Chickens generally lay more eggs at some times of the year than others. Historically there was a plethora of eggs during the Spring, and they could be purchased very inexpensively – and eggs were much scarcer and more costly during the winter months.
As a result, people often preserved eggs using the water glass method. They mixed water and water glass (hydrated lime) together in large stoneware crocks or jars. Eggs were then placed in the liquid to preserve them.
According to a 1920 advertisement by the Stoneware Manufacturers Association (who would have guessed that there was a Stoneware Manufacturers Association) which represented the manufacturers of the crocks:
Eggs properly preserved in stoneware jars will keep fresh as the day they were laid for 8 to 12 months.
When I googled water glass eggs, I discovered that some people still use this method to preserve eggs. For example, Homesteading Family and Timber Creek Farmer each have posts about how to use the water glass method.
When I came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Sour Cream Pie with Dates, I decided to give it a try. This rich, custard-style pie has lots of embedded date pieces; and is a unique combination of old-fashioned goodness, and a sophisticated blend of sweet and sour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put sour cream, sugar, egg, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Stir in dates. Place in pastry-lined pie pan. Cover with top crust. Seal and crimp. Cut slits in top crust (or poke top crust several times with a fork). If desired, brush with a small amount of milk; sprinkle with sugar. Bake in oven for 10 minutes; then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is browned and filling has set.
Food is expensive today. A hundred years ago people also worried about the high price of food. A 1920 Quaker Oats advertisement compared the costs of different foods, and (of course) determined that Quaker Oats was an inexpensive source of calories. Somehow I don’t think that the relationship between calories and cost would be featured in an advertisement today . . . but on second thought, maybe it still works. Not sure.
Some foods memories are associated specific events. Others are much more scattered. For me, Coleslaw is one of those food where I have scattered memories – some wonderful; others not so great.
I have rich memories of eating Coleslaw at family reunions, at church potlucks, and at home. Some renditions had a light vinegar dressing; others had rich mayonnaise dressings. Occasionally the coleslaw had a hint of pepper or contained celery seed. And, sometimes there were additional ingredients – chopped onion, apple, or green and red pepper.
But I also associate coleslaw with fast food joints – often with a runny mayonnaise-based dressing.
Suffice it to say that I have mixed feelings about Coleslaw. But, I had a cabbage in the refrigerator so when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Coleslaw in a home economics textbook I decided to give it a try. The Coleslaw dressing had a very mild flavor with just a hint of sugar and vinegar, which allowed the flavor of the cabbage itself to shine. That said, I prefer Coleslaw dressings with a more pronounced sweet-sour flavor, so I probably won’t make this recipe again.
This process for making this recipe is similar to the method used to make custard. I got this recipe from a home economics textbook. The author seeks to build upon skills learned in previous lessons. So she often referred back to previous recipes that used similar processes – in this case to a recipe for soft custard. I previously posted the hundred-year-old soft custard recipe.
Put egg (or egg yolks), salt, mustard, cayenne (red) pepper, and sugar in a small mixing bowl; beat until combined. Set aside.
Put the milk in a heavy sauce pan (use a double boiler if available); then heat using medium heat. Stir constantly until the milk just barely begins to bubble, then remove from the heat.
Place a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of hot milk into bowl with the egg mixture, stir quickly. Add this mixture to the hot milk and stir. (This helps prevent the egg from coagulating when the egg is introduced to the hot liquid.) Return to stove and cook, using medium heat while stirring constantly until the mixture just begins to thicken or coat a spoon. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vinegar Strain and then pour over the shredded cabbage. Chill at least 3 hours before serving. Stir before serving.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2010 there was 218.9 pounds of food waste per person in the United States. Food waste has been an issue for at least a hundred years. This is what it said in the introduction of a 1920 cookbook which contained recipes that used left-overs:
Can you truthfully say that there is no waste in food in your home?
It has been reiterated many times that a French family could live on what an American family throws away. Is that true in your case?
True thrift and economy in cooking means planning so that nothing is wasted and all foods whether freshly cooked or reserved at another meal are tasty and appetizing.
The whims of fancy and capricious appetite require forethought and careful planning in order to keep a varied and tempting menu and at the same time utilize all left-over food.
Source: The Cook Book of Left-Overs (1920) by The More Nurses in Training Movement – Illinois Ladies
I love to browse through hundred-year-old cookbooks. Sometimes I flip through cookbooks looking for an inspiration about what to make; other times I’m looking for a certain type of recipe. Today, since I had hard-boiled Easter eggs, I knew that I wanted to make a recipe that called for hard-boiled eggs. I found several recipes which were candidates for this post, and then I read the ingredient list for Dandy Stuffed Eggs and saw that it called for dandelion greens. I immediately knew that I’d found the recipe that I was going to make for today’s post. .
I have memories of my grandfather foraging dandelion for my mother to prepare; and each year I carry-on the tradition. Maybe it is my imagination but eating dandelion always seems to restore my energy after a long winter. My mother always called dandelion greens her spring tonic.
