Play Aprons for Children Making Mud Pies

burlap bag 1

Are children’s play aprons and mud pies a relevant topic for a post on A Hundred Years Ago? This blog is about food and related topics. Today I may be stretching the limits,  but somehow it seems to work on this muddy spring day.

Now that spring is on the horizon, children are playing outside again—and horror of horrors– perhaps making mud pies. They may need a play apron.

Here are hundred-year-old directions for making one:

Play aprons for children may be made most satisfactorily of burlap. An ordinary feed bag will do.

For the material on the shoulders cut a kimono clip apron having a square neck large enough to permit dropping of the apron over the child’s head. Do not seam it, but bind it all around with some bright-colored material and fasten under the seams with large buttons and loops.

This kind of apron requires little washing, as the coarseness of the material prevents the dirt from sticking to it. Such aprons will protect the children when playing in the sand or dirt, or making mud pies.

Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

Sometimes when I read old magazine articles, I’m surprised how much times have changed. A hundred-year-ago so many people must have still had such close ties to farms that a mass-circulation magazine like Ladies Home Journal thought that readers could easily get an “ordinary feed bag” made of burlap.

I also can’t quite picture parents putting burlap aprons on their children today. And, do kids still play in the mud? What about the germs?

P.S. I know that the burlap bag in the photo is not anywhere close to being a hundred years old, but it brought back nice memories of Agway feed bags that we had on the farm when I was a child.

Hundred-Year-Old Rosy Macaroni Recipe

rosy-macaroni

When I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Rosy Macaroni, I just had to give it a try. It’s really macaroni and cheese made with canned tomato soup, and some celery and onions thrown in for good measure, as well as tiny amounts of ground cloves and paprika.

The tomato soup added a new dimension to the macaroni and cheese – and I loved the crunchiness that the celery added to the dish. Rosy Macaroni definitely falls into the comfort food category, though I must admit that I find it slightly disappointing that commercially canned soups have been available for more than a hundred years.

Here’s the hundred-year-old recipe:

Source: American Cookery (April, 1917)
Source: American Cookery (April, 1917)

The murky language of old recipes is often challenging. The nuanced language differentiating between a “dust” of ground cloves and a “pinch” of soda was particularly confounding. When I updated the recipe, I went with 1/8 teaspoon for both ground cloves and baking soda – but I’m I probably not exactly replicating the original recipe for either ingredient.

And, I started with a box  of macaroni containing the typical 1-inch pieces. (Macaroni must have looked very different a hundred years ago if it needed to be broken into short pieces.) I also stirred the cooked macaroni into the tomato sauce rather than making them separate layers since it was easier – and it seemed like there would be little difference in the end product.

Here’s how I updated the recipe for modern cooks:

Rosy Macaroni

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Time: 50 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 cups macaroni

3 tablespoons  butter + 1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons corn starch

1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons celery, finely chopped

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 can condensed tomato soup

1/2 soup can of water

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

salt

paprika

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Fill a large sauce pan 2/3’s full of water, bring to a boil using high heat. Stir in the macaroni, and reduce heat to medium so that the water just simmers. Cook until the macaroni is al dente (about 6 – 8 minutes). Remove from heat and drain. Rinse with cold water to prevent the macaroni from sticking together, drain again.

Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet using low heat. Add the corn starch and stir until smooth. Stir in the onion, celery, cloves, and baking powder. Add the tomato soup and water; stir until smooth. Stir in the cooked macaroni, then increase heat to medium while continuing to stir. When hot remove from heat.

In the meantime, melt one tablespoon butter using low heat in a small skillet. Stir in the bread crumbs. Increase heat to medium and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes to lightly toast the crumbs. Remove from heat.

Place 1/3 of the macaroni mixture in a buttered  1 1/2- quart casserole dish, then put 1/2 of the cheese on top of it and sprinkle with salt and paprika. Repeat, ending with the macaroni mixture. Top with the buttered bread crumbs.

Put in oven and bake until hot and bubbly (20-30 minutes).

Raising Pineapple in Hawaii a Hundred Years Ago

Source: American Cookery (February, 1917)
Source: American Cookery (February, 1917)

Did you ever wonder what it was like in Hawaii a hundred years ago?  Well, according to a 1917 magazine article there were huge pineapple plantations – and there were tourists. Here are a few excerpts from the article:

Hawaii’s Immense Fields of Pineapples

The Islands of Hawaii possess many interesting sights, but they have none that elicit more universal admiration from the tourist than the immense pineapple plantations, which, in some localities, spread over the landscape as far as the eye can see.  While pineapples are grown on nearly all of the islands of the group, by far the larger part of the acreage is on the capital island of Oahu.

