Old-Fashioned Squash (Yeast) Bread


Have you ever “hidden” vegetables in food to get your kids to eat healthier? I thought that hiding vegetables was a recent trend, but when I made a hundred-year-old recipe for Squash Bread, I discovered that cooks have been hiding vegetables for a long time.

The Squash Bread had a rustic artesian look, a nice texture, and a sunny yellow tinge – but I couldn’t taste the squash in it. It just tasted like the typical homemade bread.

The verdict: If you want to hide vegetables in bread this recipe is worth a try; otherwise, just stick with your usual bread recipe.

Here’s the original recipe:

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

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Squash Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups milk

2 packages dry yeast

5-6 cups flour

1 cup pureed winter squash (Butternut squash works well in this recipe.)

1 tablespoon shortening (or lard)

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

Scald milk by heating in a sauce pan until the milk begins to steam and form bubbles; use medium heat and stir occasionally. Remove from heat before it comes to a boil. Let the scalded milk cool until it is lukewarm, then dissolve the yeast in the milk.

Put 2 cups flour, squash, shortening, butter, sugar,  salt, and the water and yeast mixture in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).

Place in a greased bowl. Cover; let rise at room temperature until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead for an additional 5 minutes. Divide dough into two equal parts and shape into loaves. Place in 2 greased loaf pans, 9″ X 5″ X 3″, and cover. Let rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes).

Bake loaves in 400° F. oven for 35 minutes or until lightly browned.

I always find old-time bread recipes particularly difficult to interpret because modern yeast is so different from what it was a hundred years ago. Back then it was not dried like the yeast that we generally use today. I guessed that 2 packages of dried yeast would be the equivalent of 1/2 cup (1/2 yeast cake) back then. This substitution worked just fine when I made this recipe.

Hundred-Year-Old Bavarian Cabbage Recipe


I found a delightful Bavarian Cabbage recipe in a hundred-year-old magazine. This traditional German dish was refreshingly sweet-sour (more sour than sweet), and would be lovely served with sausages, roast beef, or pork. It tasted very authentic; and if I closed my eyes and listened hard enough, I could almost see myself sitting at an outdoor cafe on the banks of the Rhine on a cool October day while listening to merry Octoberfest music.

Here’s the original recipe.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (February, 1916)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (February, 1916)

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

Bavarian Cabbage

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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1/2 head cabbage (6 cups) shredded cabbage

1 tablespoon bacon drippings or butter (I used bacon drippings.)

1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Using medium heat, melt  the bacon drippings (or butter) in a frying pan; add onions and cook until tender (but not browned). Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Then add the shredded cabbage and stir; cover the pan and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Remove pan cover once or twice during cooking to make sure there is enough liquid; if too dry add enough water to keep from burning. (I did not need to add any water.)

I used less salt than the original recipe called for. One tablespoon of salt seemed like a lot – so I decided that it probably was a typo and instead used 1 teaspoon of salt. I also didn’t quite understand the last part of the old recipe about cold water (though I’m guessing that it was directing the cook to wash the cabbage prior to cooking).

Interpreting a Hundred-Year-Old Peanut Butter Cutout Cookie Recipe


I love peanut butter cookies, so when I found a hundred-year-old recipe for peanut butter cut-out cookies I had to give it a try.

Here’s the original recipe:

peanut butter cut-out cookies
Source: American Cookery (March, 1917)

When I made this recipe, it quickly became apparent that something was wrong. When I combined all the ingredients, I had a thick batter instead of a dough–and there was no way I could roll it out. I wasn’t quite sure what was wrong with the original recipe, but I decided that the best way to salvage it was to add additional flour – lots of flour.  The resulting soft dough rolled out nicely.

The verdict: The cookies were nothing like modern peanut butter cookies, but if you can totally suspend expectations, the cookies were good. The old-fashioned cake-like cookies had a hint of peanut butter, and are lovely with milk or coffee.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Peanut Butter Cut-out Cookies

  • Servings: approximately 48 cookies
  • Time: 1 hour active prep and cooking time
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1 2/3 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 400° F. Place the  butter, peanut butter, and sugar in a mixing bowl, stir to combine. Stir in the egg and milk, then add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until well-mixed. Refrigerate dough 1/2 hour or until chilled.

On well-floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Place on greased baking sheets. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake 9-11 minutes.

Old-fashioned Cream of Onion Soup Recipe

cream of onion soup

There’s starting to be a nip in the air; a few trees are turning lovely hues of red and yellow, and the days are getting shorter. Autumn is here – and I had a sudden urge to make soup.

I found a lovely  hundred-year-old recipe for Cream of Onion Soup. The soup was rich and creamy with flecks of onions. The recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon of pepper which gave the Cream of Onion Soup a delightful peppery undertone.

Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine), March, 1916
Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine), March, 1916

Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cream of Onion Soup

  • Servings: 7 - 9
  • Time: 40 min.
  • Difficulty: moderate
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5 onions, sliced (approximately 3 cups)

1/4 cup butter + 1/4 cup butter

4 cups water

4 sprigs parsley

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 cups milk

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup cream

Melt 1/4 cup butter in large saucepan, add sliced onions and saute until the onions are soft and semi-transparent (but not browned).  Add water and parsley, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until onions are tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then puree in a blender or food processor.

Meanwhile, in a dutch oven, using medium heat, melt 1/4 cup butter; then stir in the flour, salt and pepper. Gradually add the milk while stirring constantly; then add the pureed onion mixture.

In a small mixing bowl, beat egg yolks; add cream and stir to blend. Add a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of onion mixture and  stir quickly to prevent the egg from coagulating. Then stir the egg and cream mixture into the onion mixture in the dutch oven. Bring to a simmer and then serve.

Old-Fashioned Apple Pudding

Apple Pudding

I generally like old-fashioned fruit puddings, so I was pleased when I saw a recipe for Apple Pudding in a hundred-year-old cookbook.

Apple Pudding Recipe
Source: Lycoming Valley Cook Book, compiled by the Ladies of Trout Run M.E. Church, Trout Run, PA (1907)

Most modern apple recipes call for cinnamon and other spices, so I was surprised that this recipe didn’t use any spices. But they weren’t needed–the Apple Pudding was pure apple and delightful.  The apples were embedded in a lovely moist cake pudding.

In general the directions in this old recipe are a little vague. It provides no clue how many apples should be used;  and I was left to decide what a moderate oven meant. However, the recipe was very specific that Cleveland’s Superior Baking Powder should be used. Of course, I’ve never heard of Cleveland’s and it’s probably not been made for decades. So I  had to make due with a modern baking powder brand, which worked just fine. This recipe may have been originally published by the Cleveland Baking Powder Company. Perhaps Mrs. Wm. Mock liked it, and submitted the same exact recipe for the church cookbook.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Apple Pudding

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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4 cups sliced apples

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place sliced apples into a 7 1/2  X  12  X  2 inch rectangular casserole dish, or other similarly-sized dish.

Put butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, egg, and milk into a mixing bowl; beat until smooth.  Pour the batter over the apples. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour – 1 hr, 15 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Serve warm or cool. If desired, may be served with whipped cream or milk.

Hundred-Year-Old Potato Salad Recipe

Potato Salad

Over the next couple weeks I have several picnics on my calendar. Potato Salad is the quintessential picnic food, so I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old Potato Salad recipe.

Potato Salad Recipe
Source: Lycoming Valley Cook Book, compiled by the Ladies of Trout Run M.E. Church, Trout Run, PA (1907)

At first I wasn’t quite sure about the recipe. It didn’t contain the usual Potato Salad ingredients like celery and mayonnaise, but rather was a vinaigrette dressing. Yet, the recipe was so easy that I decided to give it a try.

The Potato Salad was lovely, and the vinaigrette dressing with a hint of pepper was just right. It added a delightful flavor to the potatoes, but didn’t overwhelm them.  This recipe is a keeper.

The old recipe made a lot of dressing relative to the potatoes, so I divided it by three when I revised it. Here’s the updated recipe for modern cooks:

Potato Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 20 minutes active prep
  • Difficulty: easy
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3 large potatoes (approximately 3 cups diced)

3/4 cup  onion, diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/3 teaspoon salt

1/3 teaspoon black pepper

parsley sprigs for garnish, optional

Peel and dice potatoes into 3/4 inch chunks. Put into a sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the potatoes are just barely tender (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat and drain. Chill in refrigerator for several hours, then add onions.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour this dressing over the potatoes and onions. Gently toss to coat the potatoes with the dressing. Put in serving bowl; and, if desired, garnish with parsley sprigs.

Old-Fashioned Plum Pie

Plum Pie

Have you ever eaten a Plum Pie? Until I saw a hundred-year-old for Plum Pie, and decided to give it a try, I’d never had one.

The Plum Pie was awesome. It was tart, but not too tart; and it was sweet, but not too sweet. In other words, it was just right. The pie was beautiful with  a lovely reddish-purple filling.

Now that I’ve eaten Plum Pie, I can say with certainty that it is one of my favorite pies.

But now I’m confused. Plum Pies apparently were more popular a hundred-years-ago than what they are now. Why have they gone out of style?

Here’s the original hundred-year-old recipe:

Plum Pie Recipe
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Plum Pie

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups sliced purple plums (plums that are still somewhat  firm work best)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2  cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon butter

Pastry for 8 inch (small) 2-crust pie



Heat oven to 425° F.  In a bowl combine the plum slices and the lemon juice. Add the sugar and flour, stir gently to combine .  Turn into pastry-lined pie pan, and dot with butter. Cover with top crust and flute edges. Brush crust with a small amount of milk; sprinkle with sugar.  Bake in oven for 10 minutes; then reduce heat to 350° F. Bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and juice just begins to bubble.