Back in the days before modern supermarkets with produce sections filled with fresh fruits and vegetables year round, nutrient-rich dandelion was one of the first greens available in the spring, and people craved them. Dandelion greens contain lots of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, folate, vitamin K, calcium, and potassium.
The Dandy Stuffed Eggs were wonderful The eggs are stuffed with a dandelion, bacon, onion, and vinegar mixture The stuffed eggs are served hot on top of a bed of wilted dandelion.
Here’s the original recipe:
One teaspoon of salt seemed like a lot, so when I made the recipe I only used half as much.
1 pound dandelion greens (spinach, beet greens, or chard may be substituted for the dandelion greens)
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 4 tablespoons chopped onion)
1 slice fried bacon or salt pork, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vinegar
If desired, sugar and additional vinegar
Preheat oven to 375° F. Thoroughly wash dandelion greens, then take about 1/2 cup of the greens (reserve the remaining greens) and put in a small skillet. (No additional water is needed, since the dandelion greens should have some water clinging to it.) Using medium heat, wilt the greens while stirring constantly (about 1-2 minutes). Remove from heat and chop the wilted greens.
In the meantime, cut the eggs in half and remove the yolks and put in a bowl; then mash the yolks using a fork. Add the chopped wilted dandelion greens, onion, bacon, salt, and vinegar. Stir to combine; then stuff the egg whites with the egg yolk mixture.
Put the stuffed eggs in a baking dish. Cover and put in oven until the stuffs eggs are hot (about 15 minutes.)
In the meantime, put the remaining dandelion greens in the skillet. Using medium heat, wilt slightly while stirring constantly. If desired, sprinkle with sugar and add a splash of vinegar. Remove from heat.
To serve, put wilted dandelion greens on serving plate or bowl. Place the stuffed eggs on top of the greens.
When I cook foods in the oven, the first thing that I think about is: What temperature should I use?
Modern recipes indicate the temperature setting. A hundred years ago, recipes might say that a “medium” oven or a “hot” oven should be used, but the exact temperature was left up to the cook. .
In 1920, many cooks still used wood or coal stoves which had their own unique challenges when it came to maintaining a constant temperature; but, more modern electric and gas stoves were becoming more common – though they may not yet have had a temperature control. However, cooking thermometers were available.
But, a hundred years ago the idea of regulating the oven temperature was still a new concept, and home economists were trying to figure out the best temperature to use when making various foods. For example, home economists at the Good Housekeeping Institute, which was affiliated with Good Housekeeping magazine, did experiments to compare how foods turned out when different oven temperatures were used. Here are some excerpts:
We Cook by Temperature. Do You?
From time to time this department has published articles on the cooking of foods by temperature. In our testing work here in the Institute, we have used these findings constantly, and each time become more and more enthusiastic over the uniformity and perfection of the results. We realize more each time the great importance which the correct temperature bears to the production of good cookery results.
Just a word in regard to the use of a thermometer in baking. The thermometer should be placed as near the center of the oven as is convenient, and on the shelf, if possible, where the bulk of the baking is to be done. If your range has a very even distribution of heat, this precaution will not be so necessary. If several dishes are to be placed in the oven at one time, it is advisable to try the pans in the oven before it is heated so that the thermometer in a position which will best suit the necessary arrangement. The thermometer should be placed in the oven while it is cold, preferably and thus allowed to heat gradually as the oven heats.
The experiments made to determine the best temperature for the baking of scalloped dishes proved most interesting. It is necessary that this kind of dish shall look well, because it is intended to be served at the table in the dish in which it is baked. So it was appearance that we looked for at first in determining the best temperature. But much to our surprise, we found a marked difference in the flavor as well, even though the dish was made in exactly the same way, when cooked at different temperatures. For the comparative test to determine the baking temperature for scalloped dishes, Delmonico Potatoes were made. Into a greased baking-dish were placed alternately layers of diced, cooked potatoes, and well-seasoned cheese sauce. The top of the dish was covered with thin slices of cheese. Dishes prepared thus were baked at 350° F., 400° F., 450° F., and 500° F. Another dish was placed at the very bottom of the broiler oven of a gas range and allowed to brown beneath the broiler flame.
The time required for browning at the different temperatures varied. At 350° F., twenty-seven minutes did not produce a very satisfactory brown, and the sauce “bubbled” badly, giving the dish a very unsightly appearance. Twenty minutes at 400° F. gave slightly better results, and fifteen minutes at 450° F. showed still greater improvement in appearance and flavor, but the dish cooked at 500° F. for twelve minutes proved without a doubt that this was the very best temperature of all. The sauce bubbled very slightly about the edges but did not give so unsightly an appearance to the dish as the lower temperatures had produced. The browning was good, but the perfection in seasoning and taste was the biggest determining factor. It was, indeed, supreme. The flavors seemed to be perfectly and thoroughly blended.
The dish baked beneath the broiler flame required only ten minutes for the browning. The result was very pretty to look at, because no bubbling had taken place, and the browning was even and delicate, but the flavors were not at all blended, so this method was immediately ruled out as not at all desirable.