Due to COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, many families have pulled out their grandmother’s vintage cookbooks and family recipes and are experimenting with what used to be called “home cooking.” Contrary to popular folklore, mid-century cooking was more than just gelatin and mayonnaise. Instead, families are discovering delicious meals that are satisfying and easy to make.

The Home Cooking category is divided into two sub-categories. The first sub-category is about how 1950s homemakers planned their meals. The second focuses on recipes pulled from my vintage cookbook collection and my grandmothers’ recipe boxes. Some recipes are updated while others are offered as they were written…although the instructions have been updated and clarified.

Other Modern Retro Woman Home Ec 101 Categories:

Home Cooking: Meal Planning

Why You Should Plan Meals Like a 1940s Homemaker

Why You Should Plan Meals Like a 1940s Homemaker

All kinds of food are good, it is the way you put them together into meals that makes the difference ...
1940s Eating Wasn't Just Meat and Potatoes

1940s Eating Wasn’t Just Meat and Potatoes

No other factor is so conducive to good health as wise eating. If you prefer to gratify your lower appetite, ...
Food for Thought:Meat Consumption Then and Now ModernRetroWoman.com

Food for Thought: Meat Consumption Then and Now

You know I'm all about trying to use the Basic 7 for meal planning like our counterparts did in the ...
Just Add One Firkin of Lemon Lime Soda to One Runlet of Cranberry Juice

Just Add One Firkin of Lemon Lime Soda to One Runlet of Cranberry Juice

Dear Friends, Unearthing old family or magazine recipes can be fun. But they often cause consternation because they use measurement ...
Plan Your Meals Like a 1940's Homemaker

Plan Your Meals Like a 1940’s Homemaker

Smart homemakers say: Planning, preparing, and serving meals is an art which develops through inspiration and thought. And meal-planning is ...
Carrot, Meet Artichoke

Carrot, Meet Artichoke

It is rather awkward to be working with some one whose name and family you do not know. The same ...
American Favorite Dishes, circa 1958

American Favorite Dishes, circa 1958

When I first started cooking for my family as a young teenager, there were usually seven or more people eating ...
Wartime Meal Planning Part 2-Eat your Basic 7 Every Day

Wartime Meal Planning Part 2-Eat your Basic 7 Every Day

I don't know how the examination of menu planning from the 20th century is impacting you, but it has really ...
Wartime Meal-Planning-1943, Part I

Wartime Meal-Planning-1943, Part I

When the Meredith Publishing Company published their Cookbook in 1941, they certainly had no idea that the United States would ...
Balanced Meals--1941

Balanced Meals–1941

While Mrs. Allen gave us food for thought (get it? food for thought? I crack myself up, sometimes...okay, just humor ...
The Science of Menu Building Or Balancing the Ration--1935

The Science of Menu Building Or Balancing the Ration–1935

This is the time of year when people make a resolution to lose weight or at least eat right and ...

Home Cooking: Vintage Recipes

Best Instant Pot Chili con Wiener Recipe {Easy Updated Vintage Recipe}

Best Instant Pot Chili con Wiener Recipe {Easy Updated Vintage Recipe}

Dear Friends, When I was a teenager and began cooking meals for my family, I would make chili using the ...
Are you looking for a vintage Christmas Jell-O salad recipe? Perhaps with a layer of yummy cream cheese? You'll love this easy to make family favorite!

Grandma’s Cream Cheese Jell-O Salad {Vintage Family Recipe}

Dear Dr. Julie-Ann Now that my parents have FINALLY downsized and moved to a retirement community, I FINALLY get to ...
If you've only had bottled salad dressing (or the packets of dressing) from the store, you're going to love the three quick and easy vintage recipes for herb, ranch, and blue cheese dressings. The unpronounceable ingredients in bottle or packet dressings are there to extend the shelf life and make it a bit industrial tasting. These three classic salad dressings are so delicious, they don't need preservatives in them because they'll be used up long before they go bad. #HomemadeSaladDressing #EasySaladDressing ModernRetroWoman.com

Quick & Easy Vintage Salad Dressing Recipes: Herb • Ranch • Blue Cheese

Dear Dr. Julie-Ann, We love eating salads but I'm becoming concerned about all the unpronounceable ingredients in the bottles of ...
Shepherd's Pie {Planned Overs}

