This is the third year that I’ve posted Baker’s Cocoa advertisements that were on the back cover of the hundred-year-old December issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. The 1915 and 1916 advertisements were much warmer and fuzzier than the 1917 one. By 1917, World War I was raging, and the advertisement reflected the nation’s focus on the soldiers who were fighting in the war.
Scalloped Oysters are a classic holiday dish, so I was curious when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for “new” Scalloped Oysters, that called for tomatoes and corn in addition to the usual bread or cracker crumbs.
The old, “new” twist adds interest to this traditional dish. “New” Scalloped Oysters were colorful, flavorful, and easy to make.
1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs or cracker crumbs (I used bread crumbs.)
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 pint shucked oysters (drain-though it’s okay if there is still some liquid clinging to the oysters.)
1/2 cup stewed or canned tomatoes
2/3 cup corn (if using frozen corn, cook and drain)
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter 1-quart casserole dish. Put 1/3 of crumbs in bottom of dish. Lay 1/2 of the oysters on crumbs, sprinkle with salt and pepper and dot with small pieces of 1 tablespoon of butter. Add layers of tomatoes and corn, using 1/2 of each. Repeat with layers of bread crumbs, oysters (sprinkled with salt and pepper and dotted with 1 tablespoon of butter), tomatoes, and corn.
In the meantime, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet. Gently stir in the remaining 1/2 cup crumbs; continue gently stirring until the bread crumbs are coated with melted butter. Remove from heat. Put the buttered crumbs on top of the previously assembled layers in the casserole dish. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Caption: Pack the cookies in a tin box lined with paraffin paper. Put the cookies in as snugly as possible with crumpled bits of paraffin paper to fill up every nook and corner and every crevice between the uneven cakes. (Source: Good Housekeeping, December, 1917)
Are you thinking about sending cookies to family members or friends this holiday season? If so, you might find this hundred-year-old advice on mailing cookies helpful.
Caption: Lay a piece of thin cardboard between each layer of cakes, and in addition put crosswise pieces of the same cardboard between the rows of cakes. In the way fine candies are packed. Over the top put a thick layer of shredded tissue paper such as is used to pack china.
Caption: Wrap the box first in corrugated pasteboard; wrap in both directions thoroughly so as to save the contents every jolt. Over this wrap heavy paper. Put “Christmas Mail” conspicuously on address side.
Combine brown sugar and milk in saucepan; add cream of tartar and stir. Continue stirring while heating over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Quit stirring and bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat to low and continue boiling (without stirring) until candy reaches the soft ball stage (235-240 degrees F.) (about 10-15 minutes). Stir in butter and remove from heat, beat until the mixture thickens. Stir in walnuts. Pour into a buttered 8 X 8 inch pan. When cool, cut into pieces.
I’m always looking for household tips that will make my life easier. Here’s some hundred-year-old advice on how to wash dishes efficiently.
The following “efficiency” method for washing dishes in a sink has been suggested. A sink provided with a stopper over the drainpipe and with a rubber hose attached to the hot water faucet saves the use of several pans and eliminates lifting the dishes from one pan to another.
Place the prepared dishes in proper order in the sink, arrange the stopper over the drainpipe and fill the sink with cold water. Allow the dishes to soak. Remove the stopper, drain off the cold water; replace the stopper and fill the sink with hot water.
As the hot water issues from the hose, hold a soap holder at the mouth of the hose and “wash” the dishes by directing the water from the hose all over the dishes. Allow the dishes to remain in the hot water about 15 minutes. If necessary, wash with a cloth or dish mop.
Again remove the stopper and drain off the soapy water. Replace the stopper and fill the sink with clear bot water. Lift the dishes out of the sink and place the china dishes on dish racks or drainers. If necessary, dry them. The drain and dry the glasses and silver.
I’m always on the lookout for quick and easy holiday bread recipes, so was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Orange Nut Bread. Graham flour, candied orange peel, and pecans give this bread a nutty, yet distinctly sunny, orange flavor.
I definitely plan to make this recipe again. It’s tasty, and the candied orange peel makes it just enough different from most nut bread recipes that it is sure to be a hit this holiday season.
Here’s the original recipe:
I was surprised that the recipe called for no shortening, and for less sugar than many modern nut bread recipes – but it all worked. This bread has a nice texture; and, while a little drier than some quick breads, is very tasty.
When I made this recipe I used less salt than called for in the original recipe. Two teaspoons of salt seemed a tad excessive.
A hundred years ago most people had wood or coal stoves – and ovens didn’t have thermostats. Here’s advice in an old home economics textbook about how to determine whether the oven was at the correct temperature for successfully baking cakes:
Baking Sponge Cakes [Cakes without Fat]: A practical test for the temperature of the oven is the placing of a bit of flour or white paper in the oven. If at the end of 5 minutes the paper or flour is slightly browned, the oven is of proper temperature for sponge cakes or cakes without fat.
Baking Layer and Loaf Cakes: If a bit of flour or white paper is delicately browned after being placed for 2 minutes in the oven, the oven is of proper temperature for layer cakes containing fat. For a loaf cake the oven should be cooler, since a longer time for baking is required. It is especially important that a crust does not form over the top of a cake before the cake has risen, or before it has been in the oven one-fourth of the time required.