So recently, I’ve been looking into older recipes. Specifically, mid-20th century American recipes, which are really quite fascinating.
For those who aren’t aware, in the 1930s, the US had the Great Depression. Then came WW2 and food rationing. Along with that came great advances in food storage, which made everything keep longer and more importantly, preserved previously-localized foods so that they could be easily transported to grocery stores that were too far away to get them beforehand. So, in the late 40s, 50s, and 60s, a lot of people who were used to saving and using everything they could out of necessity suddenly had access to a wider variety of foodstuffs and the means to preserve them for longer. This led to some interesting choices in the name of novelty and stretching food life.
You can put anything into gelatin salads. That doesn’t mean you should.
Additionally, with the advent of easy-to-make foods and advances in cleaning technology, a lot of middle-class housewives were left with time on their hands. So, to show that they were doing something, they put a lot of time into PRESENTATION! Which, as we all know, is the difference between food villainy and food supervillainy.
So, here are some recipes I’ve come across that aren’t necessarily good or bad, but that I think are interesting. Also, I’ll be providing a picture (for proof that I’m not making these up) and transliterating it because some are a bit small or blurry and screenreaders are a thing.
First up: cranberry candles.
1 1-lb can Ocean Spray Whole Cranberry Sauce
1 3-oz pkg. red, yellow, or orange fruit-flavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup HELLMANN’S Real Mayonnaise
1 apple or orange, peeled and diced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Heat cranberry sauce, strain, set berries aside. Dissolve gelatin in hot juice and water. Add salt and lemon juice.
Chill until thickened enough to mound slightly when dropped from a spoon. Beat in Real Mayonnaise with rotary beater till light and fluffy. Fold in cranberries, fruit, and nuts.
Divide mixture evenly unto eight 6-oz fruit juice cans. Chill 4 hours or longer. Unmold. Garnish with real mayonnaise to taste.
To flame: Cut thin birthday candles in half to shorten. Insert into tops of cranberry candles. Light.
Next: potato brownies.
2/3 cup mashed Potato Buds from Betty Crocker
2/3 cup hot water
1/3 cup shortening
2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup Gold Medal Flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease square pan, 8x8x2 inches.
Measure Potato Buds into mixing bowl. Blend in hot water; set aside.
Melt shortening and chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Add chocolate mixture, sugar and eggs to potatoes in the bowl.
Stir together remaining ingredients; blend into chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Cool; if desired, frost. Cut into 1 1/2 inch squares. Makes 2 dozen.
Next: Frito macaroons. For those who don’t have them, Fritos are a brand of corn chip.
2 tbsp shortening
½ cup sugar
⅔ cup coconut
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt or less
¾ cup rolled or quick oatmeal
2 cups Fritos crushed slightly
Beat eggs well and mix with oatmeal. Let stand while creaming the sugar and shortening. Combine the two mixtures and add coconut, Fritos, baking powder and salt. Drop by spoonfuls or shape into walnut size balls, and spread on baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes in moderate oven at 350 degrees.
Hey, you know how avocado is technically a fruit? Avocado Ice Cream.
Yolks 5 eggs
2 c sugar
1 qt. milk
4 medium sized avocados
Green maraschino cherries
Almond and vanilla extracts.
Make a boiled custard with the milk, eggs, and 1 c sugar, and flavor with vanilla. Mash the fruit to a pulp with 1 c sugar and flavor with almond extract. When the custard is cool, add the fruit and freeze. Serve in mounds with a green maraschino cherry on top of each mound.
Let’s end this (for now) with a party recipe. Wheelbarrow Ice Bar.
Assorted fruit (looks like watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, grapes; choose what you want)
Ice cream (your choice)
Chop fruit. Cut large fruit in half to serve as serving dishes. Cut other fruit into chunks and place on larger fruit.
Put foil on the bottom of the wheelbarrow and fill with ice. Place fruit and punch into the ice. If desired, decorate.
Scoop ice cream onto fruit. Serve.
Do you have any older recipes with interesting combinations or interesting history behind them?