34 Vintage Recipes from Country Summer Kitchens

Summer kitchens were built before the advent of central air conditioning, to segregate the kitchen's activities from the rest of the house during the heat of summer. Each of these vintage recipes harks back to those simpler days when summer's heat demanded cooler, crispier and often outdoor-cooked fare.

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Rhubarb Tart

The rhubarb flavor in this tart balances nicely with the honey and amaretto. The mascarpone cheese makes it rich and creamy. Sometimes I’ll even double the rhubarb for really sumptuous tarts. —Ellen Riley, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

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Down East Blueberry Buckle

This buckle won a contest at my daughter’s college. The prize was four lobsters, but the real reward was the smile on our daughter’s face. —Dianne van der Veen, Plymouth, Massachusetts
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Best-Ever Fried Chicken

Crispy, juicy and perfectly seasoned, this really is the best fried chicken recipe, ever. Summer reunions and neighborly gatherings will never be the same. When I was growing up, my parents had a farm, and every year, Dad would hire teenage boys to help by haying time. They looked forward to coming because they knew they would be treated to some of Mom's deep fryer recipes, including this delicious fried chicken. —Lola Clifton, Vinton, Virginia
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Bake-Sale Lemon Bars

The recipe for these tangy lemon bars comes from my cousin, who is famous for cooking up farm feasts. —Mildred Keller, Rockford, Illinois
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Favorite Coconut Cake

When I need an impressive dessert for a special occasion, this is the recipe I turn to. My guests are glad I do! —Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana
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Scalloped Corn

This comforting casserole features sunny corn kernels tucked into a creamy custard. My mom got this recipe and many other excellent ones from her mother. By the time this crowd-pleasing corn dish left the table, my father, sister, brothers and I would have almost scraped it clean. —Sandy Jenkins, Elkhorn, Wisconsin
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Orange Soda Sherbet

For birthdays, we pull out the old-fashioned ice cream maker and crank out a sherbet made with orange soda. We're all crazy about it, especially my son. —Heather Craft, Paducah, Kentucky
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Fluffy Biscuits

If you're looking for a flaky basic biscuit, this recipe is the best. These golden brown rolls bake up tall, light and tender. They're good on their own, but taste even better served warm and spread with butter or jam. —Nancy Horsburgh, Everett, Ontario
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Creamy Coleslaw

For me, this is the best coleslaw recipe because a package of shredded cabbage and carrots really cuts down on prep time. This coleslaw recipe is great for potlucks or to serve to your family on a busy weeknight. —Renee Endress, Galva, Illinois
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Blackberry-Orange Cake

My grandmother made luscious fruit pies and cobblers using blackberries from her garden. I decided to follow her lead and create a blackberry cake that's always lovely with a summer meal. —Lisa M. Varner, El Paso, Texas
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Classic Egg Salad

Egg salad is a refreshing, tasty change from lunchmeat or peanut butter sandwiches. The touch of mustard and lemon juice gives it extra zip. —Annemarie Pietila, Farmington Hills, Michigan
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Rhubarb Fool with Strawberries

A fool is a classic British and Irish dessert that's usually made with whipped cream and cooked fruit. Try my quick version with rhubarb and berries. —Cheryl Miller, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Crisp Waldorf Salad

This crunchy salad is a perfect side to accompany a heavy meal. With it's light and crisp flavors, it'll be the hit of the party.—Susan R Falk, Eastpointe, Michigan
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Asparagus Swiss Quiche

Fresh asparagus stars along with bacon, onion and Swiss cheese in this hearty quiche. —Mary Ann Taylor, Rockwell, Iowa
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Peach Gelatin Salad

My mother always asked our family what we wanted to eat for holiday dinners. Without exception, our requests included this refreshing gelatin. Toasted walnuts give it a little crunch. —Dennis King, Navarre, Florida
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Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding

One of the nice things about this easy pudding is you don't have to stand and stir it. It's a must for my family year-round! I also make it into a pie with a graham cracker crust that our grandchildren love. —Amber Sampson, Somonauk, Illinois
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Tomato Juice Cocktail

This recipe came from my mother-in-law and many say it’s the best tomato juice they’ve ever tasted. It has a little eye-opening kick to it that’s wonderful! —Beverly Cottrell, Ipswich, Maine
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Marinated Three Bean Salad

Fresh herbs and cayenne pepper provide the fantastic flavor in this marinated salad featuring fresh veggies and canned beans. —Carol Tucker, Wooster, Ohio
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Skillet Blueberry Slump

