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Apr 12, 2007 01:47 PM

Vintage recipes from garage sales

Have you ever picked up a recipe box from a garage sale and found a great recipe?

Maybe someone’s grandma’s favorite handwritten with love. Any you care to share?

I never thought of this till coming across this website where that is exactly where the recipes originated … from recipe boxes she picked up at garage sales. Seems like a great idea I never considered before.

Sure there are a lot of duds, but there are some really different things … some I’d try … some not.

One of the coolest tips is for shipping cookies by packing with real popcorn

Going Away Cookies Belonging to Mabel Fontaine.

“She wrote that when packing the cookies for over-seas, place popcorn around the wrapped cookies so they will not crush. She added, they will taste as delicious as if you had just baked them, even after a long period of time. She recommended sending these cookies to servicemen stationed overseas.”

These are only a small sampling of what is on the site. The pickle section was really interesting with …

- Written on the back of the card, "Great Great Aunt Jenny Rawlins's Relish
She was 60 years old when she gave this to me, back in 1954" (involves green tomatoes, onions and red mango)

- Rackings of the Garden from Uncle Arnold (involves cabbage, Celery Onions, Cucumbers, Green tomatoes, Green Beans, Lima beans Cauliflower & Red Mangoes)

- Green Tomato Mince Meat 1950 Mrs. Raymond Strawder (involves green tomatos, sour apples, raisins, spices & beef suet … pick a peck of green tomatoes … )

The casserole recipes wandered into the land of the loony … but there are tuna casseroles that don’t involve canned soup … among the odder

- Creamy Spam Asparagus Casserole
- Glamour Dogs (involves crushed Fritos)
- Creamed Hamburger and Cabbage by Letha Tuttle
- Deer Hunter's Pie (no deer … ground beef, apples, potatoes, onions)
- Uncle Will’s (involves hominy, whipping cream, cream of mushroom soup, almonds, cheese)
- Chicken a la Can from Beverly Malich (cans of Franco American & Swanson are involved)

- Hominy Casserole Recipe belonged to Ruby Bemis. "She brought this recipe to our meeting of the Indiana Club", was written on the recipe. (uh, hominy, chopped up tamales, cream of mushroom soup, shredded cheese … mix & bake)

Of course, baked goods always sound good

- Apple Brownies (I guess Spry was the Crisco if its day)

- Cream of Tartar Biscuits
- Casserole Bread by Mrs. Walter Jones
- Indian Fry Bread from the Kiowa Indian Agency at Anadarko in 1934.
- Graham Muffin Recipe by Lucille Teilmann

- Aunt Susan's Date Cake with Caramel Icing
- Mellow Pumpkin Cake with Lemon Sauce
- Prune Velvet Cake by Eva Wiedrick
- Mrs. Ed Cothran's Perfect Prune Cake
- Red Earth Cake (yep, red velvet cake but with brown sugar icing)

- Sharkie Pie (involves blackberry jam, bourbon & whipped cream)
- Kentucky Derbie Pie (more bourbon, of course)

- Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies (courtesy of Chiquita Bananas)
- Banana Oatmeal Cookies (hey, how healthy is that)

- Kaiserschmarrn Pancakes
- Gingerbread Waffles

- Lemon Ice Box Pie with Spiced Crumbs
- Florida orange meringue pie
- Grandma Elicker's Breakfast Crumb Pie from Donna Sparks

- Creme-De-Menth Cake (uh, involves chocolate syrup and Dream Whip, too)
- Gumbdrop Fruit Cake Belonged to Virgie Towell (also has butter-fried pecans)
- Lemonade Pie (yeah, ok … frozen lemonade, cool whip & condensed mil)

- Mayonnaise Cake
- Oatmeal Cake
- Oatmeal Pie
- Potato Cake
- Vinegar Cookies
- Old Fashion Vinegar Pie
- Bride's Pie dated 1950
- Apple Butter Pie
- Peanut Pie (with whole peanuts … no peanut butter)
- Graham Craker Cake Mrs. Ruth Garrison.

- Dish Pan Cookies from Wilma Henrich
- Czechoslovakian Strawberry Bars
- No Bake Coconut Cereal Cookies (actually kind of neat. Almost good for you, great in hot weather, quick to put together, and kids can do it … after mixing, it involves letting mixture dry)

- Sugar Plum Pudding
- Date Pudding
- Rhubarb Pudding (rhubarb, sugar, bread, butter, bake)
- Porridge Pudding (a pudding of leftover oatmeal)

Back to savory food

- Betty's Meat Loaf Jan. 29, 1974 Chillicothe Ohio (it has rye bread & buttermilk)
- Roast Bologna Recipe
- Boston Bake Bean Recipe from 1921 (involves a pail and fire)

Veggies were not a strength in the 50’s ..

