One of the simple joys of life is the aroma of warm homemade bread when it first comes out of the oven. And, when the bread is thickly sliced and smothered with butter, it is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. Though I’ve been making hundred-year-old recipes for years, I recently realized that I’ve never made a hundred-year-old recipe for White Bread, so when I came across a White Bread recipe in a 1920 cookbook, I just had to give it a try.
The bread did not disappoint. This classic white bread has golden crust, and a light and fluffy texture.
Here is the original recipe:
When, I made the recipe, I substituted a packet of dry yeast for each cake of yeast.
In a large bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water. Add shortening and half the flour; until smooth beat. Add salt and then gradually add the remaining flour until the dough reaches a consistency where it can be handled. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Put in a large greased bowl, cover and place in a warm spot that is free from drafts until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).
Punch dough down, then divide dough into four equal parts and shape into loaves. Place in four greased loaf pans, and cover. Let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
Bake loaves in 375° F. oven for 35 -45 minutes or until lightly browned.
Each Fall I buy a Delicata squash and roast it, but until I came across a hundred-year-old Delicata squash recipe, I never gave any thought to other ways that it might be prepared. It was fun to try a “new” way of serving this old-time squash.
The century-old recipe was for Delicata Squash in Brown Sauce. The recipe called for cubed squash that is served in a delightful classic brown sauce.
Here is the original recipe:
I made several adaptions and assumptions when making this recipe. I used fresh Delicata squash rather than canned. And, I used butter rather than “fat.”
I was a bit foggy about what was meant by three slices of carrot and five of celery. Does the recipe really mean just a few small pieces of sliced carrot and celery – or was it referring to larger chunks? I made the assumption that the recipe was calling for one carrot and two stalks of celery – but this may not be what the recipe writer intended.
And, have you ever heard of mushroom ketchup? Since I didn’t have any idea what it was, I went with the Worcestershire sauce option.
4 tablespoons rye or barley flour (I used rye flour.)
1 1/4 cups beef broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Peel squash, halve and remove seeds and membranes; then cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Put on the stove and bring to a boil using high heat; then reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and drain.
In the meantime, melt butter in a skillet. Add onion, carrot and celery; sauté until tender using medium heat. Stir in the flour, and continue stirring until the flour just begins to brown. Gradually add beef broth while stirring constantly; continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and strain; reserve the strained sauce. (If desired, the cooked vegetables may be served separately; otherwise discard.) Return the strained sauce to the saucepan; stir in salt, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Reheat until hot.
To serve, place cooked squash in serving dish. Pour brown sauce over the squash.
I’m sometimes asked how I decide which hundred-year-old recipes to make. Often I make recipes that sound like something I think I might like; other times I select recipes because I’m intrigued by an unusual combination of ingredients or preparation methods.
This week, was a first. Another blogger’s post inspired me to select a particular hundred-year-old recipe.
I recently read Automatic Gardening and Real Gluten Free Food’s recipe for Cold Chicken Rice Salad – and thought, “I think that I’ve seen a similar recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook.” Next thing I knew, I was making a 1919 recipe for Chicken, Rice, and Celery Salad.
Chicken, Rice, and Celery Salad has a nice texture, and is packed with flavor. Both a hundred years ago and now, this salad is perfect for a summer lunch or picnic.
Here is the original recipe:
When I made the recipe, I used some lettuce, but not an entire head. Similarly I used less mayonnaise than the old recipe called for.
If you are looking for a hundred-year-old recipe, come back next week. This week, I’m revisiting the early days of this blog – and including a 70-year-old recipe for Soft Molasses Cookies to boot.
I began A Hundred Years Ago in 2011 to post my grandmother’s diary entries a hundred years to the day after she wrote them. My grandmother, Helena Muffly [Swartz] kept the diary from 1911 to 1914 when she was a teen living on a farm near McEwensville in central Pennsylvania. After I posted all the diary entries, I reinvented A Hundred Years Ago to its current focus on food. Today I’m going to go back to those diary years —
When I was a child, I lived about a mile from Grandma – and most of her other grandchildren also lived nearby. But one of Grandma’s daughters lived in the Philadelphia area with her husband and three children. It was always a special occasion when those cousins visited.
I recently received a comment on a post I did about Grandma’s cookies from Pat Donaldson, one of my “Philadelphia” cousins. She then followed up with an email. She wrote:
I too remember Grandma’s cookies fondly. We’d come to visit, and her cookie jar would always be full, with either Molasses or Peanut Butter cookies. The Molasses cookies were soft, with a dark crinkly top, and the Peanut Butter cookies had the trademark cross-hatching on them. We’d eat the cookies as we ran in and out of the house playing tag.
Later, when we were grown and attending a wedding we talked about those cookies and found how scarcely they were given out to our cousins, who would have to ask for just one very politely. They were scandalized that we just reached in and ate them! But we were only there one weekend a month, and Grandma never said a word about our cookie habit – just kept the cookie jar full for us.
