Welcome to the Vintage Cookbooks and Crafts blog!For over seven years I have been writing this blog as a fond nostalgic parody of recipes and crafts from the 70's and earlier. Do you remember a trend fondly? From chiffon cakes to pom poms for roller skates, you're speaking my language.
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The holidays are here and I’m launching a new mystery series, so I feel like celebrating. Plaid and Plagiarism, book #1 in the Highland Bookshop Mysteries comes out tomorrow. The stories take place in Scotland, a place I dearly love, in a West Coast Highland town called Inversgail (which doesn’t exist except in my head and in the books). What better way to celebrate the season and the book, then, than with a traditional Highland drink—Atholl Brose.
According According to F. Marian McNeill in her 1929 book, The Scots Kitchen, “Atholl Brose emerges from the Highland mists in the year 1475, but may well be much older. It is mentioned by Scott in The Heart of Midlothian, and by Robert Louis Stevenson in Kidnapped.”
There are various recipes for Atholl Brose. All of them call for oatmeal, honey, and whisky, with the addition of cream for festive occasions. This is kind of a festive occasion, so I’ll share my favorite recipe from McNeill’s book—it’s one she got from Williamina Macrae.
Beat one and a half teacupfuls of double cream to a froth; stir in one teacupful of very lightly toasted oatmeal; add half a cup of dripped heather honey and, just before serving, two wine-glasses of whisky. Mix thoroughly and serve in shallow glasses.
Good health to you! Slainte mhath!
(Having a larger celebration? Click here for a recipe that serves 1,100.)
Molly MacRae talks birthdays and cake this month. Yum! And next month the first book in her new series comes out: Plaid and Plagiarism: The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series. -AA
“Most people who make cakes for people they love regularly employ mixes.” From The Food Timeline
My husband has been employing a cake mix regularly, once a year for the past twenty or twenty five years when he makes a birthday cake for me. It’s very brave and good of him, because he doesn’t like to cook. The first time I made it easy for him and bought the mix and a can of frosting for him. He got the boys to help him and when they were done it was THE WORLD’S BEST BIRTHDAY CAKE. The only surprise was when he told me how much frosting was left in the can after he frosted the cake and what a good snack that leftover frosting made spread on graham crackers. Let me just say, very quietly, that the next year, and every year since then, all the frosting has gone on the cake where it belonged.
To tie this in with Amy’s love for all things vintage, notice that Mike is mixing the batter in our harvest gold Pyrex bowl with our harvest gold General Electric mixer. We received both of them for wedding presents in 1978 and still use them.
I was delighted to be interviewed for this article by Judy Buchenot on an upcoming talk I’m giving. I got to discuss some of the favorites from my collection. Kyle took some photos of me in a vintage dress for the photo.
I included the honey ketchup onions I made a few Thanksgivings ago. My family loves them – I just don’t tell them what is in them!
But moving on to a fun Halloween recipe. I’m not sure what makes this “Witches’ Cake,” perhaps the chocolate? It’s from a cookbook from the Home Bureau Women of Jersey County. It was first published in 1939, with this printing from 1959.
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sour milk
1 tsp. vanilla
4 tblsp. melted chocolate
2 cups sifted flour
1 level teasp. baking powder
1/2 teasp. baking soda
1/2 cup boiling water
Sift flour with baking powder and soda. Cream shortening, add sugar gradually, egg yolks, melted chocolate and vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour milk and water. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Bake in two large or 3 small layers, about 25 minutes at 350F. Put layers together with chocolate filling.
Chocolate Filling: 6 teasp. flour, 6 teasp. sugar, 2 teasp. cocoa: Mix with thick cream and heat.
My mind is on Halloween now, between planning for the third grade party and all the themed things in the stores. But I am also thinking about winter. My writer’s group, the Windy City RWA, hosts a writers’ retreat every couple years. Next year it will be 3/3 – 3/4, and I am helping coordinate it. Have you every wanted to get away and get inspired to work on those books you started but never finished? Take the time for yourself. The early bird rate covers meals, a workshop with Barbara Samuel, and a lot more.
But back to now. Enjoy another recipe from the 1983 church cookbook I keep finding treasures in: Monster Cookies.
2 C. sugar
2 C. packed brown sugar
1 C. shortening or butter
3 C. peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
9 C. oatmeal
1/2 lb. M&Ms (plain)
4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. chocolate chips
1/2 C nuts (optional)
325F 12 – 15 minutes
Mix all ingredients together by hand. Drop on greased cookie sheets and bake.
“Serves an army! Very nutritious!” I’m not kidding. It says those things.
It feels like fall around here, and we took the boys out to a local pumpkin farm last week. What are your fall rituals?
I think this recipe would be fun for a Halloween party. It’s from the same 1983 church cookbook I’ve been blogging from recently.
1/4 C. oil
3/4 C. butter
1 lb. marshmallows
(also popped corn)
Melt first three ingredients in double boiler. When melted, pour over 4 quarts popped corn placed in buttered bowl. Stir well to coat evenly. Place into greased tube pan or any size pan desired. (May add mixed nuts, gumdrops or M&Ms).
