Throwback Thursday – Retro Recipe 1910

I am the proud possessor of a first edition Boston Cooking School cookbook, written by Fannie Farmer. Fannie Farmer was the leading lady of kitchen and home efficiency. Thanks to her, recipes no longer state, “one teacup of sugar”, “butter lump the size of a walnut”, “one wineglass of sour milk”, etc.

In addition to their famous cookbooks, the Boston Cooking School also published a magazine six times a year. The August-September 1910 edition gives hints for “Prompting a Delicate Child to Eat”, “Automobile Luncheons” (quite a novelty and cutting edge!) with such dishes as Bishop’s Deviled Tongue Spread (Bishop’s was a brand of canned meats, not the actual tongue of a Bishop), Pickled Egg Salad, Hearts of Lettuce, celery hearts filled with cream cheese, Rusks, Rum Omelet, Blackberry Muffins, etc. The list of foods gives a nice snapshot into the food of America for that time. In the magazine were also advertisements for products still in use or long gone:  Junket, Huyler’s Metropolitan Cocoa, Fleischmann’s Yeast, Sno-white Blueing, Sauer’s Vanilla Extract (still made in Richmond, VA).  Short stories, poems, and household hints were scattered though out the magazine.

The Blackberry Muffins, from that edition of the magazine, has been made in our family since my great grandmother’s mother, as a young bride, was given a subscription to that magazine as a bridal gift. A rather extravagant gift at a dollar for a year’s subscription. The recipe still stands after over a hundred years. When blackberry season arrives, put on your sunbonnet and go pick a few buckets of blackberries. Save some out for these muffins. The recipe is copied from its page in the magazine.  The recipe says the Blackberry Muffins are very delicious – they are!  Slather with butter ad enjoy with a glass of cold milk or cup of coffee.

Blackberry Muffins
1 cup blackberries (blueberries are an excellent substitute)
1 cup warm milk
1 cake Fleischmann’s Yeast (modern – 1 pkg)
2 cups sifted flour
2 – 4 tablespoonfuls granulated sugar
1 tablespoonful butter, melted
¼ teaspoonful salt
1 well-beaten egg

Have milk lukewarm, dissolve yeast into it; then add sugar, butter, salt, egg well beaten; add flour gradually and beat thoroughly; cover; set aside to rise for one and one-half hours. Then stir in very lightly the cup of berries and put in well-greased muffin tins (modern change – use muffin liners). Let rise for twenty minutes. Bake twenty minutes in a moderate oven (350F). This makes one dozen. Takes about two and one-half hours. Should be eaten hot and are very delicious.


Retro Recipe: Johnny Marzetti

This dish, known by various names: goulash, mazetti, HMT (hamburger, macaroni, tomatoes), American Chop Suey (and yes, I know regular chop suey is American!)  had its start in the famous Ohio restaurant, Marzetti’s.  It was first opened in 1896 and the closed in 1942 but another branch opened  but closed in 1972 when Teresa Marzetti died.  Being close to Ohio State University, Marzetti’s was popular for its generous servings, and tasty inexpensive food.  Teresa created this dish for her brother-in-law, Johnny Marzetti.  Columbus public schools learned of this dish and it became a school cafeteria favorite.  To this day, it is one of the most duplicated and favorite school cafeteria foods.  It is still popular in Ohio and the Midwest and many variations pop up at covered dish dinners and suppers, and other social occasions.

Although the Marzetti’s restaurant is long gone, her salad dressings continue on with the Marzetti Company, and her signature casserole dish is still popular.

My family started making this after one of my aunts brought home from high school (1957), several recipes of which one was to be made at home and rated by the family.  We chose Johnny Marzetti or, as it had on the recipe card, “Mazetti”.  It became a monthly regular in our home.  My grandmother, in the summer, made a skillet version to keep the kitchen from getting too hot in the summer. I usually make the skillet version myself, just to save time. Some different versions include the addition of celery, cream of mushroom soup, chopped green pepper.

One of the first dishes I taught teenagers in a church group was the skillet version of this dish. They wanted to learn to cook. They enjoyed the preparations and I can tell you, one skillet is not enough for a group of teens! the next session taught and requested was….sushi!


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3⁄4 pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 pounds lean ground beef
3 1⁄2 cups tomato sauce (I use the equivalent of canned, chopped tomatoes)
1 1⁄2 pounds cheddar cheese, shredded
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked al dente and drained

Sauté onion in oil until limp, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and fry until juices are released, about 5 minutes.
Add beef and cook, stirring, breaking up clumps, until no longer red. Remove from heat and mix in tomato sauce and all but 1 cup of cheese. Transfer to greased 9- by 13-inch baking dish and add macaroni.
Toss gently to mix. Scatter remaining cheese on top. Bake, uncovered, in 350-degree oven until browned and bubbling (35 to 40 minutes). Serves 10 to 12.

