Dates Were the Avocados of the 1920’s
I’m one of these people who read cookbooks for fun. When reading my 1927 copy of the Sioux City/Omaha Fontenelle Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star Cookbook, I quickly came to a few conclusions.
1) Cooking in 1927 wasn’t fun, as cooking and baking was done with a wood stove. So, before you could heat things up, you had to chop wood and haul water. 2) There were few ingredients available and sugar was used sparingly. 3) Not that many people had refrigerators or electricity. 4) Yoga pants had not yet been invented, and instead, wearing layers of scratchy clothing in the kitchen was the norm. 5) Cooking in 1927 was fast and loose, and cooking temperatures and times were not listed, as keeping a fire consistent in a wood stove was challenging. Every recipe has a “hot oven” noted for temperature, with no cooking/baking times mentioned. 6) I’m assuming 1927 was fun times compared to The Great Depression that was just around the corner.
I counted no less than 24 recipes with dates as an ingredient. The recipes in this book were varied and included 3 date muffins, 7 date puddings, 3 date cakes, 1 date pie, 5 date bars and cookies, 3 date desserts and 2 date candies. That’s a lot of dates!
I saw no recipes containing avocados.
Dates are the Gold Standard of Fruits
A few months ago I used dates as a substitute for apricots (I couldn’t find any apricots in several stores) and the results were delicious! Dates are considered a wonder health food, with higher potassium, iron and antioxidants than most other fruits. Dates are very shelf stable. They can be stored like raisins.
A 1927 Recipe Revisited
I decided to test the recipe Vanilla Roll, on page 108, with the subtitle (Easily Prepared Dessert). I’m sure this was a popular recipe, as it didn’t involve a stove. (Refer to the chopping wood/hauling water comments above.) If you are a forgetful person, this is the recipe for you, as the only measurement you need to remember is 1 pound and 1 cup.
Tools You’ll Need:
- Rolling pin or weight to crush Vanilla Wafers
- Bag to crush Vanilla Wafers in
- Knife or kitchen scissors to chop dates and walnuts
- Bowl and wooden spoon
- Aluminum foil to roll dessert
- 1 # vanilla wafers
- 1 C dates, chopped
- 1 C walnuts, chopped
- 1 C whipping cream
Crush vanilla wafers. Add chopped dates, nuts then cream. Make into a roll and slice off. Serve with whipped cream. May be made the day before using. Will serve 12.
Vanilla Roll Cooking Notes:
You will need to remove the seed in the middle of each date before you chop the dates. Also remove the tiny stem on the top of each date. I recommend you soak the dates in hot water for at least 20 minutes. This will soften the dates and make the recipe that much better!
Roll up the date log in aluminum foil and put in the refrigerator for a few hours before you slice it up. Be sure to thank the Dear Lord Jesus that you have a refrigerator. (Refer to the lack of refrigeration/electricity comment above.)
This is an easy recipe that actually tastes pretty good! I was a wee bit nervous with the simplicity of ingredients, but it turned out exactly as written.
My Little Hand Churn!
In keeping with the oldest of old-fashioned recipes, I HAVE to tell you about this kitchen gadget that eliminates a stand or hand mixer needed to whip cream. In the time it would take to assemble your mixer, your whipping cream will be completed in this hand churn. This nifty Hand Whipping Cream Maker is so cool! Not only does it make a quick batch of whipped cream, it can also be used to froth milk for coffee. (Be sure to use less milk than you would cream, as it’s thinner and tends to go “all over” if there’s too much in the churn.)
This adorable churn doesn’t use batteries or electricity. Just old fashioned elbow grease! (And unlike TikTok stars and Amazon influencers, I don’t make a commission on anything I mention on this website.)
To make whipped cream in this whipped cream maker pour in:
- 1 C heavy cream
- 1 t vanilla
- 1 T powdered sugar
- Agitate 1-2 minutes. Done!
As Scarface said, “Say hello to my little friend!”