Oh, dear – When friends invite me to their homes for dinner I often put salt on the food that they serve. Now I’m worried that I may have insulted them. Sometimes hundred-year-old magazines answer questions that I had never considered.
I recently had a delightful molded pudding at a very nice restaurant. It was a little firmer, and jiggled a little more, than traditional puddings–and I wondered how it was made.
Then I saw a recipe in an advertisement in a hundred-year-old magazine for American Cream that looked like it might make a dessert similar to the one I’d eaten in the restaurant, so I gave it a try.
The American Cream was all that I’d hoped it would be. It was creamy with just hint of sweetness. And, when topped with Chocolate-flavored Whipped Cream, it was almost decadent.
When I served this dessert, guests enjoyed the American Cream; they absolutely raved about the Chocolate-Flavored Whipped Cream.
Here’s the original recipe:
And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:
American Cream with Chocolate Whipped Cream
2 eggs, separated
1/4 cup milk + 1 3/4 cups milk
1 envelop unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons sugar + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate-flavored Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/2 – 1 teaspoon cocoa
Whisk egg yolks until smooth, add salt. Set aside.
Put 1/4 cup milk in a small dish. Sprinkle gelatin and sugar evenly over the cold milk and allow the gelatin to absorb the milk. Set aside.
Put egg whites in a small bowl, and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Heat the 1 3/4 cups milk in a saucepan using medium heat until it comes to a boil. Quickly stir in gelatin and sugar mixture; then add the egg yolks while stirring constantly. As soon as it returns to a boil remove from heat, and immediately fold in the beaten egg whites. Stir in the salt and vanilla. If not smooth, press the mixture through a sieve. Put in a serving bowl, or spoon into individual serving cups or glasses. Chill for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator. Serve with Chocolate-flavored Whipped Cream.
Chocolate-flavored Whipped Cream: Place the whipping cream in a bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Add confectioners sugar and cocoa, and continue beating until thoroughly mixed.
Did you know that branded dry mustard has existed for at least two centuries? I didn’t until I saw this advertisement for Stickney & Poor’s Mustard in an 1918 issue of American Cookery which said that the brand had already been around for a century. Who would have guessed?
I’m befuddled by ad’s graphics and text. What the heck is the thing that looks like a Christmas ornament on ice skates?
I’ve eaten stacks of pancakes with bacon on the side for years . . . boring. So I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Mining Camp Cornmeal Pancakes.
The hearty giant pancakes embedded with bits of bacon are cooked in a skillet, and are cut into triangles to serve. The pancakes were a delightful taste treat that took me back in time to the days of hungry hard-working gold and silver miners in remote locations.
The old recipe also indicated that, if preferred, smaller, more typically-sized pancakes could be cooked on a griddle.
Here’s the original recipe:
And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:
Mining Camp Cornmeal Pancakes
8 thin slices bacon cut into small 1/4 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups milk
Put the bacon pieces in a skillet, and cook over medium heat until the bacon just begins to crisp; stir occasionally while cooking. Remove from heat and set aside. Reserve a small amount of the bacon fat to grease skillet.
In the meantime, put cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, shortening, eggs, and milk in a mixing bowl; beat until combined.
Option 1 – Large Pancakes that are Cut into Triangles: Generously grease a skillet with bacon fat. (I used a 6 inch, cast iron skillet). Heat skillet until hot using medium heat, then spoon 3/4 inch of the batter into the pan, sprinkle with the cooked bits of bacon. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the batter is bubbly; then turn the pancake over and cook the other side. Remove from heat, and cut into triangles. Cook additional pancakes until all the batter is used.
Option 2 – Regular-sized (3 – 4 inch) Pancakes: Heat a greased griddle until hot; then spoon or pour approximately 1/4 cup batter onto griddle for each pancake. Sprinkle bits of cooked bacon on the top of each pancake. Cook until the batter is bubbly, then flip pancake and cook the other side.
I made several ingredient adjustments when I made this recipe. The old recipe called for 1 teaspoon salt. I didn’t use any since the bacon was salty. The old recipe also called for the use of condensed milk and water. In the mining camp far from town, it made sense to use canned condensed milk – but since I had regular milk in my refrigerator, I used substituted it for the condensed milk and water. Additionally, the batter seemed very thick, so I used a little more milk than the combined amount of condensed milk and water called for in the old recipe.
During World War I food in the U.S. was very expensive, and people worried about food shortages. Here’s excerpts of what Harvey Wiley, a popular food expert who led the laboratories at the Good Housekeeping Institute, had to say:
The victory in this war will be won by those nations which have the best and most abundant supply of food. Bread is more important than munitions. The nation that is hungry will first be ready to yield. We must see to it that none of the Allies is put in such a position. To this end everything that can be done to awaken the American people to their responsibility must be done.
We must stop wasting food in our kitchens and on our tables, and we must conserve the whole of the food product that is edible.
Our people must be taught how to eat in these times of stress. The teachers of home economics and domestic science throughout the country should be mobilized to carry messages to the people. The welfare of the nation is at stake. The success of our Allies is in the balance. It seems strange to speak of an army of diet experts, but such an army is just as important as one carrying modern rifles and sharp bayonets.
Good Housekeeping (July, 1917)
Vegetable Chowder with Meat is the ultimate comfort food. This hundred-year-old recipe makes a delicious hearty soup that is perfect on these cold winter days. This flavorful soup features carrots, potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, onion, and celery, as well as a little barley. I used beef in this recipe, though other meats would also work.
Here is the hundred-year-old recipe:
And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:
Vegetable Chowder with Meat
1 1/2 pounds stewing beef
4 quarts water
2 tablespoons barley
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup potatoes, diced
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup celery
2 cups tomatoes, diced (or use 1 16-oz. can of tomatoes)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Put the meat and water in a stewing pot or dutch oven. Cover and bring to a boil using high heat, reduce heat to medium and simmer for one hour. Add barley and cook for an additional half hour. Add carrots, potatoes, cabbage, onions, celery, and tomatoes. Continue cooking for an additional hour. Add salt, pepper, and parsley. Remove the meat from the pot and cut into bite-sized pieces. Return the meat to the pot. Reheat until the soup is hot, and then serve.
When I saw this poem in a hundred-year-old issue of American Cookery Magazine, I had an immediate negative reaction. Did the magazine’s editors really think that they could convince consumers that everything in food advertisements was true? Didn’t cooks back then realize that the purpose of advertisements was to sell food, not to provide the most accurate information?
Then I thought –
Even though I’m cynical about advertising, I read food ads. They must have value to me. Soon I was pondering, “Why do I read food ads?”
Here’s the reasons, I came up with:
- Food advertisements are fun to read.
- I like to laugh at how over the top some ads are.
- I read them to learn about new products.
- I read them to find “good deals.”
Hmm . . . maybe the old magazine was right, “food ads help me out so much.”