A few recipes in the 1921 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book have French names. One of those recipes is Macedoine of Vegetables a la Poulette. After googling the words in the name, I think that it roughly translates into cut vegetables in a creamy sauce. In any case, this is a nice recipe for an attractive vegetable mixture containing matchstick-sized pieces of carrots and turnips, as well as peas, in a rich sauce made with chicken broth and cream.
1/2 cup turnips cut into matchstick-sized pieces (about 1 medium turnip)
1 1/4 cups carrots cut into matchstick-sized pieces (about 3 medium carrots)
1 1/4 cups peas
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup cream
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
Cook each of the vegetables (carrots, turnips, peas) in a separate pan; cover each vegetable with water (add salt to water if desired), bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until tender. Drain vegetables.
In the meantime, melt butter in another pan. Stir the flour into the butter. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in chicken broth and cream, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the vegetables. Reheat until the sauce comes back to a boil while stirring gently. While continuing to gently stir, add lemon juice and egg yolks. If desired, add salt and pepper to taste. When the added ingredients are combined into the sauce, remove from heat and serve.
How would you define food? Here’s what a 1921 cookbook called TheScience of Food and Cookery had to say:
Foods are substances which, when taken into the body, supply the necessary elements for promoting growth, repairing its broken-down tissue, and furnishing it with heat and power for muscular work. True foods contain the same elements as are found in the human body, and thus they are able to build and maintain the body.
Some ingredients languish in my pantry during the summer months, and then, as the weather cools, I again begin to regularly use them. Rye flour and molasses are two such ingredients. I hadn’t used either in months, but when I came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Rye Gems (Muffins) that called for both ingredients, I just had to try it.
The rustic sweetness of the molasses merges beautifully to create a hearty muffin. The Rye Gems make a nice dinner muffin. I served them with butter. They nicely complemented the roast beef and baked winter squash that I served with them.
Here’s the original recipe:
Gem pans traditionally were made of cast iron, but I just used my usual muffin pans and it worked fine.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Sift together rye flour, flour, baking powder and salt. Add molasses, milk, eggs, and melted butter; stir to combine. Grease gem pans (muffin pans), and then fill each gem 3/4th full with batter. Bake for approximately 20 – 25 minutes or until an inserted wood pick comes out clean.
Advertisements provide a window into the culture (or at least an idealized culture) of the times. This advertisement for White House Coffee makes me glad that I live in 2021 instead of 1921. The role of women was definitely different a hundred years ago.
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:
I skipped the whipped cream when I made this recipe.
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.
When my children were younger, I always worried that they would get sick from eating too much candy after trick or treating. I wondered – how much candy is too much? And, should I be firm and ration the candy they’d collected? . . . or was it okay if I let them binge? Here’s what a hundred-year-old home economics textbook says:
Small children are better without candy, but it may be used by older persons if it is eaten in reasonable amounts. Candy is more easily digested at the end of a meal than between meals. Candy contains a large proportion of sugar, and sugar when eaten alone is irritating to the digestive organs.
Elementary Home Economics (1921) by Mary Lockwood Edwards
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.
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.