HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

What is the oldest family recipe you still use?

  • 50
  • Share

I realize as I look through my cookbook that a lot of the recipes my family use religiously are quite old including my great-aunt Mary's potato salad from the 20's, but the oldest is probably my great-grandmother Henry's plum pudding sauce which no Christmas would be without. Most of her many descendents still use this every year. She was born in 1850 and the rumor is that is her mother's recipe, but for sure she used it as a young married woman, so about 1868. What's yours? I'm sure we'd all love it if you could share the recipe too!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. As far as I know, that would be my dad's mother's apple strudel (which is really a streusel). I'm guessing it's from . . . The 30s? I don't know if her mother made it before her, but for some reason I'm thinking that she got it from the radio??? I'll have to ask my dad about it. It's sooooo good. Basically apple pie filling (not too sweet and skins ON, please!) with a crumble on top of flour, sugar, cinnamon, and cheddar cheese (and butter maybe). My dad makes it all the time.

    3 Replies
    1. re: juster

      cheese! Is it just grated in?

      1. re: dianne0712

        Yup, just grated into the topping, and quite a lot of it. You hear about cheese and apple pie -- this recipe just throws it all together :)

        1. re: juster

          Sounds cool. I disgusted a Scottish waiter once by asking for cheese on my apple pie.

    2. So, which thread will continue? I just responded on the other one.
      Swedish pancakes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wyogal

        sorry about that. It always seems to post it twice when I use my touchpad.

      2. While I have dozens of family recipes that date back to circa 1930, the one still used most originates with my grandmother. Kichel holds a lot of fond memories of childhood and grandma's kitchen. Grandma made them sweet, with cinnamon and sugar. The Kichel appeal lingers yet today.

        8 Replies
        1. re: todao

          I have never heard of that. Could you describe it please? Is it a cookie or a waffle?

          1. re: dianne0712

            Kichel takes a lot of different forms. It's an egg, sugar, flour, oil based cookie. Generally airy, and often in the shape of a bowtie... I have a good recipe as well, if there's interest.

            IMAGE: http://www.beverlywoodbakery.com/prod...

            1. re: Emme

              There's interest here!

              1. re: happybaker

                you can do them in a food processor (clean-up is a PAIN) or a stand mixer.

                3 eggs
                38 g sugar
                1/8 tsp salt
                120 mL (1/2 c) oil
                120 g AP flour
                1/2 tsp baking powder

                mix eggs, sugar and salt. slowly drizzle in oil til incorporated. mix flour and powder, add a spoonful at a time, then beat on high in the mixer for a minute (or for 30-45 seconds in the processor) til shiny. it will be sticky. scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll in coarse sugar; flatten into a rectangle about 2" long, twist and fold over like a bowtie. bake at 350-375 for 8 minutes. then drop the oven to 300 and bake for another 10-12 minutes til golden. space em a fair bit apart on your parchment as they do puff up quite a bit..

                1. re: Emme

                  Oh yay! Thank you so!

                  I have not had these in YEARS and I miss them.

                  Thanks for the warnings about the sticky, now I won't be startled by that : )

                  I have both a stand mixer and a food processor. Which is easier for clean up? : )

                  1. re: happybaker

                    For me, there was more cursing with the food processor. The dough gets up under the blade.

                    You have to mix longer with the stand mixer, but I'd rather clean that (especially since I resent losing dough to the food processor -- I hate waste :) )

                    Yeah, the dough is definitely slightly sticky. Honestly, I dust my hands in sugar first, then drop a few nuggets of dough in my rolling sugar, shape, twist, and put em on the baking sheet... But if you mix it for long enough, a good deal of the stickiness dissipates. If it's atrociously sticky, mix it longer until it's not so much with the sticky.

                    1. re: Emme

                      Thank you for the advice!

                      I will go for the mixer and keep my fingers crossed!

                  2. re: Emme

                    We don't bake them, we fry them in oil just deep enough to cover and cook 'till they puff and turn golden brown.

          2. I have several that came into the Territory in the Spring of 1801...Still used regularly today? A Grand Daddy's blackberry wine recipe.

            1. Cooking meat over fire?

              1. Mum's way of preparing trifle. Only made once a year for Boxing Day.

                1. Husband's grandmother's suet pudding.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: lawhound05

                    I've always wanted to try that! What's in yours?

                  2. I use my great-grandmother's recipe for cornbread. She was born in 1864 and learned to cook from her grandmother who was born in 1824 and traveled by oxcart from Kentucky to Illinois in 1839---lived in a log cabin on the Illinois frontier. Where did this recipe come from? Who knows, but that grandmother's grandmother went over the mountains from Virginia to Kentucky right after the Revolution. This isn't some fluffy cakey cornbread, it is gritty no-BS cornbread that you can carry around all day in your pocket. Every time I make it I feel as if I am eating a piece of history.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Querencia

                      Could you share it?

                      1. re: Karl S

                        CORNBREAD: 1 egg, 2 cups buttermilk or sour milk, 3 tablespoons bacon drippings, 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal, 2/3 cup flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda. Mix all together. Bake at 400* x 20-25 minutes in a greased pie pan. Grandma also made this with slightly less milk and fried the batter on a griddle like pancakes (in more bacon drippings, naturally).

                        1. re: Querencia

                          Thank you. That's very close to my preferred cornbread, though mine is all cornmeal (which would not hold together as well in one's pocket as your family mix of meal and flour), and I make mine with hot drippings in a preheated cast iron skillet.

                          1. re: Querencia

                            Thank you! I love the history of food and I love it when recipes survive.

