Old-Fashioned Bacon and Corn, Camp Style

I’m always on the look-out for foods that are easy to make when camping, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Bacon and Corn, Camp Style. In addition to bacon and eggs, this dish contains eggs, green pepper, and onion, and is easy to make in a skillet. It is both hearty and tasty, and would be perfect for breakfast or dinner while camping. It also is a nice, easy dish to make at home.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (September, 1917)

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

Bacon and Corn, Camp Style

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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12 slices bacon (If desired, less may be used.)

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 cups corn, canned or boiled and cut from the cob (I used a 15 oz. can of corn which is a little less than 2 cups, but it worked well in this recipe.)

Using medium heat, cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside, but keep warm. Drain most of the fat from pan, while reserving a small amount to saute the vegetables. Add the green pepper and onion, and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Stir in the corn. Let cook until curds begin to form, then gently scrape the bottom of the pan and stir to turn the mixture to scramble the eggs. Continue cooking and scrambling until the eggs are set. Remove from the heat and serve. If desired garnish with some of the bacon strips. Serve the remaining bacon on the side.

Barrington Hall Coffee Advertisement

Source: Tried and True Cook Book, compiled and published by The Willing Workers (Minneapolis Incarnation Parish, 1910)

Sometimes I come across hundred-year-old advertisements for brands that have long vanished from the scene. For example, I recently found an advertisement for Barrington Hall coffee. According to the ad, it is “baker-ized” and “steel cut.”

What the heck is steel-cut coffee? It sounds like it should be a type of oats and not coffee. And, baker-ized sounds like cakes or cookies rather than coffee.

Old-fashioned Blackberry Shortcake

Some things just go together – like summer and Berry Shortcake. A few days ago I would have written “like summer and Strawberry Shortcake,” but I’ve discovered a wonderful hundred-year-old recipe for Blackberry Shortcake, so I needed to broaden my analogy.

Slightly crushed, sweetened, juicy blackberries go between and above tender layers of shortcake biscuits. This delightful old-fashioned dessert, with the “new” twist of blackberries is perfect for a hot summer day.

I did not use any whipped cream when I made this dessert since the old recipe did not call for it, and it definitely is not needed. The sweetened juice from the blackberries soaks into the biscuits and creates a delightful flavor and texture; though, if desired, the Blackberry Shortcake could be topped with whipped cream.

Here is a photo of Blackberry Shortcake that appeared in the old magazine:

Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine), Aug./Sept., 1915
Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine), Aug./Sept., 1915

And, here is the original recipe:

Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine), Aug./Sept., 1915
Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine), Aug./Sept., 1915

If seemed unusual the old recipe called for buttering the split shortcake biscuits before putting the blackberries between the layers, but I gave it a try with several biscuits. The warm biscuits melted the butter, and it really was not very noticeable after the berries were added. I also tried serving this dessert without buttering the biscuits first, and there was very little difference in the taste or appearance.

Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Blackberry

  • Servings: 7 - 9 biscuits
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 pints (4 1/2-pint boxes) blackberries

1 cup sugar

2 cups pastry flour (If you do not have pastry flour, use 1 cup cake flour + 1 cup all-purpose flour.)

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup shortening

approximately 3/4 – 1 cup milk

butter (optional)

Wash and drain blackberries. Put in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Lightly crush berries with a fork. Set aside. (If desired, put in a saucepan and heat using low heat for 1 – 2 minutes to warm slightly and to increase the juicing of the berries, but do not cook. Remove from heat.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a mixing bowl, stir the flour, salt and baking powder together. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture. Add 3/4 cup milk and stir just enough to combine using a fork to form a soft dough. If the dough is dry, add additional milk and stir a little more to create a soft dough.

On a pastry cloth or other prepared surface, roll shortcake dough to 3/4 inch thickness. Cut into rounds 2 1/2 – 3 inches in diameter. (I turned a water glass upside down and used it as the cutter).  Put on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Cook about 15-20 minutes or until the biscuits are lightly browned. Remove from oven and split the biscuits in half. (I used a bread knife to cut them.) If desired, spread the biscuits with butter. Put the berries between and above the biscuits and serve at once.

I used less sugar than called for in the original recipe because 1 1/2 – 2 cups sugar seemed like an excessive amount to put on the blackberries.

