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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Molly’s June post takes us to some Jello cookbooks. How can she not like Jello? These are always among the favorite in my collection – prunes aside! -AA
Two dear friends gave me a couple of cookbooks they bought at an estate sale recently. They found one and thought it was kind of fun. A little later, they found the sequel to the first one, and they knew they couldn’t leave either of them behind. They were pretty sure I’d like them. Were they right? Absolutely. How could anyone not love The Joys of Jell-O and The New Joys of Jell-O?
I don’t like Jell-O and never have, but these cookbooks are such a charming snapshot of popular culture from 1963 and 1973. And the first one includes “The Story of Jell-O . . . And Why It Grew.” Grew? Ew, but I read the story and loved it from the very first sentence: “Jell-O Gelatin first grandly shimmered its way into American dining rooms in 1897.” What a great image. I like almost anything that shimmers. Then there’s this sentence a little further along: “And it’s easy to fix all kinds of ways – some we’ll wager that have never entered your mind.” They’d win that bet, all right.
I only have two quibbles with these gems. One is that although there are wonderful photographs of some of the creations, and many that look as though they glow in the dark, there aren’t pictures of all of them. I might not like Jell-O, but I do like staring at pictures of it. Here’s one of my favorite. These kids are “enjoying” their Jell-O. They are? Really? My other quibble is that the second book does something I didn’t think possible; it ruins prune whip.
Amy thinks it’s the prunes that ruin prune whip. We’ve agreed to disagree about that (until I give her some in a blind taste test and she’s blown away by a spoonful of prune whip as it’s meant to be). But I’ll wager we give identical answers to this question: If there’s always room for Jell-O, is there room for Jellied Prune Whip?
I’m recovering from foot surgery and am getting ready to spring into some exciting new things with this blog and my site. Stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy Molly MacRae‘s delicious and delightful monthly post. -AA
Here’s a treasure that looks like it’s about to disappear – a recipe written in a spiral notebook my mom gave to our boys about thirty years ago. The handwriting is mine, but the recipe is Mom’s and it’s for the best lemonade there is (except for rosemary-infused watermelon lemonade, but that’s a different animal altogether). If you like your lemonade tart and refreshing, this is for you. Anyone want to guess what the two-year-old was drawing? My husband thinks it’s the goat. I think it might be a picture of my husband.
6 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups lemon juice
1 cup sugar (white or brown or a combination)
Molly MacRae brings us a delicious sounding pudding recipe this month. Have you made pudding from scratch? It’s not that hard (You know if I say that, it’s really easy!) and usually turns out well. Enjoy! -AA
Here’s a recipe for an old-fashioned steamed pudding. I love picturing the cook in her kitchen weighing the ingredients. Can’t you see her with the eggs on one side of the balance, carefully adding first the butter, then the sugar, then the flour to the other side so she ends up with comparable weight of each? The directions that follow the weighing are plain enough, with rubbing, creaming, dissolving, and whatnot (although I don’t know what German strawberries are). But then, after all that, we’re left with the unhelpful instruction, “steam three hours,” and the offhand remark, “some use a little more flour.” The flour I can deal with, but the steaming? In what? Where? Someday maybe I’ll try to find the answers, or I’ll experiment. But for now, it’s too much mystery for me.
March kicks off with another funny post from popular mystery author MollyMacRae. What are your favorite family recipes? Did you change them?
Stay tuned for some lucky St. Patrick’s Day posts and a March giveaway as this blog celebrates 10 years of vintage recipes! -AA
My Auntie’s Antipasto
Here’s a recipe from my Great-Aunt Ruth. I don’t think I had a taste of it more than a few times back in the 1960s, but I remember it as utterly delicious served on saltines. Great-Aunt Ruth was also my godmother, and she drove a big black car with tail fins. She was extremely cool. I love that she made a “typo” in the last line – “take out and hour before using.” I make this same typo – often – when I’m typing.
Celebrate fun desserts and recipes this month, featuring my Alana O’Neill Blast From the Past novella. Scenes from an upcoming St. Patrick’s Day story will be included.