                      2. A sweet iced tea recipe from my father's great-aunt -- 1920s. Probably came off a Lipton tea package...

                        1. My grandmother says she has a book of Indian recipes that go back to the late 1800s/early 1900s, but many of the units are either archaic (e.g. a "viss") or denominated in currencies that no longer exist (it would be like having an Italian recipe call for a florin of tomatoes - don't check the math on that one, a florin is actually around $200 apparently). So they'd have to be indexed for inflation to be of any use.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: zooxanthellae

                            Apparently a viss is a Burmese unit of measurement also called a "peittha." According to Wikipedia, it's about 1.63 kg or 3.65 lb. The whole list of Burmese measurements can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burmese_...

                            Can't help you with the currencies though. Perhaps you can find an economic historian to help decipher them...

                            1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                              Yep, hopefully I'll be able to get my hands on the book over some holiday and figure some stuff out. Interesting that the viss is Burmese, since these were written in south India AFAIK.

                              1. re: zooxanthellae

                                The measurement's Burmese, but according to the wiki, the actual word "viss" is English. So who the heck knows! Maybe it was once a common unit of measurement.

                          2. Vietnamese caramel fish - Ca Kho. It's a Vietnamese staple that I know my grandmother's grandmother made for her.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Dcfoodblog

                              Sounds interesting! Are you willing to share the recipe?

                            2. Mine don't go back very far. I guess my grandmother's chicken and dumplings would be the oldest one that I make - she was born in 1901. I don't know where she got the recipe from! The dumplings are different in that they are more of a large, thick, soft noodle than a traditional dumpling.

                              1. My grandmother's challah. A twist on the recipe in the settlement cookbook, circa the late 1920's/early 30's

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: happybaker

                                  I tried making challah last week but it didn't have the soul satisfying texture I was craving. I can't get challah here. Would you share your recipe? I got mine off the net.

                                  1. re: dianne0712

                                    Diane,

                                    I can share the recipe but your problem might be very simple to solve. So... is your challah too dense? Or dry? Are you kneading by hand or, with machine?

                                    (For instance, if I knead mine by hand, I can end up adding much more, which, while it's tasty, can be denser. So just be aware of that.)

                                2. My mother still uses my great-great-grandfather's recipe for sugar cookies from the late 1800s. He was a baker in Nebraska. The kicker is, this recipe uses powdered ammonia as the leavening, which was common in the days before baking soda and baking powder. She substitutes liquid ammonia, which makes for one weird looking cooky dough until everything is well incorporated. The cookies tend to turn out hard and good for dunking in milk. I don't make them myself as I prefer the soft and cakey sour cream sugar cookie from my father's side of the family. (Yes, that did indeed start off a recipe battle which I still don't think is over ... maybe just an uneasy truce at Christmastime.)

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: shaja

                                    LOL ! Food wars ! Always so much fun. I think I'd be scared to eat ammonia.

                                    1. re: shaja

                                      having multiple types of cookies around is NEVER a bad thing ;-)

                                    2. I have several recipes from my Sicilian MIL who is now 93, that she learned as a girl in Italy. I have no idea when they originated.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: laliz

                                        More then likely from necessity . My Sicilian grandmother made dishes for herself (which I would eat ) that reminded her of her childhood when things were lean .One was Stignoli which was chicken innards wrapped around parsley and Capozzelli always lamb and common in my neighborhood especially during Easter.There were many more but one that stands out is her potato and egg soup,peeled boiled potato,with garlic and plenty of parsley added .At the finish eggs were poached in the "brodo" salt pepper and a generous addition of good olive oil .Served with day old bread preferably a "Lasteda "a crusty seeded dark crusted round bread (that wasn't for making sandwiches ) I eat it now with the same amount of appreciation .

                                      2. The oldest I regularly make is my grandfather's Swedish nanny's recipe for cardamom bread-- so, 1920s?. It was the first thing I learned to bake on my own, thanks to great instructions like "dough should be firm but springy, like a baby's bottom."

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: TrussedUp

                                          I adore cardamom! Any chance of the recipe?

                                          1. re: dianne0712

                                            Anyone who loves cardamom should get Beatrice Ojakangas' cookbooks from the library - great Scandahoovian baking.

                                        2. I suspect it's the potato salad, since it comes from my maternal grandfather's mid-Illinois German Mennonite family, and it's not given as a recipe but as a formula: 1 potato to 1 egg to 1/4 onion, salt and pepper to taste, mayonnaise to bind (that last would have once been a boiled dressing). This allows you to make it exactly the same way for one person up to a multitude, a necessary thing for people who gathered to eat a lot. There's also one which I've not gotten yet for a wilted lettuce salad that is set out in much the same way - I really want that one too.

                                          1. My great grandmother's ginger muffins. Family legend says she made the recipe up for my dad, who couldn't eat eggs when he was a baby. They taste like gingerbread, but are small, dense and quite chewy. My uncle is the main baker of them these days and my kids look forward to him arriving with a bag full.

                                            1. unfortunately, it seems that most of my grandmas' cooking did more damage to my mom and dads memory of food than help. every time i go visit them i am still working through re-introducing them to foods theyre scared of from childhood (and a liberal use of cream of X soup and application of overcooking) done the right way.

                                              my dads mom did make a heck of a banana bread though. that recipe NEVER changes (with the exception of becoming a muffin every once in a while instead of a loaf)

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: mattstolz

                                                How does one tweak a recipe to go from loaf to muffin?

                                                1. re: melpy

                                                  No tweaking required, just put the batter into muffin pans instead of a bread pan...

                                              2. Our Cornish pasty recipe came from tin-mining relatives in Cornwall. I believe they came to the USA in the late 1800s.