Drink Pure, Safe Water: Hundred-Year-Old Advice

I don’t generally worry about the safety of the water I drink. That wasn’t always true a hundred years ago. Here’s  an abridged version of what a home economics textbook from the early 1900’s  had to say:

Pure water is the most important of our foods. Water may contain impurities that come from decaying vegetable or animal matter, or it may carry the germs of disease, or minute insects or their eggs. Where shallow wells are used, water may wash filth into them. In deep wells, properly protected from insects and animals by high curbs, the water is usually pure because the many layers of soil, gravel, and rock through which it has filtered have taken out the impurities.

Even apparently pure water may contain germs only visible under the microscope. If there is any questions as to the purity of the water, send a sample to the state health laboratory or to a chemist for analysis.

If water is muddy let it settle, then pour off the clear water and boil it hard for five minutes. Put it into clean glass jars or bottles, cover it, and keep it cool. Boiled water is flat because the air is driven off, and may be aerated by being poured from a pitcher held at some height into a drinking receptacle. Distilled water, if bottled under clean conditions, is very useful in times of typhoid or epidemics of like nature. 

The Science of Home Making: A Textbook in Home Economics (1915) by Emma E. Pirie

Hundred-year-old Chocolate Mint Fudge Recipe

Chocolate and mint combine beautifully to create delectable taste treats – think Girl Scout cookies, and mint chocolate chip ice cream – so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe in a vintage issue of Good Housekeeping for Chocolate Mint Fudge. This lovely fudge has just the right amount of chocolate and mint to create a delightful candy.

The Chocolate Mint Fudge recipe calls for Mint Syrup. Both the Fudge and Mint Syrup recipes were provided in the old magazine.

Here are the original recipes:

Source: Good Housekeeping (August, 1917)
Source: Good Housekeeping (August, 1917)

Here are the recipes updated for modern cooks:

Chocolate Mint Fudge

  • Servings: 25-30 pieces
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Chocolate Mint Fudge

4 tablespoons cocoa

1 1/2 cups milk

1 tablespoon butter, melted

4 cups light brown sugar

1/2 cup mint syrup (see recipe below)

Put cocoa in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the milk and stir until smooth. Set aside.

Put butter, brown sugar, the remaining milk, and mint syrup in a mixing bowl stir to combine. Put in a saucepan and using medium heat bring to a boil. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Reduce and gently boil until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage (238° F.). Put saucepan in cold water, and beat the fudge mixture until it thickens. Put into a 8 inch X 8 inch buttered pan. (If desired, line with parchment paper to make it easier to remove fudge). When cool, cut into pieces and remove from pan.

Mint Syrup

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup mint leaves

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan; then add the mint leaves. Bring to a boil using medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid begins to thicken to a syrup consistency (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat; strain and cool.

Cook’s note: This recipe makes more Mint Syrup than is needed for the Mint Chocolate Fudge. Extra syrup can be used in coffee or tea, or in other recipes.

Inexpensive Ways to Make Lemonade

Image Source: Ladies Home Journal (May, 1916)

Here’s a “Dollar Stretcher” tip for making lemonade that appeared in a hundred-year-old magazine:

If you add a teaspoonful of cream of tartar for each lemon, you can make double the amount of lemonade for the number of lemons you use. Another way to make your lemonade cheaper is to put the lemon rinds through the food chopper, pour ice water over them and drain. By doing this fewer lemons are needed.

Ladies Home Journal (January, 1918)

Old-fashioned Banana Sour Ice Cream

Looking for a tasty and easy-to-make ice cream for your 4th of July bash? Banana Sour Ice Cream fits the bill. I found this delightful recipe in a hundred-year-old issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.

Banana Sour Ice Cream is refreshingly tart, and almost reminds me of a sherbet. The recipe calls for both bananas and lemon juice, and the ice cream contains the nuanced flavors of both fruits. It also contains sour cream which enhances the tartness.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (July, 1917)

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

Banana Sour Ice Cream

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup sugar

juice of 2 lemons

1 1/4 cups sour cream

3 bananas

Put sugar and lemon juice in a mixing bowl; stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in sour cream. Set aside.

Peel bananas, then mash until smooth. (A food processor or blender can be used to get a smooth puree.)

Add the mashed bananas to the sugar, lemon juice, and sour cream mixture; beat until smooth. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours, then place in ice cream maker and freeze. (I used a 2-quart ice cream maker.)