Old-fashioned Grape Punch Beverage

grape punchin glass

There are very few pictures in hundred-year-old cookbooks and magazines. As a result, the few photos suggest which recipes the authors or editors considered the most enticing. So when I saw a photo with a pitcher of Grape Punch in a 1922 magazine that looked awesome, I decided to give it a try.

ingredients to make grape punch
Source: American Cookery (August/September, 1922)

The Grape Punch contains grape juice, lemon juice, and orange juice with cucumber peel (rind). I’ve previously had cucumber infused water which I associate with spas and hotel lobbies (and healthy eating), so was intrigued by the inclusion of cucumber in this recipe – though it called for the use of the peel rather than slices of cucumber which seemed a bit odd.

The verdict: The Grape Punch was tasty with lovely citrus undertones and the added smoothness of cucumber.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Grape Punch
Source: American Cookery (August/September, 1922)

I thought that 1 cup of sugar seemed like a lot, so used less. And, I was surprised how attractive thin slices of cucumber peel looked in the punch.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Grape Punch

  • Servings: 10 - 14
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 quart (4 cups) grape juice

1 cup sugar (If desired, use less sugar.)

juice of 4 lemons (about 1 cup lemon juice)

juice of 6 oranges (about 1 1/2 cups orange juice)

1 quart (4 cups) water

1 large cucumber (peel only)

Mix grape juice and sugar together. Add lemon juice, orange juice, and water; stir.

Peel cucumber thinly. (I used a vegetable peeler.) Cut peel into 2-4 inch pieces, then add to the Grape Punch. Chill, then serve.



Black Plum Soup (with Cheese Balls)

Black Plum Soup in Bowl

I love plums so was excited to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Black Plum Soup. I was slightly less excited after I read the recipe and realized that it called for putting cheese balls into the soup before serving (which sounded very strange to me), But, nevertheless, I decided to give the recipe a try.

The Black Plum Soup is served hot. It tasted like plums with a hint of cinnamon though was quite tart. I was pleasantly surprised that I actually really liked the cheese balls in the soup. The cheese balls added some texture to the otherwise clear soup – and sharpness of the cheese was a nice contrast to the tartness of the soup.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Black Plum Soup
Source: American Cookery (June/July, 1922)

This recipe makes a lot of soup, so I divided it in half when I updated it.  The smaller amount I made still makes enough soup to for about 6 cups of soup or three bowls.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Black Plum Soup with Cheese Balls

  • Servings: 3-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 dozen (12)  black plums

3 cups water or chicken broth (I used water.)

grated rind of 1/2 lemon

small piece of stick cinnamon (about 1 1/2 inches long – or longer if a very thin stick)

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

juice from 1/2 lemon

Remove pits from plums and quarter. Put in a Dutch oven or large saucepan; add water or chicken broth, stick of cinnamon, sugar, salt, and white pepper. Put on the stove and bring to a boil using high heat; then reduce heat and simmer for 1/2 hour.  Remove from heat and strain. (Discard the plum pulp.) Add the lemon juice to the plum soup. Reheat then serve. Add cheese balls (see recipe below) right before serving.

Cheese Balls

1/2 cup grated hard cheese (I used cheddar cheese)

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese

1/8 teaspoon salt

dash cayenne (red) pepper

1/2 egg, beaten

1/2 cup fine plain breadcrumbs

shortening or cooking oil

Put grated hard cheese, parmesen cheese, salt, cayenne pepper, and beaten egg in a bowl, then mix to combine all ingredients. Shape the mixture into small balls, each about 1/2 – 3/4 inch in diameter. Roll each ball in the breadcrumbs. Put about 1/2 inch of shortening or cooking oil in a skillet, then heat until hot using medium heat. Place the cheese balls in the hot fat or oil, and fry until the bread crumbs are lightly browned (about 20-30 seconds). Using a fork roll the balls to fry on the other side.  Remove from skillet using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.


Old-fashioned Mashed Summer Squash


Mashed Summer Squash in dish

Squash, squash everywhere – zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, yellow straightneck squash, pattypan squash. What should I do with all of them?

A hundred years ago people had similar concerns. This is what an article said about summer squash in a 1922 magazine:

 Summer Squash

Is summer squash one of your favorite vegetables, or do you consider it a rather tasteless thing, to be used as Hobson’s choice, but not to be hailed with joy? . . .