My son Owen’s dream for the last couple of years has been to grow a pumpkin. Last year’s crop didn’t make it past July. This year, one hardy pumpkin is holding on. You can see we put chicken wire over it to keep the eager possums and squirrels away.
This cake recipe is much easier than growing a pumpkin. It’s another from the 1983 Faith Evangelical Church cookbook I’ve been perusing lately. I love this as it’s a cake mix recipe.
1 large can pumpkin
1 13 oz. can evaporated milk
4 tsp. pumpkin spice or 2 tsp. cinnamon & 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 C. sugar
2 tsp. salt
Yellow cake mix
3/4 C. butter or margarine
9×13″ cake pan 350F 50 minutes
Mix and pour first 7 ingredients into (ungreased) pan. Pour yellow cake mix over that. Melt butter and pour on top of cake mix. Bake.
Be sure butter or margarine covers all the dry cake mix.
Molly MacRae returns with an amazing and interesting cake in between book deadlines. Her next book, Plaid and Plagiarism is coming December 6. Can’t wait! Oh, and Molly? I’d rather have bear than prunes! -AA
Chocolate Oatrage Cake
Last month I turned in the manuscript for a book, my ninth, and celebrated by ignoring other commitments, like sending a post to Amy for this blog. I hope this recipe makes up for it. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the finished product because by the time I remembered to take one, we’d eaten the cake. How was it? Delish.
Chocolate Oatrage is an old standby. It’s quick and easy and requires no special ingredients. It’s my family’s version of a recipe for Oatmeal Cake found in the 1976 edition of the More-with-Less Cookbook: suggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world’s limited food resources, by Doris Janzen Longacre. As you can see by the notes, subtractions and additions, at this point it’s almost a handwritten recipe. You don’t even see the part of the recipe for making a topping because we’ve never topped the cake with anything.
You might ask why, if I’m referring to the cake as Chocolate Oatrage, does the recipe say Chocolate Stoatrage? There’s a perfectly sensible answer. My children liked to edit recipes and food packages so that it appeared we ate more adventurously. Fat became bat (and low fat became low bat). Black beans became black bears. Oats became stoats. Mmm. Nothing like a steaming bowl of stoatmeal for breakfast or a spicy black bear burger for supper.
Here’s the recipe (as we make it). I hope you like it as much as we do.
Chocolate Stoatrage Cake
Preheat oven to 350º.
Combine and let stand 20 minutes.
1 ½ c. quick oatmeal
1 ½ c. boiling water
Cream together until fluffy.
½ c. shortening
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Add oatmeal mixture. Beat well.
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt (if using unsalted butter for the shortening)
1 ½ c. chocolate chips
Add to creamed mixture and beat well. Pour into greased and floured 9×13” cake pan. Bake 30 minutes or until tests done.
Cut when cool.
It’s definitely apple picking weather and we had a quick trip last weekend to pick some. Josh lifted up Owen to reach the high ones.
So I have apples on the brain. Here’s another gem from a 1983 church cookbook in my collection: Apple Harvest Cake. You don’t find too many vintage recipes with whole wheat flour, though this still has a lot of sugar.
1 1/4 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
3/4 C. oil
1 C. chopped nuts
1 C. whole wheat flour
3/4 C. brown sugar (packed)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. peeled and chopped apple
Tube pan, greased and floured
325F 50 – 65 minutes
Blend together all above ingredients until moistened except apples and nuts. Add 2 cups peeled and chopped apples and nuts. Mix well. Bake until toothpick comes out clean. Glaze with 1/2 – 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 3 – 4 tsp. milk (add more if needed) mixed, drizzle over cake. Serves 10 – 12.
Molly MacRae brings us two wonderful cake recipes today. Lazy Daisy cake goes back to the Depression Era at least, and this looks like an update. It is a favorite of my Mom’s. And really – can you ever have enough chocolate cake recipes? I wish a Chocolate Cake Express would pull up to my house – regularly! -AA
I’ve been overthinking about the names of a couple of cakes. But names and labels are important. They influence how we think about the named entity. More subtly, they can influence how we think about ourselves. Here are two recipes from Reader’s Digest Quick, Thrifty Cooking, published in 1985. Both are quick and easy to make. But why is one “lazy?” Why can’t they both be “express?” Or how about “efficient?” Or how about “for when you’re procrastinating but want to feel like you’re not wasting too much time?” Both cakes are great. They turn out better than most box mixes and you’ll feel like a baking superstar when you serve them.
Another delightful recipe from the same 1983 church cookbook where I was blogging from earlier in the week. I don’t know if we can call this salad. It’s a take on Hawaiian Salad and Frozen Fruit Salad, both vintage cookbook staples. I wonder about the addition of the cheese. Any cheese?
1 -16 to 20 oz. can pineapple chunks
1/2 C sugar
1 T cornstarch
2 beaten eggs
1 C miniature marshmallows
1 C. diced cheese
Drain pineapple; add water to juice to make 1 cup. Cook together with sugar, cornstarch and eggs until thick. Add marshmallows, pineapple and cheese. Chill.
What are you cooking this weekend?