Shepherd’s Pie {Planned Overs}

Dear Friends, What do you think of when I ask you to think of a midcentury "meat and potatoes" meal? ...
Crazy Easy to Make Ham and Bean Soup ModernRetroWoman.com

Crazy Easy Ham and Bean Soup {Planned Overs}

Dear Friends, I am a huge fan of the Once-a-Month Cooking concept. But I don't actually do my cooking all ...
World War II Vintage Rationing Recipe Peach Upside Down Cake Vintage Recipe ModernRetroWomancom Blog Image

Peach Upside Down Cake – Vintage Rationing Recipe

Dear Friends, I mentioned the other day that people were healthier during World War II because of sugar rationing. But ...
Sloppy Devils {Updated Vintage Recipe}

Sloppy Devils {Updated Vintage Recipe}

Dear Friends, You know it has been "one of those days" when the thought of forming hamburger patties seems like ...
Creamy Wild Mushroom and Parsnip Soup

Creamy Wild Mushroom and Parsnip Soup

If you follow my Facebook Page, you know that I had my wisdom teeth taken out last month. While I ...
Chicken Lafayette Kennedy Era Recipe ModernRetroWoman.com

Chicken Lafayette {Vintage White House Recipe}

As I was rummaging through a used book store, I came across a cookbook written by Francois Rysavy, the former ...
Ham Chicken Bake Vintage Recipe ModernRetroWoman.com

Luscious Ham-Chicken Bake {Vintage Recipe}

This Better Homes & Gardens Prize Tested Recipe, from the May, 1955, issue, comes to us courtesy of Mrs. Francis ...
Chicken Finale {Vintage Recipe}

Chicken Finale {Vintage Recipe}

I first tried this vintage recipe for Chicken Finale in the summer of 2008. At the time, I had bought ...
Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake vintage recipe at ModernRetroWoman.com

Chocolate Mayo Cake

After our friend, sculptor and graphic designer Deborah Laux , mentioned that she is the keeper of a family recipe ...
Pot Roast with Dried Plums and Port Wine Vintage Recipe ModernRetroWoman.com

Pot Roast with Dried Plums and Port Wine {Vintage Recipe}

It's time to start thinking of our meals in terms of glamour and elegance. Dinner from a box is not ...
Cidered Ham Vintage Recipe ModernRetroWoman.com

Cidered Ham {Vintage Recipe}

When you think of serving a ham dinner to guests, what do you think of? One of those spiral sliced ...
How to Make Egg Flowers from Hard Boiled Eggs

How to Make Egg Flowers from Hard Boiled Eggs

While making lunch today, I stumbled upon a happy surprise. I was trying to make egg wedges out of my ...
Hearty Ham and Bean Soup Vintage Recipe ModernRetroWoman.com

Hearty Ham and Bean Soup {Vintage Recipe}

How was your Christmas ham? Delicious, right? But you had sooooo much left over that you've been having ham sandwiches, ...
Remarkable Fudge {Vintage Recipe}

Remarkable Fudge {Vintage Recipe}

I am not absolutely positive, but I am pretty sure that this is the fudge, from the Better Homes and ...
The Ultimate Leftover Turkey Recipe

The Ultimate Leftover Turkey Recipe

If you still have any leftovers from your Thanksgiving meal last week, you might want to finish them off with ...
Pork Chops with Apricots vintage recipe ModernRetroWoman.com

Australian Pork Chops with Apricots {Vintage Recipe}

I like stocking up on meat when it is on sale and stashing it in the freezer. Using this method, ...
Apple Ham Crisp

Apple-Ham Crisp {Vintage Recipe}

I'm going to get right to the point: This Apple-Ham Crisp adapted from a vintage recipe by Addie Schumacher is ...
Freezer bags filled with Chicken Broth Parisian Style Vintage Recipe ModernRetroWoman.com

Chicken Broth Parisian Style {Vintage Recipe}

Just like an undergarment can make or break the look of an outfit, so, too, a good quality broth sets ...
Baked Chicken in White Wine Vintage Recipe ModernRetroWomancom

Baked Chicken in White Wine {Vintage Recipe}

I love it when I discover an easy recipe that creates an elegant entree that gives the illusion of slaving ...
Image of green coleslaw vintage recipe ©ModernRetroWoman.com

No Mayo Green Coleslaw {Vintage Home Ec Recipe}

As I was searching through a booth at a local antique mall for something to call out my name, my ...
Savory Spareribs {Vintage Recipe}

