The Modern Home Economist: Cooking Lessons

It feels like it's been forever since I put up a Modern Home Economist post...and it has!  But I have a wealth of goodies to share with you.  Today's post is related to cookery.  I've found a number of good articles in the vintage magazines that are truly instructional for some basic cooking and thought we'd start out with a few of those.  I hope to soon figure out how to arrange the Home Ec posts into categories but that might be stretching my technical knowledge!  We'll see.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these articles.  I want to start with a link to an article about proper oven use.  I found this around Christmastime and found it very helpful.  I had no idea it took 20 minutes to get an oven up to temperature.  For a few dishes this might not matter so much but it's very important when baking to have the oven at the right temperature before the dish goes into the oven.  Hope you find it as helpful as I did. 

My next item was one promised long ago.  It is a list of foods needed to 'stretch' out a lower paycheck and in the magazine it's highly recommended that this not be a routinely used to create meals. It is limited in vitamins and nutrients and is solely meant to give a family sufficient food for minimum health requirements.  I did fill in the blanks with prices in pencil years ago and my estimates were that I'd spend $77 a good 8-9 years ago for foods to make up this list.  At the time of publication, I believe the estimate was under $10 for a family of four.  I haven't figured it with my current pricing to see what it might cost.  Remember this also assumes you're buying every one of these items when you go to the store.  Personally, I'm glad I have a pantry to pull items from!

Since we've learned all about our oven, why not brush up on our baking.  Let's start with a helpful article found in Southern Living Magazine on how to proof yeast.  I thought this a good basic article and well worth knowing if you happen to want to  make pizza dough, bread or rolls.
Biscuits were one of the first breads I learned to make on my own.  Honestly, they were pretty awful, as I tried to make them as Mama and Granny did by a far more complicated method.  They both had 'dough bowls', Granny's a wooden trencher and Mama's a pretty aluminum bowl.  They kept flour in the bowls and put in an unmeasured amount of shortening, and buttermilk and then they mixed using their fingers to break up the shortening and add in a bit of flour.  I didn't get the hang of it after years of practice, so I resorted to a cookbook version, much like this illustrated one.  I am confident anyone can make good biscuits by this method.  You'll note that the main recipe here is for Biscuit Mix...Homemade Bisquick ladies and quite convenient to have on hand.

This year I finally learned to make pie crusts.  Now I'm ready to upgrade my skills and learn to make them pretty.

And finally, since I made mashed potatoes this week, I thought you might like to see an instructional page on making them yourself.  I don't mind instant potatoes and in days gone by when I worked away from home, they were lifesavers, but there is a flavor difference in using fresh potatoes that makes that extra bit of time worthwhile.

There you go.  Remember if you left click on any of the above photos and open in a new page they will show up larger and so you can read them more easily.  Let me know how your practice dishes turn out.


a8383 said...

I think a lot of people on food stamps could benefit from that old article as well as learning some basic cooking techniques. What issue of Woman's Day was that article in? might possibly have in my stack of old magazines if I could find them after this move- haha. Were you hit hard this week? So thankful we did not lose power. Melting fast here in Rome. Angela

Anonymous said...

I made mashed potatoes last night. Love them with milk gravy! It just doesn't get any better than that for some yummy comfort food. And, cherry pie is on the menu for supper since it is Valentine's Day. A little treat for my sweet man.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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