1940s recipes Feed

Wartime Crusty Rolls

 Do you watch the British TV series Home Fires? The first season takes place right before World War II, the second season — which is running on PBS, right now — takes place during the early days of the war. Home Fires follows the wartime lives of a group of English women and it's wonderful. My husband and I are hooked.

In honor of my new favorite TV show, here's a simple recipe from the World War II era.


No-Kneading Bread Rolls
Vintage recipe from 1944 Fleischmann's advertising

1 cake Fleischmann's Yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 egg, beaten
3 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Place shortening, salt and sugar in a separate bowl; add boiling water. When lukewarm, add yeast and beaten egg; mix well. Add flour to make a soft dough; beat well. Place dough in greased bowl, cover with a plate and chill 2 to 24 hours. Pinch off dough and fill greased muffin pans 1/3 full. Brush tops with melted shortening. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft, until light, about 2 hours. Bake in hot oven at 425˚F for 20 minutes. Remove from pan immediately. Makes 2 dozen. 


This Grandma is setting a spell while her dinner rolls bake.



Recipe via Classic Film
Image via Seasonal Heartland Home

The cutest Thanksgiving idea ever

This idea comes from a 1942 Ocean Spray ad.

Slice your jellied cranberry sauce and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. The result is perfect individual servings of cranberry sauce.

This is so adorable, I can't stand it.


Back in the day, to get the cranberry sauce out of the can in one piece, one just opened both ends of the can with a can opener and the jellied sauce slid right out. Today, the bottom of the can is often such that a can opener doesn't work on it.

What to do?

Open the can on one end. Then, gently insert a knife in between the cranberry sauce and the side of the can to loosen. You don't have to run the knife all the way around, just getting the knife in there should do it.

Click here to watch a one-minute demo. (Where would we be without YouTube?)

Recipe via Click Americana

Another chiffon cake recipe

According to Wikipedia, Harry Baker (that was really his name) invented the chiffon cake and sold the recipe to General Mills who, in turn, created 14 variations of the chiffon cake and published them in 1948 in a Betty Crocker pamphlet.


Sunburst Chiffon Cake
Old recipe from 1948 Betty Crocker advertising

Measure (level measurements throughout) and sift together into mixing bowl:
    2 cups sifted flour (spoon lightly into cup, do not pack)
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    3 tsp. double-acting baking powder
    1 tsp. salt

Make a well and add in order:
    1/2 cup salad oil
    7 unbeaten egg yolks (medium sized)
    grated rind of 2 oranges (about 3 tbsp.)
    3/4 cup cold water

Beat with spoon until smooth.

Measure into large mixing bowl:
    1 cup egg whites (7 or 8)
    1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Whip until whites form very stiff peaks. They should be much stiffer than for Angel Food or meringue. Do not underbeat.

Pour egg yolk mixture gradually over whipped egg whites — gently folding with rubber scraper just until blended. Do not stir.

Pour into ungreased 10-inch tube pan, 4-inch deep, immediately. Bake 55 minutes in slow moderate oven (325˚), then increase to moderate oven (350˚) for 10 - 15 minutes, or until top springs back when lightly touched.

Note: Above recipe may also be baked in an oblong pan, 9 x 13 x 2-inch for 45 to 50 minutes in moderate oven (350˚).

Immediately turn pan upside down, placing tube part over neck of funnel or bottle, or resting edges of oblong pan on 2 other pans. Let hang , free of table, until cold. Loosen from sides and tube with spatula. Turn pan over and hit edge sharply on table to loosen. Serve slices of cake surrounding a bowl of 2 flavors of your favorite ice cream.



This chiffon dress is from the 1950s.  Va va va voom.


 Image via VintageVortex

Let them eat chiffon cake

I love chiffon cakes. They're light and rich at the same time.

According to Wikipedia, "The chiffon cake was invented in 1927 by Harry Baker, a California insurance salesman turned caterer."

His name was BAKER! 


Chiffon Cake
Old recipe from 1948 Mazola advertising

1 1/8 cups sifted cake flour, plus 2 tbsp.
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. double-acting baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup salad oil
3/8 cup water (1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp.)
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. each, vanilla and lemon extract
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup egg whites (about 4)

Mix and sift first four ingredients. Make a well and add oil, water, egg yolks and flavorings. Beat until smooth. Add cream of tartar to egg whites. Beat until egg whites form very stiff peaks. Gently fold first mixture into egg whites until well blended. Fold, do not stir. Turn batter into ungreased 9-inch tube pan. Bake in moderate oven (325˚ F) about 1 hour or until cake springs back when touched lightly with finger. Immediately turn pan upside down, placing tube pan over neck of bottle. Let hang until cold. To remove from pan, loosen with spatula.

Strawberry Icing: To 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar add 1/8 tsp. salt and 3 1/2 tbsp. juice from crushed berries. Mix until smooth. Spread over the top and sides of cake. 

Orange Icing: Substitute orange juice for berry juice in above recipe. Add 1 tsp. grated orange rind.



I know I've said this before but it's worth repeating. If you're used to using cake mixes, do make your next cake from scratch. It's just a tiny bit more work, but the flavor is so much better — you'll never go back to cake mixes.


Image via Suburban Soul

Apple Muffins

Betty CrockerI haven't tried this Apple Muffin recipe yet. Am thinking that since apples taste great with cheddar cheese, these muffins probably would, too.

Many people swear that Granny Smith apples are best for baking, but you can bake with pretty much any red apple (except for Red Delicious) available in your grocery store.  I don't know why, but Red Delicious aren't considered a great choice for baking. 

