1922 Skimit Kitchen Cream Separator Advertisement

Advertisement for Skimit Kitchen Cream Separator
Source: American Cookery (June/July, 1922)

Cooks today worry about the high cost of food. They also worried about food costs a hundred years ago, and tried to save money whenever possible. For example, some cooks apparently skimmed cream from the top of a bottle of milk to save money. Back then homogenized milk was just being introduced to the consumer market, so the milk that most people drank was not homogenized. This means that the cream and milk separated, and that the cream would float to the top. The milk beneath the cream was basically skim milk. If whole milk was desired, the jar or bottle of milk needed to be shaken before using to get the cream and skim milk to recombine. The Skimit Kitchen Cream Separator sounds like it could be used to easily remove the cream from the top of the milk.  Who would have guessed that kitchen gadget drawers a hundred years ago may have contained a milk skimming tool?

 

One Egg Chocolate Cake

piece of cake on plate

I’m always intrigued by old cake recipes that have titles which emphasize the use, or non-use, of a specific ingredient. For example, I recently came across a recipe for One Egg Chocolate Cake. Why was the number of eggs stated in the title? Were eggs really expensive back then? . . . or maybe the recipe was aimed at families that raised chickens, and the chickens didn’t lay many eggs during the winter so cooks were looking for recipes that used few eggs. . . or. . . ?

This recipe made a  9-inch square cake, and was very tasty. I never missed any reduction in eggs.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for One Egg Chocolate Cake
Source: Cement City Cook Book (1922) Compiled by First Baptist Church, Alphena, Michigan

I followed the recipe directions and grated the chocolate, then melted it by adding a little hot water and stirring. I was surprised how well this process melted the chocolate  – though think that the baking chocolate probably could be melted in the microwave to avoid the extra effort of grating the chocolate.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

One Egg Chocolate Cake

  • Servings: 10 - 12
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup  butter, softened

1/2 cup grated baking chocolate (about ounces of chocolate)

2 tablespoons hot water

approximately 3/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice (I used vinegar.)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Put the grated baking chocolate  in a measuring cup, then add hot water and stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir in vinegar and enough milk to make 1 cup.  Set aside for at least 2 minutes.

Put sugar and egg yolk in a mixing bowl, stir to combine. Add butter, milk and chocolate mixture, baking soda, vanilla, and flour; beat until smooth. Put in a greased and floured 9-inch square pan. Bake until a wooden pick comes out clean (approximately 35 minutes). Frost if desired

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Potato and Egg Salad

Potaot and Egg Salad in bowl

Memorial Day doesn’t seem complete without Potato Salad – and the best Potato Salads contain hard-boiled eggs, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Potato and Egg Salad.

The Potato and Egg Salad was delightful with crunchy celery and chopped pickles – but what made the salad really special was the dressing. The dressing was made with whipped cream and vinegar – and was amazingly light compared to the usual mayonnaise dressing. The whipped cream dressing takes a little longer to make than mayonnainse dressing, but it was well worth the extra effort

Here’s the original recipe:

Potato and Egg Salad
Source: For Luncheon and Supper Guests (1922)  by Alice Bradley

I didn’t have any onion juice, so substituted 1 tablespoon chopped onions.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Potato and Egg Salad

  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups cold boiled potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 cup celery or cabbage, chopped (I used celery.)

2 or 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (I used 2 large hard-boiled eggs.)

2 tablespoons pickle, chopped (I chopped several Bread and Butter Pickle slices.)

2 tablespoons green pepper or pimento, chopped (I used green pepper.)

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon onions, chopped

cream dressing, see below

If desired, lettuce or cabbage leaves

Put the cubed potatoes, celery or cabbage, chopped eggs, chopped pickle,, green pepper or pimento, parsley, and onions  in a mixing bowl and gently stir to combine. Chill in refrigerator. Just before serving, add Cream Dressing and gently stir until the potatoes and other ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.  If desired, serve on lettuce or cabbage leaves.