Are you new to the Alana series? She’s an antique mall bookkeeper who is an adventurous rather than skilled cook. She also helps solve mysteries. In Blast, she encounters the mysterious appeal of chili chocolates, murder, and a necklace while hosting a Valentine’s Day festival at the antiques mall. Her intrepid teen son Elliott is around to sample chocolates and maybe have a little romance himself. If you’d like the first Alana story, simply sign up for my quarterly newsletter and a free copy will be sent to you.
I will have weekly drawings for jewelry, recipes, cookbooks and more this month. Simply comment after the recipe posts or post one of your favorite dessert recipes!
Frozen Fluffy Strawberry Pie
2 1/2 cups lightly toasted coconut
1/3 cups butter
1 (3 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-oz.) can Eagle Sweetened Condensed Milk (not evaporated)
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened thawed strawberries, mashed or pureed (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup (1/2 ) pink whipping cream, whipped.
Additional fresh strawberries, optional.
In large saucepan, melt margarine, stir in toasted coconut. Mix well. Press into bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie plate; chill. In large mixer bowl, beat cheese until fluffy; beat in Eagle. Stir in pureed strawberries and lemon juice. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into coconut crust (mixture should mound slightly). Freeze 4 hours or until firm. Before serving, garnish with additional fresh strawberries if desired. Return leftovers to freezer.
Molly MacRae kicks off an exciting February with this fun pudding recipe! At least there are no prunes! Molly always knows how to keep her many readers entertained if not well fed. Stay tuned for a February Blog Blast right here with chances to win prizes. -AA
It’s February, and I’m already wondering where the year is going to so fast. Maybe it’s zipping by because I’m writing as fast and hard as I can on a new book, hoping to meet a deadline that’s coming at me as though it’s in hyper-drive. So what better recipe to share than one called Hurry-up Pudding?
This is another recipe from Dutch Oven: a Cook Book of coveted traditional Recipes from the Kitchens of Lunenburg. It’s a wonderful collection of savory and sweet treats, each of them facsimiles of handwritten recipes contributed by members of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Lunenburg Hospital Society in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, in 1953. I haven’t tested Hurry-up Pudding, yet. It looks easy enough, but lacking that crucial piece of information – bake for ??? minutes – it’ll have to wait until I have time to jump up over and over to see if it’s done. And that’s another missing piece of information – what do you suppose the pudding looks like, and what’s the consistency when it’s done? All clues welcome!
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. B. Powder
½ cup milk
1 cup raisins or dates
Sift together dry ingredients
Add milk and mix well.
The add raisins or dates
Bake in a moderate oven,
And serve with whipped cream.
Florence E. Hewat
Molly MacRae kicks off our food posts for 2016 with new cookbooks and another interesting recipe, though this one sounds pretty good! At least, it’s better than the Prune Whip she almost put up…What are your cooking – and reading goals for this year?-AA
What better way to celebrate the New Year than with new cookbooks? I have three, but I’m going to taunt you by spreading out the joy and only showing you one today. You’ll hear about the others in February and March. This month it’s Dutch Oven: a cook book of coveted, traditional recipes from the kitchens of Lunenburg, compiled by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Lunenburg Hospital Society in 1953. A dear friend in Nova Scotia sent the book to me. Every recipe in it is handwritten, and many of them are illustrated with charming line drawings. The book is a gem. So is Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, by the way. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, being the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America.
There are lots of fish and game recipes in the book, delicious-sounding baked treats, and a section called “Men’s Dishes.” There’s also a recipe called “A Curry” that starts out with this admonition: “A curry is never that vile travesty – a cream sauce disgustingly tinted with curry powder!” I thought about teasing Amy by sharing the book’s recipe for Prune Whip, but instead, because we both write and love mysteries, we’ll start the New Year out right with the recipe for Mystery Cakes. These sound awfully good, although I think I might add chocolate chips to the topping mixture. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything like these cakes. Have you?
½ cup soft butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 cups sifted pastry flour
Cream butter and sugar, add flour
Blend together and turn into 9 or 10 inch cake tin. Pat evenly.
