Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Vintage Recipes

I just finished transcribing recipes out of a charming old recipe book, which my grandfather purchased from the U. S. Department of Agriculture in 1957.  He gave it to my mother when she got married that year.

Anyone who knows my mom will not be surprised that nearly 60 years later, the book is still in fantastic condition!  My grandmother was a cook; but cooking was not among my mom's interests. As a matter of fact, I remember coming home from junior high one day, and meeting my brother as he arrived home from grade school.  A strange smell greeted us as we walked in the door - it almost smelled like... brownies!  And it was.  They were awesome - and it's a good thing that we enjoyed it, because that was the only time it happened!

While not a natural-born cook, Mom did crank out a few things from her kitchen that were especially good.  She made a casserole with mixed vegetables, meatballs, onions, cubed potatoes, and cream of celery soup sauce that was fantastic. I always loved that aroma coming from the kitchen.  And once in awhile she'd make a black cherry jello salad with raw apples and walnuts in it, which was also a welcome sight at the dinner table.

One of the things I noticed in these old recipes was "table fat" as an ingredient.  I was not able to figure out exactly what this refers to.  Some suggestions were fat trimmed from meat, or lard.  As I transcribed, I noticed that "table fat" was an ingredient in some of the cookies and cakes, so I doubt it was meat fat.  I also noticed that butter was conspicuously absent.  Perhaps "table fat" refers to butter, lard or margarine.

I hope you enjoy perusing the recipes from this old book - you can find them here.  There are some old stand-bys, as well as recipes I'd probably never cook (tongue, for instance), but it was fun to see what was served up on the dinner tables of the 1950s.

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