Old-fashioned Fried Celery

Fried Celery

It was more popular to serve celery as a stand-alone vegetable a hundred years ago than it is now. One way of serving it back then was to bread the celery, and then fry it.

When I made this recipe, I struggled to get the bread crumbs to stay on the celery – and the breading was very uneven – though it tasted fine.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Fried Celery
Source: General Welfare Guild Cook Book(Beaver Valley General Hospital, New Brighton, Pennsylvania, 1923)

I used paper towels instead of cheese cloth to dry the celery.

Fried Celery

  • Servings: 3 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 bunch celery


1 egg, beaten

3/4 cup fine bread crumbs

shortening, lard, or other fat

Wash celery and cut into 4-pieces; dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the celery pieces with salt, then dip in beaten eff, and then roll in the bread crumbs.

Heat 1-inch of fat in large skillet. Put the breaded celery in the heated fat, and fry until the breading is brown and the celery tender; remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.


Old-fashioned Loaf Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Loaf Cake

When browsing through a hundred-year-old cookbook published by a shrine patrol in Rochester New York, I saw a recipe for Loaf Chocolate Cake, and decided to give it a try. This recipe is a winner. The recipe was easy to make, and the loaf cake was soft and moist, and had just the right amount of sweetness. (I prefer cakes that aren’t overly sweet).

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Chocolate Loaf Cake
Source: Cook Book published by Bethany Shrine Patrol No. 1, Rochester, NY (1923)

A hundred-years-ago milk often was not pasteurized. Back then, if the non-pasteurized milk was not used quickly, the “good” bacteria in the milk would turn it into a sour milk suitable for use in recipes. Today’s pasteurized milk can be turned into a sour milk by adding a little vinegar.

In 1923, squares of baking chocolate were typically 1-ounce. Today they are often 1/2 ounce, so 4 squares rather than 2 may be needed.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Loaf Chocolate Cake

  • Servings: 7 - 9
  • Difficulty: easy
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1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon vinegar

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 cups flour

2 eggs

2 1-ounce squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted (Many brands of baking chocolate have squares smaller than 1 ounce, so more than 2 squares may be needed.)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a large loaf pan (9″ X 5″) or use two smaller ones.

Put the milk in a cup or bowl, then stir in the vinegar. Set aside for at least 2 minutes to allow milk to sour.

Put brown sugar, butter, flour, eggs, melted chocolate, baking soda, vanilla, and the soured milk in a mixing bowl; stir to combine. Add boiling water; beat until smooth than put in loaf pan. Bake 1 hour 10 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (The time would be less if two smaller pans are used.)


Old-Fashioned Lemon Crumb Pie

Slice of Lemon Crumb PieWhen browsing through a hundred-year-old cookbook, I came across a recipe for Lemon Crumb Pie.

Recipe for Lemon Crumb Pie
Source: Larkin Housewives Cook Book (1923)

I was intrigued by the statement that the recipe author has used this recipe for 38 years. Even though all recipes I make for this blog are old, this one seemed particularly old-fashioned and called for using bread soaked in water to help thicken the pie filling.

The pie turned out well, and is very similar to Lemon Meringue Pie. I never would have guessed that there was bread in the baked pie. There’s something to be said for recipes that have been made (and maybe refined) over the course of 38 years .

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Lemon Crumb Pie

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 slice bread torn into small pieces (about 1 cup)

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

Juice from 1 lemon

Grated rind of 1 lemon

2 egg yolks

dash salt

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 8-inch (small) pie shell


2 egg whites

2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 425° F. Put bread pieces and water in a mixing bowl and let soak for 20 minutes. Then add sugar, lemon juice, grated lemon rind, egg yolks, salt, and melted butter; beat until combined. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake until the mixture is hot and bubbly and thickened (about 30 – 35 minutes). Watch pie closely because the filling will easily boil over.

To prepare the meringue, put the egg whites into a mixing bowl. Beat until stiff peaks form, then beat in the sugar. Spoon the meringue onto the top of the baked pie, and then swirl. Bake in the oven for approximately 8-10 minutes or until the meringue is a light brown.



1923 Kraft Cheese Advertisement (with Recipe for Spinach Timbales)

Spinach Timbale on plateA full-page advertisement in a 1923 issue of Ladies Home Journal  for Kraft Cheese piqued my interest.  It contained a recipe for Spinach Timbales. From time to time I see timbale recipes in hundred-year-old magazines and cookbooks. Timbales back then were creamy vegetable or meat mixtures that were put into individual molds and baked.

The advertisement made the claim that Spinach Timbales were tasty and so nutritious they they could be considered a prescription. With a claim like that – and, an attention-grabbing image of the timbales – I decided this was a must-try recipe.

Kraft Cheese Advertisement
Source: Ladies Home Journal (May, 1923)

My Spinach Timbales didn’t look like the ones in the old advertisement, though I tend to think that they were more visually appealing than the ones in the old drawing (but I could be prejudiced since I made them). The Timbales were tasty, and reminded me a little of Spinach Souffle.

I used custard cups as the mold when I made this recipe since I don’t have timbale molds. I’m actually not even sure what a timbale mold is — though based on the drawing in the advertisement, I think that it may be narrower and higher than a custard cup.

I finely chopped the cheddar cheese when I made this recipe to try to get a similar look to the drawing – though the cheese melted when I baked the timbales and didn’t stay as small chunks, so shredded or grated cheese would work just fine.

The old recipe didn’t include a recipe for the cheese sauce, so to make it, I just made a white sauce and added cheese to it.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Spinach Timbales

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups cooked spinach, chopped (I used 2 cups frozen spinach that I briefly cooked.)

