Tag Archives: Vintage Cooking

VINTAGE RECIPES: The Perfect Pumpkin 10/27/19

“Farm produce with small image of horse in the upper left corner”; chromolithograph. Library of Congress. 1893.

Picking the perfect pumpkin is a family tradition. Whether a miniature or the largest pumpkin in the field is chosen to adorn the front step, much discussion and deliberation ensues. Each year, the trip to the pumpkin field ignites memories beginning with “Remember when…”. The excitement and resulting anticipation heightens while bumping through the field on a wagon ride.

Children spring from the wagon and scatter through the field. Some will choose the first one spotted; others will wander for a while with much consideration; one great thinker seemingly arrives on each wagon ride. The most patient driver becomes restless. The other children begin to call. A set of parents begins to apologize as their child carries several pumpkins to a central location and checks for imperfections. Those that do not make the final cut may have a speck of dirt, a rough patch, or perhaps a slightly irregular shape, but the child knows that there is only one “Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”!

The Pumpkin

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin,—our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam,
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

Whittier, John Greenleaf. The Pumpkin.

Harvest time on all parts of the farm was busy yet rewarding. In the kitchen, Auntie’s passion for cooking brought joy to family and friends. Each Autumn, I recall the aroma of Auntie’s pumpkin pie.

Auntie’s Recipe for Pumpkin Pie

  • 2 cups of stewed pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 scant pint of milk
  • Bake 45 minutes.
Lee, Russell, photographer. Pumpkins and turnips near Berlin, Connecticut. Library of Congress. October 1939.
Lee, Russell, photographer. Cutting up Pumpkin for Pie. Bakery San Angelo, Texas Library of Congress. November 1939.
Delano, Jack. At the Crouch family Thanksgiving Day dinner. Pumpkin pies. Ledyard, Connecticut. Library of Congress. November 1940

Vintage Recipes: Auntie’s recipes 7/13/19

Auntie’s recipes dating from the early 1900s were well-used and spattered with years of good cooking yet preserved in this box.

As I select vintage recipes to transcribe from Auntie’s recipe box, I recall those treasured moments in her kitchen when I observed and assisted or perhaps hindered her progress with the meal.

photographer: Dorothea Lange, Mrs. Granger’s storeroom. 1939 She has 500-600 quarts of canned food. “You never know what may happen.” Yamhill farms. (FSA – Farm Security Administration). Yamhill County, Williamette Valley, Oregon. “From the NY Public Library”

My memories of the cooking experience include my hesitant journey into the dirt floor cellar of the old farmhouse to retrieve a Mason jar of the requested fruit canned the previous season. Slowly, I took the first step on the worn narrow stairs illuminated with a swinging dusty bulb. I viewed the cobwebs, smelled the dust, and felt the damp chill of being underground.

I proceeded cautiously toward the wooden shelf containing neatly lined and labelled Mason jars. With two hands tightly grasping the blue glass jar, I turned around and saw shadows in the dark corners. An avid reader of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, I imagined myself the protagonist of my own mystery …

Film Still From Nancy Drew: Detective; 1938 “From the NY Public Library”

until I heard my Auntie calling.

Auntie was the best cook that I can recall. What are your memories of a favorite cook?

Desserts

Chocolate Caramels

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of molasses
  • 1/2 cake of Baker’s chocolate

Boil an hour and cool on buttered tins.

Courtesy of Mrs. A. Campbell

Tapioca Cream

  • 2 tablespoons of tapioca, soaked in cold water.
  • Set on the stove.
  • When thoroughly dissolved, pour in a quart of milk.
  • When this begins to boil, stir in the yolks of two eggs, well beaten.
  • Stir in a cup of sugar.
  • When this boils stir in the egg whites, beaten to a stiff froth.
  • Take immediately from the fire.
  • Flavor to taste.

Courtesy of Mrs. A. Campbell

Content: C.W.S. Cigarettes – England. Cigarette Card; “From the NY Public Library”

Ruth’s Layer Cake

(Ruth may have been Ruth Coons of Barrytown, NY- the site of memorable July Fourth Family Gatherings.)

  • 1 cup of butter or lard
  • 2 level cups of sugar
  • 4 eggs (separated)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 level cups of flour
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 level teaspoon of salt

Bake in 4 layers.

Auntie’s box of recipes includes cooking-related ephemera of the time.

Apple Custard

  • Pare and core half a dozen very tart apples;
  • cook them in half a tea cup of water till they begin to soften;
  • put them in a pudding dish and sugar them;
  • beat eight eggs with four spoons of sugar;
  • add three pints of milk;
  • pour over the apples and bake half an hour.

Shared by Miss M. A. Hedden

Included in Auntie’s box of recipes.

Breads

Biscuits

  • Into a quart of sifted flour put two heaping teaspoons of baking powder and a pinch of salt;
  • mix together while dry;
  • then rub into it a piece of lard a little larger than an egg; mix with cold sweet milk;
  • roll thin;
  • cut with a tin cutter;
  • and bake a light brown in a hot oven.

Send to the table immediately.

Come back to visit again soon. New recipes will be added each week.