Cream Dressing

2 teaspoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons powdered sugar

dash cayenne (red) pepper

1 teaspoon butter

1/3 cup vinegar

1 egg yolk, beaten

1/2 cup whipping cream

Put the flour, salt, mustard, powdered sugar, cayenne pepper, and butter n a saucepan or double boiler, and gradually add vinegar while stirring constantly.  Using medium heat, cook until thickens while stirring constantly. Put a a spoonful of the hot mixture in the bowl with the egg yolk, and immediately stir rapidly; then add the mixture to the mixture in the saucepan or double boiler while stirring rapidly. Continue stirring and cook for 1 minute. The mixture will be very stiff. Put in a small bowl and cool in refrigerator.

Shortly before serving, whip the cream until it is stiff. Add the cooled vinegar mixture, and beat until smooth.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

When Baking a Cake, How Hot Should the Oven Be?

cake

Sometimes when I make a cake it rises very unevenly. A hundred-year-old cookbook gave me a clue about what might cause the problem:

A moderate oven will give the best results for nearly all cakes.

If the batter rises in a cone in the center you are using too hot an oven, and a crust has formed before the mixture has had time to rise; or too much flour has been used.

Mrs. DeGraf’s Cook Book (1922)

Old-fashioned Nut Pancakes

Nut pancakes on plate

Sometimes it seems like I get into a rut when making breakfast foods – and tend to just make the same two or three foods over and over. So I’m always looking for easy-to-make recipes for breakfast foods. I recently saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Nut Pancakes, and decided to give it a try.

This recipe is a keeper. The pancakes contained lots of chopped walnuts, and had a lovely texture and flavor.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Nut Pancakes
Source: Good Housekeepings’ Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries (1922)

A hundred-years-ago many families still lived on farms and drank non-pasteurized milk; and, even in towns, much of the milk that was sold was not pasteurized. Back then, if the non-pasteurized milk was not used quickly, the “good” bacteria in the milk would turn it into a sour milk suitable for use in recipes. When making old recipes that call for sour milk, today’s pasteurized milk can be turned into a sour milk by adding a little vinegar or lemon juice to create a slightly curdled acidic milk.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Nut Pancakes

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 cups milk

1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice (I used vinegar.)

2 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons butter, melted

3/4 cup walnuts chopped

Put the milk in a cup or bowl, then stir in the vinegar or lemon juice. Set aside for at least 2 minutes.

Put the bread flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder,, melted butter, and milk that has been combined with the vinegar or lemon juice in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Stir in the chopped walnuts.

Heat a lightly greased griddle or skillet to a medium temperature, then pour or scoop batter onto the hot surface to make individual pancakes.  Cook until the top surface is hot and bubbly, and then flip and cook other side.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

1922 Decorating Tip: Avoid White Kitchens

Woman in kitchen
Source: Eddy Engineering Co. advertisement (Cement City Cook Book publsihed by First Baptist Church, Alpena. Michign (1922)

Decorating styles seem like they are constantly changing and evolving. Here is some 1922 advice for how to decorate your kitchen:

We come to realize what a big part color has to play in the attractiveness of the kitchen. Anyone who has both practical and theoretical knowledge of color, as well as of kitchens, knows that the pure white kitchen is a long way from perfection in either looks or cleanliness. The whiteness, no matter how clean it really is, takes on, after a time, a darkening and stained appearance, as though it got tired of being dazzling, with nothing for contrast. So if we want a kitchen to look as clean as it should be, let us give it contrasts of both color and tone. This will need to be done with the advice of someone who really know the technical properties of color combinations, but most of us can make a pretty satisfactory effect, if we use our eyes and copy the tones in nature, which seem to give a particularly clean and clear-cut impression – the beach against blue water, for instance, or a wet tree trunk against green leaves. Is it sensible to try to bring nature into the kitchen? Why not if it is to make life in the kitchen more worth living?

American Cookery (March, 1922)