I recently discovered that people used to cook from scratch every day. This is because “from scratch” was the only option.
Here I have been searching in the “healthy food” section for good recipes that don’t require pre-mixed sauces, soups, or other main ingredients, and – while this can be an excellent source for good cookbooks – my latest find is really old cookbooks. A co-worker told me about a family cookbook she had from the early 1900’s, and brought it in for me to page through. “What to Have for Breakfast” by Olive Green (1905) gives full lessons on appropriate breakfast menus, and the etiquette of a well-rounded meal for the modern family, as well as recipes… but since I just want my muffins and do not have a family of ten to feed, we’ll stick to the recipes here and not the full-on meal planning.
They are all from scratch. It is such a relief to have recipes that don’t call for Cream of Mushroom Soup, Worcestershire Sauce, or even bouillon cubes! (Those are all off-limits for me).
Below is my interpretation of Olive Green’s recipe for Honey Muffins:
Mix three cups of flour, three “heaping” teaspoons of baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add four tablespoons of melted butter, three eggs (well-beaten), one cup of honey, and one cup of milk. Butter muffin-tins and pour the batter in.
I also added a splash (1 tsp) of vanilla, and if you have a sweet tooth, white chocolate chips are just the thing! Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.* Let ‘em cool for a minute or two and then EAT.
*The recipe gives no instruction for baking temperature or time. As I don’t inherently know when my muffins are well-baked, I provided an estimate based on my own baking experiment. Apparently these 1900s women had an internal clock for telling this sort of thing.
Green, O. (1905). What to have for breakfast. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
2 responses to “People used to cook from scratch all the time.”
Interesting point about the no time and temp instruction in the old recipes. Makes it hard to deliver a consistent outcome.
What a great point, I am going to raid my mom and Nana’s old cookbooks when I am home next, it’s so nice to actually know what you are putting in food!!