Monday, December 31st


grapefruit halves

French Toast 56

Syrup 924

coffee for adults (milk for children)


Oyster Bisque 970

crisp crackers or toast

Stuffed Prune Salad 770

tea for adults (milk for children)


Beef Turnovers 509

Creamed Potatoes 1070

Buttered Beets 1005

bread and butter

Mock Angel Food Cake 92

Grape Juice Tapioca 369

coffee for adults (milk for children)

Yay!  A non-cereal breakfast for the first time!  56 French Toast was pretty good.  I was a little concerned with the recipe since it only had 2 eggs and 1 1/2 cups of milk for the liquid portion for 10 pieces of bread; I usually use more eggs than milk, but it did produce a nice crispy result.  I went ahead and made 924 Syrup for the experience even though I splurge and buy real maple syrup (so worth it!)  It was tastier than bottled imitation syrup and I liked the warmth and thickness.  It was also far cheaper than the maple syrup.  I’m not really sold on it as a replacement for real maple syrup but I’d be willing to make it again especially if I was looking to economize.  I also enjoyed the grapefruit halve since I haven’t had one in a while.


Lunch was fairly good.  I liked 970 Oyster Bisque because it had a lot of concentrated oyster flavor (really just oysters and thickened milk).  Meta suggests warming the crackers to go with the bisque and it was a nice touch.  770 Stuffed Prune Salad was a bit tricky to make since my prunes weren’t particularity large.  The prunes and cottage cheese alongside the lettuce wedge didn’t really seem like a single dish, but was a unique take on a salad.  The small amount of liquid in the glass beside the tea is the cooking liquid from the prunes which Meta suggests that I save and drink (not bad).

My only complaint about lunch was that, while the menu items were tasty, the combination seemed very vintage “diet plate.”  Cottage cheese, prunes, lettuce, a thin soup and crackers really didn’t strike me as a very filling lunch.  An off-menu afternoon snack may have occurred (sorry Meta!)


Dinner, on the other hand, was very satisfying.  509 Beef Turnovers were very delicious; especially considering how simple and quick they were to make.  The menu suggested using leftover beef from the previous day’s pot roast, but since I didn’t make the pot roast I just used ground beef (the recipe calls for ground meat anyway).  The cornstarch gravy that was part of the recipe was a little odd and gelatinous, but was still good.

1070 Creamed Potatoes No. 1 were a nice improvement over over 1071 Creamed Potatoes No. 2 (which consist of boiled potatoes combined with a white sauce).  Version No. 1 was potatoes cooked in a little cream and seasoned with salt, pepper and parsley. Yay seasoning!  1005 Buttered Beets were also a good side dish.


This menu called for two desserts, 92 Mock Angel Food Cake and 369 Grape Juice Tapioca.  I wonder if this might have been an error since I haven’t seen two desserts at one meal before.  Besides, it a weird combo to eat together.

I made 369 Grape Juice Tapioca to eat tonight.  The recipe is the same as 367 Tapioca Cream that I previously made on 12/21/12 but with grape juice.  My last attempt produced a soup.   It actually thickened this time thanks to Erica’s tips at Retro Recipe Attempts.  Despite the excellent thickening, dessert was still kind of a fail.  The recipe says to use grape juice for all or part of the milk so I used half and half.  My understanding of combining acids and bases in cooking is evidently not very good because the results had an underlying grainy texture from the milk curdling.  (My husband said it tasted like partially undissolved grape Kool-aid).


I haven’t tried it yet, but I did go ahead and make 92 Mock Angel Food Cake for completeness.  I  frosted it with the frosting suggested in the recipe, 148 Raspberry Icing.


(EDIT:  92 Mock Angel Food Cake was good; 148 Raspberry Icing was even better.  It had texture somewhere in between meringe and divinity and a good raspberry flavor).