Few vegetables repay so amply for the small amount of garden-plot, fertilizer, and cultivation they require. They bear heavily though the season, and do not, like so many vegetables, require to be cooked immediately after picking in order catch the finest flavor. They are delicious when properly seasoned. They are also amongst the easiest vegetable to prepare for cooking.

American Cookery (August/September, 1922)

The article also includes a recipe for Mashed Summer Squash. I seasoned the squash with butter and celery salt, and it made a delightful side. dish.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Mashed Summer Squash
Source: American Cookery (August/September, 1922)

This recipe has so many options and permutations that I didn’t know where to began: Boil the squash or steam it; Season with salt or celery salt; peel the squash or don’t.

In the end. I cut the squash into chunks, but didn’t peel, and I used a Foley mill to mash (and remove the squash skin and seeds). The resulting mashed squash was very juicy, so I then partially strained the mashed squash.

Here’s how I made the recipe:

Mashed Summer Squash

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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5 cups, diced or sliced summer squash

1/2 teaspoons celery salt

1/8 pepper

1 tablespoon butter

Put squash in saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil using high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat and drain.  Press through a strainer or sieve. (I used a Foley mill.)

If the mashed squash is too juicy, partially strain until squash is the desired consistency. Then put in a dish and serve.


Escalloped Celery with Chicken

Escalloped Celery with Chicken

I don’t see many recipes for casseroles when browsing through hundred-year-old cookbooks. There are a few casserole recipes in 1922 cookbooks, but they didn’t become really popular until the mid-20th century. In any case, I was intrigued by a casserole recipe that I found in a hundred-year-old cookbook for Escalloped Celery with Chicken, and decided to give it a try.

Though I made this recipe from scratch, the Escalloped Celery with Chicken brought back vague memories of creamed chicken and celery dishes I ate as a child that were made using cream of celery soup. In any case, I enjoyed this dish. It was tasty and made a  nice casserole.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Escalloped Celery with Chicken
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Household Discoveries (1922)

I used a little less salt than was called for in the original recipe. It called for boiling the celery in water with 1 teaspoon salt, plus an additional 3/4 teaspoon salt in the sauce. I decided that an additional 1/2 teaspoon would be plenty – and the recipe tasted fine. I also thought that 500° F. seemed very high – so I baked at 425° F. until the bread crumbs were lightly browned and it was hot and bubbly (about 15 minutes). The recipe says it serves four. In my opinion, if this is served as the main dish, that it is a little skimpy for four, so I listed it as 3-4.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Escalloped Celery with Chicken

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups celery, diced into 1 inch pieces


1 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup diced cooked chicken

3 tablespoons pimento, diced

2 tablespoons butter + 1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup celery water (reserved when celery is drained after cooking)

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup fine dry plain bread crumbs

Put diced celery in a saucepan. cover with water and add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the celery is tender (about 10-15 minutes). Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the celery water.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 425° F. In a skillet, using medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter; then stir in the flour. Gradually, add the milk, cream, and celery water while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Add the cooked celery and diced chicken. and stir to combine.  Put in a 1-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and using 1 tablespoon of butter, dot with small pieces of butter. Put in oven and bake until hot and bubbly, and the bread crumbs are lightly browned.



Kohlrabi with Golden Sauce

Kohlrabi with Golden Sauce in Dish

Kohlrabi has an unique look – it’s round and bulbous with lots of trimmed stems at the farmer’s market. It’s a vegetable that always looks interesting, yet I seldom buy it because I’m not quite sure what to do with it. So I was thrilled when I noticed a recipe for Kohlrabi with Golden Sauce in a hundred-year-old cookbook.

The Kohlrabi with Golden Sauce was a lovely creamed vegetable dish. Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family, and it was slightly peppery with sweet undertones. The Golden Sauce was basically a white sauce plus an egg yolk.

Recipe for Kohlrabi with Golden Sause
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries (1922(

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Kohlrabi with Golden Sauce

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups diced kohlrabi (1/2 inch cubes)

2 tablespoons butter + 2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1 egg yolk, beaten

Put diced kohlrabi in a saucepan and cover with water. Put on burner, and bring to a boil using high heat; reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and drain.  Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan with the hot cooked kohlrabi and cover.

