Did Grandma Really Eat This Stuff?

Last week I showed you a couple of my recent vintage finds. Here’s another treasure I picked up not long ago, a 1943 copy of The Modern Family Cookbook by Meta Given.

The book has chapters that teach you to be a better homemaker such as Stretching the Food Dollar and The Social Use of Food. It also has a menu plan that outlines all the foods to serve for three meals a day for an entire year with out repeating one dish. It even tells you which beverages to serve at every meal.

There are more unfamiliar than familiar recipes in the cookbook. Many that would never find their way to the modern family’s table today. Some are just odd, and some are down-right disgusting.

Prune Milk Shake

1 1/2 cups prune puree (about 1/2 lb. dried prunes)

6 tbs of lemon juice

1/16 tsp of salt

4 1/2 cups whole milk, chilled

Sugar to suit taste

Mix the prune puree thoroughly with the lemon juice and salt. Add milk and beat with rotary beater; add sugar to suit the taste (amount depends on sweetness of prunes). Chill before serving.

Folks must have had a lot of problems with irregularity in the ’40’s. Or maybe not if they ate as many prunes as this book seems to suggest. It’s chock full of dishes that have prune as the main ingredient. The Prune Whip, a mousse, and Prune Marshmallow Freeze, an ice cream, sound like real crowd pleasers too.

Potato Kisses

2/3 cup hot mashed potatoes

2 tsp butter, melted

1 lb. XXXX sugar, sifted

2 1/2 tbs cocoa or 1 1/2 squares chocolate

1 tsp vanilla

Few grains salt

1/2 lb. moist coconut (2 tins)

Put hot potatoes through a ricer to remove all lumps, and beat in melted butter. Put potato in a mixing bowl, add sugar, and beat until thoroughly blended. Add cocoa, or melted chocolate which has been cooled, and beat thoroughly. Mix in vanilla, salt and coconut, and drop by teaspoons onto wax paper. Keep the mounds of candy rather regular in shape and size. Place in refrigerator or other cool place for a short time to harden. Hardened candy should be kept in a tightly covered container. Makes about 1 1/2 pounds.

Candy made out of potato? I don’t know. It could taste great. Seems a little strange. Is XXXX Sugar for adult use only? I think it’s powdered sugar. Anybody know for sure?

Scrambled Brains

1 lb. calf brains

1/4 cup butter

5 eggs, beaten

1 tsp salt

Dash pepper

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

2 tbs tomato catsup


Prepare brains as follows: Cover with cold water, wash thoroughly, and remove as much of the membrane as possible. Soak at least 1/2 hour in cold water. Drain and simmer 15 to 20 minutes in vinegar water (1 tbs vinegar to each pint of water): drain and cool in cold water, handling carefully and removing any remaining membrane. Melt butter in heavy skillet, combine brains with other ingredients, and cook like Scrambled Eggs. Serve on hot platter with chopped parsley sprinkled over top.

There you go. Everything you need to know prepare brain for cooking. When it came to the meat chapter it was hard to choose just one nauseating recipe to share with you. How about Deviled Kidneys, Heart Chop Suey or Boiled Fresh Tongue? Would you eat tongue any other way than fresh? Oh, apparently you might eat Cold Jellied Tongue too. There are also recipes for Tripe (cow stomach) and Sweetbreads (Thymus glands). No wonder people thought SPAM was such a great invention back then. At least it’s disguised so that you don’t know what kind of revolting entrails you’re putting in your mouth.

So now it’s your turn. What’s the strangest recipe you’ve come across? Or maybe the weirdest thing you’ve had to eat? Please share!


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3 Responses to “Did Grandma Really Eat This Stuff?”

  1. David Says:

    Um…Do I have to be the guinea pig and try all this stuff?

  2. Mom Says:

    Remember. I grew up on a farm in the ate 40’s and 50’s. I actually liked pickled heart. I never ate tongue, although I think Grandma did pickle tongue, too. Did you ever read RAMONA QUIMBY, AGE 8 by Bevelry Cleary? Her mother cooks tongue like pot roast. Grandpa also made head cheese and blood sausage, but I absolutely never ate those two things. At least the two worst things I made you eat were only summer squash and swiss chard.

  3. acupofjoy Says:

    What fun! I would like to try the Potato Kisses. I’m intrigued. If I try it, I’ll have to blog about it with photos. What say you…shall I?

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