Thursday, December 27th


dates in Cooked Wheat Cereal 169 with top milk

toast with butter, Jelly 709 (grape jelly)

coffee for adults (milk for children)


Cream of Tomato Soup 960

Melba Toast with butter 58

Sweet Potato Salad 800

peaches (canned)

tea for adults (milk for children)


Creamed Shrimps 462

Boiled Rice 174

Buttered Spinach 1094

whole wheat bread and butter

Prune and Orange Jelly 332

coffee for adults (milk for children)

Breakfast was, as usual, tasty, warm and filling.  The dates were a nice addition to the farina.  I also realized that this is the 5th full menu day that I’ve done so far and all have featured a hot cereal for breakfast.  Not a complaint by any means, but I’m looking forward to a n0n-cereal day so I can try out some more breakfast recipes.


Lunch was a bit of a mixed bag.  960 Cream of Tomato Soup was a fail.  The recipe involved heating the tomato portion of the soup while making a white sauce separately.  Meta indicates that if both are heated to the same temperature, then there would be no curdling.  I didn’t use a thermometer, but I figured that if both were hot, it wouldn’t be a problem.  That was not the case.


I put it through a sieve again to remove most of the chunks, but there were still some small floating blobs.  It was still decently edible, but a bit too sweet for my taste.  If this comes up again, I’ll try Meta’s suggested variation of condensed tomato soup mixed with milk (one of the few references to canned soup I’ve found!)

58 Melba Toast was pretty good–a textural change up from standard toast.  I quite enjoyed 800 Sweet Potato Salad.  It was a good, simple variation on potato salad.  Which was good, because I didn’t make it through much of the soup or canned peaches.  I don’t have anything against canned peaches, but I tried the type in heavy syrup and it was way too sweet for my taste (a theme here?)


Meta doesn’t make any specifications about whether canned fruit is in syrup or juice, but I’m guessing most canned fruit at the time would have had sugar.  Her recipe for 717 Canned Peaches involves 12 cups of sugar (for 16 quarts of peaches).  However, she does mention in the canning intro that “it is possible to water-pack fruits without sugar if desired”, so I’m probably going to go with juice packed in the future to avoid waste even though it might not be the most authentic option.

Speaking of fruit juice, I have a bonus recipe! (Or perhaps a penalty recipe?)  13 Fruit Buttermilk is a combination of buttermilk and fruit juice.  Meta says that its a good way to use up the juice drained from canned fruit, so I dutifully used the juice drained from the peaches and mixed it in a 1:2 ratio with buttermilk.  Sugar can be added to suit taste; my taste buds said no.


It was awful!  It tasted like liquified cottage cheese gone bad.  The buttermilk overwhelmed any peach flavor.  Ugh. Buttermilk must be an acquired tasted.

Back to the program:  Dinner was pretty tasty.  174 Boiled Rice worked fine, but I’ve have a Japanese rice maker, so it seemed like a lot of work comparatively.  462 Creamed Shrimp was good; it actually struck me as something I would have absolutely loved as a kid.  It was a very simple recipe; just shrimp heated in a white sauce, but I liked the creamy sauce mixed with the rice.  The recipe also called for capers or chopped sweet pickle.  I went for the capers (I believe I’ve already established my preference for savory today), and they were a flavorful garnish.  1094 Buttered Spinach was a solid recipe (5-10 minute boiling time so not really overcooked as I had feared).


Dessert, 332 Prune and Orange Jelly, was a true warrior’s dessert.   I actually really like prunes, but I still think the texture and flavor combination of the prunes and oranges really worked.  Overall, a good day of meals. Thanks Meta.



800 Sweet Potato Salad

3 cups (about 2 lbs) diced cooked sweet potatoes

1 1/2 cups diced celery

1 tsp salt

3 TBSP French Dressing (841) or Mayonnaise (843)


Mix all ingredients together and serve on lettuce.  If you use mayonnaise as the dressing, Meta recommends first marinating the potatoes and celery in the French Dressing for a half-hour and then draining the French Dressing before mixing with the mayo.  (This is what I did and the French Dressing imparted a very nice flavor; recipe is below and is very tasty on it’s own). 5 servings.

841 French Dressing

2/3 cup salad oil

1/3 cup cider vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar (or to taste)

1/16 tsp dry mustard

1/16 black pepper

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp grated onion

Whisk or shake together until thoroughly combined.

