Remember Postum? It was a roasted grain powder that was mixed with hot water to make a beverage. It was often considered a healthy alternative to coffee or tea. This Postum advertisement was near the back of a 1907 Pennsylvania community cookbook.
Want a cross between peanut butter cookies and homemade bread? If so, a hundred-year-old recipe for Peanut Butter Bread may be just the recipe for you.
Here is the original recipe:
And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:
Peanut Butter Bread
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add peanut butter, milk, and eggs.; beat until well mixed. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. May be served warm or cold.
The hundred-year-old recipe called for 2 “rounded” teaspoons baking powder. I used 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder – and that worked well.
I used less salt than called in the original recipe. One teaspoon of salt seemed like a lot for a loaf of bread, so I reduced it to 1/2 teaspoon.
The old recipe says that this bread is best when it is a day old. In my opinion, the bread was good the day after I made it – though it also was good shortly after I took it out of the oven.
Did you ever hear of “apple rusting”? Apparently that term was used a hundred years ago to describe how apples tend to turn brownish after they are cut. Here’s what a 1918 magazine had to say about how to prevent rusting:
Fall is here – and apples abound; so I dug through my hundred-year-old cookbooks looking for the perfect apple recipe. I found a recipe for Apple Flamingo, and think that I found a winner.
Apple Flamingo is basically a baked apple with the skin removed following baking. Red apples are used in this recipe, so the cooked apples take on a bit of the color from the apple skins, and have a lovely reddish hue. The apples are served with a citrus syrup that contains bits of lemon and orange zest, and are topped with whipped cream.
Apple Flamingo is delightful and seems almost decadent. This apple and citrus dessert is a welcome change from the usual cinnamon apple desserts.
Here is the original recipe.
And. here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:
8 apples (use a red variety that maintains shape – Rome, Braeburn, Winesap, etc.)
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
grated rind of 1/2 lemon
grated rind of 1/2 orange
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
Preheat oven to 350° F. Core apples, and put in a baking dish. Place in oven and bake until tender (about 45 – 55 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool slightly, then gently remove skin using care to leave the reddish color on the apple flesh and maintain apple shape. (I started removing the skin at the bottom of the apple where the skin was moister and easier to loosen and worked up to the top.)
In the meantime, make the sauce by putting the sugar and water in a saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil using medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the liquid thickens into a syrup (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, orange juice, grated lemon rind, and grated orange rind.
Also, in the meantime, make the whipped cream. Place the whipping cream in a bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Add confectioners sugar, and continue beating until thoroughly mixed.
To serve, spoon sauce over the baked apples. Top with the whipped cream. Serve warm.
Note: This recipe makes a lot of the citrus sauce. I had some left-over when I made this recipe, so I baked several additional apples the following day.
I put a little confectioners sugar in the whipped cream. The original recipe didn’t call for adding any sugar to the whipped cream, but I thought that the whipped cream was tastier when sweetened a bit.
I take pride in being able to successfully interpret most hundred-year-old recipes, but I recently came across a 1914 recipe for Cream of Carrot Soup that flummoxed me. The soup is supposed to be “seasoned with intelligence.” What the heck does that mean?
This recipe appeared in a home economics textbook. According to the book’s introduction, the book was written “in the hope of doing service to all such homemakers, to the teachers of classes of older girls – whether in high school, Y.W.C.A., settlement, or elsewhere – and to the girls themselves.” Apparently, a hundred years ago even relatively inexperienced cooks knew how to season with intelligence.
Vegetables can be boring, so I’m always looking for interesting new recipes. I recently found a hundred-year-old recipes for Carrot Timbales. The timbales are delightfully light, have a texture similar to a custard, and a delicate flavor. This recipe is a keeper, and I anticipate that I’ll be making it again soon.
Here’s the original recipe:
And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:
4 carrots, peeled and sliced (approximately 2 cups sliced)
1 teaspoon onion juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
Put sliced carrots in a saucepan and cover with water. Using high heat bring to a boil; then reduce heat, cover, and cook until tender (about 20 – 25 minutes). Remove from heat and drain. Puree carrots until smooth or put through a ricer. (I used a ricer.)
Preheat oven to 350° F. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, onion juice, sugar, salt, pepper, and whipping cream. Add the pureed carrots – a small amount at a time – while stirring constantly. Beat until thoroughly combined. Put the mixture into greased custard cups, and place in a pan filled with hot water that reaches half way to the top of the custard cups. Put in oven and bake until the mixtures has set – and a knife inserted in the timbale comes out clean. Remove from oven. To remove the timbales from custard cups, gently loosen each timbale from the custard cup using a knife or spatula, then flip onto a plate and serve immediately. If desired, may be served with peas, cauliflower, or stewed meat.
I used only half as much salt as the original recipe called for. One teaspoon of salt seemed like a lot, so I instead used 1/2 teaspoon.
How the U.S. military procures food for soldiers has changed over the past hundred years.
In 2018, the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Subsistence program purchases the food. Here’s what the Defense Logistics Agency website says:
The Subsistence supply chain provides food support for the military all over the world. From individually packaged meals in a soldier’s ruck sack, to a ship’s galley and to full service dining facilities on military installations, Subsistence gets that food there.
We work with our industry partners around the globe to feed the newest troops in training and seasoned sailors at sea. And we take pride in ensuring our service members have a taste of home for the holidays, no matter where they’re deployed.
In 1918, World War I was raging, and I’m sure that much food for the soldiers was purchased from large companies; however, the army also purchased home-canned foods. Here are some excerpts from an article in the June, 1918 issue of Ladies Home Journal:
How Twelve Girls Fed a Camp of Soldiers
I have been asked to give an account of the work done by the Girls’ Canning and Evaporating Club of Harvard, Massachusetts in order to demonstrate what twelve patriotic girls between the ages of nine and seventeen can do. The club was organized in the spring of 1917, with a special aim in view – that of creating what one might call an emergency supply. President Wilson said, to the women of the country, that one of the most patriotic things they could do was to conserve a surplus amount of food that would be available in case of a general shortage.
In the case of towns around the army camps, the possibility of being called upon to help out with food for the soldiers in case of shortage made this idea of an emergency supply of added value.
Now, while amateur work is often excellent, there is always the element of chance in it, because the knowledge of the fundamental principles is apt to be superficial. It was decided to give the girls a thorough training that would be a solid groundwork. A paid demonstrator was engaged to instruct the class every Saturday.
Toward the end of the season the club was invited to send an exhibit to the big Eastern States Exhibition that was held at Springfield, Massachusetts, and had the great pleasure and encouragement of being awarded a medal. This added zest to the work being done by the club, and all hands redoubled their efforts as the day for the home exhibition, held at the Town Hall at Harvard, approached. The results of the work were 1,000 jars of canned food done in the club and 200 pounds of evaporated food.
When the day came, in spite of a drenching rain, the doors had hardly been opened when the whole club exhibit of canned and evaporated food was sold to Battery F, 303d Heavy Artillery, through Lieutenant Martindale, the Battery’s mess officer, who expressed a wish that there was double the amount to secure.
The next morning a large army truck was sent over from the camp, and we had the great joy and satisfaction of seeing it packed with the results of our labor.
Clara Endicott Sears