I used less salt than called for in the original recipe. It called for 3 teaspoons of salt. I used 1 teaspoon of salt which seemed like plenty.

Traditional Onion Souffle Recipe

I recently had a roast in the oven, and was looking for a side dish to accompany it, so when I happened upon a hundred-year-old recipe for Onion Souffle, I decided to give it a try.

Onion Souffle contains onions and bread crumbs, and reminds me a little of stuffing.  This side dish had a robust onion flavor and nicely complemented the roast, though it was a little dry. The next time I make this Souffle, I’ll probably drizzle a little gravy or other sauce over the top.

Here is the original recipe:

Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Onion Souffle

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/2 cup soft bread crumbs

1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 pepper

1 egg, separated

Preheat oven to 350° F. Put bread crumbs and melted butter in a bowl, then stir.  Add onions, salt, pepper, and egg yolk; stir to combine.

Put the egg white in a small mixing bowl, beat until stiff peaks form. Then fold the beaten egg whites into the onion and bread mixture.

Spoon into buttered custard cups (small ramekins). The souffle does not rise much during cooking, so the custard cups can be filled to within 1/2 inch of the top. Place in oven and bake until set and lightly browned (about 30 minutes). Removed from oven and serve. If desired,  the onion souffle can be unmolded.

Hundred-year-old Caramel Biscuits Recipe

Caramel Biscuits is the name of a recipe that I found in a hundred-year-old magazine, but the recipe name may be a misnomer.  This is a dessert or snack pastry, not the typical biscuit.

Caramel Biscuits are similar to cinnamon rolls, but contain no cinnamon. Instead nutmeg provides a more nuanced and sophisticated flavor when combined with the rich brown sugar filling that is embedded between each layer of bread. They are made using baking powder, rather than yeast, so are quick and easy to make.

Here is the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (July, 1917)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Caramel Biscuits

  • Servings: approximately 2 - 2 1/2 dozen 1 1/2-inch in diameter biscuits
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon lard (or use 2 tablespoons butter)

1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup water


Preheat oven to 400° F.  Put the brown sugar and butter in a bowl; stir to combine. Set aside.

Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl, then stir together. Cut in the butter and lard, then add water and milk. Mix using a fork until dough starts to cling together. If needed, add additional water. Divide into two balls.  Put one ball put on a floured pastry board. Roll into a 1/4 inch-thick rectangle approximately 6 inches X 10 inches. Spread one-half of the brown sugar mixture on the rectangle of dough. Rolling from the wide side, roll up the dough, and then cut into 3/4″ slices. Place slices in a greased 10″ inch round (or similar-sized) pan. There should be about 1/4″ space between each slice. Repeat with the second ball of dough, again putting the slices in the pan. Sprinkle each slice with nutmeg.

Place in oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven. Let cool for 5 minutes, then remove from pan. Serve either warm or cold.

1918 Chop Suey Recipe from the Kansas State Council of Defense

In 1918, World War I was raging. There were food shortages, and the U.S. government was shipping wheat and other foodstuffs to the troops in Europe. To help cooks on the home front use “conservation as far as possible of food which can be sent abroad,” the Kansas State Council of Defense published One-Dish Meals.

The booklet is filled with lots of intriguing recipes, but the recipe that grabbed my attention was one for Chop Suey. It bore little resemblance to the typical chop suey recipe. The recipe called for ground beef, sausage, tomatoes, onions, and celery – and not for any of the usual bean spouts, bamboo shoots, or soy sauce.  That said, this recipe was delicious, and I’ll definitely make it again.

I would like to thank ResearchBuzz for alerting me to the Kansas State Council of Defense cookbook (and to a number of other publications ranging from Silos in Wartime to Use of  Wheat-Saving Cereals).

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: One-Dish Meals (Kansas State Council of Defense, March, 1918)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Kansas - Style Chop Suey

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: easy
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1/3 pound bulk breakfast-style (farmer) sausage

2/3 pound ground beef

1 green pepper, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

2 cups chopped tomatoes (or use 1 lb. can of tomatoes)

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper

4 cups cooked rice (or more, if you like lots of rice)

Brown sausage and ground beef in a skillet using medium heat. Add, green pepper, onions, and celery; cook until tender. Stir in tomatoes, mushrooms, pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low; simmer gently for one-half hour. Remove from heat, and serve over rice.