332 Prune and Orange Jelly

1/4 lb dried pruces

1 package orange-flavored gelatine

1 cup boiling water

3/4 cup cold water

2 oranges, peeled and sliced or diced

Soak prunes overnight (just enough water to cover).  Drain, reserving water.  Remove stones if any and cut into quarters.  Add gelatine to a mixing bowl; stir in boiling water until dissolved.  Measure out the 3/4 cup cold water, using the prune soaking liquid and adding additional water if necessary.  Stir in the prunes and refrigerate until partially congealed.  Add oranges and refrigerate until firm.  5 servings.

Breakfast for Dinner

There’s nothing I love more than breakfast for dinner (brinner?) Anyway, Christmas night was the perfect night for a dinner of 64 Banana Waffles, 546 Baked Bacon and 736 Banana, Apple, and Cranberry Salad.

I was intrigued by the idea of 736 Banana, Apple and Cranberry Salad because banana seemed like a mismatched ingredient.  Apples and cranberries are a classic combo, but bananas?


However, this turned out to be a surprise favorite.


For dinner, I served my portion on the suggested lettuce figuring that the lettuce would end up in the trash, but it actually worked fairly well with the rest of the ingredients.  I ended up eating all of the lettuce in addition to happily consuming the salad.  I’m not that big on sweet, so I’m probably going to reduce the sugar a bit next time I make it (and I am planning on making it again), but my husband, and probably most American palates, would be happy with the sweetness level.

64 Banana Waffles were also quite nice.  They had a fairly subtle banana flavor but it was definitely there.  546 Baked Bacon was my last of Meta’s three bacon preparation methods.  It was probably my least favorite, but the prep was completely non-active and still delicious (it’s bacon!)

736 Banana, Apple, and Cranberry Salad

736 Banana, Apple, and Cranberry Salad

3/4 c. cranberries, washed

1/3 c. water

1/2 c. sugar

1 c. diced ripe banana

3/4 c. diced apple, unpeeled

lettuce to serve, if desired

Add cranberries and water to a medium pan and heat over medium until the cranberries start popping.  Stir in the sugar.  Refrigerate.  (If you are going to serve the salad right away, you may want to also refrigerate the bananas at this time for a uniform salad temperature).  Lightly combine the cranberries in syrup with the banana and apple, taking care not to mash the banana.  Serve on lettuce if desired.  (Meta also suggest serving with mayonnaise….)  3-5 servings.

Bah humbug! from Boma. (Merry Christmas from me)

Bah humbug! from Boma the cat.  (Merry Christmas! from me).

19 Hot Spiced Milk and 72 Butterfly Rolls

I had a little bit of the dough from Saturday left so I made some 75 Butterfly Rolls for breakfast along with 19 Hot Spiced Milk.  The Butterfly Rolls involved rolling out the dough, sprinkling it with cinnamon and sugar and rolling it like a cinnamon roll.  (You’re also suppose to make a deep crease in the middle to give it a “butterfly shape” but it didn’t carry through the rise at all).  I ate it directly out of the oven and it was perfect.  Slightly sweet and a bit crunchy.  Yum.


19 Hot Spiced Milk was also a winner.  The only honey I had was a fancy AOC artisan Châtaigneraie honey from Corsica.  Maybe not the most authentic ingredient, but maybe Meta’s honey didn’t come in a bear either.  As a counterbalance, I did use milk in a glass bottle! (Alas, not delivered to my front porch by the milk man).


Background cat!

The results were a surprisingly spicy and not too sweet cup of delicious.  I’ve actually always disliked drinking milk, but my mother never made it like this….


A Very Meta Christmas

Today I hosted my big family Christmas dinner with every dish (but one) on the menu courtesy of Meta.  I feel like a bad-ass. (A nerdy kitchen bad-ass, but still).

My Christmas Menu

71 Butterhorn Rolls and 78 Knots with butter

786 Cole Slaw

824 Raw Spinach Salad

966 Lentil Soup

177 Baked Macaroni and Cheese No. 1

688 Stewed Chicken and Dumplings (with noodle variation)

1088 Escalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples

260 Apple Dumpling Pudding

pumpkin cheesecake (from Trader Joe’s)

coffee and tea for adults, lemonade for children

Early morning started with shaping 66 Ice Box Rolls into 71 Butterhorn Rolls and 78 Knots.


