1921 Hebe Advertisement

Advertisement for Hebe
Source: The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (Revised Edition, 1921)

Hebe sounds wonderful in the advertisement, but it actually was very controversial. Hebe was similar to evaporated milk – but was a mixture of skim evaporated milk and coconut fat. It was less expensive than regular evaporated milk. Hebe was a “filled milk” which means that the milk was reconstituted with fats other than dairy fats.

A hundred years ago Hebe was seen as a threat to the dairy industry. According to MySA:

Congress passed a law in 1923 (H.R. 8086 or 67 P.L. 513) banning its shipment: “It is hereby declared that filled milk, as herein defined, is an adulterated article of food, injurious to the public health, and its sale constitutes a fraud upon the public. It shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture within any Territory or possession, or within the District of Columbia, or to ship or deliver for shipment in interstate or foreign commerce, any filled milk.”  Infant formula — under certain rules — was allowed.

Any violation of the law was punishable by “a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than one year, or both…”.

And that was the end of Hebe.


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
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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?

“A Good Dish for the Meatless Meal” Recipe

A Good Dish for a Meatless Meal

Sometimes the names of dishes in old cookbooks make me smile. The recipe I made for today is called “A Good Dish for the Meatless Meal.” It was one of several recipes in a section on Lenten recipes in an old newspaper recipe supplement.

The recipe made a delightful rice, tomato, and onion casserole topped with creamy melted cheese, and garnished with parsley and paprika. The recipe author was right. It was a good dish. The recipe is a keeper.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Recipe for "A Good Dish for a Meatless Meal"
Source: Source: Mrs. Scott’s Seasonal Cook Books (The North American Newspaper, Philadelphia, Winter, 1921)

I assume that “drippings” refer to the fat created when cooking beef or pork – though I am a bit foggy why meat drippings would be called for in a recipe for a meatless dish. Maybe a hundred years ago “meatless” just meant that there were no chunks of meat. In any case I substituted olive oil for the drippings, but any oil or fat could be used.

A Good Dish for a Meatless Meal

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 cup rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

2 cups stewed tomatoes (1 14.5 ounce can)

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup grated American cheese

parsley, chopped


Preheat oven to 375° F. Cook the rice according to package directions.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a skillet and then add the chopped onion. Using medium heat, sauté until the onion is transparent. Stir in the tomatoes and salt, then add the rice. Cook until hot and bubbly then transfer to a casserole dish. Top with the grated cheese. Place in oven and heat until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the chopped parsley and paprika.


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)

Old-fashioned Cherry Fritters with Maraschino Sauce

Cherry Fritter on Plate

I recently made a hundred-year-old recipe for Cherry Fritters with Maraschino Sauce. This recipe was delicious, but set aside all preconceptions about what a Cherry Fritter might taste like. These fritters are nothing like modern cake- or doughnut-like fritters. Rather they are a sweet, slightly wiggly, taste treat.

The consistency of the Cherry Fritters is a bit like the consistency of Fried Brie (but the taste is totally different, so it isn’t a good comparison). The recipe calls for a relatively large amount of cornstarch, and only a small amount of flour which results in the unique consistency.

The Cherry Fritters are served with a lovely Maraschino Sauce which contains both Maraschino cherries and the liquid from the cherry jar.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipes for Cherry Fritters and Maraschino Sauce
Source: The Boston Cooking School Cook Book (1921 Edition)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cherry Fritters with Maraschino Sauce

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Cherry Fritters

2 cups milk + 1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup cold milk

3 egg yolks (reserve whites)

1/4 cup cold milk

1/2 cup Maraschino cherries, cut into halves (Make sure the cherries are thoroughly drained.)

1/2 cup flour

1 egg + reserved egg whites, beaten

1 cup fine plain breadcrumbs (I put 2 bread slices, that I tore into several pieces, into the blender to make the breadcrumbs.)

shortening or vegetable oil

Mix cornstarch, 1/4 cup flour, sugar, and salt together. Slowly add 1/4 cup cold milk while stirring, then stir in egg yolks. Continue stirring until smooth. Set aside.

Put 2 cups milk in saucepan, and heat using medium heat while stirring constantly until the milk is scalded (180° F.). Slowly stir in the cornstarch mixture, and cook until very thick while stirring constantly (about 5-10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the Maraschino cherries. Pour into a buttered 8X8 inch pan. Chill in refrigerate until cold (at least 2 hours).

In the meantime, place flour on a plate or in a small bowl, and place the bread crumbs on another plate or small bowl. Put the beaten egg in a small bowl.

Remove the chilled cherry mixture from the refrigerator and cut into squares. Roll each square in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the bread crumbs.

Heat about 1/2 inch of shortening or vegetable oil in a skillet, then put the breaded squares in the hot shortening or oil. Fry until lightly browned on the bottom, then gently turn to brown the other side. When browned, remove from the skillet. Drain on paper towels, then serve with Maraschino Sauce.

Maraschino Sauce 

2/3 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup Maraschino cherries, cut into halves

1/2 cup Maraschino cherry syrup

Put water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

In the meantime, mix sugar and cornstarch; then gradually add to the boiling water while stirring constantly. Using medium heat, boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and Maraschino cherry syrup; then stir in the Maraschino cherry halves.

Cherry Fritters with Maracshino Saucehttp://www.ahundredyearsago.com

1921 “Choisa” Orange Pekoe Ceylon Tea Advertisement

Advertisement for Choisa Tea
Source: American Cookery (November, 1921)

Happiness can be a warm cup of tea. But this 1921 advertisement made me realize that a hundred years ago people reminisced about even earlier good old days. The ad assured readers that “Choisa” Orange Pekoe Ceylon Tea is of “pre-war quality” and available at “pre-war prices.”

I put quotes around “Choisa” to make what I wrote match the old ad – but I’m very foggy on why the quote marks are needed.