Combine 1 ½ cups brown sugar, 2 tbsps. flour, 1 ½ tsps. baking powder
1 ½ tsps. salt, 2 eggs, 1 cup chopped dates
½ cup coconut, 1 cup chopped walnuts.
Spread on top of first mixture in pan. Bake 40 minutes in a moderate oven. When cool frost with butter icing. Cut in size desired.
Happy New Year! 2015 took me in lots of new directions, and 2016 already has some fun plans. A favorite thing that happened was renewed interest in jewelry and accessories, to the point where I am selling things in a boutique and planning on an Etsy shop. What are you looking forward to in 2016?
Here’s an interesting clipping – 3 ingredients, but…?
2 (7 oz.) packages strawberry jello
1 cup Eagle Brand condensed milk
2 (7 oz.) packages coconut
Mix together coconut, 1 package dry jello and milk in large bowl. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.When ready to shape into strawberries, place 1 package dry jello in a small bowl. Take a small amount of coconut mixture and shape into a strawberry. Roll lightly in dry jello.
Hmm. I don’t know about that one.
Last post for the 2015 earring challenge! Thank you Sarajo at SJ Designs Jewelry for inspiring me in so many ways this year! The pink and white pair is made from re-purposed vintage jewelry and the black and turquoise make me think of New Year’s Eve!
I hope you all have a healthy and Happy New Year!
Here’s a great and easy recipe someone made for a recent party. Yum! What’s your easy go to recipe for the holidays?
Chocolate Walnut Crumb Bars
(makes about 30 bars)
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, softened
2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided
1 ¼ cups (14 oz) Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
Beat margarine in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in flour, sugar and salt until crumbly. With floured fingers, press 2 cups crumb mixture onto bottom of greased 13 X 9 inch baking pan; reserve remaining mixture. Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 10 – 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
Warm 1 ½ cups morsels and sweetened condensed milk in small, heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract. Spread over hot crust.
Stir in walnuts and remaining morsels into reserved crumb mixture, sprinkle over chocolate filling. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until center is set. Cool in pan on wire rack.
A few more gift pairs of earrings. I know they are similar to other favorites from this year, but they are fun to make! I can’t believe there is only one more post with the earrings. It’s been so eye opening – I started making earrings, now I’m filling orders for infinity scarves and having trunk shows. I really wanted to get an Etsy shop up but ran out of time. Next year! My inspiration for all of this is SJ Designs Jewelry and her year long challenge. I can’t wait to see where this all leads next year!
Readers here know I love handwritten recipes and the way they reveal clues about their owners. Molly MacRae shares some details about her stash in this delightful post. -AA
In September, I shared some of the treasures from the stationery box of clippings and handwritten recipes my grandmother collected between 1901 and 1914. The box is full of intriguing hints about her kitchen and her life, and I feel incredibly lucky to have it. So can you imagine my surprise and delight when I opened the present my sister gave me for my birthday a few weeks ago? First, the present was enclosed in a really snazzy red plastic portfolio. If you love office supplies, like I love office supplies, you know how I feel about that portfolio. LOVE IT. But the beauty of that bright red portfolio pales beside the sheaf of yellowed ledger pages inside it. On the pages are more handwritten recipes and neatly glued clippings from Granny – and from her mother. It’s so cool. And difficult to read, but that makes it even cooler, to my mind.
There are pages of fish recipes, sauce and pickle recipes, cake recipes, and pudding recipes – many of which I’ll be happy to try (or try to decipher) – but there’s also a buried treasure. Glued to a corner of one of the pudding pages is a clipping for Delicate Pudding. Granny rewrote the recipe’s name, above the clipping, in her own delicate hand. The recipe is from Mrs. H.J. Pepper of 509 W. Park Street in Champaign, Illinois. Granny didn’t live in Champaign. She never did. But more than a hundred years later, I do, and I live about eight blocks from where Mrs. Pepper lived. Her Delicate Pudding sounds good, too, so I’ll definitely give it a try. And wasn’t her name perfect for someone who liked to cook?