Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dandelion Salad

CAUTION: When picking dandelions, make absolutely certain you are getting them from an area which has not been treated with pesticides or herbicides!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Buttermilk Johnny Cake

Believe it or not, food was actually pretty cheap during the Great Depression. The problem is, a lot of people didn't have the money to buy food, no matter what it cost. One staple item that was plentiful and cheap was corn meal. Since it often served as a main course, families had to find new and inventive ways of preparing corn meal. One favorite preparation was called Johnny Cake.

1 c. flour
1 c. cornmeal
2 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. sugar (if desired)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. oil
Pour into 8 inch baking pan. Bake 30-45 minutes.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Basic Pecan Pie

Pecan pie was a favorite dessert and holiday treat for those lucky enough to have pecan trees growing on their land. Using a few basic ingredients, those living during the Great Depression could bake this delicious pie. If you don't want to make the crust yourself, you can always buy a pre-made pie crust at the supermarket and follow the recipe for the filling below.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup pecan halves or broken pecans

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  1. In medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
  2. Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.
  3. Heat oven to 375°F. With floured rolling pin, roll pastry into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; press with times of fork or flute if desired.
  4. In another medium bowl, beat all filling ingredients except pecans with wire whisk or hand beater until well blended. Stir in pecans. Pour into pastry-lined pie plate.
  5. Cover edge of pastry with 2- to 3-inch-wide strip of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until center is set, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Refrigerate at least 2 hours until chilled before serving. Store in refrigerator.

Betty Crocker Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today, New Tenth Edition

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bread Pudding

Nothing went to waste during The Great Depression, not even stale bread. Everything was re-used and stretched into another meal. You could make croutons from your stale bread, or you could make some delicious bread pudding! This is an Amish recipe recently found on Moms Who Think:

Bread Pudding


2 cups whole milk (or 2 cups half & half)
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar (white or brown, depending on taste preference)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups bread, torn into small pieces (french bread works best)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)


1. In medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat milk (or half & half) just until film forms over top. Combine butter and milk, stirring until butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm.

2. Combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 1 minute. Slowly add milk mixture.

3. Place bread in a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole.

4. Sprinkle with raisins if desired. Pour batter on top of bread.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Serve warm.

If you make the sauce to put on top of your bread pudding, adjust the sugar in the bread pudding recipe, change it to 1/3 cups sugar (the sauce has the other 1/3 cup in it).

Bread Pudding Sauce


1 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. flour
dash of salt


Mix everything together and bring to a boil for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside for 5 minutes, then pour on warm bread pudding

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Great Depression Peppers and Eggs

Forget Susan Boyle, the ugly-duckling singer who has set the Internet on fire for her stunning performance on "Britain's Got Talent". Ninety-three year old Clara Cannucciari has become an online superstar for her YouTube videos featuring recipes she prepared during the Great Depression. Clara even has a cookbook in the works, and she has recently released a DVD featuring her YouTube videos plus some recipes she has not posted online.

Meat was always in short supply (and very expensive) during the Great Depression, so eggs and beans were used as alternate sources of protein. Here is Clara whipping up a batch of Great Depressoin Peppers and Eggs:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Meatless Meat Loaf


1 cup rice
1 cup peanuts crushed
1 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt


Combine all the ingredients together. bake in a loaf pan for 30 minutes or until loaf is good and set.

With meat at a premium during the Great Depression, many people made do without chicken, beef or pork, except on rare occasions. One recurring theme that I have read from each story from someone who lived through the depression was that they remember being hungry all the time. The Meatless Meat Loaf may not sound appetizing, but it was filling.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rice Pudding

Grease a glass 9" x 13" glass baking dish with solid shortening.

Preheat oven to 300F.


½ cup long grain white rice
½ cup sugar
1 can evaporated milk, diluted to make one qt [must use evaporated milk]
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Cinnamon to taste


Place all ingredients except cinnamon in pan. Generously sprinkle top with cinnamon . At least once during the baking, stir cinnamon crust into the rice and sprinkle top again with cinnamon. Let bake until rice is tender, or approximately 1 ½ hours. Let cool and serve either warm or cold.


It seems like every culture around the world has their version of rice pudding. It is a cheap yet tasty luxury which can be eaten as a desert or snack. Again, this is an example of the starchy, "stick to your ribs" fare that was popular during the Great Depression.