From 1855: Cherry Jam

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Usually, I would tell you a little bit about the history going on around 1855 for this post. But (spoiler alert), I have another 1855 post coming up soon, so I think I might just reflect here for a bit. I hope you don’t mind. My husband and I have lived in Boston for a few months now. We’re originally from Pittsburgh, but we lived in Florida for nearly the last five years. So, coming back to the northeast after all of that time has been like getting to know all of my favorite things all over again.

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From 1876: Apple Snow

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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 1908: Potato Salad

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It was the year 1908 – the year Famous Old Receipts: Used a Hundred Years and More in the Kitchens of the North and the South was published. Now, typically, I would tell you about 1908, or at least the years surrounding 1908, since that’s when this cookbook was published, but this cookbook is about recipes used for over 100 years prior to the book’s publication. So, let’s talk about those 100 years. What happened in America between 1808 and 1908? A lot is the answer to that question!

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From 1910: Applesauce Cake

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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

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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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From 1917: Creamed Potatoes

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It was the year 1917. Woodrow Wilson was elected to serve his second term as President of a country at war – World War I. The average income was $800 per year, and the average home cost about $6,000. A well-managed home contained all the comforts a modern family could need: plumbing and electricity, a telephone with long-distance capability, a vacuum cleaner, a gas oven, and a phonograph. Women wore shorter dresses now – their skirts hit just above the ankle – and light face powder, rouge for the lips and cheeks, and eyeliner were most fashionable. Ice cream socials were all the rage, as was going to the cinema to see the silent Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford. A movie ticket cost seven cents. Popular music of the era reflected the wartime; George Cohan’s “Over There” was a patriotic hit meant to convince young men to enlist in the army. And, jazz music made its way into the mainstream; “Livery Stable Blues” by Original Dixieland Jass Band was the first jazz recording commercially released to the public.

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From 1919: Cornbread

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It was the year 1919 – the height of the Progressive Era, which was an era that started in the 1890s and ended abruptly with the stock market crash of 1929. It was an era marked by industrialization, urbanization, commercialism, mass production, and… well, progress. America changed significantly and rapidly during the Progressive Era. It went from a country where people developed small, rural villages and lived off of the land and what they could produce themselves to a country ruled by factories and mills where people flocked to the cities and bought their massed-produced food, clothes, and goods from big-box stores.

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From 1892: Lemon Rice Pudding

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It was the year 1892 – right at the end of the Victorian era. Ever drive past a gigantic, old house with a large porch, a number of turrets and chimneys on the roof, and a rounded, tower-looking room on one side? Did you say, “Wow, look at that old Victorian?” That’s referring to the Victorian era, which was the time that Queen Victoria ruled over Great Britain from 1837-1901. Even in the late 1800s, America was learning who it was, so its culture very much still reflected what was going on in Britain. And, it was the Victorian era in Britain, so that carried over across the pond.

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From 1905: Eggs Scrambled in Tomatoes

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It was the year 1905, and though the phrase “American Dream” hadn’t yet been thought up, the concept was alive and well. Everyone was out to forge his own path, find success, and maybe even make a fortune in the wide, open opportunity that was America. And, the “rags to riches” stories that made it into the spotlight, like those of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, made the possibility of success beyond the wildest of dreams seem entirely reachable.

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From 1892: Potato Pancakes

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It was the year 1892, the beginning of what would come to be called the “Gay Nineties.” It’s funny; the 1890s weren’t particularly grand for the average American – for the wealthy, yes, but not for average people. The economy suffered a nationwide depression; an influx of immigrants combined with the grueling work laborers performed created unrest in the workforce; and, for most of the decade, the country ramped up for the Spanish American War, which finally broke out in 1898. So, why are the 1890s remembered as a time of such happiness and ease?

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