Hundred-Year-Old Recipe for Pink Lemonade

Pink Lemonade

The dog days have summer have arrived – and there’s nothing like sitting in the shade sipping lemonade on a hot summer day. I usually make lemonade using just lemons, water, and sugar – but when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe which suggested that back then they colored pink lemonade by mixing in a little red-colored jelly (currant, crab apple, etc.), I just had to give it a try.

According to the old recipe, the best lemonade is “a little too sweet, and a little too sour.”  Using that criteria, the Pink Lemonade I made was perfect. It was refreshing and delightful . . . and a lovely shade of pink.

Here’s the original recipe:

Good Housekeeping (August, 1916)
Good Housekeeping (August, 1916)

Here’s how I adapted the recipe for modern cooks:

Pink Lemonade

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Time: 15 minutes active prep
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup sugar

2 cups water + 6 cups water

1/2 cup tart red jelly (currant, crab apple, etc.)

3 – 6 lemons (depending upon size)

mint sprigs or lemon zest for garnish (optional)

Put the sugar and 2 cups of water into a saucepan using medium heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and continue to boil slowly for 3 minutes. Remove from heat,  and cool slightly then beat in the jelly. (I used homemade Crab Apple Jelly, but Currant Jelly or any other tart red jelly would work well). There may be flecks of jelly in the liquid even after beating, that’s okay.

Squeeze lemons, and stir lemon juice into the sugar mixture. Strain the liquid. Some of the jelly (as well as the lemon pulp) will not go through the strainer. Discard this jelly, it will have already colored the lemonade.

Chill the strained syrup. To serve, mix the syrup with  6 cups water, and serve over ice.  If desired, garnish with mint sprigs or lemon zest.

The syrup will keep for several days in the refrigerator. Individual servings of lemonade can be made by mixing some of the  syrup with water in a glass – proportions can vary to taste.

The old recipe called for 3 lemons. When I made this recipe, 3 didn’t seem like enough; so I doubled it and used 6 lemons.


Girls’ Frolics in Woods and by Stream: Merry Times on Hikes and Around Streams

Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1913
Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1913

I tend to picture women’s activities a hundred years ago being somewhat constrained by the times and their clothes. I was pleasantly surprised to see an article in the July, 1913 issue of Ladies Home Journal titled, “Girls’ Frolics in Wood and by Stream: Merry Times on Hikes and Around Streams”  that contained lots of picnic and campfire ideas. Here’s a few suggestions for a surprise boat trip:

A surprise boat trip was the pleasure awaiting a crowd of girls invited by their hostess to meet at the boat landing at three p.m. Soon they were moving up the river on a “voyage of discovery.”

A half hour’s ride brought them to a beautiful grove, where they landed, and search parties were sent out in different directions. In a short time triumphant cries were heard over the discovery of large watermelons found hidden in secluded spots. (A boat with supplies had been sent up the river ahead of the party.) After justice had been done to the melons the girls went upstream until they landed and were told to raid the country.

The enthusiasm of the moment sent everyone forth to discover this time ears of corn. These were loaded into the boat, and the party again set forth toward other lands, in search of whatever they might find. . . fruit hanging from branches of trees.

The last voyage brought them to land just about sunset. They did not need to search long before many parcels were found, containing ham, bacon, beefsteak, sandwiches and marshmallows, which, with the corn for the corn roast and the fruit, provided a substantial supper. Further search brought them to a pile of wood for a bonfires, just waiting to have the match put to it.

It was not long before the girls were sitting around a roaring fire, cooking their meal, and last of all, toasting marshmallows and telling stories as they watched the fire die out. The trip down the river by moonlight was not the least of the afternoon’s enjoyment.

Picnic LHJ 7 1913

Hundred-Year-Old Cauliflower au Gratin Recipe

Cauliflower au Gratin 1

Every week when I go to the farmers’ market I mull over which vegetables to purchase. Sometimes I have a recipe in mind and look for specific vegetables – other times I reverse the process and look for the highest-quality freshest vegetables I can find, and then I search for a recipe. This week was one of the latter weeks. The cauliflower looked perfect, and I just couldn’t  resist buying a head.

When I searched for cauliflower recipes in hundred-year-old cookbooks, I came across a recipe for Cauliflower au Gratin and decided to give it a try.

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

The Cauliflower au Gratin turned out perfectly. The cauliflower was embedded in a creamy white sauce, co-mingled with rich melted cheese from the cheese topping. I put the cauliflower in a casserole dish instead of using the individual ramekins called for in the old recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cauliflower au Gratin

  • Servings: 5 - 6
  • Time: 25 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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approximately 3 1/2 cups cauliflower florets (1 head of cauliflower)

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1.2 cup milk

2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Put the cauliflower florets into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until florets are tender (about 5 minutes). Drain well.

Meanwhile, in another pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour and salt. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens. Gently stir in the cooked cauliflower, and remove from heat.

Place the cauliflower mixture into a 1 quart casserole dish,  and sprinkle with the shredded cheese and bread crumbs. Bake until hot and bubbly (about 15 minutes).

