Monthly Archives: June 2020

Chiffonade Dressing

I wanted to make something a little different for today’s post. I found a salad dressing recipe that I wanted to try, and it actually fit perfectly with the meal we were having. It was dark by the time we ate, so my pictures aren’t the best. I planned on taking better ones this morning, but we ate all of the dressing last night. (Spoiler—it was really good!)

The recipe is from the 1940 edition of Jessie Marie DeBoth’s Cook Book. I like my copy because you can tell it was well-loved. The name Dorothy Louise Whittingslow is inscribed inside the front cover. Most of the pages have evidence of cooking on them, and I love thinking about Dorothy Louise making the same recipes that I am making today.

Chiffonade Dressing

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp chopped red pepper (sweet)
  • 1 tbsp minced parsley
  • 1 tsp minced onion

Combine ingredients and chill thoroughly. Beat or shake before using. Very good on plain salad greens.

Results

We tripled the recipe and it only made two small jars of dressing, so keep that in mind when doing your meal planning. This was a colorful, attractive dressing. If I make this again soon, I’ll take better pictures because this is truly nice to look at with all of its colors and textures. I agree with the recipe that this would be best on plain salad greens. The dressing really stands out when there’s nothing to compete with its flavor.

I loved the addition of eggs to the dressing. The paprika and pepper gave it a little spice. I found the amount of vinegar was perfect–it wasn’t too strong. It does separate quickly, so a good shake before each person’s salad is a good idea. The recipe is fast and easy to make, so you can quickly whip up a fresh batch when you need it.

There are some interesting salad dressing recipes in this cookbook, including some ideas for taking the store bought dressings that are already in our refrigerators and making them fancier. I think I’ll try some more in July. I’ve been eating salad more frequently and it’s nice to have more options when it comes to dressing.

Do you have a favorite salad dressing? Let me know if you try this one.

Have a great week!

Mexican Tamale Pie

Today’s recipe is from the 1939 edition of Flavor’s the Thing by Florence La Ganke (Harris). This cookbook has a nice selection of recipes from around the world. The author included interesting facts about food in different countries and a list of holidays you could celebrate with recipes from the book.

Results

Tamales are very popular when I live, and we also run across the occasional tamale pie. I was interested in seeing how a 1939 recipe would compare to what we typically eat.

This tamale pie was rather bland. For today’s taste’s I would would change the recipe to suit your needs. Several of my taste-testers added salsa or hot sauce. It didn’t taste bad, but it didn’t have much flavor. Tamale pies also usually have more breading in them, so I was surprised by the lack of it in this dish. It was also a little mushy. My three year old that eats anything you put in front of her didn’t finish her first bite.

I can see why this recipe might have appealed to the home front housewife. In certain parts of the United States, tamale pie might have been a new kind of dish, and it would have been a mild introduction to Mexican food. I think that since we live in an area where tamales are eaten frequently, are often homemade, and are quite a bit spicier, this recipe was a tough one for my family to enjoy.

Do you eat tamales often? Or tamale pie? Do you have a favorite tamale pie recipe? I’d love to try it.

Baked Bananas

I had several leftover bananas from making a Father’s Day banana pudding, so I decided to look in the 1942 Short Cuts and Left-Overs cookbook for new ideas on how to use them. I found a recipe that was fast and easy and tried it out.

Baked Bananas

Remove one section of the skin. Put fruit into pan. Sprinkle each banana with lemon juice and a little brown sugar. Bake until tender in hot oven.

Notes: This cookbook doesn’t list cooking temperatures and often doesn’t have ingredient amounts. We baked these at 350°F and guessed at the amount of lemon juice and brown sugar.

Results

We baked these until we were worried the peel would burn. The bananas were tender but not mushy and there was a sweet syrup inside the peel. This isn’t a pretty dish, but it would make a nice after school treat or a quick dessert. We ate ours right out of the peel, but you could slice or mush the fruit and put it on a sandwich with peanut butter or use it as a sundae topping.

We eat a lot of bananas in our house, and it’s always nice to find a new way to prepare them that’s quick and easy. Let me know if you try these.

Listen While You Work: Homefront Housewives and Radio

Home front housewives listened to a variety of radio programs during the day. It helped to pass the time when the day was full of household chores. Many of the shows they listened to, like “The Guiding Light”,  became television shows later on. Since many of us are staying home right now, I thought I would provide some links so you can listen to the same programs that a home front housewife would have enjoyed during the war years. 

The Guiding Light

“The Guiding Light” is probably a familiar name to many of you. After 1975 it was known as just “Guiding Light”. It is one of the longest-running broadcast programs in the United States. The radio portion of it ran from 1937 to 1956. You can find episodes to listen to by clicking the link below. 

The Guiding Light

One Man’s Family

This program actually ran once a week on Friday nights instead of during the day, but I’m including it here because of its popularity. It started in 1932 and ran until 1959, making it the longest-running uninterrupted dramatic serial in American radio history. It also had a shorter television run that began in 1949. It follows a family of 7 living in San Fransisco and you can find episodes below.  

