More From My Depression Era Recipes

CREAMED PEAS AND POTATOES

The first peas and new potatoes from the gardens were always celebrated with this gourmet dish:

Cook:
1 pt. new peas until tender (do not overcook)

In a separate pan, cook:
4 medium new potatoes, skins scrubbed if not peeled and called in 1-inch pieces

Drain the vegetables and combine; add 1 pt. light cream brought to a boil with 1 T. cornstarch. Season and serve hot. You may use parsley or paprika to season. Also, this can be thickened by mixing 1 T. flour with 1 T. butter and adding to cream, bring to boil and add to vegetables.

HOT OR COLD STRING BEAN SALAD

These were favorites served at noon or for the evening meal. Remember, it was dinner and supper then.

Cook till tender:
1 qt. green beans, cut into 1 or 2-inch pieces. Drain.

Slice:
1/2 onion, very thin in rounds and add to beans.

Mix:
4 T. cream
2 T. vinegar
1 T. sugar
some salt and pepper to taste

Shake well and serve hot or cold.

This dish was generally made in a large batch to serve hot with the big meal and cold for supper with something else.

CREAMED BEETS

Cook:
4 or 5 beets until tender, slip skins off and mash coarsely

Mix:
3 T. heavy cream
1 T. vinegar
1 T. brown sugar
salt to taste

Add to beets and mix lightly. Reheat over a low fire and serve.

FRIED SWEET CORN

Cut sweet corn off 5 cobs.

Melt:
3 T. butter or oleo

Add:
corn, and
1/2 t. sugar
3/4 c. milk

Cover and cook till dry and light golden; watch carefully; stir now and then.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

Slice partially ripe tomatoes 1/2-inch thick. Dip in egg and crackers or pancake mix. They used bread crumbs in the 1930"s. Fry in bacon fat.

CREAMED ONIONS

A tasty vegetable that even the children enjoyed. Onions turn sweet when cooked, like parsnips. Cream adds to the delicate flavor.

Cook:
2 c. sliced onions in small amount of water

Drain.

Pour 1 c. cream over and season to taste.

Serve in individual dishes; garnish with paprika.

POTATO PUFF

Take 2 c. leftover mashed potatoes, stir in 2 T. melted butter. Beat and add 2 beaten eggs and 1 c. milk; add salt and pepper; mix well. Bake in casserole for 30 minutes.

TENDER BEET TOPS

Beet tops can be used like spinach and sometimes are preferred. They can be picked fresh from the garden or taken from beets pulled for other uses.

Wash and cook in heavy pan with water clinging to leaves. Sprinkle with salt and cook till wilted and tender; drain. Pour bacon vinegar dressing over and serve hot.

BACON VINEGAR DRESSING:

Fry two slices bacon cut into small pieces; add 2 T. vinegar. While hot, pour over vegetables; shake in pan and serve.

FRESH CORN PANCAKES

Cut kernels from 3 cobs corn. Scrape cob to release milk to make 2 c.

In large bowl, stir together:
1 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

In a small bowl, beat together:
2 large eggs
1 c. milk
2 T. melted lard or oil

Add to flour mixture; stir to moisten; add corn. Fry small portions in lard/oil till crispy. Serve with maple syrup or breakfast apple sauce.

BREAKFAST APPLE SAUCE FOR FRENCH TOAST, PANCAKES OR WAFFLES

Mix in sauce pan:
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 T. flour
1/3 c. water

Add:
2 apples, sliced, peeled

Cook till it bubbles. Serve hot.

BUBBLE AND SQUEAK

Of Irish origin, his dish became popular during the depression because of its good taste and available ingredients.

Fry:
3 strips bacon, cut up - remove from pan. Saute 1 medium size onion in bacon grease; add 2 c. or more coarsely cut up cabbage. Return bacon to pan and stir often. When cabbage is wilted, add 2 c. leftover potatoes. Pat down to make a large pancake, fry brown on one side, and turn and brown on other side.

1930’S SALAD DRESSING

Mix together:
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. flour
1 egg
1 t. dry mustard (level)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. vinegar
1/2 t. pepper

Cook till thickened.

CABBAGE DRESSING

1 c. sugar
1 c. vinegar

Season with salt and pepper. Cook until it comes to a boil. Very good.

