When the DC Thomson publishing company approached me, asking if I would be interested in sharing some of the 1950s tips and cooking recipes they had published on their blog, I was intrigued to find out more about the book that the recipes had come from.
Pass it On: Cooking Tips From The 1950s is a book with a selection of some of the most ingenious tips and recipes collected from newspapers as well as magazines from the 1950s. You have to put it into context and remember that before rationing ended, in 1954, women had to be very creative when making a meal for their family as there were very few products available.
“There were no spices, few oils, and not much food to work with. The meat was roasted, vegetables were boiled and the fruit was unsweetened. And that was when you could get your hands on beef, tatties and bananas.” Steve Finan
As someone who loves a challenge, I decided to do the mission impossible and attempt to make a dish the vintage way. Just for clarification, I don’t mean to imply that cooking based on old recipes is a mission impossible but rather, me trying to cook anything, is a mission impossible.
Every one of my attempts in cooking or baking ends like a script from an episode of I Love Lucy. When I say cooking, I mean boiling the water for rice, which usually ends in me burning the pot. Le Creuset pot that is! I do happen to make a delicious pear salad which consists of; a rocket salad, pears, few Sultanas, cherry tomatoes, which I mix together and top with sherry vinegar. I also have a proclivity for choosing the best restaurants no matter where in the world I happen to be. Say whatever you like but that’s an actual gift.
I found the book with 1950s tips and cooking recipes absolutely fascinating and was very excited to put some of them into practice, to the amusement of my husband, who placed the fire extinguisher next to the kitchen table, just in case.
- Here are some of my favourite tips from the Pass it On: Cooking Tips From The 1950s.
May 14, 1950.
NEW CAKE-New cake usually crumbles when cut with a knife. Use ordinary cotton thread as a cutter. Work the thread, saw fashion, through the cake. It will be a clean-cut job. – Mrs Priestley, c/o 25 Ramsay Road, Kirkcaldy.
*Please note, that I did not make those breathtaking little cakes, instead I bought them from a local cake shop.
- December 13, 1959.
ICE CUBES-If you have a fridge and like to keep ice cubes for drinks, they look very decorative with tinned cherries or other fruit popped into each cube before freezing. Adds flavour, too. – Mrs J. McWhirter, 6Mayfield Road, Saltcoats.
- October 1, 1950.
LEMONS – To keep lemons fresh and juicy, keep them in a cool place in a bowl of cold water, changing the water each day. Leave plenty of room for lemon to float in the bowl. – Mrs Fraser, Sunfield, Inchmaris, Banchory.
- July 29, 1956.
TOMATOES– When tomatoes get soft, put them into a bowl of cold water in which a teaspoonful of salt has been dissolved. Leave for an hour, and they are firm again. – Mrs A. Morrison, The Cottage, New Blyth, by Turriff.
And finally, what you’ve all been waiting for, drumroll, please!
I’ve decided to make pancakes based on a 1950s recipe.
4.oz. Plain Flour
1 level tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Pint Milk
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt, Make a well in the centre; add beaten eggs and milk gradually, to form a smooth batter, free from lumps.
Melt a small amount of lard in a frying pan; when smoking-hot, pour in a thin layer of batter, fry till golden brown, turn and cook on another side. Lift out, sprinkle with sugar, roll up and serve hot with pieces of lemon or jam or syrup ( makes about 8 pancakes ). With self-raising flour, use half the amount of baking powder.
I started my cooking adventure with a glass of Martini with olives and it was definitely much more delicious than my pancakes, which resembled scrambled eggs. 🙂
There you have it, Ladies and Gentlemen, some people should stick to what they do best and stay away from the kitchen!
Having said that, I had a lot of fun trying out different cooking tips with the cherry-ice cubes being my absolute favourite one!