Friday, July 8, 2011

Nut Bread, Ginger Cookies, Brown Sugar Cookies, and Tomato Catsup

This is another page, front and back, from my grandmother's fragile Webster's Spelling Recipe Book. The lower edge on this sheet is so worn and frayed that the last letters of some words are gone.

These are such bare bones recipes. On one of the recipes only flour, with no quantity is listed as an ingredient. The baking temperature for the cookies and bread is probably 350 degrees. The cooking times? Well, take them out before they burn!

Thus far "Tomato Catsup" is the most detailed recipe. It gives specific instructions for washing, cutting, boiling time, and exact ingredients. The only choice left to the cook is the final cooking time in which a thicker or thinner ketchup results. I suspect this was a recipe for canned ketchup but no canning instructions were included. Also note that directions tell us to "remove from fire: and "put on fire." She was probably cooking over a wood- or coal-burning stove. Her directions bring to mind the opening scene of "Meet me in St. Louis" in which Tootie races through the kitchen where her mother and the maid are fussing over the seasoning of a pot of ketchup. Enjoy!

Nut Bread.
1/2 cup nut meats chopped ["chopped" is written at an angle]
3 cups flower [the "e" is x-ed out in pen]
3 tea spoons baking powder. ["powder" is written at an angle]
Stand 45 min.
1 T melted butter [written in pen] Bake 45 min.

Ginger Cookies
1 cup Sugar.
1 " molasses.
1 " Shortening.
2 Eggs.
4 tablespoons Sour Milk
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon ginger.
1 teaspoon Baking powder

Brown Sugar Cookies
1 cups B. Sugar.
4 cups flour
1 heaping teaspoon B. P.
1/2 Soda.
Nutmeg -- Salt.
1 cup Shortening
[illegible writing on frayed bottom edge]

Tomato Catsup
Wash ripe tomatoes. Cut in four pieces & boil until
soft. Remove from fire & when cool enough to
handle; strain through a course sieve. Measure
& to every five qts. of juice allow one &
a half (1 1/2) tablespoon each, Cinnamon & cloves,
1 1/2 tablespoon Mustard, & 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
Mix Mustard in two tablespoon water.
Add to other ingredients. Put on fire to
boil, After boiling 1/2 hour. Add 1 1/2 cup granulated
sugar. Boil down to about 3/4 original amount


  1. So fun to see these recipes just like they were in your grandmother's book!

  2. They sound very yummy, Nancy! I'm in awe at the Nut Bread recipe with so little liquid, but I love a good nut bread! :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I have considered making my own catsup. With good homegrown tomatoes it's probably especially good. Let us know if you try it!

  4. Thanks, Dorene. I tried scanning them and photographing - decided the photographs looked better than the scans.

  5. Cheryl, I, too, wondered about the nut bread recipe. I don't think it can be correct. It must need more liquid to come out like bread. I think I'll compare it to another nut bread recipe and then give Gramma's a try. Hmmmm.

    Christine, I don't think we're going to have many homegrown tomatoes this year but if we have enough, maybe I can try this. It seems like it makes a lot! I suppose I could freeze it....

    Thank you Cheryl and Christine for visiting.

  6. I'm ever amazed that these recipes were ever committed to paper, considering that, by necessity, cooks of our grandmother's generation made these things on a regular basis and rarely - if ever - had to consult a list of ingredients or cooking times and temperatures. My mother's bread and butter pickles are an example. I have her written "recipe", but never saw her use it. She just did this and that and added a little of one thing and a lot of something else - never measured anything - but they came out exactly the same way every single time. Not so when I tried her "recipe" (several times)! The results were never anywhere close to looking or tasting like hers! ;D

  7. I don't remember my grandmother using recipes, either. When I finally asked her to write them down or tell me when I was younger, I know she didn't give exact measurements because she didn't use exact measures. And nothing I make from her recipes ever tastes like hers did. I'm nearly positive the nut bread recipe will not turn out!

  8. My mother was the ONLY one in the family who could make a to-die-for Banana Nut Bread. Never mind the recipe had been given to her by her mother, and Grandma got it from HER mother. Even Grandma could never get it to turn out the way Mother did, nor could my aunts, myself and several cousins. So the Big Mystery remains - how did my mother alter Great-Grandma's Banana Nut Bread recipe to make it uniquely her own? We'll probably never know!


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...