Savory Spareribs {Vintage Recipe}

Believe it or not, I never made spareribs before I tried this recipe! The Mister had never seemed interested in ...
Photo of Mexicali Chicken ©ModernRetroWoman.com

Mexicali Chicken {Vintage Recipe}

Being native Californians who lived for almost 10 years in a predominantly Latino neighborhood, The Mister and I have had ...
Jiffy Cheesefurters { Vintage Recipe } ©ModernRetroWoman.com

{ Vintage Recipe } Jiffy Cheesefurters

They're crunchy! They're cheesy! They're snazzed up hot dogs inspired by a vintage recipe clipping from the June, 1958 issue ...
Ham in Cream Vintage Recipe ModernRetroWoman.com

{ Vintage Recipe } Ham in Cream

I had some leftover ham that I needed to use up and I didn't really feel like using the trusty ...
Racing King Salad {Vintage Recipe}

Racing King Salad {Vintage Recipe}

The "Racing King" salad, shaped like a horseshoe, is perfect for your Kentucky Derby festivities. The original called for an ...
Eggplant Italiana recipe @ModernRetroWoman.com

Eggplant Italiana {Vintage Recipe}

What do you do with leftover meat sauce when you don't want to put it over pasta? Easy! With the ...
Celery Pinwheels (Maybe) {Vintage Recipe}

Celery Pinwheels (Maybe) {Vintage Recipe}

I love celery "stuffed" with all sorts of goodness so when I came across a recipe for celery pinwheels made ...
Cream Cheese Fruit Dip {Vintage Recipe}

Cream Cheese Fruit Dip {Vintage Recipe}

I have to “encourage” my husband to eat fresh fruit. However, this cream cheese fruit dip suddenly transforms what he ...
Molasses Cookies {Vintage Recipe}

Molasses Cookies {Vintage Recipe}

As a general rule, I’m not a big fan of ginger-spiced foods. I always felt bad when a room mother ...
Pot Roast with Creamy Dill Gravy ModernRetroWoman

Pot Roast with Creamy Dill Gravy {Vintage Recipe}

In my recollection, Sunday dinners at my grandparents’ house meant either fried chicken or a pot roast. I still love ...
Meatball Skillet Dinner Vintage Recipe Modern Retro Woman

Meatball Skillet Dinner {Vintage Recipe}

This recipe, from the recipe clippings notebook I found at a thrift store, looks like it was created by a ...
ModernRetroWoman Corned Beef and Cabbage Vintage Recipe

Corned Beef and Cabbage {Vintage Recipe}

Like many Americans, I had my first taste of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. But here’s the ...
Countryman's Onion Soup ModernRetroWoman.com

Countryman’s Onion Soup {Vintage Recipe}

I fell in love with French Onion Soup when I was in graduate school in Philadelphia. The campus rathskeller served ...
Deviled or Creamed Crab Meat {Vintage Recipe}

Deviled or Creamed Crab Meat {Vintage Recipe}

One of my favorite memories is the missionary circles that my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother belonged to at church. Sometime ...
Fruit Pudding {Vintage Recipe}

Fruit Pudding {Vintage Recipe}

Modern pudding is equated with the smooth dessert made by Jello. However, that is really closer to a custard than ...
Bavarian Pork Chops with Apples {Vintage Recipe}

Bavarian Pork Chops with Apples {Vintage Recipe}

I was struggling for a very long time to make pork chops that had some sort of flavor to them ...
Grandma's Cream Cheese Jell-O Salad {Vintage Family Recipe}

Grandma’s Cream Cheese Jell-O Salad {Vintage Family Recipe}

This is a much-beloved cream cheese Jell-O salad in our family. My grandmother Lois made it year round even though ...
Festive Fudge Squares

Modern Retro Recipe: Festive Fudge

A fudge recipe purporting to be good for you? That’s exactly what this recipe clipping advertising skimmed evaporated milk is ...
Apple Crisp Pie {Vintage Recipe}

Apple Crisp Pie {Vintage Recipe}

A problem with using family recipes--even ones that are neatly typed onto an index card--is that it isn’t always written ...
Monday Menu: Chocolate Chip Cookie-Bars {Vintage Recipe}

