Sunday, July 13, 2008

Summer Recipes from 1900

Summer Recipes from 1900, originally uploaded by Vintage Dish.

It feels good to be posting again. It was such a stressful, draining week that I didn't even have a chance to post or check out any other blogs; so I'm very grateful for the chance to do that now, on a peaceful Sunday night.

One of the things that always makes me feel calmer and at peace is flipping through an old magazine. For me, the older the better. With very fortuitous timing, I received an 1870 Peterson's magazine that I ordered on Friday afternoon after I walked in the door from work. I finally got a chance to sit down and read it from cover to cover, starting with the fiction and weaving my way through the recipes, household hints, and colorful fashion plates.

It is very easy for me to get lost in nostalgia when reading these vintage writings. For example, I found these recipes in an August 1900 issue of Woman's Home Companion,and immediately I envisioned myself sitting down to a table full of lacy napkins and all the proper silverware, and myself wearing a beautiful flouncy dress. Yet I also know very well that life was not an idyll; at the time these recipes were printed the Philippine-American War was occurring. And on a bit of a pettier note, this was in the middle of a northeast summer which I well know can be very humid and uncomfortable, and there was no air conditioning and surely not as many electric fans in use. So preparing the food and putting those quaint household hints to use were surely often a miserable experience.

Still, these recipes (click the above picture for a bigger, more readable version) are so fascinating to me. For one thing, some of them seem quite exotic - although I know pigeons (squab) are still served in Italy, here in suburban New Jersey they are just not found on a menu. And the scalloped potato dish isn't that different from the recipes I've made myself, but I've never heard of using cucumbers as garnish.

I do have to say that I think the spaghetti inside the tomatoes is a really cute idea! I think it would be something different for a summer dinner party, and I can totally see myself giving it a try. If I do, I'll be sure to post the results in my blog!


Amy said...

I love old magazines too, have you read the Victoriana Magazine? you can read it online and get it emailed too - it has loads of articles like ones about Godey's fashion etc

vintage dish said...

No, I'm going to have to look online to check it out! I used to read Victoria magazine years ago before they stopped publishing it; maybe this is related to that one. Thanks for letting me know about it, though. I'm off to search.