Category Archives: Vintage Cookbook

Time for a recipe from the vintage cookbooks!

We haven’t played this game in a while! Today’s recipe comes from a library fundraiser cookbook ca. 1983. I remember 1983. I had an awesome velour skirt and shirt set I wore to the first day of kindergarten. If only I could have come home to this! (barf)

Salmon Loaf
1 15-oz can salmon, bones and skin removed
1 1/2 c bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1 T butter or margarine
1 medium onion, diced
2 eggs
2 T vinegar or lemon juice
1 c milk, heated

Essentially, this is a mix-and -bake recipe, not unlike a meatloaf, I suppose, but it grosses me out more. Partly this is because I don’t like fish. I’m also surprised to see that canned salmon came with bones and skin. Ew! I don’t buy canned meat (tuna=fish=gross), but I’ve never heard of canned anything requiring so much effort. So there you go. That’s your fun recipe for the day.


Dead fridge!

On Wednesday as I walked past the fridge it made a weird, loud clicking sound. “That’s new,” I said, but not with surprise–our old fridge in Boston made a range of crazy sounds. I sat down at my sewing machine and within a minute was nearly shouting “Ack! That smell! What is that??” Something in the fridge had evidently let go/burned out and was now filling the kitchen with fumes. We closed off the room and opened a window. Within twelve hours it stopped working completely, and I ran what perishables were in the fridge (we were on the verge of shopping day) up to the faculty fridge at work. Since then we haven’t really cooked as our fridge has only a temporary fix (it was supposed to be permanently fixed last night, but you know how it goes…) and we don’t want to fill it with stuff that could potentially go bad. So no cooking, no recipe-sharing. Unless we hit up the vintage cookbooks!

I’m making Christmas dinner this year for about half the family. I’m generally looking for ideas, so why not prowl the vintage books? And I found this….

Christmas Cranberry Salad
1 small pkg lemon jello
1 1/2 c hot water
1 c sweetened cranberries
1 c chopped celery
1/2 c chopped nuts

Dissolve jello in hot water. When slightly thickened, fold in the rest of the stuff. Place in mold and refrigerate until firm.

This actually doesn’t sound that gross, though the celery throws me; and really, who doesn’t miss the old days of stuff suspended in gelatin, shaped into a wreath?

Vintage cookbook! Scary shells edition.

There wasn’t a great deal of cooking here over the weekend as yesterday was Mr. Pea’s birthday, and I drove him to the Former State for a surprise party. There was pizza, cake and bowling, just like it might have been when he turned 12. I’ve only known hims since he was just 12, so I couldn’t tell you what he did that year. For those of you who live out in the Boston area, I can’t recommend cakes from Party Favors in Coolidge Corner, Brookline enough. We had a Fenway Park cake and it was awesome.

But without any cooking, what to post? Time to return to the Vintage Cookbook collection. Today’s is from the 1983 Dover Library “Food for Thought” centennial fundraising cookbook. The recipe? Chicken Filled Shells. Sure, you’re probably thinking of stuffed shells with a ground chicken and tomato sauce, and maybe some mozzarella. Well, you’d be quite wrong. 1983 was well before ground chicken was readily available on store shelves. So here we go:

2 c cubed, cooked chicken
1 c cooked peas
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/3 c finely chopped onion
1 pkg jumbo shells, cooked and drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c water

Mix together first four ingredients. Stuff into shells. Arrange in baking dish. Stir water into soup and pour over shells. Cover with foil and bake in a 325 oven for 25 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. Serves 8.

Ahh, nothing like cream of mushroom soup poured over mayo first thing in the morning!

Back to the vintage cookbook!

This recipe’s not so much scary as kind of funny.  The recipe is for Beef Mexicana.  Check and see if you can find what makes this Mexican in the ingredient list…

1 lb hamburg

2 8-oz cans tomato sauce

1 box frozen corn niblets (or a can)

1/2 c chopped onion

salt and pepper to taste

Ummm, the corn?  I guess that must be it.  Not even a smidge of cumin.  And I imagine that this was probably what was the international food highlight here.  I’m sure it’s fine, there’s no cream-of-anything soup in it, but it’s kind of funny.  The submitter says to serve it with rice and corn bread.  They also note an optional green pepper or chili pepper could be added.  Viva Mexicana!

Another one from the vintage cookbook…

Pardon the  layout–I’m toying with the idea of a redesign, but likely won’t get to it for another couple of weeks.  I was tired of all that pink.

This one isn’t nearly as nasty as the last one, but I still just don’t know about it. When I was a kid, though, I probably would have been very excited.

Potato Puff Casserole

1 lb ground beef

1/2 c chopped onion

1/2 c chopped green pepper

1 T ketchup

1 10-oz can of (the ubiquitous) cream of mushroom soup

1/4 c water

and, of course, 1 10-oz package potato puffs

For any of you who are keen to make it: brown meat with onion and peppers. Add ketchup, soup and water. Turn into a 1 1/2 quart casserole. Cover with puffs. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes. Serves 4.

Drastic Changes underway

My long silence (yet another) can be explained by an unforseen series of events. I finished grad school last summer, and so this fall went on the job market. This actually went well, and me and Mr. Pea are moving out of state in just a couple of months! Our lives are a little chaotic right now. The combination of new job + moving away means I’m closing down Sweet Pea, at least for a while though it could be a lot longer, starting June 1. Yep, that’s it for the Pea. And I’m ok with that. At first I was a little freaked, but then I remembered that all the changes coming up are what I worked really hard for, so off I go.

Now I do plan on keeping up with Sweet Pea Cooks and making it a far more functional place. Eventually, if Sweet Pea the company doesn’t come back, I’ll move it to another server, but I’m not concerned about that yet.

I’m going to post about a cake I made last weekend shortly; in the meantime, I’ll leave you with one of a series of little gems I’ll be sharing over the coming weeks. On one of our last trips home, my mother-in-law gave me a copy of her church cookbook (one of those spiral-bound dealies everyone has from school or church fundraisers), c. 1984. Some of the recipes are hilarious, and certainly date the cooks who submitted them to sometime mid-century! It amazes me how little fresh stuff, and how much canned, makes up these recipes. I grew up with (though at about 10 launched a staunch protest against) things like tuna noodle casserole, but that can’t compare to what follows. Ready?

Scalloped Tuna

1 10-oz package Cheese Nips

2 cans white tuna

2 cans mushroom soup

2-3 T milk

1/4 c chopped celery

1 1/4 c mustard

Oh my. I won’t even grace you with the instructions. What kind of recipe needs half a bottle of mustard? And a box of cheese-nips? Oh my goodness. As my husband said, what makes these kinds of recipes even greater is that if someone submitted them, they must have been proud of them, or they were a family favorite. That family must not have had much left for taste buds after all that mustard. Yikes.