Types of Ice Cream a Hundred Years Ago

Here’s how a 1921 magazine article described the different types of ice cream:

Classes of Ice Cream

There are three distinct classes of Ice Cream: The Philadelphia, which is supposed to be made of heavy cream; the French, which is made with eggs on a soft custard foundation; and the so-called American, which is made on the foundation of a thin white sauce. All three classes are made in New York, and in every other large city, but we have never heard that any special recipe for ice cream is peculiar to New York. The less expensive form of cream, in that and every other city, are those based on a thin white sauce, sweetened sauce, sweetened, flavored, and frozen.

American Cookery (November, 1921)

1921 Step-by-Step Guide to Washing Dishes

Source: Women’s Home Companion (March, 1916)

A hundred-year-old home economics textbook included a 9-step guide for washing dishes:

The steps for washing dishes correctly are: 

  1. Remove the dishes from the table. Remove the bits of food from the plates with the rubber plate-scraper or a piece of paper. Rinse off very dirty dishes. Pile together dishes that are alike. 

  2. Put to soak all cooking utensils. Hot water should be put in those which have contained sugar or syrup, and cold water in those which have been used with milk, eggs, cereal, starch or flour. 

  3. Pour hot water in the dishpan, make a good suds with the soap, use a clean dishcloth (not a “rag”) or mop, and wash every dish carefully. Do not have the dishpan full of dirty dishes while washing. Always wash the cleanest dishes first. 

  4. Place the washed dishes in a drain-pan or dish-drier, being careful not to crowd them. Crowding dishes in a pan is apt to chip them and makes it hard to scald them thoroughly. This pan or drier should be placed at the left of the pan in which the dishes are washed because this will save unnecessary motions in putting the dishes from one into the other. 

  5. Rinse dishes thoroughly with boiling water, being sure that each dish has been rinsed inside and out. If the dishes have been scalded in a dish-drier, it may be set on the drain-board and the dishes allowed to dry without wiping. The silver and glass should be washed first. They will look best when wiped and polished dry with a towel. Some persons like to dry all the dishes with a towel. This is a good method, but it takes more time than drying them in a rack or drier. 

  6. Scape out and rinse off the cooking utensils. Use plenty of hot soapy water for washing them; wash thoroughly, both inside and out, scouring if necessary. Rinse with boiling water and wipe dry. Steel knives may be scoured with scouring-powder applied with a cork. 

  7. Wash off the drain-boards and tables, and scour them with the powder and a brush if necessary. Use clean water for this. Wash out the sink and sour it with a brush and scouring-powder when the soapy water will not remove the stains. 

  8. Wash the dish-towels in clean soapy water, removing all spots. Rinse in clean water, shake out and pull into shape. Hang to dry on a rack for this purpose in the kitchen, or better still, hang outdoors in the sun. Wash and rinse the dishcloth or dish-mop. 

  9. Clean out the dishpan thoroughly, wipe it dry and put it away. 

    Elementary Home Economics (1921) by Mary Lockwook Matthews

Was Dinner at Noon or in the Evening a Hundred Years Ago?

Eating at a Table
Source: A Text-book of Cooking

Our family calls the noon meal “lunch” and the evening meal “supper” – but I often feel out-of-step with my friends and neighbors who all eat “dinner” in the evening. So I was fascinated to read what it said in a 1921 home economics textbook about which meal was which:

In some families the meal served at noon is called luncheon and is followed by dinner in the evening; in others, dinner is the meal served at noon, followed by supper in the evening. Luncheon and supper are simpler meals than dinner.

Elementary Home Economics (1921)  by Mary Lockwood Matthews

Old-fashioned Spinach Soup

bowl of spinach soup

I have warm memories of Popeye the Sailor Man eating spinach to grow strong. Spinach is chockful of nutrients, and is an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and vitamin C, as well as being one of the best sources of plant-based iron. What’s not to like?

As a result, I’m always on the lookout for good spinach recipes. So when I came across a hundred-year-old for Spinach Soup, I decided to give it a try.

The creamy Spinach Soup was delicious with a slight peppery undertone which added interest.

Here’s the original recipe:

Spinach Soup Recipe
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (Revised Edition, 1921)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Spinach Soup

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

2 quarts spinach (I used a 10 ounce package of spinach.)

6 cups water

1/2 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

1 clove garlic or 2 tablespoons chopped onion (I used the chopped onion.)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1/2 cup cream, if desired

Put spinach and water into a large pan, and bring to a boil using high heat; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Removed from heat, and puree or press through a sieve. (I used a Foley mill.)

In the meantime, put milk, garlic or onion, and bay leaf in a saucepan. Using medium heat, scald the milk, while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and strain. (Discard the garlic or onion and bay leaf.)

Put butter in large pan or dutch oven. Melt using low heat; then stir in the flour. Slowly add scalded milk while stirring constantly. Then stir in the spinach mixture, salt, cayenne pepper, and celery salt. Heat until steamy, then serve.

If desired whip the cream, and put a dollop of the whipped cream on top of each bowl of soup.



Hundred-year-old Serving Suggestions for Oranges

orange half on plateDid you ever eat an orange with a spoon? I never did until I prepared this post and needed a photo to illustrate it.

Here are several suggestions for preparing oranges in a hundred-year-old cookbook:

Ways of Preparing Oranges for Serving

  1. Wipe orange and cut in halves crosswise. Place one-half on a fruit plate, having an orange spoon or teaspoon on plate at the right of fruit. 
  2. Peel an orange and remove as much of the white portion as possible. Remove pulp by sections, which may be accomplished by using a sharp knife and cutting pulp from tough portion first on one side of section, then on the other. Should there be any white portion of skin remaining on pulp it should be cut off. Arrange sections on glass dish or fruit plate. If the orange is a seeded one, remove seeds. 
  3. Remove peel from an orange in such a way that there remains a one-half inch band of peel equal distance from stem and blossom end. Cut band, separate sections, and arrange around a mound of sugar. 

The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1921 Edition)

Is it just me, or are the second and third descriptions not very clearly written?

For the second one – Is the author just providing a very detailed description of how to separate an orange into sections? . . . or is the author telling the reader to remove the outer membrane from each section?

And, for the third one – Why is a one-half inch band of peel left around the middle of the orange, only to then cut the band?

1921 Tips for Sharing Kitchen Chores with Housemates

schedule for doing kitchen chores
Source: American Cookery (November, 1921)

It can be tricky figuring out how to share kitchen chores with housemates. A hundred-year-old magazine article titled Homing-it in an Apartment had this advice for a group of four young women sharing an apartment:

Then there was the question of meals. It was determined to prepare their breakfasts and dinners and to put up lunches. To allow a certain freedom, it was agreed that each should pack her own lunch, and that regular meals should be cooked and served, turn and turn about, each partner acting for a week. A second member washed the dishes and took general care of the apartment.

American Cookery (November, 1921)

Chapter Headings in 1921 Cookbook

Chapter 7 Heading
Source: The Science of Food and Cookery (1921)

H.S. Anderson, the dietitian at Loma Linda Sanitarium, published a cookbook called The Science of Food and Cookery in 1921. The sanitarium was operated by the Seveth Day Adventist Church. Over the years the sanitarium grew and expanded, and is now Loma Linda Unversity.  According to the cookbook’s introduction, it was “not merely a vegetarian cookbook, but a treatise on food and nutrition as well; and as such we send it forth on its mission of health.” Many of the chapter headings include a quote that lays out the book’s philosophy.

Chapter 18 heading
Source: The Science of Food and Cookery (1921)