OLD FASHIONED CREAM DRESSING

This delightful was used on garden leaf lettuce by the large bowl full as well as on cabbage.

1/2 c. light cream
1 t. sugar
1/4 c. apple cider (today tarragon vinegar can be used)
1/2 t. salt

Mix and pour over greens, alone or in any combination.

For Egg and Lettuce Salad:

Use a bowl of lettuce torn into small pieces with 2 hard cooked eggs sliced over it. Pour on dressing and toss lightly.

For Cucumbers:

Slice; add salt and let marinate a few minutes. Rinse off and pour dressing over.

Proportions for the same good dressing using some sour cream follow:

1 1/2 t. sugar
3/4 c. sour cream
1 T. cider vinegar
3/4 t. salt
Dash pepper

For variation add 1/8 t. mustard.

NOTE: Sour cream dressings have 1/3 the calories of mayonnaise.

PLAIN WHITE SUGAR COOKIES

This is a tried and true recipe dating back long before the Depression of the 1930’s. It survived that period because most homes had the simple ingredients the recipe calls for. It was always made at Christmastime, and even today is traditional in many homes.

Mix:
1 c. butter
3 c. flour as for pie crust; set aside

Break 2 eggs into a bowl and beat.

Add:
1 c. sugar, 3 T. milk
1 t. baking soda and mix well

Add:
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. lemon extract

Some nutmeg may be added.

Add the above to flour mixture and mix well. Roll out thin and bake at 375* F. until golden. Do not bake too long. This recipe is the least work for rolled cookies and they are rich enough to be very tasty.

This recipe was found in 1930. The cream used in the topping was skimmed off the quart milk bottle which was not homogenized as today’s milk is.

LAZY DAISY CAKE

Beat 2 eggs; gradually add 1 c. sugar.
Sift together 1 c. flour, 1/4 t. salt, 1 t. baking powder.
Fold into egg mixture.
Boil together 1/2 c. milk, 1 T. butter; then add 1 t. vanilla.
Mix carefully into above mixture.
Batter will be thin.
Bake at 325* F. for 25 to 30 minutes.
After baking, spread with icing as follows while cake is still warm:
5 T. butter, 10 T. brown sugar, 4 T. cream, and 1 c. coconut.
Brown under broiler.

MILKLESS, EGGLESS, BUTTERLESS CAKE

This Moravian, Czechoslovakian cake somehow found it’s way to the United States with the valued possessions of immigrant women.

It was quite popular during the depression.

Boil 5 minutes and cool:
2 c. sugar
2 c. raisins
2 c. water
2 T. lard

Add:
1 T. molasses

Sift:
1 t. soda
1 t. allspice
1 t. nutmeg
3 c. flour

Add to above. Mix and bake in 8" square pan at 350* F. for 35 minutes or toothpick test.

Another variation of the same cake:

1 c. brown sugar - boil together with
1 1/4 c. water
1 c. raisins
1/3 c. lard - cool 3 minutes

Add: sifted together:
2 c. flour
3 t. baking powder
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt

Mix well and add 3/4 c. chopped nuts. Bake in moderate oven 45 minutes.

Others made this cake adding 1 t. baking powder and 1 t. soda. Some added 2 eggs and baked the cake for 1 hour. The rest of the ingredients are as above.

CORN SYRUP SPONGE CAKE

Separate 4 eggs. Beat white with 1/4 t. salt until stiff, but not dry. Heat 3/4 c. white corn syrup to boiling and pour slowly over whites beating constantly. Add grated rind of 1/2 lemon to egg yolk; beat till thick and lemon colored. Fold into first mixture. Sift 1 c. flour with 1/2 t. baking powder; fold into egg mixture. Pour into 9-inch tube pan, ungreased. Bake at 325* F. for about 50 minutes.

SOFT GINGER CAKE

Combine:
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. molasses

Add:
1/2 c. butter - and mix well.

Dissolve:
2 t. soda in
1 c. boiling water; add to first mixture.

Sift:
2 1/2 c. flour - with pinch salt
1 t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cloves

Add to molasses mixture and beat.
Add 2 beaten eggs last.
Bake at 350* F. for 25 to 35 minutes.