Hundred-Year-Old Nestle’s Food Advertisement

Source: Ladies Home Journal (August, 1913)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (August, 1913)

Hundred-year-old advertisements that pique my interest generally make me smile. This one didn’t.

I found the ad upsetting., and it raised so many questions:

  • When did companies first start selling commercial products that were advertised for use as a baby formula?
  • What information, other than advertisements, was available to help parents decide how to feed their infants?
  • What was the reaction of new mothers and mothers-to-be to this ad?
  • What percentage of the women breastfed their babies a hundred-years-ago?

I have no answers,  but I  just can’t get this advertisement out of my mind – so I decided to post it.

Peach Cup (Individual Peach Cobblers) Recipe

lndividual Peach Cobbler

I always think of  peach season as cobbler season, so I was excited when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Individual Peach Cobblers.  The cobblers are delightful when served warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

These cobblers are a double peach dessert that contains both sliced and mashed peaches. Hot juicy peach slices are embedded in this homey cobbler; and mashed peaches, which are mixed into the batter, infuse the cobbler shortbread with a light peachy sweetness.

This dessert was called Peach Cup in the original recipe. In the early 1900’s, individual cobblers and shortcakes were called cups because they were made in custard cups or muffin pans.

Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Peach Cup (Individual Peach Cobblers

  • Servings: 6 - 8 cobblers
  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

4 small (3 large)  fresh peaches

1 egg, separated

3/4 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, optional

Preheat oven to 425° F. Prepare custard cups or jumbo muffin pan by generously greasing the cups.

Peel the peaches, then mash 1  peach (3/4 of a peach if using large peaches). (I used a blender to puree the peach).  Set aside.

Slice the remaining peaches.  Set aside.

Beat the egg white until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, egg yolk, milk, melted butter, and mashed/pureed peach. Beat until smooth. Gently fold in the egg white.

Put 1 tablespoon of batter in the bottom of each cup, add a layer of peach slices, then cover with the remaining batter. (It’s okay if the peaches are not completely covered.)

Place in the oven, and cook for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes, then remove from cups.  To remove from cups,  run a butter knife gently around the edge of the cups, then turn upside down on a plate. After the individual cobblers slide out of the cups,  flip them so they are upright.

Best when served warm. May be topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Cook’s note: Canned or frozen peaches could be substituted for the fresh peaches.

And, here is the original recipe:

Peach Cup
Source: A Text-book of Cooking by Carlotta C. Greer (1915)

Notes: I divided the recipe by 2 when I made it.  The original recipe called for using peach halves, but my peaches were too large to fit in a custard cup, so I cut the peaches into slices.

Should We Eat Candy?

Sour Cream Fudge
Sour Cream Fudge

I like candy, but always feel guilty when I eat it, so I was pleased to discover hundred-year-old advice on the role of candy in the diet.

The Use of Candy in the Diet

Candy is an energy-giving food, but, unfortunately perhaps, it is not (at all times) a most desirable energy-giving food. Sugar exists in candy in concentrated form. In this condition, sugar is irritating to the organs of digestion.

Sugar is contained in large quantity in some fruits, especially in dried fruits, figs, dates, prunes, etc. These fruits are a much better source of sweets for children than is candy, because they do not contain as much sugar, and have, in addition, valuable food materials in the form of ash.

Candy should never be used to excess. A little eaten at the end of a meal is not harmful to a normal person. At that time the sugar does not come in direct contact with the walls of the alimentary canal, as it would if eaten between meals.

A Text-Book of Cooking by Carlotta C. Greer (1915)

The quote mentions “ash” in fruits. Ash is an old-time term for the minerals in foods.

Old-fashioned Fried Cucumbers Recipe


Fried Cucumbers 2

I had a problem – too many cucumbers to eat in salads, but not enough to make pickles. This sent me searching through my hundred-year-old cookbooks for cucumber recipes. One cookbook suggested dipping cucumber spears into a batter and then frying them. I decided to give it a try.

The Fried Cucumbers were delicious and easy to make with a lovely crispy coating and a delightful slight  crunch when I bit into them. They are versatile, and make a great appetizer or side dish. Fried Cucumbers would be lovely with a dipping sauce – though it definitely is not needed.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Fried Cucumbers

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk

3-5 medium cucumbers (number needed depends upon size)

shortening or oil

Prepare a batter by combining the flour, salt, eggs, and milk in a mixing bowl. Beat until combined.

Cut the cucumbers into spears that are approximately 1-inch wide.  Dip the spears in the batter.

Heat 1/2 inch of shortening or oil in a large frying pan. Carefully place the breaded spears in the pan in a single layer. Depending upon pan size, the spears may need to be cooked in several batches. Fry for about a minute or until the bottom side of each cucumber spear is lightly browned, then gently turn and fry until the other side is browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

And, here is the description in the old cookbook about how to prepare cucumbers. I didn’t try the suggestion for boiling and mashing them (there’s always another day), and just followed the instructions in the last paragraph about frying them.

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)