Throughout the years food has been an important part of life. It sustains and nourishes people, and brings families and friends together at the dining table.
Recipes provide a glimpse of history — what foods were like and how they were prepared. Here are recipes gleaned from two cookbooks at the Vernon County Museum. The recipes were taken directly from the publications and weren’t altered to reflect modern-day spelling or terms.
“Viroqua Cook Book”
The “Viroqua Ladies’ Cook Book” was published by the Ladies of the Viroqua Congregational Church in 1896. This was the second edition, and the first page of the cookbook noted it was “revised – enlarged.” It was printed by the Vernon County Censor.
Grate 10 fair sized raw potatoes and pour boiling water over them until of the consistency of paste. Cook slowly 1 hour. Then add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup salt, and the water in which a handful of hops has been boiled. When cool, add one cup of good yeast. It will keep three months. – Mrs. Dora Brown
One pound salt pork chopped fine, pour over this 1 pint of boiling water, 2 cups molasses, 2 cups brown sugar, 1 pound raisins, 1 tablespoon each of saleratus, allspice and cinnamon, 8 cups flour. – Mrs. C.A. Gaines
Two eggs, 1 cup sour milk ½ cup cream, ª butter, small teaspoon soda, 2 teaspoons baking powder, a little salt and flour to roll soft. – Mrs. Dr. Beebe, Sparta, Wis.
One quart cream, 1 box Cox’s gelatine dissolved in ½ pint hot water, let cool and stir into the whipped cream, add 1 cup pulverized sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring. – Mrs. J.M. Rusk, Washington, D.C.
Drain from the liquor the quantity of oysters desired; place in a shallow pan in a steamer and cover tightly. When the edges of the oysters have become ruffled they are done. Remove from the pan, add butter, salt and pepper to the oysters and serve upon hot buttered toast. – Charity Rusk Craig
Spiced Veal –
Three pounds of veal chopped raw, 1 thick slice of salt pork chopped, 3 Boston crackers rolled fine, 3 eggs well beaten, ½ teacup tomato catsup, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 lemon grated. Mould in loaf, bake slowly for 2 hours. Garnish with sliced lemon and celery tops. Will keep some time in a cool place. – Mrs. F.M. Towner
Take 4 eggs and use enough flour to make a stiff dough, add a pinch of salt, roll out in thin cakes as thin as possible, let them lay 20 minutes do dry, roll up tightly and cut into fine strips. Have kettle half full of boiling water, add teaspoon of salt, put in the noodles stirring gently with large spoon until all have been put in. Cover and boil 5 minutes, drain in colander, serve on platter with browned bread crumbs and butter on top. Eat with chicken gravy. – Mrs. O.B. Wyman
Genuine Boston Brown Bread
Three cups sour milk, 2 cups corn meal (heaping), 2 cups Graham or rye meal, 2/3 cup molasses. 1 ½ teaspoons soda, 1 teaspoon salt. Mix thoroughly and steam 3 hours. Brown in the oven. – Mrs. May Mahoney
One pint scalded milk, 1 tablespoon each butter and sugar, 1 teaspoon salt. When luke warm add ½ cup yeast. Stir in 3 cups flour, beat well, and let it rise over night, or if mixed in the morning, let it rise 3 hours, then add from 2 to 3 cups of flour, knead well, put in pans and let rise to double its bulk before baking. For rolls add another tablespoon of butter and knead until smooth. – Hettie M. Nichols
Economical Cream Cake
One cup granulated sugar, 1 ½ cups flour, same teaspoons Price’s baking powder, pinch of salt; sift sugar and flour together; break 1 egg in cup, and fill up the cup with sweet cream, do not beat, but stir all together. Bake in loaf or in two layers for cream cake. – Mrs. Geo. H. Clarke
One and a half cups sugar, ½ cup butter, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons sour milk, 1 teaspoon each of cloves, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon; 1 cup currants, 1 teaspoon soda. – L.J. McCulloch
Roast Beef with Dressing
Boil a neck piece of beef until so tender that the bones will slip out, then press the lean meat closely together, shaping nicely with the hand. Over the top spread a thick dressing of bread crumbs, seasoned with butter, pepper, salt and sage. Place in the dripping pan with the beef pot liquor. Bake until brown, basting frequently. This is a most delicious dish at small expense. – Mrs. Dora Brown
