Old-fashioned Ginger Pears

jar of ginger pears

Pears are in season, and I’m always looking for tasty ways to serve them, so was intrigued by a hundred-year-old recipe for Ginger Pears. This is a recipe for canned pears with ginger. The sweet, warm, slightly peppery tang of the ginger added a new dimension to the pears, and turned what could be a mundane canned fruit into a taste treat.

Here’s the original recipe:

Jar of Ginger Pears
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries (1922)

I assumed that “green ginger root” was just a more detailed term for ginger root.

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

Ginger Pears

  • Servings: 3 -4 pints
  • Difficulty: moderate
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4 pounds hard, green pears (about 12-15 pears)

3 pounds sugar

2 ounces ginger root, peeled and very finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

juice from 2 lemons

Peel and core pears, then thinly slice. Put the pears in a bowl and cover with sugar; let sit for two hours. Put the pears, including any liquid in a Dutch oven or large pan; add lemon juice and chopped ginger root. Bring to a boil using medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the pears are translucent and the syrup clear and thick (about 20 minutes). Periodically, gently stir while cooking.

Pack the pear slices and syrup into hot pint jars; fill to 1/4 inch of top. Wipe jar rim and put lid on. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.


1922 October Menus

October menu examples
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries (1922)

A 1922 cookbook,  Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries, contains sample menus for each month of the year. It’s fascinating how the word “dinner” is used in two different ways on a page with October menus. In the Sunday menu, it is the noon meal; while on the Monday menu, it’s the evening meal.

Old-fashioned Bacon Muffins

Bacon Muffins on plate

When browsing through hundred-year-old cookbooks I sometimes come across recipes that are different modern recipes, yet sound intriguing. This was one of those times. I found an old recipe for Bacon Muffins which sounded a bit unusual – yet similar enough to some modern foods (think bacon and egg muffins minus the eggs) that I decided to give it a try.

The recipe turned out well. The muffins are a nice way to add variety to a breakfast or brunch menu.

Here’s the original recipe:

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

The bacon that I used was salty, so I didn’t add any additional salt when I made this recipe.

Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Bacon Muffins

  • Servings: approximately 15-20 muffins
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1/4 pound bacon

1 tablespoon sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/12 cups milk

2 1/2 cups bread flour

5 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 400° F. Chop bacon into small pieces; put into a small skillet and fly until crisp. Drain the bacon fat; reserving 2 tablespoons of the fat (as well as the bacon pieces).

Put the sugar and 2 tablespoons bacon fat in a mixing bowl and stir to combine, then add the egg and milk and stir until mixed. Stir together the flour and the baking powder, then add to the mixture in the mixing bowl; stir to combine. Then fold in the bacon pieces. Pour into greased muffin pans. Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full. Put in oven and bake about 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Best when served warm.


Hundred-year-old Advice for Keeping a Husband Interested

Strawberry Bavarian CreamHere’s some advice in a 1922 issue of American Cookery magazine on how to keep a husband interested and in love.

The Spice of Life

To keep a husband interested and in love with her, a wife must vary her costumes, argues every woman. A simple blue gown one evening, and a somewhat vampish green one the next, is what keeps hubby fascinated.

Undoubtably that is true. But let me ask that same woman how much thought she has given to the old adage, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” How often does she change her menus? Or, is it pork and beans every Saturday night in the year, and the proverbial stew of Sunday’s left-over dinner every Monday night? Fish, of course on Fridays, and always Wednesdays a delicatessen dinner, because she goes to play bridge every Wednesday afternoon, so hasn’t the time to prepare anything else. Not much chance for variety of diet there.

Or, perhaps, she hasn’t definite nights for definite things, but her range of recipes is so narrow. I have see the statement given as a fact by those who have made a study of it, that the average woman, in an American home, uses less than thirty separate recipes. Think of it, when the number of cookbooks is legion, and the magazines and newspapers print, each week, more than two thousand recipes.

Get out of your recipe rut! Give your family a change. Try adding, for instance, two new recipes a week to your menus. Even if you have your favorite way of making pie crust, and your special recipe for layer cake, experiment with a new one once in a while.

The culinary art is not behind the other arts in its progress. Benefit by it. A new dish is just as gratifying and alluring to your husband’s palate, as a new dress is to his eye. Try it and see. And wouldn’t it take the monotony out of planning three meals a day for every day for you, if you varied the menus with a new dish occasionally?

American Cookery (August/September, 1922)

Old-fashioned Hawaiian Delight

Hawaiian Delight on plateI remember enjoying cakes with pineapple when I was young, so was intrigued by a hundred-year-old recipe for Hawaiian Delight. Hawaiian Delight is a cake that includes a cinnamon and sugar topping – which is then served with crushed pineapple spooned on top of cake pieces.

The recipe was easy to make. The Hawaiian Delight is an old-fashioned classic type of dessert and was quite tasty.

Here’s the original recipe:

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

The list of ingredients for this recipe includes shortening, but the directions refer to butter, so when I updated the recipe, I listed butter rather than shortening. I think that grated canned pineapple is just an older name for crushed pineapple, so I used a can of crushed pineapple. The recipe called for pastry flour, which is difficult to find where I live, so I used all-purpose flour, and it worked fine.

The old recipe said that Hawaiian Delight should be served hot – though I enjoyed it both hot and cold.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Hawaiian Delight

  • Servings: 8 - 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar + 1 tablespoon sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 can crushed pineapple, 20 oz.

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Put flour, baking powder, salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, egg, milk, and butter in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Put in a greased and floured 8-inch square cake pan.

Put cinnamon and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl. Stir together, then sprinkle the top of the cake batter with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

To serve, cut into squares, and spoon crushed pineapple on top. May be served hot or cold.