This is an excellent cake served with whipped cream.

SOUR MILK SPICE CAKE

Cream:
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar

Add:
1 egg

Dissolve:
1 t. soda - in
1 c. sour milk or buttermilk

Add alternately with:
2 c. flour, sifted
1 t. cloves (heaping)
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. salt

Bake at 350* F. for 25 o 30 minutes. Toothpick test.

Frost with:
1/2 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. cream

Boil till soft ball stage. Cool slightly. Beat till spreading consistency. If it gets a bit too hard, add a few drops of cream.

This cake was stirred up in a few minutes rarely using a recipe, and served with or without icing, hot and fresh. Whipped cream was excellent with it.

SORGHUM CAKE (DEPRESSION CAKE)

Mix:
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. lard

Add:
2 eggs
1/2 c. sorghum
1/2 c. sour milk

Sift:
2 c. flour - with
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. soda
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ginger

Add to the above and bake in moderate oven until done.

This is similar to a recipe using honey in place of the sorghum.

EGGLESS 3 LAYER CAKE

Stir butter the size of an egg (1/3 c.) with 1 c. sugar mixing very well. Pour in 1 c. sour milk, do not stir.

Sift:
2 c. flour
1/2 t. soda
1 1/4 t. baking powder
2 T. cornstarch

Add to above mixture and beat thoroughly.

Add:
1 t. lemon extract

Bake in 3 layers, at 325* F. for 20 minutes, or till done. Put some nice tart jelly between layers and you will have an inexpensive cake.

A similar recipe called for serving this cake with whipped cream.

QUICK STRAWBERRY PRESERVE FROSTING

Combine:
1 egg white
1/8 t. salt
1 c. strawberry preserves

Beat till frosting stands in peaks.

A later version calls for 1/4 c. powdered milk (Sanalac) added while beating (not milk granules). Or folding in whipped cream for a gourmet touch.

APPLE CAKE

Beat 3 eggs until thick and lemon-colored.

Add:
1 3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla

Along with:
2 c. sifted flour
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1 c. vegetable oil
2 apples, sliced and unpeeled
1/3 c. nuts

Bake at 350* F. for 1 hour or until done. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

OVERNIGHT BIRTHDAY CAKE

This is a cake for special occasions and is very delicious. When cake flour was not available scant 1/2 c. cornstarch was used in place of part of the flour.

2 c. cake flour
2 c. sugar
1 c. boiling water

Mix together and let stand overnight. In morning stir thoroughly.

Beat:
6 egg whites - stiff

Add:
1 t. cream of tartar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. flavoring

Fold into mixture.

Bake at 250* F. for 35 minutes.

SALTED PEANUT BIRTHDAY CAKE

Cream:
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. lard

Add:
1 lg. egg
1 c. thick sour milk

Sift:
1 3/4 c. flour
1 t. soda

Add:
1 c. ground salted peanuts with red skins

Mix well into above mixture. Bake in 9 X 12-inch pan at 350* F. for 35 minutes. Frost with white frosting; sprinkle top with peanuts (crushed).

NEVER FAIL WHITE CAKE

Cream together:
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oleo

Add:
1 c. sweet milk - with
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla

Fold in stiffly beaten white of 4 eggs. Bake in moderate oven. toothpick test, or 25 minutes approximately.

CHOCOLATE CAKE

Mix:
2/3 c. shortening
1 3/4 c. sugar

Add:
1 1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 t. soda

Sift:
1 3/4 c. flour
2/3 c. cocoa
1/2 t. cream of tartar
1/2 t. salt

Add to above and beat. Add 3 eggs and mix well. Bake at 350* F. abour 30 minutes.

SOFT CHOCOLATE FROSTING

Melt:
6 oz. chocolate in saucepan over hot water

Beat:
3 egg yolks in heavy saucepan until very thick

Add:
1 1/4 c. sugar and beat until smooth

Add:
3/4 c. milk
1 1/2 T. oleo - stir well.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute only. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate; add salt and vanilla. Beat until of spreading consistency. This icing stays soft and sufficient for a large pan cake.