Monday Menu: Chocolate Chip Cookie-Bars {Vintage Recipe}

I loved going to my grandparents’ house on Saturdays. My siblings and I would watch cartoons--in COLOR--on their television set ...
Monday Menu: Beach Blanket Beverage {Vintage Recipe}

Monday Menu: Beach Blanket Beverage {Vintage Recipe}

I was saddened to learn about Annette Funicello's passing last week. My first memories of her were from her beach ...
Monday Menu: Hot Cross Buns {Vintage Recipe}

Monday Menu: Hot Cross Buns {Vintage Recipe}

Until I read the notation in my grandmother's cookbook that Hot Cross Buns were a Good Friday tradition, I never ...
Monday Menu: Corned Beef and Cabbage {Vintage Recipe}

Monday Menu: Corned Beef and Cabbage {Vintage Recipe}

Like many Americans, I had my first taste of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. But here’s the ...
Monday Menu: Lush Mush {Vintage Recipe}

Monday Menu: Lush Mush {Vintage Recipe}

I’m always on the lookout for fruit based desserts. This recipe is from a recipe clipping notebook I found at ...
Monday Menu: Friday Lasagne {Vintage Meatless Recipe)

Monday Menu: Friday Lasagne {Vintage Meatless Recipe)

One day I was in an upscale thrift store when I saw a “United States Government Manual” cloth covered notebook ...
Monday Menu: Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

Monday Menu: Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

This recipe is from my grandmother’s well-worn-held-together-by-librarian’s-book-tape 1950s era cookbook. And, these really are as good as they sound. And ...
Monday Menu: Chili Con Wiener

Monday Menu: Chili Con Wiener

This is a tailgating, football watching testosterone extravaganza recipe. We especially enjoyed it while watching the San Francisco 49ers rout ...
Hoppin' John {Vintage Recipe}

Hoppin’ John {Vintage Recipe}

Hoppin’ John is a traditional soup served in the South on New Year’s Day to bring good luck in the ...
Menu Monday: Mulled Cider {Recipe}

Menu Monday: Mulled Cider {Recipe}

There is just something soothing about the fragrance of mulled cider in Autumn. This recipe comes from a 1939 New ...
Monday Menu: Ham and Bean Soup

Monday Menu: Ham and Bean Soup

I love having soup for lunch when the thermometer starts dipping below 70F. And it has been, here in Central ...
Modern Retro Recipe: Polpettone alla Siciliana (Sicilian Beef Roll)

Modern Retro Recipe: Polpettone alla Siciliana (Sicilian Beef Roll)

I found this recipe in an international meat cookbook published in 1967. I’ve discovered that starchy food and I don’t ...
Modern Retro Recipe: Goblin Frosties

Modern Retro Recipe: Goblin Frosties

I was looking through my vintage cookbooks for a fun Halloween dessert (that didn't involve a pumpkin) when I came ...

Wartime Nutrition (1943)

Dear Friends, Did you know that people were generally healthier during World War II food rationing than they are now?  ...
Retro Recipe: Bran Muffins (They're Not Just For Old Folks)

Retro Recipe: Bran Muffins (They’re Not Just For Old Folks)

Dear Friends, The other day I was in the mood for some muffins. But I didn't want cup-cakey kind of ...
Modern Retro Recipe: Stuffed Flank Steak

Modern Retro Recipe: Stuffed Flank Steak

Dear Friends, After being in a cooking rut for the past couple of months, I pulled out my vintage cookbooks ...
Is This Recipe a Keeper?  Pumpkin Muffins

Is This Recipe a Keeper? Pumpkin Muffins

My large family of origin gets together on Christmas Eve for a huge dinner, reading of the Christmas story from ...
Is This Recipe a Keeper?  Smothered Hamburg Patties

Is This Recipe a Keeper? Smothered Hamburg Patties

Did you hear a squeal of delight emanating from Los Angeles the other day? It was me. I checked my ...
The Plan B Dinner

The Plan B Dinner

I could not find the roast for last night's dinner in the refrigerator. I looked in one drawer and then ...
The Electric Anniversary Dinner

The Electric Anniversary Dinner

Live Better...Electrically (PG&E Motto) At home, I have a gas range.  I grew up using gas ranges.  My mother-in-law has ...
The Secret Chili Cookoff Ingredient

The Secret Chili Cookoff Ingredient

I was reading Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of the American Cuisine by food studies professor Andrew ...
My Dough Over-flow-eth

