Tidbits of Shelby County History
Old Recipes

I hope everyone is well after this past week of unprecedented weather. We in Shelby County just aren’t use to this type of snow and ice. This is the first time I have been out since February 10th and I was amazed at the amount of debris that was on the sides of the roads.  Hopefully, everyone within this area now has power and water.  My thanks go to all the people who were out in this mess working to restore power and water. Shelby County folks pulled together and got the job done. 

This week’s Tidbits of Shelby County History is going to be a little different.  Anyone who knows me know I love to cook (and of course eat) so I am always looking for old recipes.  Well, I found some in the museum today and thought I would share a recipe or two and some helpful hints.  After the week we just encountered some of these hints may have made our life easier.  I love my modern conveniences!!!

The recipes I am posting are from a cookbook titled “Home Comfort Cook Book” published between 1925-1927. It was printed by a company named Wrought Iron Range Company in St. Louis, Missouri. They built ranges and stoves. Their most popular item was call the “Home Comfort” range.

Buttermilk Pie

1 Paste Pie Shell
2/3 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon flour
½ butter
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 egg yolks

To beaten eggs yolks, add buttermilk, sugar and butter; mix well. Beat flour into a little sweet milk and add to mixture; add lemon flavoring; pour into prepared paste shell and bake for Custard Pie; when baked, spread with meringue made of the two egg whites and two tablespoons sugar; return to oven and brown top; cool before serving. (directions for Chess Pie – place in a moderate hot oven, lowering the temperature moderate after a few minutes so as not to allow the custard to overcook. When a knife stuck into the center comes out dry, baking is complete.

Sweet Potato Custard Pie

1 Paste Pie Shell
½ cup sugar
½ cup mash sweet potatoes
1 cup sweet milk
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs

Boil and finely mash the potatoes and measure; add sugar, lightly beaten eggs, and milk; beat to a smooth mixture; pour into paste shell and bake as a Custard Pie, sprinkle top with nutmeg; serve after cooling – Egg whites may be left out and used in meringue if desired.
Mid-Summer Soup

Make a blended stock from the liquids in which the vegetables of your dinner have been boiled; peas, beans, tomatoes, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, and even macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, rice. Put in a pot with an onion and some parsley, and cook until onion is well cooked; season to taste, and add lightly beaten egg; add flour or corn-starch to suitably thicken if desired; serve at once.

The proper handling of “stock” is the basic essential of all good soups-stock, and may be used separately or in combination. Mutton and lamb also may be used, but sparingly owing to their strong flavor. Stock should contain, in combination: The gelatin from bones, gristle, and tendonous portions; the savory extracts from the meat; a certain amount of fat; and the acid salts and alkaline from fresh meat. Care must be taken to avoid any material of doubtful purity and freshness. A stock pot may be kept on the back of the range-top, in which such bits of bone or meat may be accumulated through the day. These are then turned into stock while fresh- all meat and bones must be cut or broken into small pieces. Cold water, with a little salt added, should always be used in extracting the juices from the meats. Hot water quickly hardens the outer albumen, thus preventing the extraction of the essential juices, while cold water readily dissolves the albumen, as well as other juices, and the salt  - not too much – aids in their extraction.

Kitchen Hints

Don’t be afraid to try again if you fail again and again; success is the result of perseverance and application.

A little boiling water added to an omelette as it thickens will prevent it being tough.

In order to have potatoes always white, the kettle in which they are cooked should never be used for any other purpose.

A pinch of soda stirred into milk that is to be boiled will keep it from curdling.

When cooking lima beans, rice, etc., it is very provoking when they foam and sputter onto a clean stove. Drop into the kettle a small lump of butter and there will be no boiling over.

To keep icing soft, add a pinch of baking soda to the whites of the eggs before beating them, then beat and proceed in the usual way.

To keep a cake fresh for several weeks take it from the oven, and while still hot, pack it completely in brown sugar.

Save all liquids from mustard or spiced pickles and use them in salad dressing or for mixing with meat for sandwiches.

Save the liquor from pickled peaches, etc – it may be used in places where wine was formerly used, such as mince pies, sauces, etc.

In cooking vegetables, cover those that grow under the ground, as turnips, onions, etc.; leave uncovered those that grow above the ground.

When cream will not whip, add the white of an egg, both being chilled the same temperature; it will then whip quite readily.

To keep vegetables fresh and cool, place them in a deep pan or dish with cold water to half cover them; over them spread a folded, wet napkin, allowing the corners to dip into the water; place on window or other place where cool air can reach them.

A little baking soda added to boiling syrup will prevent it from crystallizing; a little vinegar likewise will prevent syrup from returning to sugar.

Save all the grease not suited for cooking and turn it into soap by the use of lye.

In making fruit pies, the sugar should not be put on top, but between two layers of the fruit – sugar next to the top crust toughens it.

This recipe is from a pamphlet called “Better Baking Recipes” and was an advertisement for Snow King Baking Powder, price 35 cents date 1925.

Griddle Cakes

1 ¾ cupfuls flour
½ teaspoonful salt
2 teaspoonfuls Baking Powder
2 eggs
1 ½ cupfuls mill
1 tablespoonful shortening
Mix and sift dry ingredients; add beaten eggs,  milk and melted shortening; mix well. Bake on  slightly greased hot griddle, turning only once.

Pound Cake

1 pound butter (2 cups)
1 pound sugar (2 cups)
10 eggs (separated)
1 pound flour (3 7/8 cups)
1 teaspoonful baking powder
½ mace or 1 teaspoonful lemon extract

Cream butter, add sugar gradually, and continue beating; then add yolks of eggs beaten until thick and lemon colored, whites of eggs beaten until stiff and dry, and flour sifted with mace and baking powder. Beat vigorously five minutes. Bake in a deep brick shaped pan one and one quarter hours in a slow oven.