My mother-in-law made a slump of wild blueberries with dumplings and served it warm with a pitcher of farm cream. We’ve been enjoying slump desserts for 60 years. —Eleanore Ebeling, Brewster, Minnesota
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Sour Cream Cucumbers

It’s been a tradition at our house to serve this dish with the other Hungarian specialties my mom learned to make from the women at church. It’s especially good during the summer when the cucumbers are fresh-picked from the garden. —Pamela Eaton, Monclova, Ohio
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Moist Chocolate Cake

This moist chocolate cake recipe with coffee reminds me of my grandmother because it was one of her specialties. I bake it often for family parties, and it always brings back fond memories. The cake is light and airy with a delicious chocolate taste. This recipe is a keeper! —Patricia Kreitz, Richland, Pennsylvania
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Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

A wedge salad gets the creamy treatment when topped with blue cheese dressing. Keep the dressing as a topper, or make it a dip for Buffalo wings. —Jenn Smith, East Providence, Rhode Island
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Mini Blueberry Tarts

I served this recipe to my family while we were on vacation and they were all amazed! The best part: I didn't spend tons of time on it thanks to refrigerated pie crust. Watch your mini tarts around the 13-minute mark to make sure they don't brown too quickly. If you'd like, sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar for a beautiful finishing touch.—Allison Bell, Hillsdale, New Jersey
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Banana Pudding

I didn’t see my son, Lance Corporal Eric Harris, for more than two years after he enlisted in the Marines after high school. And when I saw him arrive at the airport, I just grabbed hold of him and burst out crying. When we got home, the first thing he ate was two bowls of my easy banana pudding recipe. He’s a true southern boy! It’s a dessert, but you can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. —Stephanie Harris, Montpelier, Virginia
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Ambrosia Fruit Salad

My mom's ambrosia salad, with its tasty combination of fresh fruits and creamy yogurt, is a family favorite, and a great addition to a backyard barbecue. —Colleen Belbey, Warwick, Rhode Island
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Best Red Velvet Cake

It's just not Christmas at our house until this festive cake appears. This is different from other red velvet cake recipes I’ve had; the icing is as light as snow. —Kathryn Davison, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Sauteed Radishes with Green Beans

I’ve heard radishes are the only vegetable you don’t cook, but a cookbook from the 1950s disagrees. Green beans and wax beans round out this dish. —Pam Kaiser, Mansfield, Missouri
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Mixed Fruit Shortcakes

This delightful downsized recipe makes just two biscuitlike shortcakes. Fill them with fresh fruit of your choice and top with whipped cream for an impressive dinner finale. —Sue Ross, Casa Grande, Arizona
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Sugar Cream Pie

I absolutely love Indiana sugar cream pie; especially the one that my grandma made for me. Here, we serve it warm or chilled and call it "Hoosier" sugar cream pie. —Laura Kipper, Westfield, Indiana
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Cucumber Party Sandwiches

Cucumber sandwiches are one of my favorite appetizers. We have lots of pig roasts here in Kentucky, and these small sandwiches are perfect to serve while the pig is roasting. —Rebecca Rose, Mount Washington, Kentucky
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Blueberry Ice Cream

The wild blueberries on our property spark recipe ideas. When my daughter and I made this ice cream at a Girl Guide meeting, it was well received. Even today, our 10 children, 19 grandkids and 4 great-grandchildren think it tastes great. —Alma Mosher, Mohannes, New Brunswick
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Homemade Potato Salad

This homemade potato salad recipe doesn't have many ingredients, so it isn't as colorful as many that you find nowadays. But Mama made it the way her mother did, and that's the way I still make it today. Try it and see if it isn't one of the best-tasting potato salads you have ever eaten! —Sandra Anderson, New York, New York
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Lemon Tea Cookies

These sandwich cookies taste rich and buttery and have a lovely lemon filling. The recipe has been in our family since the 1950s, when my mother got it from a French friend in her club. —Phyllis Dietz, Westland, Michigan
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Sweet-Tart Cucumber Salad

A dear friend showed me how to use up cucumbers in a tangy salad. The longer it chills, the deeper the flavor. Look for lemon or pickling cucumbers. —Dian Jorgensen, Santa Rosa, California

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly in The Huffington Post as well as a variety of other publications since 2008 on such topics as life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. She is also a writer of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.