Retro Housewives Share Their Cookery Tips {1940s – 1950s}

We haven’t had a vintage list for quite awhile here on Tipnut and I figured it’s about time!

Here’s a bunch of snippets I’ve collected from old magazines and cookbooks, there might be a new trick or two in the bunch that you find helpful. Enjoy!

  • Clean raisins in a screw-top jar. Put in raisins and water, screw lid tightly and shake. Drain out the liquid and the raisins are ready for use.
  • If just a few drops of lemon juice are needed for a recipe, don’t cut the lemon in half. Instead, stick a fork in one end and squeeze out the juice required. The lemon will not dry out and can be kept for future use.
  • To cook a cracked egg, wrap it in waxed paper, twist the ends and drop in boiling water.
  • You can quickly shave chocolate for puddings and frostings with your potato peeler.
  • Cranberries add a good flavor to apple sauce when cooked with the apples, and give a brighter color than cinnamon drops.
  • Pastry shells will bake smoothly without blisters if, after placing the crust in the pan and pricking, you place another pie tin of the same size on top of the dough.
  • No more stirring is necessary throughout the cooking of peach butter or apple butter if you make it in your oven. The oven heat control eliminates the constant tedious stirring and the butter will not burn or stick to the vessel.
  • To poach your eggs without a poacher, make a ring of aluminum foil and butter it. Put this in boiling water and drop the egg in the ring. Poach until done.
  • Rid your house of cabbage, cauliflower, and other household odors. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon on top of a hot iron skillet and let stand over low heat a few minutes. You can also try orange peel if you prefer its scent.
  • Try this idea for keeping fish odor off your hands. Before you ever touch the fish, rinse your hands in cold water. Do not dry. After you have prepared the fish, wash hands thoroughly using soap.
  • Keep parsley fresh and on hand in this way: Wash it thoroughly, then shake or pat it dry. Wrap it tightly in a piece of aluminum foil. Whenever you need some, use a sharp knife or scissors to cut off the necessary amount. Return remaining wrapped parsley to refrigerator.
  • Wash fresh mint, parsley or other herbs. Without patting to remove moisture, place in a glass jar. Screw lid on tight and set in refrigerator. They will keep fresh and green for two weeks or longer, ready for use in cooking and garnishing.
  • For better flavor and color, add some peach stones to the syrup when you are canning peaches. Let boil five minutes or longer. Remove stones. Arrange peaches in jars. Fill jars with syrup from peaches.
  • For a meringue that never fails, add sugar (1 tablespoon to an egg) before beating whites.
  • You can dry corn quickly and easily by mixing eight pints (freshly cut from the cob), three tablespoons sugar, four level teaspoons salt, and one-half cup cream. Boil for 20 minutes. Stir constantly. Spread corn in a shallow pan. Place in a slow oven. Stir often. When oven dry, arrange on waxed paper and leave to further dehydrate.
  • If a portion of egg yolk slips in with the whites when you are separating them, moisten a bit of clean cloth in cold water. Lightly touch yolk. It will adhere.
  • Make crystal cherries by rolling freshly pitted cherries (drained) in granulated sugar. Lay them separately in a shallow pan. Place under or near freezing unit in refrigerator for 2 or 3 hours.
  • Here’s a unique method of dating canned fruits and vegetables: Tie a colored cord around the neck of each jar, using a different color for each year. This way the old and new stocks don’t become mixed.
  • Fill a wire basket with fruits or vegetables, submerge it in a tub of hot water, let stand a minute then dip the whole basket in cold water. The peelings are loosened and come off quickly. This eliminates a lot of extra handling during canning season.
  • Add a teaspoon of baking powder to every four eggs when making an omelet (beaten in thoroughly). The omelet will be considerably lighter, more attractive and tasty.
  • The best baking powder can be made easily with 1 part baking soda, 2 parts cream of tartar and 1 part cornstarch. Mix well, sift three times and store in tightly covered tins.
  • Prepare hard-boiled eggs so that they will peel perfectly. Place eggs in pan. Cover with cold water. Sprinkle about two tablespoons salt in the pan. Cook. When this begins to boil rapidly, cover with lid. Remove from heat. Let stand in water until cool again.
  • To save skimming from time to time as you prepare your jams and jellies, add a dot of butter or margarine. Stir.
  • If cake becomes dry, wrap it in a damp cloth, and set it in a moderately warm oven until there is no more moisture in the cloth.
  • Put a frosty rim on your tall cold drinks for a look of absolute coolness. Dip edge of glass in lemon juice then in granulated sugar. Refrigerate.

Grandmother’s Lettuce (1953)

1 solid head lettuce
1 bunch spring onions
6 slices bacon, diced
1/2 cup vinegar

Wash, drain, and shred the lettuce. Sprinkle diced onions over lettuce. Fry the bacon golden brown. Drain off the accumulated fat. Mix this with the vinegar. Heat this combination. Pour over the lettuce. Sprinkle bacon on top. Serve at once. Makes 4 servings.

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    • Printabelle

    Great tips! I like the one about the baking powder in the eggs. Pinning!

    • Vicki S

    keep celery much longer in the fridge by wrapping it “tightly” with tin foil. You will be amazed 2-3 weeks later how fresh it still is.

      • diane kneller

      I totally agree been doing this for yrs now.. and its amazing

      • Deb

      I wash celery and then cut it to fit in a storage container. I cover the celery with water and change it 1-2 times per week. I have kept celery for several weeks by doing this. It stays nice and crisp. Works for carrots too.

    • Marita

    I love these tips, some of them are so pratical I just have to shake my head…it’s one of those things of why didn’t I think of that! Keep the tips coming! your doing a wonderful job.

    • Sue

    Put a little ginger in cooked beans(such as pinto or navy) to take some of the gas out.

    • Ian.andrews

    Love the poached eggs in an aluminium foil, can you tell me the original reference/ magazine you got the tip from

    • Patricia Maggs

    I don’t know if you have stock cubes in the US like Oxo or Bisto – if you keep them in the ‘fridge they don’t go soggy and stay nice and crumbly.

    • Rita

    I just purchased a 1950 Vintage Egg Cooker that whistles when the eggs are finished cooking depending on whether you want a slightly boiled egg, soft boiled egg or medium boiled egg. Do you know how this works? I can’t find any instructions and when I tried to use it this morning it didn’t work the way it should. I found this same egg cooker on line with 2 egg cups that go with this. However there are no marking on the cooker to determine who made this.

    • Nancy Bushly

    I was lucky enough to learn some of these methods from my dearest Grandmother.However, there is always something new to learn.

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