Another Blast from the Past

April 30, 2017

I came upon this ad in a collection of old recipes I found in this scrapbook:

It was filled with pages like this:

Among other things, there were entire pages of recipes for Boston Baked Beans.  Recipes for rationing. Lots of cakes and breads.

And that ad above  from the December 1946 issue of Farm Journal.  Now, at least, we know where the term “douche bag” comes from.

And just because I want to leave you with happier thoughts, I also found this little gem:


How to Avoid Mental Dullness, circa 1897

April 28, 2017


I have a great fondness for these early ads for Grape Nuts, which was originally marketed to men with the promise that it would help them “win money and position.”  That one little sentence tells us so much about the time.

The cereal, which contains neither grapes nor nuts, was developed in 1897 by  C.W. Post, who was a patient (and then a competitor), of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg.  It was one of the first commercial products marketed as health food.

Shelf stable, the cereal later became part of the jungle rations issued to soldiers during WW II.  It went on, of course, to be used in many other ways – including as part of a classic New England ice cream treat.

Here’s a recipe for Grape Nut bread I found in one of my vintage cookbooks from 1946. 

Should you want to make your own, here’s a recipe from Serious Eats: homemade Grape Nuts.

And just because, I can’t wait to try this:

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Recipes from the Bayou

April 24, 2017

Another gem from my bookshelf, more rich southern cuisine, in this case from the Mississippi bayou. Like so many old spiral bound recipe books (this one was published in 1975), Bayou Cuisine was the work of a church group – in this case, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Indianola, Mississippi. Refreshingly, whoever put this cookbook together was conscious of the diverse peoples who contributed to Southern cuisine, and the recipes reflect that. It’s chock full of really interesting entries.

Here’s a trusty looking recipe for one of my favorite southern desserts, chess pie, from Mrs. Charles Graeber. It’s one of those desserts you could almost make a meal of. 

And then here’s a classic bourbon ball recipe. (Let these sit a few days before serving so the flavor have a chance to mingle.) 

And this slightly insane recipe; I wish I knew what inspired it!

And last, some fascinating (and psychedelic) sauces to slather on roasted meats. I’m guessing they’re vaguely Chinese inspired:


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Four Great Low Country Recipes

April 23, 2017

Been looking through old cookbooks – I have thousands – and happened upon a few I really love. Like this lovely little book of recipes from one of my favorite Charleston chefs, Robert Stehling.  I’ve never had a single dish at Hominy Grill that wasn’t absolutely wonderful.  Consider, for example, Robert’s

If you’re looking for a great appetizer, you can’t do better than this:

and I’m about to make this right this minute:

Dessert tonight?  How about the perfect chocolate pudding?  (Note that you should make it soon if you want to eat this rich wonderful pudding tonight: it needs to chill before you eat it.)


Meet Your Aunt Sammy

April 19, 2017

I would love to hear a recording of Aunt Sammy’s voice, which was broadcast into kitchens across the country from 1926 through the great depression.  The brainchild of the USDA Bureau of Home Economics and the Radio Service, Aunt Sammy’s “Housekeeper’s Chat” was one of the most popular radio programs of its day; by 1932, it could be heard five days a week on 194 stations across the United States.

The obvious precursor of food television, Aunt Sammy offered political talk and housekeeping tips, but mostly she shared her favorite recipes.

The USDA received so many recipe requests from folks who had just missed that one last ingredient, that they printed a pamphlet of Aunt Sammy’s best hits. Within a month, they were back at the printers. 

Here are a few of her recipes.  (Note that the “hard sauce” is actually soft; Aunt Sammy left out the booze.

And these look pretty good!