The dough had made itself very happy in the fridge, developing a mushroom top with slight indentations from the rack above it.  I wish I had taken a picture because it was practically developing a personality in there.  The dough was a dream to work with too.  Perfectly plastic and didn’t require any extra flour to roll out.

Confession time:  I didn’t follow Meta’s instructions on this one.  Making bread takes forever!  I dumped all of the ingredients in my bread maker and set it to the dough cycle.

Three of my guests were vegetarians (I may be wrong on this, but I don’t believe Meta would have been familiar with the concept judging from The Modern Family Cook Book), hence 177 Baked Macaroni and Cheese No. 1 and 966 Lentil Soup for vegetarian proteins.  For the mac and cheese, I used macaroni shells; Meta calls for “macaroni” and calls for breaking sticks of macaroni into 1 1/2 to 2 inch lengths. I’m guessing she is referencing a shape not readily available anymore or perhaps something like perciatelli or bucatini?  I rather enjoyed the mac and cheese (macaroni layered with slices of cheese, butter and milk instead of the usual cheese sauce), but my husband didn’t care for it.  The kids present mowed through it with abandon.

The lentil soup was a bit weird but not bad–it consisted of lentils, salt, onion, celery tops, evaporated milk, S + P, and parsley and it tasted very strongly of celery.  It was also kind of thin.  I’ve never had milk in a lentil soup.  My husband swears Meta is a shill for Big Dairy.

688 Stewed Chicken and Dumplings (with the noodle variation) rocked my world.  Ingredients were: chicken, salt, water and frozen egg noodles (I used Reames brand).  This recipe is the epitome about what I love about The Modern Family Cook Book.  Simple perfection.  This will show up on my table again sometime soon.

1088 Escalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples, 824 Raw Spinach Salad, 786 Cole Slaw were great vegetables dishes to round out the meal.  (E)scalloped potato dishes may be turning out to be the bane of my culinary existence.  They seem like an awful lot of work for what you get.  However, the spinach salad and coleslaw were clear winners.  I’ve made 786 Cole Slaw before so I took the liberty of adding shredded carrots for color.

One more deviation from Meta’s recipes to confess:  I made 260 Apple Dumpling Pudding with artificial sweetener since my dad is diabetic.  It was still a tasty and relatively healthy dessert.  (Also, you just can’t go wrong with a warm fruit dessert in the winter).

I forgot to take pictures before everyone dug in, but my husband remembered to take one for me:

Meta Christmas Spread

Here’s a closeup of the 260 Apple Dumpling Pudding:


All in all, everyone seemed very happy.  Best of all, I told everyone where the recipes came from and everyone was expressed interested that the recipes were 70 years old.  My dad even spent awhile reading through the three sets of Meta cookbooks I own.  There’s nothing like sharing your weird obsessions with others.

688 Stewed Chicken and Dumplings (or Noodles)

3 1/2 to 4-lb stewing or roasting chicken (I used 3 1/2 lb of bone-in thighs)

2 tsp salt

For noodles:

1 pkg (1 lb) frozen egg noodles

For dumplings:

1 1/2 cups AP flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup milk

1 tsp minced parsley (optional)

Remove skin from chicken and cut off any excess fat.  Add pieces in one layer in a Dutch oven and fill with enough water to just cover.  Sprinkle with the 2 tsp of salt.  Cover with a lid and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.  Let it simmer about 1 1/2 to 2 hours until it is very tender.

For the noodles:  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.  Turn the heat up until the broth boils.  Add the noodles and cook 5-10 minutes.  Return the chicken to the pan and serve together (de-bone or serve whole).

For the dumplings: (I haven’t tested this yet)  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt (if so compelled or just use modern measuring methods and then combine).  Stir in the milk and parsley just until barely combined.  Drop the batter in the pan by spoonful, dipping the spoon in the broth in between spoonfuls to prevent sticking).  Re-cover and cook for 12 minutes.  Meta suggest arranging the chicken on a platter on top of the dumplings and serve the liquid in a gravy boat at the table.