Follow instructions omitting cheese. Heat in skillet until bubbly. Cut down to low and cover with 1 c. cheese. Cover and let cheese melt. Cut off heat and allow ingredients to settle. A friend of mine adds extra liquid (water) and adds the uncooked pasta to the ingredients, cooking in the skillet until the macaroni is tender. Cover with cheese.


Daffodil Cake – Retro Recipe

It is still sputtering and spitting and trying to be spring, but it just isn’t here yet.  I got to rummaging around in precious things – ie., my Papa’s handwritten notes for grated sweet tater puddn’ and fried chicken, my grandma Ninny’s punch and fondant candy, etc.  What I wanted though was the barely legible but rewritten on the back recipe for my great-grandmother’s Daffodil cake recipe.  This recipe has been around since early 1900s and varies with the usage of 6 – 12 eggs.  This one takes 6.

It is a lovely cake – yellow and white cake batters – angel and sponge cake together in the same pan. A light and springy cake – lemony, delicate – a visually happy cake.

TIP: Use some white vinegar and a paper towel to wipe your bowl and beaters. This ensures all the film of dishwashers, grease, etc. is removed. This stuff is the enemies of a good meringue. You also don’t want to beat the whites into dry peaks. You want soft peaks. The French make wonderful meringue because mostly, they do the egg whites in copper bowls – a natural acidic reaction takes place. So, as I said, wipe your bowl and beaters. The cream of tartar also helps to aid in that reaction. And please, do the white part in a glass or steel bowl – don’t use plastic that’s been around the block a few times thata gallon of vinegar wouldn’t help.

どうぞめしあがれ  Douzo meshiagare y’all!

6 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. lemon flavoring
Beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until eggs hold a point. Add sugar gradually and continue beating. Fold in flour which has been sifted with the salt. Add lemon flavoring. Pour into large nonstick tube pan sprayed generously with cooking spray.

6 egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. boiling water
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Beat yolks until light and fluffy. Add sugar gradually and continue beating. Add flavoring, then alternate boiling water with the flour which has been sifted with the salt and baking powder. Mix smooth and place over white layer. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for 45-55 minutes.


Bowling Night Raspberry Bars

My mama was on a bowling team.  For some reason, the crew of them got into the habit of taking cookies and bar cookies with them to the bowling alley.  These were a quick fix and one of my favorites.  I liked bowling night! She’d leave two on a saucer for me. I’d read and nibble until bedtime.


2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 egg
FILLING 3/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves**

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, extending foil over edges. Grease foil; set aside.

Combine all crumb mixture ingredients in large bowl. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 2 cups crumb mixture; set aside. Press remaining crumb mixture on bottom of prepared baking pan. Spread preserves to within 1/2 inch of edge. Crumble reserved crumb mixture over preserves.

Bake 40-50 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely; cut into bars.  Makes 8 large or 16 smaller.

**You can use your favorite preserve flavor


Memories…Spanish Bar Cake

When I was a young ‘un, it was a treat for my Ninny to bring home from the A&P store, the occasional Spanish Bar cake. It was a rich, dark, spicy bar cake with buttercream icing and a “fork” lined design on top. The extravagant sum of 39 cents was the cost for the cake. I can say, it was worth every penny! The recipe is long – full of spices but no preservatives, artificial flavorings, and things you can’t pronounce. It’s the perfect time of year for something spicy in your tummy. Grab a glass of milk, cup of coffee or tea and sit back with good novel and a piece of this cake.

Spanish Bar Cake with Nutmeg Icing
Makes: 16 to 20 servings

For cake:
4 cups water
2 cups raisins
1 cup shortening
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts

For icing:
4 cups confectioners’ sugar (sifted)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 dashes ground nutmeg

For cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13×9 inch cake pan.
Cook raisins in the water for 10 minutes over medium heat. Stir in shortening. Stir until shortening is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, spices and salt. Add raisin water shortening mixture. Blend well. Beat eggs lightly and stir into batter. Stir in chopped nuts. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until tester comes out clean. When cake is cool, frost with nutmeg icing.

For icing, combine confectioners sugar, butter, vanilla and heavy cream in a bowl and beat until smooth. Add nutmeg to taste.


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