One Man’s Family

Pepper Young’s Family

After a few name and format changes, “Pepper Young’s Family” could be heard on NBC from 1932 to 1959. The show was about a high school athlete, his family, and his friends. 

Pepper Young’s Family

Vic and Sade

“Vic and Sade” was a popular 15-minute program that aired two to three times per day, five days a week. It began in 1932 and lasted until 1946. It also later appeared on television. The link below will take you to recordings of episodes from 1940 and 1941. The program followed a middle-class family in Illinois.

Vic and Sade

Information, Please

“Information, Please” was a morning quiz show that began in 1938 and ended in 1951. The show had a panel of experts try to answer questions that had been submitted by listeners. Panels included three regulars and a guest panelist. The guests were well-known people like Fred Allen, Henry Cabot Lodge, and Alfred Hitchcock.  Prizes changed, but wartime episodes had prize packages that often included war bonds. The program was sponsored by Encyclopedia Britannica and winners received sets of encyclopedias.

Information, Please

Ma Perkins

Here is a bonus program. This weekday serial drama ran from 1933 to 1960. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any wartime episodes. I’ve linked to some both before and after the war if you’d like to listen. Ma Perkins was a widow with three children in a small southern town where she owned and operated a lumber yard. 

Ma Perkins 

This is a 1947 Stewart Warner radio that my 16 year old son and I are restoring. It belonged to my husband’s grandparents. It has a radio and record player inside. The two lower side doors are storage compartments.

Sources

Oldtimeradiodownloads.com and archive.org are terrific websites to explore old radio programs, period music, and more. The above radio programs are linked to one of these locations. There is great stuff to be found with a little exploring. I hope you enjoy these radio programs as much as I do.

Escalloped Potatoes Hungarian Style

Today’s recipe is from the 1942 edition of Short Cuts and Left-Overs by Hannah W. Schloss. Schloss felt that there had been enough attention on recipe books and household hints, but not enough on using leftovers in an easy and appetizing way. She wrote that the secret of leftovers was to make them taste better and use them in filling dishes. She also thought that combining fresh foods and canned foods was the ticket to using leftovers in a way that would appeal to the family while filling them up.

The cookbook is aimed at new cooks. I can imagine this book being a terrific gift for a new bride in the early 1940s. It includes a long list of kitchen vocabulary ranging from appetizer to zest. There is a weights and measures chapter, and a chapter with kitchen hints that help a housewife choose spices, utensils, food staples, and more. My favorite chapter is a separate index in the front of the book that is really helpful when you are trying to use up specific foods. For example, if you have leftover apples, this index lists all the recipes in the book that use apples. The index in the back of the book is not near as detailed.

One last thing I want to mention before I get to the recipe—none of these recipes have directions for oven temperature and many don’t include cooking times. Less than half actually have a list of ingredients. There is a lot of guess work involved in cooking these recipes, but I think that allows for more flexibility when using a variety of leftovers. In fact, we adapted today’s recipe. More on that in a minute.

Escalloped Potatoes Hungarian Style

Our version of this recipe is tweaked a little to fit the meal we were having. We placed the ingredients on a cookie sheet, dotted it with sour cream, and baked it at 350°F for 20 minutes.

Results

I would describe these as a cut up baked potato. Your typical baked potato ingredients are all here—salt, pepper, sour cream. The eggs were a nice, mild tasting addition. You definitely could add things like pickles or cheese to make the dish have more flavor and color. It’s a good way to use up potatoes and it will go with almost any meal. Recipes like this would help home front housewives use up every last bit of food in their kitchens.

Do you have a favorite leftover recipe?

Drop Sugar Cookies

Monday I posted a cream sponge cake recipe from Honor Among Cooks, a 1941 cookbook composed of recipes collected by Mary Spahr. The recipe could also be used to make drop sugar cookies. We made a couple of additional adjustments based on Monday’s cake results. You can find them in the note below the recipe.

Drop Sugar Cookies

  • 6 oz butter
  • 2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c sweet milk
  • 3 3/4 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon, extract or grated rind

Mix in usual manner. Drop by teaspoon on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake in oven at 425°F. Makes 60 cookies.

Note: Based on Monday’s cake results, we adjusted this recipe a bit. We added 2 tbsp butter and an extra splash of milk. We added the eggs to the mixture last.

Results

This is a good cookie recipe. The cookies were soft and fluffy and really moist. The lemon flavor stood out more than in the cake, which I liked. We tried these both with and without cinnamon sugar, and they were tasty either way. These would be easy to decorate as holiday cookies, topping each cookie with colored sugar or sprinkles.

My family of taste testers all loved these. In fact, while I was taking pictures, my three year old snuck a cookie from my plate. If that doesn’t say how good these are, I don’t know what will.

Let me know if you try these, and if you use the original recipe or try our modifications. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you here Monday.

