Hundred-year-old Tips for Browning Pie Crusts

Slice of Lemon Apple Pie

Here are tips in a hundred-year-old cookbook for browning pie crusts:

To brown pies and tarts, use a small pastry brush and brush them with milk before putting them in the oven, and to glaze pies, brush them with the white of an egg if you wish them to be a shiny brown.

Order of the Eastern Star Relief Fund Cook Book (1923) published by the Michigan Grand Chapter

Old-fashioned Eggs with Asparagus

Eggs with Asparagus

Happy Easter!

Easter is such a special time of year. It’s so much fun coloring eggs with children or grandchildren – but it’s often then a challenge to figure out ways to eat the eggs. So I was pleased to find a recipe for Eggs with Asparagus in a hundred-year-old cookbook.

The Eggs with Asparagus is a classic recipe with the asparagus topped with chopped hard-boiled eggs embedded in a white sauce.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Eggs with Asparagus
Source: General Welfare Guild Cook Book (The General Welfare Guild, The Beaver Valley General Hospital, New Brighton, Pennsylvania), 1923

Here’s the original recipe:

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Eggs with Asparagus

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup water

1/2  teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

dash pepper

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped

Put the asparagus, salt, and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil using high heat; reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and drain, reserve the water that was used for cooking.

Meanwhile in another saucepan, melt the butter. Stir the flour and pepper into the butter. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in the water that was used for cooking the asparagus and the cream; bring to a boil using medium heat while stiring constantly. Stir in the chopped eggs (reserve a small amount of the yolk for garnish).  Remove from heat and pour over rthe cooked asparagus. Garnish with the chopped egg yolk.

1923 Fresh Fish Availability Calendar

Fish availability calendar
Source: General Welfare Guild Cook Book (1923) published by the General Welfare Guild of the Beaver Valley General Hospital, New Brighton, Pennsylvania

Until I saw a fish availability calendar in a 1923 cookbook, I never thought about the seasonal variation in when various types of fish can be purchased. In today’s world, where fresh fish are sometime shipped across hemispheres and previously frozen fish are sometimes thawed and sold as “fresh,” is there much seasonal variability?

Old-fashioned Date Pudding

Date Pudding

I recently came across a cookbook published in 1923 called The Calorie Cook Book. In the Introduction it says:

This book has been made for the use of those people who wish to eat properly and really don’t know how. . .

We Americans have bolted and stuffed rich food for so long that it is amazing how very few of us know how to stop or what to do, when the family physician, treacherously upheld by our own inner selves, demands a change in the catch-as-catch-can style of eating we have so long enjoyed.

Based on the title and the book’s introduction, I assumed that the recipes would be for healthy low-calorie foods. But the first page I flipped to proved that my assumption was wrong:

Date Pudding Recipe
Source: The Calorie Book (1923) by Mary Dickerson Donahey

The recipe for Date Pudding said it was delicious, but that reducers should be beware. The recipe was not for them. I was intrigued. The author must think that a recipe is really good when deciding to put a high-calorie recipe in a low-calorie cookbook. So, before I knew it, I decided to ignore the warning and make Date Pudding.

The Date Pudding was delightful. Beaten egg whites gave the pudding a nice texture, and the dates and walnuts blended nicely for just the right balance of sweetness and crunchiness. I served the Date Pudding with whipped cream, which made it even more delicious and decadent.

This recipe called for “English walnuts” to distinguish them from “black walnuts.” Today, English walnuts are generally just called walnuts.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Date Pudding

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 eggs, separated

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1 cup dates, chopped

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups milk

whipped cream, optional

Preheat oven to 350° F. Put egg whites in a mixing bowl; beat until soft peaks form. Set aside.

Put sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla, egg yolks, and milk in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Fold in the beaten egg whites, and then gently stir in the chopped dates and walnuts. Put the mixture in an 8″ X 8″ square baking dish. Put in oven and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean (approximately 50 minutes – 1 hour). Remove from oven. May be served warm or cold. If desired serve with whipped cream.

1923 Heinz Advertisement

Heinz Advertisement
Source: Good Housekeeping (May, 1923)

I always enjoy comparing old advertisements to modern ones. What’s similar? What’s different?

I found this ad about how Heinz salesmen and grocers work together to ensure that stores have all 57 varieties of Heinz products fascinating. What is the purpose of the ad? . . . to impress readers with the large number of Heinz products? . . . to encourage customers to look at the Heinz display in their local store, and request products if some of the 57 varieties are missing?

Cauliflower Mousselaine

Cauliflowre Mousselaine

When flipping through a hundred-year-old cookbook I was intrigued by a recipe for Cauliflower Mousselaine, and decided to give it a try.

The cauliflower was embedded in a creamy, sunny, lemony sauce with a hint of nutmeg. I was surprised that the lemon in sauce predominated over the cauliflower, but it was delightful. This recipe has gourmet feel to it, and is an unusual flavor combination, but I’d make it again.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Cauliflower Mousselaine
Source: The Boston Cooking School Cook Book (1923)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cauliflower Mousselaine

  • Servings: 3 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 head cauliflower, separated into florets (about 3 cups florets)

2 egg yolks, slightly beaten

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons butter

Put cauliflower florets in a saucepan, and cover with water. Put on stove, and bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Put in serving bowl.

In the meantime, make the sauce by putting the egg yolks, heavy cream, salt, nutmeg, and lemon juice in a saucepan; stir until thoroughly combined and smooth. Cook, using medium heat, while stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Add the butter – a few small pieces at a time – while continuing to stir. When the butter is melted, pour the sauce over the cauliflower.

Hundred-year-old “Revolving Susan”

revolving susan
Source: Household Engineering: Scientific Management in the Home (1923)

A hundred-year-old book on scientific management of homes recommended the use of a “revolving susan.”

In many cases, where the dining table has a large enough diameter, it is practical to use in the middle of the table a “revolving susan” – or circular glass tray mounted on a revolving stand, which will accommodate butter, relishes, etc.; but its greatest value lies in assisting the host to pass dishes to each person to be served. Set the plate of food on the server, give a slight touch, and it will revolve to the person desired, thus doing away with awkward passing from one to another. Similarly the server may be used for removing the soiled plates, by each person laying their soiled plate in turn on the server, and whirling to the hostess, who will then remove them unobtrusively.

Household Engineering: Scientific Management in the Home by Mrs. Christine Frederick (1923)