One of my favorite things about fall is cooking with pumpkin – whether it’s pumpkin pies, pumpkin cakes, or pumpkin sauces, I will pretty much try anything with pumpkin in it. As a result, I almost always have small amounts of leftover pumpkin purée sitting around. This recipe for pumpkin cakes, from Lettice Bryan’s 1839 book The Kentucky Housewife, is just the ticket to use up any pumpkin remnants. Although they are baked in an oven instead of on a griddle, these are very similar to hoe-cakes or pancakes; Lettice Bryan includes them in the chapter “Warm Cakes &c. for Breakfast and Tea.”Read More »
Themed parties were popular in the 1920s and 1930s, leading to the publication of many books of theme party ideas. This recipe for Hallowe’en Cookies comes from The Children’s Party Book, a 1923 book of party games, decorations, and recipes for a variety of holiday parties.Read More »
Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies
This is the original recipe for Toll House chocolate crunch cookies, invented in the 1930s by Ruth Wakefield for her restaurant the Toll House Inn.Read More »
Betties are part of the group of baked-fruit-with-topping dishes (along with cobblers, crisps, crumbles, slumps, etc.), which I can never seem to tell apart from one another. After comparing Apple Betty recipes in multiple 19th and 20th century cookbooks, it seems like the distinguishing feature of a Betty is multiple layers of breadcrumbs alternating with the fruit – although there were a few exceptions that used cubes or slices of bread instead. This recipe from 1866 makes a pretty standard Apple Betty. No measurements are given in the original; I have provided the amounts I used for a 1.5 quart baking dish, but since precise measurements don’t matter it can be easily adapted for other sizes.Read More »
Magic Lemon Cream Pie
This Magic Lemon Cream Pie came in handy during a recent visit to my parents’ house – their oven was broken, so this no-bake recipe saved the day!Read More »
Homemade cordials, usually a mixture of distilled liquor and fruit or other flavors, were popular in America from the 17th through the 19th centuries. They were used both for medicinal purposes and to drink simply for pleasure. While in the later 19th century commercially-made cordials became popular for use in cocktails, earlier cordials like this 1828 recipe would have been served on their own as after-dinner digestives.Read More »
Chocolate Fig Ice Cream
This recipe comes from the 1912 edition of Lowney’s Cook Book, so far my favorite cookbook in my growing collection of vintage books. I was lucky enough to happen across it at an antique fair near my town. Although the book has been digitized and is available online, there’s something magical about handling an original copy.Read More »
Peach Ice Cream
Before the invention of the hand-cranked ice cream freezer in 1843, making ice cream was a time-consuming and laborious task.Read More »
Cherry Batter Pudding
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“When we had done, he brought me a pudding, and having set it before me, seemed to ruminate, and to become absent in his mind for some moments.
‘How’s the pie?’ he said, rousing himself.
‘It’s a pudding,’ I made answer.
‘Pudding!’ he exclaimed. ‘Why, bless me, so it is! What?’ looking at it nearer. ‘You don’t mean to say it’s a batter-pudding!’
‘Yes, it is indeed.’
‘Why, a batter-pudding,’ he said, taking up a table-spoon, ‘is my favourite pudding! Ain’t that lucky? Come on, little ‘un, and let’s see who’ll get most.’”
-Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1850.
Preserved Ginger Pudding
This recipe comes from the delightfully-named 1911 book The Woman’s Book: Contains Everything a Woman Ought to Know. In addition to the expected sections on cooking, household management, and the care of children and pets, the book also contains some very progressive (for the time) chapters on careers for women. These outline the types of careers open to women, discuss the training and education needed for each career, and even note what salary to expect.Read More »