177 Baked Macaroni and Cheese No. 1

7-8 oz macaroni

3 tsp salt

3 quarts boiling sater


3 TBSP butter

1/2 lb sharp cheese, sliced thin

about 1 cup milk

Salt boiling water and stir in macaroni.  Meta suggest boiling about 20 minutes, but you might want to follow package directions instead.  Drain and rinse with hot water (I did this despite everything I’ve learned about pasta cooking and it was fine).  Put 1/2 of the macaroni in a large buttered casserole dish.  Sprinkle with salt and 1/2 of the butter.  Layer 1/2 of the cheese slices.  Repeat layering with the other half of the ingredients.  Pour milk up to the top layer of macaroni.  Bake at 325 F for about 45 minutes.

786 Cole Slaw

3 cups shredded cabbage

1/4 cup mayo

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 or 3 TBSP top milk or sweet or sour cream (use the sour cream, you’ll thank me)

Variations: add one diced tomatoes, 1/2 green or red pepper, diced or 1/4 c. of chopped sweet pickle
Trim, quarter and core the cabbage.  Shred the cabbage thinly with a sharp knife.  Whisk together the rest of the ingredients.  Toss the cabbage and any additional veggies in the dressing until well coated.  Good served right away, but let it refrigerate a couple of hours if you have time.  5 servings.

66 Ice Box Rolls (modified for bread machine and “refrigerator”)

1/4 cup water

2 cups milk, lukewarm

2 eggs, well beaten

1/4 butter or shortening, melted and cooled

1/3 cup + 1 tsp sugar

1 TBSP salt

8 cups AP flour

1 1/2 cakes compressed yeast or 1 1/2 packages fast granular yeast (I used 3 1/2 tsp of bread machine yeast)

Add to bread machine in order recommended by machine instructions (or if it’s like mine, liquids on the bottom, dry ingredients other than flour and yeast, flour and then yeast in a well in the flour).  Run dough cycle.  When it comes out, it can be used immediately or put in the refrigerator overnight.  Shape into desired roll shape and let rise on the baking sheet or dish. (Another Meta treasure, The Encyclopedia of Modern Cooking, suggest putting the pan in a cold oven.  Turning the oven on to 400 degrees for 1 minute exactly to make a warm place for rising–worked like a charm).  Remove rolls from oven before preheating to 375 F.  Brush with melted butter.  Bake rolls for 15-25 minutes depending on size.

260 Apple Dumpling Pudding

1 cup AP Flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 TBSP butter

1 egg, beaten

1/4 c. milk

3 1/2 cups think fresh cooked apple sauce or canned

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 TBSP lemon juice

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt (or sift if you please) in a bowl.  Add butter and rub in with fingertips.  Add egg and milk and beat thoroughly.  Heat the applesauce and stir in the cinnamon and lemon juice.  Pour into a baking dish (Meta says a 10 x 6 1/2 x 2 inch one, but I used a 9×9).  Drop tablespoons of batter onto the applesauce.  Cover and bake in a 450 F oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  (I used Splenda and Splenda-sweetened applesauce in place of the sugar with good success).

Friday, December 21st


tomato juice 719a

Hot Wheat Cereal 169 with

top milk

whole wheat toast with butter

Jam 702 (peach butter)

coffee (milk for children)


Puffy Omelet 402 with

Broiled Bacon 544

Molded Cabbage and Pineapple Salad 809

tea (milk for children)


Quick-Baked Whitefish 415

Quick Escalloped Potatoes 1075

Buttered Broccoli 1007

bread and butter

Tapioca Cream 367 with

Strawberry Jam 711

coffee (milk for children)

It’s hard to complain about a Meta breakfast.  Warm and filling as usual.  I’m not use to drinking tomato juice at breakfast; it wasn’t orange juice but fruit serving achieved (with a side o’ salt).  Meta called for 702, Peach Butter as the jam.  I couldn’t find any so I subbed apple butter.


I was gleefully excited to see a molded salad on the menu for lunch!  Evidently I was way too optimistic.  809 Molded Cabbage and Pineapple Salad took forever to set up.  I got so hungry that I gave in and made the other lunch items and ate before it was ready.