Cream Sponge Cake

Today’s recipe is from the 1941 edition of Honor Among Cooks by Mary Spahr. The proceeds from the book were given to The American Friends Service Committee for Refugee Children. Spahr’s 1938 first edition booklet was a “Kitchen File” with her favorite recipes that she sent out to people by mail. In response, women shared their recipes with her. Spahr found she had enough recipes to publish a book, and Honor Among Cooks became a hard bound cookbook. The recipe for Cream Sponge Cake was from Bess Farnham.

Cream Sponge Cake

  • 6 oz butter
  • 2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c sweet milk
  • 3 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon, extract or grated

Mix in usual manner. Bake in oven at 375°F. Makes two layers.

Results

The recipe is short on instructions, so we weren’t sure what to do with those two layers. My daughter came up with this lovely buttercream and strawberry jam layer. Any buttercream recipe will do. Just spread it on the the cake, follow with some strawberry jam, then top with the second cake layer.

The cake itself was pretty dry. I would have liked for there to be more lemon flavor. The addition of the buttercream and jam helped with the dryness. If it weren’t for that middle layer, I think the cake would’ve been too dry to enjoy. If you make this recipe, consider adjusting the ingredients accordingly.

With a couple of small changes, Bess Farnham said that this recipe can also be made into cookies. I think we’ll give it a go later this week. I’ll let you know how it turns out. (ETA: You can find those cookies here.)

First Monday Menu: Luncheon Ham with Cottage Cheese and Peach (Nectarine) Salad

This month’s menu is a June option from Modern Meal Menu by Martha Meade, a fabulous 1939 cookbook with 1115 menus and 744 recipes.

Menu

  • Luncheon Ham
  • Bread
  • Cottage Cheese and Peach Salad
  • Fruit Mayonnaise
  • Coffee, Tea, or Milk

This luncheon menu has three different recipes. I’ll start with the luncheon ham.

Luncheon Ham

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 lb diced boiled ham
  • 2 tbsp butter or oil
  • 1 1/2 c cooked peas

Cook diced boiled ham in butter or oil. Beat 3 eggs well and add the peas before pouring over the ham in the frying pan. Cook gently without stirring until eggs are set. Roll and cut in serving pieces.

Note: We couldn’t get this to roll. It fell apart, so we cut it into pieces to serve.

Peach and Cottage Cheese Salad

  • 1 c creamy cottage cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 4 peaches (8 halves)
  • lettuce
  • chopped nuts
  • fruit mayonnaise (see recipe)

Mix cottage cheese with salt and paprika. Fill 8 fresh peach halves with cottage cheese mixture and place two halves on a cup of lettuce. Sprinkle chopped nuts over the salad and place a spoonful of fruit mayonnaise on the side.

Notes: We are still having problems getting certain foods at our local grocery store. We didn’t have lettuce or chopped nuts, and we could only get nectarines. I still wanted to try this, though, because the recipe sounded so interesting.

Fruit Mayonnaise

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c orange juice
  • 1/2 c unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash cayenne
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 c olive oil

Melt butter, add flour and blend thoroughly. Add fruit juices slowly, stirring constantly. Cook until smooth and thickened. Place all remaining ingredients together in a bowl and beat with a rotary egg beater until slightly mixed. Add the hot mixture slowly and beat until thick enough to hold its shape. Makes 1 pint.

Results

I’m glad I chose this menu. I picked it for the peach salad, but the luncheon ham ended up being the star of the show.

The luncheon ham really was just an omelet with ham and peas. I’ve never had an omelet with peas before, and let me tell you, I’ll definately add peas in the future. Peas were unexpected, but at the same time blended well with the other flavors. I think adding a little bit of finely chopped onion would also be good in this recipe. My entire family really enjoyed the luncheon ham and I know we’ll eat it again in the future. It’s quick and easy in addition to being super tasty.

Do you add peas to your omelets? I wish I had thought of this earlier.

On to the peach salad. We can’t buy peaches here right now, so we used nectarines instead. I was unsure about the combination of ingredients in these recipes. I didn’t know what to expect. I tried both with and without the fruit mayonnaise.

Without: The sweetness of the nectarine was nicely balanced by the cottage cheese and paprika mixture. I was surprised at how much I liked it. I like cottage cheese, but I typically don’t eat it with sweet foods. This was pleasant, and the soft textures of the nectarine and the cottage cheese worked together nicely.

With the fruit mayonnaise: I really don’t know what to think of this. The fruit mayonnaise by itself was oily and lumpy and I didn’t like it at all, but when I added it to the nectarine and cottage cheese mixture, it transformed itself into a slightly citrusy topping that wasn’t at all as strong as I expected it to be. The whole thing worked out well. The fruit mayonnaise isn’t really necessary, I suppose, but I think I would miss it if I made this dish again without it.

In all, this was a fun menu with some great new recipes that I think would work well in our modern meals. Hope your June is a healthy and happy one.