The larger portion of the Hawaiian pineapple crop is consumed by the canneries and juice-makers on the Islands. The raw or fresh fruit comes chiefly to the mainland ports of the United States, but the juice and the canned product go, also, to Canada, Great Britain, and the continent of Europe.

American Cookery (February, 1917)

Hundred-Year-Old Cottage Cheese Pie Recipe

cottage-cheese-pie

Occasionally a recipe that I pass over when selecting what to make for this blog will somehow get stuck in my memory, and I keep getting pulled back to it.  The recipe I’m sharing today for Cottage Cheese Pie is one of those recipes.

I first saw this recipe for Cottage Cheese Pie in a hundred-year-year-old magazine almost a year ago, and made an image of it. But it sounded just different enough that I didn’t actually make it at the time. Every time I cleaned up my blog material  files, I’d see this recipe again and wonder, “What does Cottage Cheese Pie taste like?” –and I couldn’t quite bring myself to discard the recipe.

Source: Good Housekeeping (March, 1916)
Source: Good Housekeeping (March, 1916)

Well,  a few days ago I finally made Cottage Cheese Pie and I now know what it tastes like. The rich  cottage cheese custard contains dried currants and  just a hint of lemon. Even though I’ve never eaten Cottage Cheese Pie before, it immediately fell into the comfort food category for me. It is not very sweet–and could be eaten either for lunch or as a dessert.

My first reaction when I took my first bite of Cottage Cheese Pie was, “hmm . . . This is a little different.”

When I took the second bite I thought, “It tastes like cottage cheese, but it’s sort of like a cross between a quiche and a cheesecake.”

By the time, I finished the slice I was thinking, “This actually is pretty good.”

And, a half hour later I wanted to eat another slice (and had to struggle to convince myself that I really should wait until dinner to eat any more of the pie).

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cottage Cheese Pie

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 cups cottage cheese

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons sour cream

1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (or reduce the milk to 1 tablespoon and use 1 tablespoon lemon juice instead of the extract)

1/2 teaspoon flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup dried currants

1 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 425° F. Put the cottage cheese, eggs, milk, sour cream,  lemon extract, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl; mix until combined. Stir in the currants, and put the mixture in the pie shell. Bake 15 minutes; then reduce heat to 350°. Continue baking (about 30-40 minutes) until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.

Is Candy Making a Lost Art? Hundred-Year-Old Candy Thermometer Advertisement

Source: American Cookery (January, 1917)
Source: American Cookery (January, 1917)

I was surprised when I saw this hundred-year-old advertisement for candy thermometers.  Sometimes I think that making homemade candy is becoming a lost art – but I thought that this a a relatively recent phenomena. I was wrong. People have been concerned about the decline in candy making for at least a hundred years.

Hundred-Year-Old Orange and Mint Salad Recipe

orange-salad-

Orange and Mint Salad is bright and sunny; and the perfect antidote to boring winter foods. The bite-size chunks of orange are mixed with chopped mint, and then drenched in a delightful citrus and wine liquid  to create a refreshing, yet light salad (or dessert).

.  .  . hmm. . . . Now that I think about it, this salad would also be lovely on a hot summer day.  Bottom line: This salad is good whenever you eat it.

Here’s the hundred-year-old recipe

orange-and-mint-salad-recipe
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

And, here’s how I updated it for modern cooks.

Orange and Mint Salad

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3 medium navel oranges

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

2 tablespoons mint, chopped

2 tablespoons wine

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice (optional)

maraschino cherries and mint sprigs, for garnish

Peel the oranges using care to remove the white membrane. Pull the orange segments apart into two halves, and then pull them apart again so there are quarters. Slice the quarters into pieces about 1/3 inch thick.  Put the orange pieces in a bowl, and gently stir in the powdered sugar and mint.

In a small bowl combine the wine, lemon juice, and orange juice (and, if desired, the maraschino cherry juice). Pour the liquid over the orange and mint mixture.

Serve in champagne (or other decorative) glasses. Garnish with maraschino cherries and mint sprigs.

I only used half as many oranges as were called for in the old recipe.  I also halved the amount of mint that I used.  I did use the full amount of the other ingredients so that I would have plenty of liquid to pour over the orange pieces.

I also added a little maraschino cherry juice to the liquid to give it a lovely pink hue.

And, I skipped the angelica because it’s not easy to find these days. Angelica is the dark green candied fruit that was frequently used in fruit cakes in days gone by.

Pound Equivalents for Recipe Ingredients

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

Today there’s lots of discussion about whether it is better to measure recipe ingredients by volume (teaspoon, tablespoon, cup, etc.) or by weight (typically grams).  A hundred years ago cooks apparently wanted to go back and forth between volume and weight measures. Here’s a table from a 1917 cookbook which shows approximately how many cups (or other measures) of various ingredients were the equivalent of one pound.