My Dough Over-flow-eth

Last Saturday I was feeling really, really, really, really blue and frustrated. Did I mention I felt really, really, really ...
Tuesday Tasting: Pork Chop Escallop

Tuesday Tasting: Pork Chop Escallop

Are you tired of turkey, yet? I bought a pasta salad at the school cafeteria, yesterday, and discovered that the ...
Chicken Pot Pie (Or, What to do with Leftover Turkey)

Chicken Pot Pie (Or, What to do with Leftover Turkey)

True confession. As I child, I adored Swanson's pot pies...you know, those little individual frozen meat pies that burn the ...
Pumpkin Pecan Pie by Mrs. Myron Leitz

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

I love pumpkin pie.   Well, homemade pumpkin pie.  I usually end up disliking the pumpkin pies that I order at ...
Grandma Lois' Tuna Casserole

Grandma Lois’ Tuna Casserole

About a month ago, my mother asked me to help her sort through her cookbooks. She was correct in her ...
It's Autumn and that Means Soup!

It’s Autumn and that Means Soup!

It's autumn, my favorite time of year! And, even though it means triple digit temperatures caused by winds off of ...
Fish Friday: Salmon with Pecan Coating

Fish Friday: Salmon with Pecan Coating

The Mister and I would not be what you'd call big fish eaters. Sure we'd eat it if someone served ...
Take That, KFC!

Take That, KFC!

Like a lot of people, I love fried chicken. Despite my family raving about my chicken, I always thought that ...
More Strawberry Pie Experimentation

More Strawberry Pie Experimentation

The fun of having "too many" vintage cookbooks is that I can try out similar recipes from different sources. Last ...
Tuesday Tastings: Skillet Lasagna

Tuesday Tastings: Skillet Lasagna

My husband tells me that his mother prepared casseroles for dinner almost every night. While I don't know if this ...
Carrot-Raisin Salad

Carrot-Raisin Salad

Over on Facebook, Ellen wanted to know what she could do with a head of cabbage--none of her "go-to" recipes ...
Fun with Peaches: Vintage Peach Pie Recipe

Fun with Peaches: Vintage Peach Pie Recipe

The other day, I mentioned that I was able to get several pounds of peaches for only $1 from Tenerelli ...
Homemade strawberry jam on toast

Fun With Strawberries Part 2: Freezer Jam

*Said in a retro soap opera announcer voice*  When we last left our modern retro woman, she was wondering what ...
Fun with Strawberries: Vintage Pie Recipe

Fun with Strawberries: Vintage Pie Recipe

The farmers' market that I go to is overflowing with strawberries right now. I was quite surprised because they are ...
cakeillustration

Stay Awake Cake

I was going to post a photo of my "stay awake cake," as my husband calls it, from about an ...
9890665_2

Grandma’s Ice Cream Recipe

As I type this, I have ice cream ripening in my Handy Freeze electric ice cream maker.  The metal on ...
Strawberry Petal Pie

Strawberry Petal Pie

After some confusion about Easter plans (I thought I was hosting it but my mother told me my sister was ...
Harvey House "Casa Del Desierto" in Barstow, CA (Photo Copyright (C) David Corby 2006; used with permission) -

Pretending to be a Harvey Girl

My first introduction to the Harvey Girls was the famous Judy Garland musical called...The Harvey Girls.  (I think my grandfather ...
St. Patrick's Day Dinner

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

When I was still a schoolteacher, my students LOVED St. Patrick's Day. For one thing, it gave them an excuse ...
Diner Special: Baked Mushroom Meatloaf

Diner Special: Baked Mushroom Meatloaf

Last night, The Mister gave me a HUGE compliment. He said my cooking is so good, I would have been ...
Monday Menu: Broiled Chicken Barbecue

Monday Menu: Broiled Chicken Barbecue

Ralphs Grocery store was having a sale on Rock Cornish Hens for dirt cheap in the middle of January. Naturally, ...
Monday Menu: Grandma's Chicken on Sunday

Monday Menu: Grandma’s Chicken on Sunday

Until my grandmother became ill with pancreatic cancer, Sundays meant Sunday School and church in the morning, dinner at my ...
Food Friday: California Chicken Salad

Food Friday: California Chicken Salad

I became hooked on chicken salad when I lived in New Jersey. I loved the chicken salad that I got ...