Spring Frivolity: Vermouth-Cassis from the 1930s

Vermouth CassisSo far, the recipes I’ve been reading in my grandmother’s cookbooks from the 1930s focus more on healthy family dinners than frivolity. My search for something more festive took me to the Chanticleer Society’s post for the top cocktails of 1934 Continue reading

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A ‘Chilled and Freshened’ 1930s Canapé

1930s eggs in progressAs a housewife in the 1930s, my grandmother, Hanna, modernized her kitchen with the latest convenience: an electric refrigerator. The Silent Hostess Treasure Book (1932) from General Electric taught her how to use this new-fangled appliance Continue reading

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For Mother’s Day: Grandma’s Chocolate Cake with a Surprise

Bertie choc cake 1When my Grandma Bertie was growing up in coastal North Carolina about 100 years ago, she dutifully wrote down recipes from her mother, her aunts, and the ladies of the town. She never baked this chocolate cake recipe for me, but I wanted to recreate it in her honor this Mother’s Day. Continue reading

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In My May Kitchen

IMK May chivesWhat a difference a month makes! Just four weeks ago, the snow had barely melted when I reported for this In My Kitchen forum, hosted by Celia at figjamandlimecordial. Now, the mint, chives, and sage have sprouted anew, livening up everything from smoothies to salads. Continue reading

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‘Derby Fever’ Cure: A Mint Julep

Mint Julep 1

Though the mint julep was once described as “a dram of spirituous liquor that has mint in it, taken by Virginians in the morning,” it became a signature drink of the Kentucky Derby in 1938, when it was served in souvenir glasses Continue reading

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Funny Bunny Salad and Other ’60s Silliness

1960s silly rabbitForget broccoli-topped pizza and carrot sticks with yogurt dip. Recipes from the Easy-to-Cook Book from 1967 (Grosset & Dunlap) unabashedly rely on frozen vegetables, canned fruits, bacon, and butter.  Continue reading

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1960s Casserole Magic

Playtime in the 1960s! I'm on the left.

Playtime in the 1960s! I’m on the left.

Casseroles built on cream of mushroom soup fed many families in the 1960s, when canned goods seemed ever so much more modern than cooking from scratch. The 1961 top seller, the Better Homes & Gardens Casserole Cook Book, put a lid on every imaginable medley of vegetables and meat, and called it dinner.

I adapted this 1967 recipe from the international cookbook from William H. Ray, the elementary school I attended in Chicago. What mod, striped pants I wore back in the day! I’m not sure what country this recipe represents, nor Don’s identity (certainly not Draper!)), but I chose it because it sounded fairly healthy for its time. It makes a sherry-infused bowl of rice, nuts, chicken and vegetables  with minimal clean-up — good for any era.

1960s chicken 2Don’s Chicken Pilaf (1967)
Serves 4

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
1 cup raw rice
1 cup minced celery
1/4 cup minced onion
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 teaspoon minced parsley, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (3-4 pound) chicken, cut up
2 1/4 cups boiling chicken stock (or boiling water mixed with 2 chicken bouillon cubes)
3/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup blanched sliced almonds

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In an oven-proof saute pan with a lid, melt the butter. Add the celery, onion, mushrooms, and parsley and saute until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and parsley.
  3. Add the rice and stir to coat with butter on all sides. Continue cooking until the rice browns, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the water and sherry, then the chicken pieces, pushing them down so they are covered with liquid.
  5. Add the almonds, cover the pot and bake for 1 hour. Sprinkle each serving with additional parsley.
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