The Discoveries column in a 1917 issue of Good Housekeeping invited readers to send in their “discoveries” for possible publication. Readers whose submissions were accepted received $1 from the magazine. I always need to buy lots of supplies when canning season rolls around, so I was thrilled to see a reader’s suggestion for minimizing the impact on my pocketbook.
Selling Yourself Canned Goods
I keep a bank on a shelf in my preserve closet. For each glass of jelly I pay the bank five cents, for each jar of fruit or vegetables, ten cents. When the canning season comes round again I usually have enough money saved up to buy all the needed materials for the next winter’s supply. This is an easy way to spread the comparatively large expenditures of canning over the whole year instead of having to make them in a few weeks. — Mrs. A.H.G., Pa.
The apples on my tree are ripe. It’s time to dig out the apple recipes, which for me means searching for apple recipes in hundred-year-old cookbooks. I found a recipe with an unusual name, Apple John. Intrigued, I decided to give it a try.
I think I found a winner. The Apple John is kind of like an upside-down cobbler made with shortcake dough. It was tasty, attractive, and easy to make.
To make stewed apples, place the sliced apples in a large saucepan, then add sugar, cinnamon, and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Continue to simmer gently until the apples are soft (approximately 10-15 minutes). If needed, add additional water. Remove from heat and put the stewed apples in a 9″ X 9″ X 3″ or similar-sized greased baking dish or pan.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 425° F. Put flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl; stir to combine. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture Add milk and stir just enough to combine using a fork.
Drop spoonfuls of the shortcake dough on top of the stewed apples to cover them. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and invert on serving plate.
Sometimes information provided in hundred-year-old magazines just leaves me scratching my head. For example, here’s a question I never would have thought of asking – and I have no clue whether the answer is correct.
Are Salted Nuts More Digestible Than Unsalted Ones?
YES! Nuts should never be eaten in any quantity without the addition of salt. The bulk of the protein of the nut is a substance called globulin, which is soluble in salt solution. Therefore, the addition of salt to the nut aids in its solution and digestion. This factor should not be so important in the case of roasted nuts, but even here salt, by making the nuts more palatable, aids in starting off their digestion, which is at best somewhat slow.
It’s always fun to find a “new” way of serving a classic in a hundred-year-old cookbook. I recently was browsing through an old cookbook and found a recipe for Green Peppers Stuffed with Fish. Of course, I had to give it a try.
The Green Peppers Stuffed with Fish were delightful. The tender and flavorful peppers balanced nicely with the mild, delicate taste of the fish. (I used flounder.)
3-4 medium peppers (The number of peppers needed will vary depending upon size. Green peppers must have been very small a hundred years ago. The amount of stuffing would not come even close to stuffing 8 modern “good-sized” peppers.)
2 cups cooked halibut or other white fish, flaked (I bought 1 pound of frozen flounder, baked it, and then flaked it. It made approximately 2 cups.)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter + approximately 1 teaspoon butter for bread crumb topping
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut thin slice from stem end of each pepper. Remove all seeds and membranes. Wash inside and out. Put peppers in a large sauce pan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook peppers for 5 minutes; drain.
In meantime, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan. Stir flour, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce into melted butter. Slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly. Place a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of the hot white sauce mixture into dish with beaten egg, stir quickly. Then add egg mixture to the remaining white sauce, and cook for two minutes using medium heat. Stir in the flaked fish and continue cooking until the mixture is hot.
Lightly stuff each pepper with the fish mixture. Stand peppers upright in ungreased baking dish. Top the fish mixture with bread crumbs and small dabs of butter. Cook until the bread crumbs are lightly browned and the stuffing is very hot (20-30 minutes).
A hundred years ago, companies were already branding their products and aggressively competing with one another. At that time, General Mills advertisements for Gold Medal flour asked, “Eventually, why not now?”
A very successful Pillsbury ad campaign responded, “Because Pillsbury’s best.”
Remember the first time you had corn on the cob this summer? . . . and, how special it was? . . . and, how much you ate? The corn was so sweet and tender. Back then, I’d buy a half-dozen ears at the farmer’s market – and my husband and I could easily polish it off at one meal.
Now, as the season winds down, I’m getting a little tired of corn. So when a neighbor gave me ten ears of corn a few days ago, I was looking for ways to use it. And, then I remembered Corn Fritters. . .
I found an incredible recipe for Corn Fritters in a hundred-year-old cookbook. The Fritters were crispy on the outside and contained just the right amount of corn. The recipe was perfect – it was both easy to make and tasty. Bring on the corn!
1 cup corn (fresh corn cut from the cob is best; canned creamed corn could also be used)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
dash red pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
shortening or lard
Put flour, salt, red pepper, egg, milk, and olive oil in a mixing bowl; beat until combined. Add corn and stir until the corn is evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Heat 1/2 inch of shortening until hot in large frying pan. Drop spoonfuls of batter into hot shortening. Flip fritters and fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.
Cook’s note: The original recipe called for 2 teaspoons salt. This seemed like a lot to me, so when I updated the recipe I only used 1 teaspoon.
Breakfast in bed . . . those three words convey the ultimate in pampering to me. A century-old article in a popular women’s magazine, suggested that breakfast in bed may have been more popular than it is now. American Cookery showed several examples of beautiful place-settings that could be used to serve breakfast in bed. The article indicated that breakfast is bed was not just a luxury for wealthy people, but a nice change of pace for anyone:
But to all, even hum-drum women, there dawn days when a bit “under the weather” we merit the pleasure of a secluded breakfast. When a rarity, it is a joy. Many women who could not stand it daily – who like to be “up and at it” – confess to a veritable delight in a dainty bedside breakfast when overtired or indisposed.