After her funeral, we were all given a chance to take home one item to remember Grandma by. I chose her Sunbeam mixer, which came with a little cookbook. The mixer was a Sunbeam Mixmaster 10, which was sold around 1950. Since I was in college and needed a mixer, that’s what I chose. It lasted quite a while – decades at least. The recipe book came with the mixer
Inside the cookbook I found recipes for molasses and peanut butter cookies. I’m not sure about the peanut butter cookies – but the molasses cookies have an “X” next to the recipe, and I’m fairly sure they’re the ones Grandma baked. I’ve scanned the pages from the recipe book. The Sunbeam cookbook is still a bit recent for your food blog – but the cookies can be eaten any time.
p.s.: One year when we were visiting we went exploring in the attic, and found Grandma’s cookie stash. She must have baked dozens and dozens of them, and they were all sitting in a box waiting to go into the cookie jar as soon as we emptied it. That solved the mystery of how Grandma’s cookie jar could always be full, when we never saw her baking cookies!
Here’s the first page of the little cookbook that came with the mixer::
And, here’s the recipe in the cookbook (with Grandma’s “X” marking it as a recipe she had made):
Of course, I had to try Grandma’s (i.e., the Sunbeam Mixmaster Cookbook) Soft Molasses Cookie recipe. The cookies turned out wonderfully. They were soft and chewy with just the right mixture of spices and raisins. Making the cookies with a mixer was very 1950’s, but the cookies are definitely a wonderful, traditional, soft molasses cookie that brought back fond memories of Grandma, her kitchen, and wonderful times playing with my cousins.
Banana Fritters are a wonderful comfort food, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for them. The fritters were crispy; and, when served with a little confectioners sugar sprinkled on top, had just the right amount of sweetness. The fritters are made using banana slices or chunks, and when I bit into them, the embedded fruit was pure delight. This recipe is a keeper.
2 medium bananas, sliced or cut into small chunks (I sliced the bananas.)
shortening or lard
confectioners sugar (optional)
Put flour, baking powder, salt, egg, and milk in a mixing bowl; beat until combined. Add sliced or cubed bananas, and gently stir until the bananas are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Heat 1/2 inch of shortening or lard until hot in large frying pan. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of batter into hot shortening. Fry for about 2 minutes. Flip fritters and fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels. If desired, sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Serve immediately.
It’s always a challenge to get kids to eat healthy foods, but one trick that parents have been using for a long time is to dress foods up so they look like animals or other creatures. I recently came across a fun hundred-year-old recipe for Butterfly Salad that is quick and easy to make.
The recipe called for asparagus, lettuce, pineapple slices, olives, and pimento strips. This combination of ingredients sounded a bit unusual to me, but it actually was very tasty. The olives added a nuanced saltiness to the other ingredients, but did not overwhelm them.
2 flat lettuce leaves (I used the top portion of the outer leaves from a head of Romaine lettuce.)
1 slice canned pineapple
1 spear cooked asparagus (chilled)
2 – 3 stuffed green olives
2 strips pimento
2 tablespoons French dressing or mayonnaise (optional)
To make a butterfly set the asparagus spear in the center of the plate to represent the body. To make the wings place the lettuce leaves on either side of the asparagus spear. To make the head, set an olive at the base of the asparagus spear. Cut the pineapple slice in half, and symmetrically set each half on a lettuce leaf. Slice the other olive(s), and place slices on the pineapple to decorate the leaf “wings”. Put the strips of pimento above the olive head to represent the butterfly’s antennas. If desired, serve with French dressing or mayonnaise.
Asparagus and eggs pair beautifully, and hum of spring, so I was thrilled to come across a hundred-year-old recipe for Eggs, Grand Duc which is a delightful, surprisingly modern, egg and asparagus recipe.
Toast is topped with long, graceful spears of asparagus, which is immersed in a creamy cheese sauce. And, it all is topped with a perfectly poached egg.
The presentation is lovely, and would be perfect for a small Spring brunch.
Here’s the original recipe:
Here’s the recipe updated modern cooks. To make this dish more visually appealing, I used whole slices of toast instead of the toast squares called for in the original recipe. I also assembled the ingredients in a different order than called for in the original recipe.
Trim asparagus spears to remove the tough sections at the bottom of the stalks. Place asparagus in a pan with a steamer. Put water in the bottom of the steamer, and cover. Heat to a boil; then reduce heat until the water simmers. Steam for about 5 minutes or until the asparagus is tender. (If preferred the asparagus can be roasted instead of steamed.)
Poached Egg Directions
Bring 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a skillet, then reduce to a simmer. Break each egg into a small bowl or cup, then slip into the water. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the poached eggs from the water using a slotted spatula, and drain on paper towels.
Cheese Sauce Directions
Using medium heat, melt butter in a saucepan; then stir in the flour and salt. Gradually add the milk while stirring constantly. Then add the cheese; continue stirring until the sauce thickens.
On the top of each slice of toast, arrange one-fourth of the cooked asparagus. Spoon cheese sauce on top of the asparagus, and top with a poached egg.