In the meantime, in another pan, using medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter; then stir in the flour. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens. Put a tablespoons of the thickened white sauce in the bowl with the beaten egg yolk; stir immediately. Then add the egg yolk mixture to the white sauce, stir to thoroughly combine. Removed from heat.

Remove lid from pan with cooked kohlrabi, and gently stir to coat kohlrabi with the melted butter. Put in serving dish. Pour the golden white sauce over the kohlrabi.


Old-Fashioned Peach Salad (Dessert)

Peach Salad

I had some peaches so searched through my hundred-year-old cookbooks for a recipe that called for them, and found a winner. The recipe was called Peach Salad – though I actually would consider it a dessert rather than a salad.

This recipe is easy to make and tasty. The peaches are halved and the cavities filled with a whipped cream and chopped walnut mixture. The peaches are then put back together and topped with additional whipped cream and nuts. The Peach Salad makes a perfect dessert on a hot summer day.

When I served the Peach Salad, I provided both a fork and a knife. The peach could then be cut into several pieces, which made it easier to eat.

Here’s the original recipe:

Peach Salad Recipe
Source: Cement City Cook Book (1922) published by the First Baptist Church, Alpena, Michigan

I did not list “preserved peaches” as an option for this recipe. In my opinion, fresh peaches are the way to go. The old recipe call for “nuts.” I used walnuts.

And, I can’t quite picture this recipe with a candied fruit garnish, so when I updated the recipe I did not include the option of garnishing with candied fruit.. (I’m not even sure where to buy candied fruit in the summer. It seems more like an ingredient that I see in December when people are doing Christmas baking.)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Peach Salad (Dessert)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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4 peaches

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped + additional chopped walnuts for garnish

Place the whipping cream in a bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Add confectioners sugar, and continue beating until thoroughly mixed. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts.

Cut each peach in half and remove stone.  Place whipped cream and chopped nut mixture in the cavities and put the peaches back together. Top with additional whipped cream mixture. Garnish with additional chopped nuts.



Old-fashioned Rhubarb Custard Pie with Meringue Topping

Slice of Rhubarb Custard Pie

Rhubarb is only available for a short while each spring and summer – and than it is gone until the next year. Since it will be gone all too soon, I always make numerous rhubarb dishes and desserts while it’s in season. Which brings up a question. When does rhubarb season end? I grew up hearing that it ended on the 4th of July – and that the rhubarb plants needed the remainder of the season to recharge so that they’d survive the winter. I continue to follow this rule of thumb – though always want to push the limits and continue eating rhubarb just a little longer.

Before rhubarb season ends, I decided to make another hundred-year-old rhubarb recipe. This time I made Rhubarb Custard Pie. The pie was topped with meringue and the rhubarb custard had just the right amount of tartness.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Rhubard Custard Pie
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries (1922)

The old recipe states that if you don’t have fresh rhubarb, canned could be used. I’ve never seen canned rhubarb, but am guessing that frozen rhubarb could be used – though didn’t provide directions for using frozen rhubarb since the amount of sugar in the recipe would need to be reduced if the rhubarb had been frozen with sugar – and the needed reduction in sugar would probably vary depending upon the sweetness of the frozen rhubarb.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Rhubarb Custard Pie with Meringue Topping

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups rhubarb, diced

3/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 9-inch pie shell


2 egg whites

6 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Rinse diced rhubarb and drain. Combine rhubarb (with a small amount of water clinging to the rhubarb) and 3/4 of sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil using medium heat while occasionally stirring, then reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 7 minutes). Remove from heat and cool.

Preheat oven to 450° F.  Put the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of sugar, flour, salt, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth, then add milk and beat to combine. Stir in the cooked rhubarb. Put the mixture into the prepared pie shell. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 ° F. and continue baking for 25 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from oven, and top with the meringue (see below). Reduce heat to 300° F., and put the pie back into the oven. Cook for an additional 15 minutes or until the meingue is lightly browned.


In the meantime, make the meringue. Place egg whites in a bowl, and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add sugar while continuing to beat. Then spoon on top of the pie and swirl.