2 eggs, separated

2 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoons salt

dash pepper

2 tablespoons cheddar cheese, shredded, grated, or cut fine

cheese sauce (see below)

1 hard-boiled egg, sliced

Preheat oven to 375° F. Put egg yolks, milk, butter, salt, and pepper into a mixing bowl; beat until combined. Stir in the cheddar cheese and spinach.

In the meantime, put the egg whites in another bowl and beat until soft peaks form.

Fold the beaten egg whites into the spinach and cheese mixture.  Spoon into greased custard cups. Place the custard cups in a pan with hot water that comes to about an inch below the top of the cups. Bake for 30 – 40  minutes or until a knife inserted in center of the mixture comes out clean.

Remove Spinach Timbales from custard cups after baking.

To serve:  Spoon some of the cheese sauce onto plate. Set timbales in the cheese sauce. Top each timbale with an slice of the hard-boiled egg.

Cheese Sauce

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

dash pepper

1 cup milk

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

In a saucepan , melt butter using medium heat; then stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Add cheese, and continue stirring until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens.


Old-fashioned Nut Pastry Rolls

Nut Pastry Rolls on plate

When I make a pie, I often have left-over scraps of pastry dough, so I was intrigued by a hundred-year-old recipe for Nut Pastry Rolls. These rolls are made by rolling out pastry dough (and it works fine to re-roll left-over pastry dough scraps), cutting it into rectangles, then spreading with jelly and sprinkling with chopped pecans, and rolling like a jelly roll and baking.

The Nut Pastry Rolls turned out well, looked attractive, and were tasty.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Nut Pastry Rolls
Source: Boston Cooking School Cook Book (1923)

“Paste” is an archaic term for pastry dough that was commonly used in recipe books a hundred years ago.

When I updated the recipe, I listed ingredient amounts for making approximately 10 rolls – though this is an extremely flexible recipe and the amounts can be adjusted based on the number made.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Nut Pastry Rolls

  • Servings: approximately 10 rolls
  • Difficulty: easy
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pie pastry for a 1-shell pie (or use scraps of pastry dough left-over after making a pie crust)

1/4 cup jelly (I used currant jelly.)

1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 425° F. Roll pie pastry into a rectangle 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 3 X 5 inch rectangles. Spread jelly on the rectangles, then sprinkle with the chopped pecans. Roll each piece as for a jelly roll, then place seam side down on a baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes (or until lightly browned).


Old-fashioned Tuna Salad

tuna salad

I hadn’t had Tuna Salad in years, but I was immediately drawn to a Tuna Salad recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook. The old recipe brought back warm memories of lunches with friends and family where Tuna Salad was a prominent part of the meal.

The recipe did not disappoint. The recipe made a classic tuna salad, and was very quick and easy to make.

Here’s the original recipe:

Tuna salad recipe
General Welfare Guild Cook Book (Compiled by the General Welfare Guild, Beaver Valley General Hospital, New Brighton, PA; 1923)

The recipe called for “one small cup chopped celery or cucumber.” When I made the recipe, I assumed that a “small cup” was the equivalent of a 6-ounce tea cup – or about 3/4 cup. I used enough mayonnaise to bind the other ingredients together – about 1/4 cup. And, I skipped the extra mayonnaise garnish.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Tuna Salad

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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2  5-ounce cans tuna

3/4 cup celery or cucumber, chopped (I used celery.)

2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Put the tuna in a bowl, and use a fork to flake. Add celery or cucumber, onion, and mayonnaise; stir to combine. If desired, serve on lettuce leaves.


Fried Oysters in Batter with Philadelphia Relish

Fried Oysters with Philadelphia Relish

Oysters were much more popular a hundred years ago than what they are now, and many old cookbooks had numerous oyster recipes.  Oysters were widely available and relatively inexpensive. By 1923 trains could quickly transport oysters to most places in the U.S.

I decided to make a fairly basic hundred-year-old oyster recipe – Fried Oysters in Batter. The cookbook recommended that the oysters be served with Philadelphia Relish, which is a cabbage slaw with a vinegrette dressing, so I also made that.

The oysters turned out well and were very tasty. The Philadelphia Relish reminded me of cabbage slaws that were served at church dinners when I was child.

Here’s the original recipe:

Fried Oysters with Philadephia Relish
Source: Boston Cooking School Cook Book (1923)

This recipe made a lot of batter. Since I had a pint of oysters, I halved the batter recipe (and still had more batter than I needed).

My sense is that green peppers have gotten much larger over the past hundred years, so I chopped 1/2 pepper instead of a whole one for the Philadelphia Relish. Also, the recipe called for “mustard seed,” but it didn’t seem like whole mustard seeds would work in this recipe, so I used ground dry mustard.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Fried Oysters in Batter with Philadelphia Relish

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Fried Oysters in Batter

1 pint oysters

1/2 cup bread flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

dash pepper

1 egg

3/8 cup milk

lard, shortening, or vegetable oil

Put flour, salt, pepper, egg, and milk in a mixing bowl; beat until combined and smooth. Set aside.

Drain oysters, and dry on paper towels. Heat about 1/2 inch of lard, shortening, or vegetable oil in a large skillet. Then drip oysters in the batter, and put in the skillet. Cook until lightly browned on the bottom, then gently turn to brown the other side. When browned, remove from the skillet with a fork or slotted spoon. Drain the on paper towels, then serve.

If desired, serve with Philadelphia Relish.

Philadelphia Relish

2 cups cabbage, shredded

1/2 green pepper, finely chopped

1 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon dry ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup vinegar

Combine shredded cabbage and chopped green pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

In a small bowl, put the celery seed, mustard, salt, brown sugar, and vinegar; stir to combine. Then pour over the cabbage and green pepper mixture. Stir gently to evenly distribute the dressing.