While gently thumbing through the brittle yellowed pages of my 1921 cookbook, Mrs. C.H. Leonard’s Cook Book to be precise, to research an article about the way we cooked a century earlier, I learned a few things: 1.) I never want to make Pork Cake, and 2.) There’s a reason most of us beg Grandmother to write down her famous recipes.
It’s because what worked then can work now…with a few tweaks. Many of us still strive to make that perfect pie crust or that perfect Sunday roast, and to do that, we must look at how it has been done for decades.
There was a lot I recognized in these musty pages—things I do in my kitchen today—but many surprises, too. Here are just a few of the latter. (For context purposes, I was born in 1980, so take “surprises” as you will.)