- Granny's Baked Spinach (canned spinach, Ritz crackers, Velveeta)
- Quick Minted Peas by Ronnie Rice (frozen peas, mint jelly)

A few unique dips

- Hill Country Caviar (dip with black-eyed peas)
- Braunschweiger Dip
- Bean Dip and Dogs (Appeals to my trashy food side … mashed canned pork and beans mixed with onion, spices, bbq sauce, horseradish, liquid smoke, mayonnaise ... and, uh, boil … brown hot dogs & dip)

Salads, dressings and sauces

- Bing Cherry Salad Mold with Coke

- Grandma Harriet Cydrus's Homemade Salad Dressing Use for Bologna and Ham Salad
- Red Salad Dressing (based on catsup)
- Red Roquefort Dressing (yep … cheese and catsup)

- Dairy Queen Hot Dog Sauce
- Magic Mayonnaise Mrs. Ward June, 18 1936 (involves condensed milk)

As the infomercials say and much, much more. So has anyone picked up interesting recipes at a flea market or sale?

Vintage recipes

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  1. My husband brought home a cookbook he picked up at a swap area, entitled "Go Go Gourmet, 142 Recipes in less than 30 Minutes." This is clearly where Sandra Lee got her inspiration, with recipes like:

    Avocado Dip
    1 can frozen avocado dip, defrosted
    1/2 can chopped green chiles
    Add chiles to avocado dip and surround with taco chips.

    How about:

    Chinese Peas
    2 packages frozen chinese peas (snow peas)
    2 cans chicken broth
    Substituting broth for water, cook according to directions.

    They are all similarly appalling.

    It even has a chapter with suggested toasts for certain occasions (and appropriately bad cocktail recipes to go with them) and a chapter devoted to what I can only presume was the early 1970's precurser to the tablescape.

    Brilliant stuff!

    4 Replies
    1. re: dukegirl

      It's these recipes that make me sooooo grateful to have been raised by hippies ;-) I bought an old cook's notebook from the early 1900s at a garage sale. Can't find it right now, but I spend hours reading about Mrs. Henderson's Nutmeg Cake and others, handwritten in pencil. It's a treasure.

      1. re: dukegirl

        What on earth is a can of frozen avocado dip?

        1. re: dukegirl

          would love to get that deerhunters pie recipe sounds like one grand pa use to make please send to thanks

        2. I bought a very cool-looking O'Keefe & Merritt cookbook at a yardsale and keep it next to my O'K & M stove. It's mid-century with fairly inoffensive recipes. I think it's from before people started using canned soups, etc. Looking through it, I actually don't see any canned, frozen or pre-packaged ingredients in the recipes for dishes such as stuffed peppers, link sausage and hominy, escalloped tomatoes. Also lots of sweets and cocktails. Not sure why'd you need a stove for cocktails.

          Here's a quote from the first page: "A very common affliction is 'Kitchen Fog.' Ambitious little girls who like to help mother have it! Brides by the score get it! And many experienced cooks have it and don't know it. 'Roast every Monday; croquettes every Tuesday; hash every Wednesday are the distressing symptoms. Here is the panacea!"

          1 Reply
          1. re: Glencora

            Yeah, escalloped tomatoes was one of the recipes in the above link, but they used canned tomatoes.

          2. I once picked up a box of recipes at a garage sale, but I haven't cooked from any of them yet. I need to find them and try something out! At the time, (I think I was in high school) I didn't really cook much, but an older gentleman was doing the garage sale, his wife had just died, and he was selling a lot of her stuff. It broke my heart to see the recipe box amongst the stuff that was probably going to get thrown away, so I had to buy them. My mom has ALL of my great grandma's recipes, and I've been going through them for the family cookbook- what a project it has turned out to be! Thank goodness no one put my great grandma's recipes in a garage sale! Looking through her recipes has reminded me that I need to write more of mine out instead of printing them off from the computer- a computer print out from Food Network just doesn't hold quite the same memories! Though I do love her newspaper cut outs so lovingly taped into little notebooks!

            6 Replies
            1. re: Katie Nell

              I have my italian grandmother's recipes, many of which are written on the back of the little cardboard insert that came in packages of pantyhose.

              1. re: dukegirl

                My Grandma (89 & going strong) has several old family cookbooks, mostly handwritten and falling apart. I'm hoping that they'll go to my cousin to be cherished.

              2. re: Katie Nell

                I have not picked up boxes or recipes but do collect old cookbooks and I especially treasure the ones that have penciled notes in them about whether it was good, bad or changes to make. Some of the books I have found are such treasures I wonder how people could part with them. I am an especially avid collector of old Southern cookbooks since most of my culinary heritage is Souothern.

                1. re: Candy

                  I read that Ella Fitzgerald left a wonderful cookbook collection when she died -- all the more special (and valuable, I guess) because of the notes she wrote in them. I'd love to see them.

                  1. re: Glencora

                    Ooooooh that would be pure heaven to me!

                  2. re: Candy

                    My aunt's (not blood, by marriage) mother died a couple of years ago, at the age of 99. She left, I understand, her hand-written recipes, stored God-knows-where with my aunt. Grandma Mamie was a fantastic cook, and used to work in the kitchen at the old Sage's market. Among her gems were Roast Goose and German Chocolate Cake. We've been bugging my aunt all this time for those recipes - I hope she doesn't die and leave them in storage somewhere, like Raiders of the Lost Ark!!!