I used less salt than called for in the original recipe, and it turned out just fine. I also thought that the original recipe called for very little rice, so I made more.

Old-fashioned Scalloped Asparagus


Nothing says Spring like asparagus (or a refrigerator filled with rainbow-colored hard-boiled eggs). So I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe that called for both asparagus and chopped hard-boiled eggs.

The Scalloped Asparagus turned out wonderfully. This classic dish was tasty, and made a lovely presentation with bits of asparagus and egg poking through the browned bread crumb and cheese topping.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

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

Scalloped Asparagus

  • Servings: 4 - 5 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 bunch asparagus (approximately 1 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon of pepper

1 1/4 cup milk

4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1 cup fine bread crumbs

6 tablespoons grated or shredded cheese (I used Parmesan cheese.)

Preheat oven to 375° F. Boil or steam asparagus until tender (2-3 minutes). 

Meantime in another saucepan, melt butter. Stir the flour, salt, and pepper into the butter. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil using medium heat. Remove the white sauce from heat.

Put 1/3 of the cooked asparagus in a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Add a layer with 1/3 of the chopped eggs,  a layer of white sauce, a layer of bread crumbs, and a layer of 2 tablespoons cheese; continue layering with the final two layers being bread crumbs and cheese.

Bake for 1/2 hour or until the dish is hot and bubbly and the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and serve.

Hundred-year-old Peanut Butter Straws Recipe

Peanut butter is one of my favorite snack foods, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Peanut Butter Straws.

This irresistible snack contains peanut butter sandwiched between pieces of flaky pastry. The Peanut Butter Straws  have the essence of peanut butter sandwich crackers – though the shape is different, and they are less crispy.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (July, 1917)

When I updated the recipe for modern cooks, I changed the recipe name from Peanut Straws to Peanut Butter Straws because it more precisely describes this snack.  Here’s the updated recipe:

Peanut Butter Straws

  • Servings: approximately 75 4-inch straws
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup flour

1/3 cup shortening

2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

1/3 cup peanut butter




Preheat oven to 425° F.  Put flour into bowl. Cut in shortening  using two knives or a pastry blender. Add water and mix using a fork until dough starts to cling together. If needed, add additional water. (Or make pastry dough using a food processor).  Roll into a 1/8-thick rectangle on lightly floured surface.

Spread peanut butter on one-half the rolled dough. Just “slap” the peanut butter on the dough.  Do not worry if there are places here and there that have no peanut butter. The layers of the straws stick together better if there are places with no peanut butter.

Moisten the edges of the dough with water, then fold the other half of the pastry dough over on top of the dough that had been spread with the peanut butter. Roll lightly, and then prick here and there with a fork to prevent puffing up.

Cut into strips 1/2 inch wide by 4 inches long. Place on a greased cookie sheet, then brush with milk.  Put into oven and bake until straws are light brown (about 10 minutes). Remove from oven and sprinkle with paprika.

Pickled Bananas

I’ve pickled lots of different fruits and vegetables, so when I saw a recipe in a hundred-year-old magazine for Pickled Bananas I just had to give it a try.

The Pickled Bananas were a nice change of pace. The pickling syrup which contained cinnamon, mace, and cloves was delightful. And, much to my surprise, the pickled bananas reminded me a little of pickled beets or other pickled starchy vegetable.

Here is the hundred-year-old recipe:

Source: American Cookery (December, 1917)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Pickled Bananas

  • Servings: 6-8 servings
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups sugar

1/2 cup vinegar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon whole cloves

1/4 teaspoon mace

4  firm (green) bananas, peeled and cut into thirds

Put sugar and vinegar in a saucepan, stir. Then tie the spices into a small bag made of cheesecloth, and place in the saucepan with the sugar and vinegar mixture. (A small amount of the spices will leak out of the bag into the syrup  – that’s okay).   Bring the mixture to a boil using medium heat, then add the banana pieces. Bring the liquid back up to a boil, and then reduce to simmer. Cook until the bananas are tender and can be easily pierced using a wood toothpick. (The length of time will vary greatly depending upon how hard the bananas are. It might take 10 minutes, or it may take 30 minutes or more. Be patient.). Remove from heat. Chill for eat least 4 hours before serving.  Remove from syrup and serve.

I am not as frugal as homemakers a hundred years ago. I did not set the syrup aside for more pickling after I made this recipe.