Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sausage Surprise - 1936

It's been a few weeks since I posted an introduction to this site, but I have definitely not forgotten about it. On the contrary, I've spent those weeks pouring through magazines from decades past; the earliest one I've found so far dates from 1924 and they work their way up to the 1970's.

Even on a limited basis it's easy to trace the food trends of certain time periods. The 60's and 70's feature plenty of diet recipes and articles on how to lose weight. The recipes from this time also tend to include a lot of ready-made, processed ingredients and flavor packets which cut down on a lot of preparation time. The 1920's and 30's, in contrast, feature much heavier, calorie-laden meals and things like salad dressing and cheese sauces are all homemade. There are even suggestions for what cooking fats to use; one article suggests removing the butter from a pie recipe and substituting chicken fat!

I had a hard time choosing a recipe to start this blog with. I try to eat healthy foods and cook from scratch wherever possible, but I was and am prepared to change this once in a while in the name of experimentation and research! In the end I decided to go with flavor over all and chose this recipe called "Sausage Surprise". It comes from the September 1936 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, and was sent in to the magazine by a Mrs. A. C. White of Sheridan, Wyoming. Mrs. White insists that her husband refuses to eat spinach straight, but this recipe disguises it enough for even him to enjoy! Personally, my husband declared the recipe to be "kind of heavy," and I suppose it is, but I loved it. It reminds me of those spinach ball appetizers you find at parties, only this is even better because it's a whole tray full of goodness! And it was super easy to make. So, for the first entry in Vintage Dish, here you have the 1936 recipe for "Sausage Surprise". I am going to print the recipe exactly as it appears in the magazine, but feel free to make your own changes (for example, I used frozen spinach).

* 2 cups cooked spinach, or a No. 2 can, chopped
* 1 cup chopped celery or celery leaves
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 egg, slightly beaten
* 1 cup dry bread crumbs
* 1/2 pound bulk pork sausage
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 cup grated cheese

Combine all ingredients, except the cheese, in a greased casserole. Sprinkle the top generously with grated cheese, and bake in a moderate oven (350 to 375 degrees) 40 minutes. Serve hot from the casserole. Serves 6.

The magazine suggests serving this with butter corn, ginger muffins, and peach cobbler.