Macedoine of Vegetables
Carrots and turnips cut into cubes, ½ pint each, to be used with ½ can of peas; cook each vegetable by itself and drain, mix with a white sauce and serve. These vegetables can be in a white sauce, separately. – Mrs. Jamison
Six pounds currants, 3 pounds raisins, 3 pounds sugar, 1 pint vinegar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 tablespoon cloves. – Mrs. Joe Pulver
Equal parts of apples cut in dice and walnuts, marinate with French dressing. Skin small smooth tomatoes, take out all of the soft parts fill with the salad. Serve on a crisp lettuce leaf with a spoon full of mayonnaise dressing on each one. – Miss Huseby
Fry 2 or 3 onions in butter until brown, add 2 or 3 tablespoons flour and allow it to brown; then add to this 1 can tomatoes or a dozen fresh ones and fry for a few minutes, after which boil this, with a sufficient quantity of water to make 2 quarts of soup, from ½ to ¾ of an hour. Strain to remove seeds and serve at once. Crackers buttered and browned in the oven are very nice service with this soup. – Charity Rusk Craig
One-half pound of cooked chicken chopped fine and seasoned with ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon white pepper, a little cayenne, onion juice, 1 teaspoon chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Add this to 1 pint of thick white sauce, add 1 egg and spread on a platter to cool. When cold shape into rolls, roll into fine bread crumbs, then in beaten egg, again in crumbs, and fry 1 minute in smoking hot fat. Veal and sweet-breads can be used in place of chicken or added to it, and make very nice croquettes. — Mrs. Lincoln’s Cook Book
Two and ½ cups sweet milk, 3 cups sifted flour, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 eggs, 2 heaping teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt. – Lydia A. Casson
“The Hand and Cornucopia Full of Good Things for Everybody by Steele & Price”
This cookbook, with a copyright of 1878, was given away by Price Baking Powder Company.
Put two or three teaspoonsfull of Dr. Price’s Lemon Sugar in a tumbler of cold water; add five to ten drops of Dr. Price’s Extract Lemon, and stir until dissolved. This makes an excellent and refreshing lemonade, as natural and wholesome as that made from the fruit. One pound canister of Dr. Price’s Lemon Sugar will make five or six quarts of lemonade. A vial with sufficient extract lemon to flavor is inside each pound can.
Imitation Apple Pie
Two heaping tablespoons fine rolled cracker, half coffee-cup hot water, sufficient to moisten them, three heaping tablespoons Dr. Price’s Lemon Sugar, two heaping tablespoonsfull of coffee sugar, a little salt and two eggs; mix well together and let it come to a boil; when cool, add two teaspoonsfulls Dr. Price’s Extract Nutmeg, and one teaspoonful Dr. Price’s Extract Lemon; make your pie-crust, and use the above as you would stewed apples.
Two cups fresh meal, one cup of flour, one teaspoonful of salt and two teaspoonsfull of Dr. Price’s Cream Baking Powder thoroughly sifted together, when the oven is hot, add two well-beaten eggs, two teaspoonsful of softened butter, half a cup of sirup or sugar, stir all with cold sweet milk or water to a soft dough, place in pan and bake immediately.
Wheat Griddle Cakes
One pint of warm milk, one beaten egg, one-half a Luplin Yeast Gem well dissolved, a little salt and flour to make a batter, let it rise over night, bake on a griddle with plenty of hot lard.
Two cups molasses, two cups boiling water, one small cup of butter melted, two eggs, two teaspoonsfull Dr. Price’s Extract Ginger, two tablespoonsfull Dr. Prices’ Cream Baking Powder, flour to make a stiff batter; beat it well and bake.
One quart milk, one coffee-cup of sugar, six Boston crackers rolled fine, one teaspoonful Dr. Price’s Cream Baking Powder, one teaspoonful Dr. Price’s Flavoring Extract of Nutmeg, and one of Extract of Cinnamon; bake and serve with sauce.
One cup of suet chopped fine, two and a half cups flouer, one of raisins, one of currants, a small cup of molasses, one teaspoonful each Dr. Price’s Extract Cinnamon and Nutmeg, a little salt, and two teaspoonsfull Dr. Price’s Cream Baking Powder, bake an hour. SAUCE – One cup sugar, half cup of butter and one egg, all beaten well, add a tablespoon of water and heat to scald; when cool, flavor with one teaspoonfull of Dr. Price’s Extract of Nectarine.