Admittedly, I was hungry, but 402 Puffy Omelet and 544 Broiled Bacon were quite tasty.  The omelet had a really interested souffle-like texture with a crispy, buttery top and a very light interior.  (Recipe follows!)  I halved it and cooked it in a smaller skillet with no noticeable harm.  You can tell from the picture that I didn’t quite have the attention span required to perfectly oven-broil the bacon since the edges are a bit burnt, but as Meta promised it was pleasingly free of greasiness and nicely crisp.

A closeup of the inside of the omelet:

402 Puffy Omelet Meta Given The Modern Family Cookbook

The second half of lunch (finally served two hours later) was kind of a flop, literally and figuratively.  Here’s what came itself out of the mold:

809 Moldeed Cabbage and Pineapple Salad Meta Given The Modern Family Cookbook

It looked kinda like a neon yellow brain splatted on the plate.  I pressed on and served as suggested:


The first sensation was a relatively pleasant taste of pineapple and lemon.  Then it hit me.  Cabbage!!  The dissonance between the sweet fruit and the cabbage was alarming.    I then went to try some of the recommended mayo (note the tiny pile at the side) and was hit the realization that mayo shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near this concoction.  I valiantly pushed on for several more bites (including trying the beleaguered lettuce) but to no avail.  This shit sucks.  Nine more molded salads to go.  Oh boy!

Dinner did much to restore my confidence in Meta.  I pulled out all stops and made 66 Ice Box Rolls for the bread and butter in the menu.  (Fantastic by the way!!) I liked everything about dinner.  415 Quick-baked Whitefish was quite good.  (and I even made the breadcrumbs myself).  1075 Quick Escalloped Potatoes was a solid entry in the potato category.  1007 Buttered Broccoli was my second go-around for this recipe so I took the liberty of using romanesco broccoli.  Dinner was, however, really brown.



Dessert, 367 Tapioca Cream, didn’t quite go my way.  It never ended up thickening, but it was at least, very tasty.  Meta has eight more tapioca recipes for me, so I guess I’ll need to do some trouble-shooting.  I’m excited to try 367 again though because it has a lot of promise (once I figure out what I did wrong!)


402 Puffy Omelet

6 eggs, whites and yolks separated

1 tsp salt

2 to 4 TBSP butter

Separate whites and yolks into two separate bowls.  Beat the eggs whites until stiff with an electric egg beater.  Then beat the yolks with the salt until thick and light yellow.  Fold the egg whites into the yolks.  Melt the butter in a large oven-proof skillet over low heat (when I say low, I mean it; use the lowest setting).  Pour in the egg and then do nothing!  Do not touch!  This is not a French omelet.  Set the timer for 20 minutes and walk away.  Meta suggest putting the omelet into an oven set at 350 for 2-5 minutes just to try out the top a bit.  (I don’t think this step is particularity necessary since this omelet is already walking the crisp/dry line).  Loosen with a spatula, cut a line through the center so you can fold it in half.  Serves 5 Americans from the 1940s or 3-4 modern American adults.

11 Eggnog

I was feeling  some nice Christmas cheer this evening while perusing The Modern Family Cook Book and decided to make a traditional Christmas favorite–eggnog.  I actually have never been a fan of eggnog.  It has a weird texture and why is it served cold during winter?  Anyhoo, I figured why not?  If I’m going to make all of the recipes in this book, I’ll get to this eventually.


My first sip wasn’t pleasant. I licked some of the nutmeg-laden meringue and thought it was pretty tasty.  I took several sips and the flavor grew on me.  This is really much better than the commercial brands I’ve tried before.  This is never going to be a favorite, but I actually liked this fairly well (for a potentially disease-causing drink).

11 Eggnog

3 eggs

2 1/2 TBSP sugar, divided

4 cups milk

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

nutmeg to taste

1) Separate the yolk and egg of one clean egg (preferably not by passing from shell to shell since the shell is a likely carrier of salmonella).

2) Beat the yolk and whole two eggs; add sugar and beat thoroughly.  Sir in the milk, vanilla and salt and pour into 5 glasses.

3) Beat the single egg white and add sugar just before it stiffens and continue beating until stiff.

4) Add a spoonful of meringue to each glass and sprinkle with nutmeg.  Enjoy.

5) Pray that the raw egg consumption doesn’t catch up to you.