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

water

milk

paprika

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.

Hundred-year-old Advice on How to Prepare Raw Vegetables for Storing and Eating

Here’s some hundred-year-old advice on how to clean and store raw vegetables:

Separate leaves or stalks into their natural divisions.

First. Examine them carefully, removing interior portions, insects, etc., that may be found on the vegetables.

Second. Wash thoroughly in several waters. Running water is preferable. Salted water aids in removing parasites.

Third. Drain off the water and dry with cheese cloth.

Greens may be kept in a paper bag in the refrigerator until serving time.

Coarser portions may be utilized for soups or sauces while the tender portions may be served raw. Great care should be exercised in the selection and preparation of food which is not subjected to heat before serving, such as salad greens. Salad plants, carelessly cultivated or handled may carry dangerous bacteria, or they may have been sprinkled with poisonous compounds.

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

Old-fashioned Kale with Corned Beef

This rustic, easy-to-make, hundred- year-old Corned Beef with Kale recipe is perfect for St.Patrick Day, and would hit the spot on any brisk March day.

The recipe called for whole kale leaves, and suggests a presentation that features them. I used Lacinato Kale (also known as Dinosaur Kale). It retained its shape when cooked, and its sweet nuttiness worked well with the flavorful corned beef.

Here’s the original recipe:

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

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

Corned Beef with Kale

  • Servings: 5 -7
  • Difficulty: easy
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2-3 pounds corned beef with spice packet

1 bunch kale (about 1 pound)

water

butter, melted (optional)

Put corned beef in a large pot and cover with water. Add spice packet that came with it. Cover and bring to a boil using high heat; reduce heat and simmer 50 minutes per pound or until tender.  Remove from water and let rest for 10 minutes; then thinly slice.

About 45 minutes before the corned beef will be ready to serve, wash and trim kale to remove the bottom portion of the stem and leaves. Gently tie into bunches using cooking twine. Put into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil using high heat. then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove from water. Untie and, if desired, drizzle with melted butter.

To serve: Put kale leaves on plate, and top with the sliced corned beef.

1918 Ivory Soap Advertisement

Source: American Cookery (February, 1918)

Based on this hundred-year-old advertisement, it looks like people used bar soap to wash dishes. According to Hunker, dishwashing detergents were invented during World War I and only came into common use during the mid-1900’s:

Soap was used for cleaning until 1916, when there was a shortage of fats needed to produce it during World War I. Because there was still a need for a cleaning product, synthetic versions were invented, which are now known as detergents.

There was also a movement towards using detergents because there was a need for a cleaning agent that did not leave behind a residue as soap did, especially on fabric. Upon their appearance, detergents became common products for cleaning dishes and clothing. While many people still used regular soap, by 1953 most households were using detergents.

Old-fashioned Date and Apple Salad

Simple, tasty, attractive salads are the best. I recently found a hundred-year-old recipe that fits the bill. Date and Apple Salad has a light lemon and oil dressing. The apples and dates are cut into “match-stick” pieces which makes a lovely presentation; and the tart, crunchiness of the apples combines beautifully with the sweet, chewy dates. This recipe is a keeper.

Here is the original recipe:sh

Source: American Cookery (January, 1918)

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

Date and Apple Salad

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: easy
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8 ounces pitted dates

2 apples

juice from  1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil.)

lettuce leaves, optional

Cut dates into lengthwise into “match-stick” pieces, and put into a bowl. Peel and core apples, then cut into match-stick pieces. Dip apple pieces in lemon juice, then place in the bowl with the dates. Add salt and oil; then gently toss.  If desired, serve on lettuce leaves.

The hundred-year-old recipe called for six tablespoons of oil. This seemed excessive, so I used two tablespoons of oil.