Old-fashioned Cream of Corn Soup (with Bacon)

bowl of cream of corn soup

I always enjoy the rich holiday foods – but I also find that I crave simpler comfort foods as the new year rolls around. It’s also the time of year when I enjoy making soups, so I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Cream of Corn Soup. The soup included both corn and bits of bacon, and was a delightful taste treat.

This recipe is a keeper. My husband said, “This is good,” which is high praise from him.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Cream of Corn Soup
Source: The Calorie Cook Book (1923) by Mary Dickerson Donahey

The old recipe only called for using 1 tablespoon of bacon grease (fat), but that seemed like a very small about of fat when I stirred 2 tablespoons flour into the bacon grease, so I used all the bacon grease that I got when cooking the bacon.

Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cream of Corn Soup (with Bacon)

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 can corn (14-16 oz.) or 2 cups fresh corn (cooked) (Either whole kernel or creamed corn can be used. I used a can of whole kernel corn.)

3 strips bacon

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 cups milk

Fry bacon until crisp in a Dutch oven or large saucepan, then remove from pan and crumble into small pieces. Set the crumbled bacon aside.

Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper into the bacon grease (fat). Then gradually add the milk while stirring constantly. Add the corn and crumbled bacon. Stir to combine. Continue heating until hot and steamy.


Celebrating New Year’s Eve During Prohibition

bellWe always hear about the Roaring 20’s, but here is how a hundred-year-old magazine said that New Year’s Eve should be celebrated:

It is very natural to wish to drink to the health of one’s friends at the beginning of a new year, but fortunately the drunkenness and carousing that formerly marked New Year’s Eve have largely passed away and now we one another  “Happy New Year” just as fervently as of old, though less boisterously.

Surely the beginning of a new year is a day peculiarly adapted for family celebrations. The color scheme most appropriate is that of the Christmas Season- the read and green of the holly, which brings good luck. The bell is often used as a symbol of the New Year. “Ring out the old – Ring in the new.”

American Cookery (December, 1922)

Old-fashioned Winter Salad

Winter Salad on Plate

Some holiday foods seem to have largely gone out of style. I have vague memories of decorative salads made by carefully arranging canned fruits and other ingredients on individual plates that were served at holiday gatherings when I was a child – but haven’t had one of these salads in years.  But when I saw a recipe for Winter Salad in the December, 1922 issue of American Cookery, I was intrigued, and decided to give it a try. A canned peach half, that is surrounded by grapefruit segments, is filled with chopped celery and pecans, and placed on some lettuce leaves. It is then topped with whipped cream flavored with paprika and topped with a candied cherry. (I used a Maraschino cherry.) 

I wasn’t quite sure about this recipe – the combination of ingredients seemed very unusual and I thought it extremely unusual to flavor whipped cream with paprika instead of sugar. That said, the Winter Salad was very attractive in an old-fashioned way.

This recipe won’t quite make the cut for the family Christmas dinner. I can’t quite picture serving it to friends and family at a holiday event (some things are just out of style); however, the combination of ingredients and flavors actually worked – and I can honestly say that the salad was tasty.  

Here’s the original recipe:

Winter Salad

Recipe for Winter Salad
American Cookery (December, 1922)

The recipe provides no information about how many peach halves should be used; however it does say that 1/2 cup of cream should be whipped. This recipe makes a lot of whipped cream, so I think that the recipe is for a large can (29 ounce) of peaches (or a quart of home canned peaches) – which typically contain about 8 peach halves. So I indicated below that the recipe is for 8 servings. However, it is easy to use smaller amounts of the various ingredients if fewer servings are needed.  

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Winter Salad

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Leaf lettuce 

29-ounce can peach halves (8 peach halves)

2 -3 grapefruit (peeled and separated into segments)

2 stalks celery, chopped

1/4 cup pecans, chopped 

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

8 candied or Maraschino cherries

Arrange lettuce leaves on individual salad plates, and top with a peach half. Surround the peach half with grapefruit segments. Fill each half with a mixture of the chopped celery and pecans. 

Meanwhile, put the heavy cream in a deep mixing bowl; beat until soft peaks form. Add the paprika, salt, and lemon juice; beat to combine. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the whipped cream on top of each filled peach, then top with a cherry. 


Hundred-year-old Recipe for Macaroni with Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese is a wonderful comfort food – and it seems more popular than even. Kids love it, and it’s also often on the menu at very fancy restaurants. So when I saw a recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook for Macaroni with Cheese, I decided to give it a try. The process for making the Macaroni with Cheese was a little different from the modern way of making the dish. The old recipe called for putting layers of bread crumbs (small pieces of torn bread), macaroni, and cheese into a casserole dish. Thin cream (half and half) is then poured over the layers. The dish is then baked until the bread crumbs are lightly browned. 

The Macaroni with Cheese turned out nicely, and was very tasty. The bread crumb layers blended nicely with the macaroni and cheese, and I couldn’t identify separate layers in the finished dish. It just seemed like a typical Macaroni and Cheese. 

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Macaroni and Cheese
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries (1922)

Apparently macaroni was different a hundred years ago from what it is now. The recipe calls for breaking the macaroni into inch pieces. Today, it is already cut into pieces that are about an inch long.  

When I read this recipe I wasn’t clear whether the three teaspoons of salt went into the water that the macaroni was boiled in, or if it was sprinkled on the layers of macaroni in the casserole dish. In any case, it seemed like a lot of salt, so I instead cooked the macaroni in water that contained 1 teaspoon salt, and just sprinkled a little salt on the layers in the dish. 

450° F. seemed like a very high temperature to bake this dish, but it worked. The Macaroni with Cheese cooked very quickly at this temperature. 

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Macaroni with Cheese

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3 cups macaroni

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar.)

2 slices bread torn into very small pieces (about 1 cup of bread pieces)

1/4 cup butter

1 cup half and half

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450° F. Put water and 1 teaspoon salt into a large saucepan, and bring to a boil using high heat. Add macaroni, and reduce heat so that the water gently simmers. Cook the macaroni until al dente, then drain and rinse with cold water. 

Cover the bottom of a buttered 2-quart casserole dish with 1/4 of the bread crumbs. Add a layer with 1/3 of the macaroni. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the grated cheese; then sprinkle with salt and pepper, and dot with bits of the butter. Repeat the layers, ending with a layer of bread crumbs. 

Pour the cream over the top of the layers. Put in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the bread crumbs are lightly browned and the mixture is hot and bubbly.