The Everywoman’s Cookbook, 1922

I’ve been exploring historical cookbooks, recipes, and menus for a few years now, and it’s very interesting to see how cuisine has changed over the centuries. Some things, like having sweet and savory flavors together in a dish like medieval recipes often did, is something we should try to bring back, in my opinion, while some other dishes, mainly Victorian-era ones, are best left in the past. Sorry, but boiled meats and organs just sound disgusting to me and many others in the 21st century.

On the whole, the 1920s seems to be when meals and recipes start to seem more familiar to us and the way we eat today. Many everyday meals from 100 years ago would not be strange or unfamiliar to us; we probably wouldn’t even realize they were so old unless someone told us.

On the HathiTrust Digital Library, I ran across a 1922 cookbook entitled The Everyday Woman’s Cookbook put out by the National League For Women’s Service, which was established in 1917 in response to America’s involvement in the First World War and which aimed to feed and transport soldiers and war veterans as part of their services. It was complied and arranged by NLWS dietician Helen M. Wells.

Here are some dinner menu ideas Ms. Wells provides, many of which sound pretty good:

I rather like recipe IV with the filet of beef with horseradish sauce… and I adore angel food cake, though I haven’t had it in years.

What recipes sound good to you and/or what dishes do you find most interesting? I’m intrigued by the broiled bananas in recipe VI….

Images digitized by Internet Archive and provided courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library

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