GUM DROP FRUIT CAKE

Cream:
2 c. lard, melted
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar

Add:
4 eggs, beaten
2 c. unsweetened applesauce

Sift:
4 1/2 to 5 c. flour
2 t. soda
1/4 t. salt

Add:
1 c. dates, cut in half
1 c. Brazil nuts, cut in half
1 c. small gum drops (no black or spiced)
1 c. raisins, soaked
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. nutmeg
2 t. allspice

Mix well and bake in 3 bread tins at 350* F. for 45 minutes.
This was a popular recipe at Christmastime.

This is a recipe for a popular cookie made during the Depression. Everyone made them, even kids, so they would have then ready for the next days’ lunch box.

1 c. lard
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar - mix well

add:
1 egg
1 t. vanilla

add:
2 c. flour
1/4 t. soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. nuts

Drop from spoon; bake till golden.

Another food that stretched the menu was cracklings.

This is the fat left over after the fat is rendered. The fried fat was put into a press, the lard squeezed out and the left over product was called “cracklings”.

These were salted slightly and stored in a container for future use.

The cracklings were put into the oven to heat thoroughly and would generally be served with rye bread or boiled potatoes. Other times they would be mixed with flour and baked on a cookie sheet and be eaten as a bread sustitute.

CRACKLING COOKIES

2 c. cracklings
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk

4 c. flour - sifted with:
2 t. baking powder
1 t. soda
1 t. salt
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cloves
1 t. cinnamon

1 t. vanilla

1 c. nuts
1 c. raisins

Bake until 350* F. until light brown - do not overbake.

RHUBARB CUSTARD PIE #1

Mix:
1 3/4 c. sugar
3 T. flour
1/4 t. cinnamon
3 eggs, well beaten

Pour over 3 c. rhubarb cut fine in unbaked pie shell.

Bake at 350* F. until custard is done.

RHUBARB CUSTARD PIE #2

Fill unbaked pie crust 1/2 full of cut up rhubarb. Sprinkle with 1/2 c. sugar.

Make custard of:
1 c. white syrup
4 T. sugar
1 c. cream
3 eggs
1 1/2 t. cornstarch

Pour over rhubarb and bake till done. Clean knife test.

SUGARLESS MOLASSES COOKIES

1 1/2 c. dark molasses
3/4 c. lard
1/3 c. boiling water - poured over above

2 eggs, beaten - mix well

Add:
4 c. flour - sifted with:
2 t. soda
2 t. salt
1/4 t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon

Mix and chill overnight. Slice and bake - 350* F. 8 to 10 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen

HONEY COOKIES

2 c. brown sugar
1 c. lard
Mix and add:
1 beaten egg
2 c. honey

Dissolve 2 T. baking soda in 1 c. hot water.

Add 2 t. ginger
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. salt
and enough flour to handle

Roll, cut and bake at 350* F. 10 to 12 minutes.

HOW THEY GOT THEIR FLOUR DURING THE DEPRESSION

Every community at that time had its’ own flour mill. Due to the depression years, most of them were no longer miling flour and its’ by-products.

Horse drawn wagons brought loads of wheat or rye. The miller got his pay out of the wheat.

All was ground into white flour although often it contained much of the original kernel when the mill was in its’ early stone grinding period.

The ground wheat was then passed through many siftings. First to remove the outer shell, which is bran. This was used for feed, mostly for poultry. The second sifting produced middlings. This was use to bake Graham bread as well as muffins and pancakes. Muffins in those days were called “Gems”.

What was left out of the flour consisted of crushed kernels and was used as a cereal for breakfast food. It required longer cooking and was enjoyed with brown sugar and milk.

Every cook soon learned how to prepare wheat products and there was never any left for the dog. Ground grain was used as hog feed. Some would use this grain (hog feed) and mix it with thick sour milk, fat drippings and baked it in the oven.

Salt was even scarce - but the salt then was real salt - thick heavy kernels taken out of a wooden staved barrel. It needed sifting too, so only the finer parts were used.

Honey came from the hollow trees.

Raisins were 5 cents a pound…as were prunes and dried apples. The problem was coming up with a nickel to ake the purchase!

Many of these recipes are familiar to me - thxs so much. I copied a bunch of them!

You’re very welcomed - I have tons more to post. One of these days I’ll get around to it.