A Taste of Home (Ec)

Searching for a little nostalgia? Tired of shunning the low-fat, low-carb, low-cal — low everything that actually tastes good?

Well, search no more! FRP Publishing in Nashville, Tenn., has succumbed to overwhelming demand for a cookbook series published back in the 1960s called Favorite Recipes From Home-Economics Teachers. The original series — now dog-eared and pudding-stained — have been passed down through two generations, so that much is illegible.

In response, FRP publishing reprinted and recently released the five most requested titles: Meats, Casseroles, Salads, Vegetables and Desserts. Each tome contains 2,000 classic recipes. Spiral-bound with a wipe-clean cover, the information is as pertinent today as it was 60 years ago.

For example, the Vegetable book contains essential facts on buying and storing vegetables, basic cookery and, if you think no one worried about calories, there's a calorie chart showing calorie content for all the fruits and vegetables, cooked and raw, featured in the recipes.

Twenty-four chapters offer recipes right down the vegetable list from Asparagus to Fruit-and-Vegetable Pickles. The recipes were all collected from small, unknown towns like Eddyville, Ore., to urban centers like Detroit. Some recipe names may be exotic, but each is rooted in the America of Norman Rockwell.

Created in a time when cooking for a family and maintaining a home were required subjects for females, these books are now a throwback to what was once our culinary culture. It's a celebration of women's lives, homes and friendships.

A recipe exchange is an age-old custom that still exists today, especially around holiday times. Young brides in the '60s delighted in swapping recipes, using items such as canned soups and canned vegetables, making cooking easier than ever before.

The recipes have become nostalgic reminders of days when we walked around the block instead of driving to the gym, and when life was slower-paced and less stressful. Recipes are written briefly, as folks were simply more familiar with cooking methods and techniques.

Explanations, where needed, are included in the preparation methods. You'll find the recipes tend to be heavy on salt, cream and butters. In keeping with nutritional concerns, I have made notes on substitutions geared to shave off some of the calories, and to lighten salt and sugars. With those changes, the dishes may be served more often.

The Favorite Recipes of Home-Economics Teachers cookbooks may be purchased from the Cookbook Marketplace (www.cookbookmarketplace.com) or by calling 1-800-358-0560. The Cookbook Marketplace is the distribution division of FRP.

Harvard Beets


3 cups diced cooked beets
beet juice and water to make 1 cup
11/2 Tbsps. cornstarch
2 Tbsps. sugar
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1/3 cup vinegar

Heat the beets in the juice mixture over medium heat.

Mix the cornstarch or flour, sugar, salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup vinegar to a smooth paste.

Pour over the beets.

Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth, thickened and beginning to boil.

Taste and add more vinegar, if desired. Stir well. Bring to boil and serve hot.

Note: Use 2 (14.5 oz.) cans of diced beets. Reserve the drained juice to make 1 cup. Add sugar and salt to taste.

Serves 4 to 6.

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 61; protein, 1 g; carbohydrates, 14 g; fat, 0 g; cholesterol, 0 mg; sodium, 453 mg.


Caraway Sour-Cream Slaw

Caraway seeds are tiny aromatic seeds with a delicate anise flavor. Store in a cool, dry place for up to six months. After that, they quickly lose flavor.

3 cups finely shredded cabbage
1/4 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsps. white-wine vinegar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
salad greens

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage and onions.

In a small bowl or cup, blend the sugar, salt, vinegar, sour cream and caraway seeds.

Pour over the cabbage and onions. Toss gently to mix.

Serve on top of a bed of lettuce leaves or salad greens.

Note: Use packaged shredded cabbage or cole-slaw mix. May substitute low-fat sour cream, or reduce the sour cream to 1/3 cup and add 1 tablespoon water to the vinegar.

Serves 4 to 6.

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 58; protein, 1 g; carbohydrates, 5 g; fat, 4 g; cholesterol, 9 mg; sodium, 113 mg.


Marinated Vegetable Salad

1 package (10 oz.) frozen lima beans
1 package (10 oz.) frozen green beans
1 package (10 oz.) frozen green peas
11/4 tsps. salt or to taste
1/8 tsp. pepper or to taste
3 Tbsps. chopped pimento
1 Tbsp. grated onion
3 Tbsps. vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise
crisp greens
tomato wedges

Cook the frozen vegetables according to package directions.

Place together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cool.

Add pimento, onion, vinegar and mayonnaise. Toss lightly.

Chill. Serve on crisp greens garnished with tomato wedges.

