Amazing Cookery Tips & Tricks From The 40s And 50s
The 1940s and 1950s saw significant changes in cookery practices, influenced by the political and social context of the time, such as World War II and the post-war economic boom.
Here’s a bunch of tips and tricks I have written down over the years. Some are from my mother who loves to cook using these old school ways.
I do believe you will find some if not all of these tips and tricks very helpful and even may change the way you cook.
Cooking tips, tricks and hacks from the 40’s and 50’s
- Fill a wire basket with fruits or vegetables, submerge it in a tub of hot water, let stand a minute then dip the whole basket in cold water. The peelings are loosened and come off quickly. This eliminates a lot of extra handling during canning season.
- To cook a cracked egg, wrap the egg in waxed paper, twist the ends and drop in boiling water.
- For a meringue that never fails, add sugar (1 tablespoon to an egg) before beating egg whites.
- Clean raisins in a screw-top jar. Put in raisins and water, screw lid tightly and shake. Drain out the water and the raisins are ready for use.
- If your recipe calls for a few drops of lemon juice, don’t cut the lemon in half. Instead, stick a fork in one end and squeeze out the juice required. The lemon will not dry out and can be kept for future use. (I use this one all the time)
- You can quickly shave chocolate for puddings and frostings with your potato peeler.
- Cranberries add a good flavor to apple sauce when cooked with the apples, and give a brighter color than cinnamon drops.
- Pastry shells will bake smoothly without blisters if, after placing the crust in the pan and pricking, you place another pie tin of the same size on top of the dough.
- No more stirring is necessary throughout the cooking of peach butter or apple butter if you make it in your oven. The oven heat control eliminates the constant tedious stirring and the butter will not burn or stick to the vessel.
- To poach your eggs without an egg poacher, make a ring of aluminum foil and butter it. Put this in boiling water and drop the egg in the ring. Poach until done.
- Rid your house of cabbage, cauliflower, and other household odors. Place 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon on top of a hot iron skillet and let stand over low heat a few minutes. You can also use orange peel if you prefer its scent.
- Try this idea for keeping fish odor off your hands. Before you ever touch the fish, rinse your hands in cold water. Do not dry. After you have prepared the fish, wash hands thoroughly in soap and water.
- Keep parsley fresh and easy to use in this way: Wash it thoroughly, then shake or pat it dry. Wrap it tightly in a piece of aluminum foil. Whenever you need some, use a sharp knife or scissors to cut off the necessary amount. Return remaining wrapped parsley to refrigerator.
- Wash fresh mint, parsley or other herbs. Without drying, place in a glass jar. Screw lid on tight and place in refrigerator. They will keep fresh and green for two weeks or longer, ready for use in cooking and garnishing.
- For better flavor and color, add some peach stones to the syrup when you are canning peaches. Let boil five minutes or longer. Remove stones. Place peaches in jars. Fill jars with syrup from peaches.
- You can dry corn quickly and easily by mixing eight pints (freshly cut from the cob), three tablespoons sugar, four level teaspoons salt, and one-half cup cream. Boil for 20 minutes. Stir constantly. Spread corn in a shallow pan. Place in a slow oven. Stir often. When oven dry, place on waxed paper to dry further.
- If a portion of egg yolk slips in with the whites when you are separating them, moisten a bit of clean cloth in cold water. Lightly touch yolk. It will adhere.
- Make crystal cherries by rolling freshly pitted cherries (drained) in granulated sugar. Lay them separately in a shallow pan. Place under or near freezing unit in refrigerator for 2 or 3 hours.
- This is a great unique method of dating canned fruits and vegetables: Tie a colored cord around the neck of each jar, using a different color for each year. This way the old and new stocks don’t become mixed.
- Add a teaspoon of baking powder to every four eggs when making an omelet (beaten in thoroughly). The omelet will be considerably lighter, more attractive and tasty.
- The best baking powder can be made easily with 1 part baking soda, 2 parts cream of tartar and 1 part cornstarch. Mix well, sift three times and store in tightly covered tins.
- Prepare hard-boiled eggs so that they will peel perfectly. Place eggs in pan. Cover with cold water. Sprinkle about two tablespoons salt in water. Cook. When water begins to boil rapidly, cover with lid. Remove from heat. Let stand in water until cool again.
- To save skimming from time to time as you prepare your jams and jellies, add a dot of butter or margarine. Stir.
- If your cake becomes dry, wrap it in a damp cloth, and set it in a moderately warm oven until the cloth is dry. (I have done this numerous times and works like a charm)
- Put a frosty rim on your tall cold drinks for a look of absolute coolness. Dip edge of glass in lemon juice then in granulated sugar. Refrigerate.
The 40s and 50s were a time of great creativity in the kitchen, as people experimented with new ingredients and techniques.
The war and post-war era saw a shortage of certain foods, which led to the creation of new recipes and innovative uses of available ingredients.
For example, gelatin was used to create a variety of textures and flavors, and casseroles became a popular way to use up leftovers.
Additionally, the era saw a growing interest in international cuisine, with the introduction of exotic spices and ingredients that were previously not widely available.
In general he 40s and 50s provided a perfect storm of convenience, creativity, and innovation that made it a truly great time to cook.
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