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Apple Muffins
1940s recipe from old Betty Crocker advertising

Sift together into bowl:
   2 cups sifted flour
   1/4 cup sugar
   1/2 tsp. salt
   4 tsp. baking powder
   1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Blend in:
   1 well-beaten egg

   1 cup milk (use whole or 2% for best results)
   1/4 cup shortening, melted and cooled

Stir just enough to mix the ingredients.

Carefully fold in:
   1 cup sliced apples that have been sweetened with 1/4 cup sugar

Pour into well greased muffin pan. Fill each cup 2/3 full.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes in a moderately hot oven (400°F).

Serve piping hot. Makes 12 medium-sized muffins.


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I want this 1950s apple shaped cookie jar. Alas, by the time I found it online, it had already been sold.

Recipe via Recipe Curio
Image via Muggsey and Mae

Retro Happy Hour: Planter's Punch


Planters' Punch
Vintage recipe from 1947 Myers's rum advertising

One of sour (one part fresh lime juice). Two sweet (two parts sugar). Three of strong (three parts Myers's Jamaica Rum). Four of weak (four parts water and ice).


I have a soft spot for old neon signs. They're disappearing fast, largely because they're ridiculously expensive to fix.


Recipe via Classic Film
Image via Peter Zarria

Holiday Baking During Wartime Rationing

This 1940s recipe uses very little sugar — which was rationed during wartime.

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Honey Nut Cake
1940s recipe from old advertisement

2 cups sifted Swans Down Cake Flour
2 tsp. Calumet Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter or shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
3 eggs
1 cup finely shopped nuts
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, sift together three times. Cream butter or shortening; add sugar gradually, and cream thoroughly; then add honey in thirds, beating well after each addition. Add 1/4 of flour and beat until smooth and well blended.

Beat eggs until thick enough to pile up in a bowl; add to cake mixture and beat well. Add nuts. Add remaining flour in thirds, alternating with milk in halves, beating very well after each addition. Add vanilla. Bake in greased 9-inch tube pan in slow oven (325˚F) for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until done. Spread Honey Butter Frosting on top and sides of cake. Decorate top of cake with wreath made of candied cherries and angelica or citron.

Honey Butter Frosting

Cream 2 tbsp. butter; add 2 tbsp. honey and blend. Add 1/3 cup sifted confectioners sugar and cream thoroughly. Add a dash of salt. Then add 1 egg white, unbeaten, alternately with 2 cups of sifted confectioners sugar, beating well after each addition. Add 1/2 tsp. vanilla. If necessary, add more sugar until of right consistenct to spread. Makes about 1 cup of frosting.


 This is what a World War II ration book looked like. Among other things, the cover warns that violating Rationing Orders and Regulations is punishable by $10,000 in fines and/or 10 years in prison.

Holy moly.


Recipe via VintageKitten
Image via Antique Trader

Retro Holidays: Mincemeat Christmas Cake

Today, mincemeat typically contains dried fruits and spices. Originally, it also contained beef suet, beef or venison.

 I can't even.

Vintage recipe Xmas mincemeat cake

Mincemeat Christmas Cake
1940s economical recipe from vintage Hellman's advertising

Mix 1 cup prepared mincemeat, 1 cup chopped walnuts, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tbsp. rum flavoring (even better, use rum). Blend 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 1/2 cup buttermilk. Over mixture, sift 3 cups sifted flour, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt. Add grated rind of 1 orange, mix thoroughly. Stir in mincemeat mixture. Line bottom of 9-inch tube pan with brown paper, pour in batter, bake at 325˚F for 2 hours.


The pies and cake on this 1940s holiday buffet table aren't Martha Stewart-perfect, they're better. They're homemade, made with love, probably by a woman, almost certainly one who was thinking about her family when she made them.


Check out that awesome vintage wallpaper.

Image via Shorpy

Retro Comfort: Corn Pudding

Comfort food season is just around the corner. Hold on to this recipe for when you need to warm your body and lift your spirits.

1948 corn pudding
Star Corn Pudding
vintage recipe from 1948 Del Monte advertising

3 tbsp. chopped onion
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 No. 2 (1lb. 4 oz.) can Del Monte Golden Cream Style Corn
Salt and pepper to taste
4 firm tomatoes

Saute onions in butter till limp. Blend in the flour. Add milk gradually, stirring constantly till smooth and thick. Stir slowly into beaten eggs. Add corn; season. Wash and core tomatoes. Cut 3 times across blossom end to within 3/4 in. of stem end. Place in shallow 1 1/2 qt. baking dish and open segments. Pour corn mixture around tomatoes. Place dish in pan of hot water and bake in moderate oven (350˚F) about 40 minutes. Garnish with parsley if desired. Serves 6.


I can't stop looking at this amazing 1940s kitchen. And the ginormous boy. Looks like the illustrator put a giant child's head on a grown man's body.


Recipe via SaltyCotton
Imange via Retro Renovation

Retro Happy Hour: three vermouth cocktails

These recipes are from this 1940s booklet advertising Great Western vermouth.

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Applejack Cocktail

1/2 Sweet Vermouth, 1/2 Applejack, Dash orange bitters. Stir well with cracked ice and serve in cocktail glass.

Perfect Cocktail
1/3 Dry Vermouth, 1/3 Sweet Vermouth, 1/3 Gin. Stir well with cracked ice and strain.

Vermouth Cassis
One small glass Dry Vermouth, one small liqueur glass Creme de Cassis. Out in an 8 oz. highball glass with a cube of ice and fill with soda or seltzer and stir.

Queen Elizabeth Cocktail
1/2 Dry Vermouth, 1/4 Benedictine, 1/4 Lime Juice. Stir with ice. Strain and serve in cocktail glass.


These are my in-laws, Jack and Dorothy Reynolds, out on a date in the 1940s after my father-in-law got back from serving in the South Pacific. Look at that swanky zebra banquette.



Via alsis35