The New Art of cooking, 1930s-style

It’s 1934, and we have a new GE refrigerator, or maybe we’re thinking of another new kitchen appliance. What will we do with our wonderful new electric kitchen helpers, and what should our new kitchen look like?

Time to browse The New Art:

The New Art cookbook, 1934

This cookbook/wish book showcased kitchens with GE appliances, and included recipes. It includes the recipes from the earlier Silent Hostess cookbook, along with other recipes to play to the strengths of other GE appliances besides the refrigerators.

First, they give you a few new 1934 model kitchens to drool over:

The New Art cookbook, 1934: Model kitchen

The New Art cookbook, 1934: Model "Provincial" kitchen
(more…)

Buy an Electric Refrigerator


(From 1926, it says, but it shows an early Monitor Top fridge interior, so perhaps it’s a year or so later.)

Once you’ve bought your electric fridge, you’ll be able to make recipes like this one, from the 1930 GE cookbook The “Silent Hostess” Treasure Book:

Chocolate Ice Cream

  • 1 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (1 1/2 squares)
  • 2 cups rich milk*
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup cream
  • Few grains salt

Melt chocolate and add scalded milk very slowly. Mix cornstarch with sugar and add to chocolate mixture. Cook ten minutes, stirring until thickened. Cool, add vanilla, turn into tray of Super-freezer, and freeze to mush. Fold in whipped cream and return to Super-freezer until proper consistency to serve.

(*”Rich milk” is essentially what we now call “half and half”.)

The “Silent Hostess”

The vintage-style stove was only the beginning of my kitchen’s transformation. With the cast-iron stove, came a farmhouse sink, wooden countertops, red Marmoleum floors, and a restored faux-tile wall. How could we put a modern stainless steel — or even white — fridge into what was turning into a relatively period kitchen?

We couldn’t. Our fridge is now one of these:

old fridge
(Photo by Phil Urwin)

…a late 1920s or possibly early 1930s GE Monitor Top refrigerator, the fridge that made it “safe to be hungry.” Seven cubic feet of frosty cold storage, and I do mean frosty. We have to defrost frequently, though it’s not terribly difficult.

For most people who acquired one of these Monitor Tops when they were new, it was the first electric refrigerator they ever owned. Even if they had an ice box before, they couldn’t have used it the same way a refrigerator would be used; ice boxes weren’t good at keeping consistent low temperatures. They certainly couldn’t have easily made ice cubes to cool their drinks.

General Electric came to the rescue with cookbooks/manuals like this one:

"Silent Hostess" Treasure Book

This “Silent Hostess” Treasure Book was published by GE in 1930, and includes illustrations, recipes, and instructions on how to properly use (and defrost) a Monitor Top refrigerator (though they never use that phrase). (more…)

Recipes for your Hotpoint Electric Range

A few days ago I ordered something from Etsy (I’ll be posting about that something later) and the seller sent along a free gift:

Recipes for your Hotpoint Electric Range, 1949

…a very cool 1949 cookbook for new owners of Hotpoint ranges. It has some recipes and a few very cool vintage pictures of that mid-century type with colors that don’t really seem real.

Recipes for your Hotpoint Electric Range, 1949

Recipes for your Hotpoint Electric Range, 1949
(more…)

Links to historic cookbooks online

We are bad, bad bloggers. No posts in ages. Well, I didn’t have a working kitchen for ages. But now I do, and I actually have a backlog of things to post.

I’ll start with a quick one. While browsing around today, I stumbled on a Scribd document that contains links to a bunch of historic cookbooks that can be found online. Some of the links in it are broken, but others work fine, and there’s a lot of fun browsing you can do from these links. Enjoy.

Online Historic Cookbooks 3

Grandma’s cookbook
Grandma's cookbook from 1934

The other day we were at my mom’s house, and mentioned that we were thinking of doing a blog about old recipes. I said “I wish I had more of my grandma’s recipes.” My mom said “Oh? You mean like the ones in her cookbook?” and went to the cupboard and pulled out a little blue book stuffed crazily with newspaper and magazine clippings.

I had no idea this book existed.

I talked her into letting me borrow it to scan, and found a mother lode of old recipes. The book was given from my grandfather to my grandmother in February 1934, when she was still 16 years old. (They married later that year, when she was 17.) It has a bunch of handwritten recipes in with the printed ones, and then there was the collection of clippings (not photographed here; I took them out of the book and stored them separately because their deterioration was damaging the book). It looks as if, for most of her married life, she kept recipes in this book one way or another.

We will be using this as a recipe source, but I thought you might enjoy a peek inside as well:

Grandma's cookbook: handwritten recipe

Grandma's cookbook: more handwritten recipes

Grandma's cookbook: Trifle and a flapper face

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  • profileWendi is a history geek and loves to bake, particularly recipes from her grandmother's collection. Kristen has been cooking her whole life. She has a BS in Family & Consumer Science and enjoys comfort foods and creating new recipes.

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