Note: Use low-fat mayonnaise and reduce to 3/4 cup. Red bell pepper may be substituted for canned pimento. Finely chop the onion, no need to grate. And use seasoned rice vinegar instead of vinegar to add punch. Omit the salt, and substitute a fat-free or low-calorie salad dressing for the mayonnaise.

Serves 6 to 8.

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 276; protein, 5 g; carbohydrates, 15 g; fat, 23 g; cholesterol, 14 g; sodium, 574 mg.


Tuna Casserole


Remember this made-from-scratch dish? If you like, make ahead and reheat.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsps. all-purpose flour
11/2 cups milk
1 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 can (6 oz.) tuna
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 cups cooked macaroni or noodles
1 can (14 oz.) peas, drained
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
crushed potato chips

In a medium saucepan, blend the mayonnaise and flour.

Stir in the milk gradually.

Add the onion, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Set aside.

Place tuna in a greased 11/2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Add the macaroni or noodles, peas and cheese. Pour the sauce over. Stir lightly to mix. Cover with potato chips.

Bake in 350° oven for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Serves 6.

Note: May substitute low-fat mayonnaise and low-fat milk for mayonnaise and milk. Substitute 11/2 cups frozen peas, thawed for canned peas. Season with 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper or to taste. Salt may be reduced to compensate for about 1/2 cup salty potato chips. (Remember: 13/4 cups dry macaroni yields about 3 cups cooked.)

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 371; protein, 15 g; carbohydrates, 32 g; fat, 21 g; cholesterol, 26 mg; sodium, 610 mg.


Chicken Terrapin


Terrapin is a small species of turtle, and the meat is highly prized. Since turtle meat is not an ingredient, this may be an adaptation of an original recipe.

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
11/2 tsps. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. paprika
11/4 cups chicken broth, divided
1 can (6 oz.) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 hard-cooked egg, cubed
1 cup peas
1/2 cup diced pimento
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tsps. onion, minced
2 cups cooked chopped chicken
2 cups chow mein noodles
11/2 tsps. lemon juice

In a medium saucepan, mix the flour, salt, pepper, paprika and 1/2 cup broth to a smooth paste. Whisk in the remaining broth.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute.

Add the mushrooms, egg, peas and pimento.

Bring to simmer and cook a few minutes longer.

Add the celery and onion. Fold in the chicken.

Place the noodles in a greased baking dish. Pour the chicken mixture over top.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until mixture is bubbly.

Sprinkle with the lemon juice and serve.

Serves 6.

Note: Reduce salt to 1/2 teaspoon or to taste. Use low-sodium chicken broth and thawed frozen peas.

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 189; protein, 12 g; carbohydrates, 16 g; fat, 9 g; cholesterol, 58 mg; sodium, 923 mg.


Fried Ripe Tomatoes

A good way to use up slightly soft tomatoes. May also be used for green tomatoes (cook longer).

1/3 cup, plus 2 Tbsps., all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
6 medium tomatoes, thickly sliced
1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsps., butter
11/4 cups milk
1/4 tsp. dried basil

In a shallow dish, mix 1/3 cup flour with the salt and sugar. Dip tomatoes in to cover all sides.

Heat 1/4 cup butter in a skillet over medium high heat.

Cook tomatoes to brown on both sides. Transfer to a serving dish. Keep warm.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet.

Blend in the remaining flour and the milk.

Cook over medium heat until boiling and thickened, stirring constantly.

Pour over tomatoes. Sprinkle with basil and serve.

Serves 6.

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 205; protein, 4 g; carbohydrates, 17 g; fat, 14 g; cholesterol, 38 mg; sodium, 419 mg.


Perfection Fruit Salad

1 package (3 oz.) kosher strawberry gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 package (3 oz.) cream cheese
1/2 cup cream, whipped
11/2 cups crushed pineapple, well-drained
1/2 cup cherries, diced
2 Tbsps. mayonnaise
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
2 Tbsps. sugar

Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water. Cool.

Soften the cream cheese with a little whipped cream, then add the remaining cream.

In a separate bowl, mix the pineapple, cherries, mayonnaise, nuts (if using) and sugar. Add to the cream-cheese mixture.

Add to the gelatin and stir well to mix. Chill until firm.

Serves 8.

Note: Use an 8-inch square baking dish. The cream cheese should be softened first. You may use low-fat cream cheese and low-fat mayonnaise, but for the cream to whip, use heavy cream. Sugar may be omitted.

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 229; protein, 3 g; carbohydrates, 22 g; fat, 15 g; cholesterol, 33 mg; sodium, 84 mg.



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