From 1950: Butterscotch Squares


I am thirty years old today. THIRTY. That’s weird to say. I don’t feel thirty. I don’t think I’ve felt like I’ve aged at all in a very long time. Twenty-one is probably the last big birthday you celebrate once you become an adult. So, it’s really just another day to me. But, since I typically write about history and today has a theme to it for me, let’s talk about my birthdays of the past!

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From 1923: Sunshine Cake


Alright, let’s go back to the The College Woman’s Cook Book one last time. I’ve used recipes from this cookbook quite a few times, but it’s just such a great cookbook! Not only does it have interesting recipes, but they all turn out. And, I’ve gone through a few cookbooks now whose recipes did not turn out for me. Sorry, 365 Foreign Dishes, but I’ve tried three different recipe from you, and they were all just terrible. I don’t know if it was me or you, but let’s just pretend none of it ever happened!

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From 1922: Blackberry Jam Pudding


So, when I make the recipes I write about in my posts, I sometimes don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m a historian, not a chef or even a cook. I like to cook, but I don’t have any kind of expertise! So, sometimes, I’m kind of surprised with what happens when I put ingredients together, or when I put something in the oven. This whole thing is an enormous learning experience for me, and I love that!

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From 1923: Candle Salad


Let’s have some fun. I’ve been stressing out over starting my PhD program, so let’s dial that stress back a little bit and talk about salads. Salads? Yup! Now, I don’t mean “eat-your-greens” salads. That would be too easy, and not really much fun at all. I’m talking about the kinds of salads that first made their appearances on the American eating scene around the 1920s – the kinds of salads whose main ingredients seem to either be gelatin or mayonnaise. Know what I’m talking about now?

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From 1923: Fudge Squares


When I saw The College Woman’s Cook Book, I knew I had to take a look. The title really called out to me. I mean, I’m a woman, and I’m about to start a PhD program (next week… eek!), so I know a little bit about college. It just makes sense, right? I thought so. I wasn’t sure what to expect: Would this be a book of recipes for women to take to college to cook with friends? Was it convenience recipes for busy students?

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From 1895: Orange Water Ice


I mentioned before that when I was a kid, my brother and I were really interested in the Titanic. So, my parents took us to see the traveling Titanic exhibits that made their ways up and down the east coast. One summer in particular, we went to Atlantic City, New Jersey to see a traveling exhibit that included a piece of the Titanic’s actual hull that was brought up from the ocean floor! And, of course, since we were in Atlantic City for that exhibit, we spent some time on the beach and the boardwalk, too.

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From 1876: Apple Snow


Okay, stop the presses again. If I thought I made the best cake ever a few posts ago, I’m certain now I’ve made the best dessert ever! Of, course, this is relative. If your favorite dessert is chocolate pudding, you’ll most certainly disagree with me. But, as someone who likes light, creamy, not-overly-sweet, yet rich and flavorful desserts, I hit the jackpot with this recipe! So, what on earth is “Apple Snow,” you ask? It’s homemade applesauce folded together with light meringue and topped with whipped cream. Talk about unique! It really does taste like apple snow – soft, light, airy, nearly melts in your mouth… ah!

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From 1910: Applesauce Cake


Stop the presses! This is the most delicious cake I may have ever made. It’s a moist, decadent, chocolatey spice cake. It tastes like a warm hug, and it smells like Christmas. And, it was the easiest thing in the world to make. I’m not letting you go anywhere until you try it for yourself! Okay, I can’t really do that. But, I can confirm that in 1910, people knew what they were doing with cake!

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From 1906: Oatmeal Cookies


It was the year 1906. American hero Teddy Roosevelt was President of a country plagued with problems – landslides, earthquakes, murders, segregation, and race riots. But, he was also President of a country focused on making progress. And, though 1906 did little to help the social and environmental issues facing Americans, it did contribute greatly to technology and American placement at the forefront of technological advancement. You see, in 1906, Orville and Wilbur Wright were finally granted a patent for their flying machine. After years of research, experiments, test flights, successes, failures, and arguments over the issue of a patent, this was a major victory. And, it set the stage for aircraft development, which might be one of the most significant technological developments in history.

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