Saturday, December 21st



prepared cereal with top milk

Cinnamon Toast 55

coffee for adults (cocoa for children)


Chipped Beef Souffle 404

Stewed tomatoes 1111 (substituted 1110 Pan-Broiled Tomatoes)

whole wheat bread and butter

Doughnuts 128 (save half for Sunday)

coffee for adults (milk for children)


Baked Macaroni and Cheese No. 1 177 (substituted Macaroni with Cheese Sauce 179)

Harvard Beets 1006 (substituted 1007 Buttered Broccoli)

Raw Carrot and Peanut Salad 781

whole wheat bread and butter

peaches (canned)

tea for adults (milk for children)

Breakfast was pretty boring (I’m not a big fan of cold breakfast cereal), but I had three great reasons for picking out today’s menu.  1) homemade doughnuts! 2) new food:  chipped beef and 3) dinner is vegetarian which was important because I was planning on serving this to (vegetarian) guest.  Yikes!

Obligatory picture of breakfast:

12.22.13 Breakfast

I was excited about trying chipped beef because the only context I’ve heard of it previously was in the “Shit on a Shingle” dish.  Since I have the sense of humor of a 8-year-old boy, this=hilarious.  Actual recipe for “SOS” is 518 Creamed Chipped Beef.  In the meantime, 404 Chipped Beef Souffle gave me my fist experience with chipped beef.

12.22.13 Lunch

The theory of chipped beef was better than the actual item.  Somehow, it managed to be nearly tasteless (except for the saltiness) but fairly offensive at the same time.  At least my substitution for 1111 Stewed Tomatoes, 1110 Pan-Broiled Tomatoes was rather tasty; the buttery thyme flavor was great.

Also, Meta made up for the souffle in a big way with 128 Doughnuts.  They were crispy and so delicious.  I coated half in cinnamon-sugar and half in powdered sugar.  I could have eaten the entire batch in one sitting, but managed to make do with only 3 of them.

128 Doughnuts

Dinner for (tolerant) friends turned out very well!  Due to a shortage in prep-time, I had to substitute 179 Macaroni with Cheese Sauce instead of the 177 Baked Macaroni and Cheese No. 1 (which I’ve made before anyway).  I also took the liberty of changing 1006 Harvard Beets for 1007 Buttered Broccoli for better crowd appeal.

12.22.13 Dinner

179 Macaroni with Cheese Sauce was uber creamy and comfort-foody.  It was pretty quick and easy too (not quite blue box easy, but so much tastier).  781 Raw Carrot and Peanut Salad went over well (although I forgot to serve it on lettuce as specified).  The guest included two young-uns and they enjoyed this dinner as well as the adults (but I suppose the vegetable eating could be chalked up to good parenting instead of my kitchen prowess).

Overall, an rather good menu day, although I’m adding chipped beef to my list of weird meats I’m not interested in trying.

1110 Pan-Broiled Tomatoes

5 large tomatoes (2 1/12 lbs)

1/2 cup butter (or half bacon drippings)

1 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 TBSP grated onion

Wash tomatoes, core and cut off the blossom end.  Melt butter and add thyme, salt and onion.  Saute until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Cut the tomatoes into 1 inch slices and cook in the butter, spooning fat over them.  Cook about 1 to 2 minutes on both sides.  Serve with butter poured over.  Makes 5 servings.

128 Doughnuts

2 cups AP flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/9 tsp nutmeg, if desired

2 TBSP shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup buttermilk

fat for deep frying

Sift flour and measure.  Resift with baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.  Cream shortening, blend in sugar, and then blend in egg and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately just until well mixed.  Chill dough.  Roll out on lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out doughnuts.  Fry in 375 degree oil just until golden brown and then fry on other side.  Drain the doughnut on paper towel or a rack.  Shake in granulated sugar, powdered sugar or cinnamon and sugar.

179 Macaroni with Cheese Sauce

Recipe instructions call for not baking 178 so:

178 Baked Macaroni and Cheese No. 2

7 or 8 oz elbow macaroni

3 quarts boiling water

3 tsp salt

2 TBSP butter

2 TBSP flour

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup water

1 tsp salt

1/2 lb sharp cheese, grated

Boil water and 2 tsp of salt.  Cook macaroni until tender (Meta says about 20 minutes, but I followed package directions and left it in for 8).  Drain and rinse.  Meanwhile, melt butter and blend in flour.  Add milk and water and stir until sauce boils and thickens.  Add salt and cheese and stir until melted.  (Can mix in macaroni and reheat for 179 here) or arrange macaroni and cheese sauce in a buttered casserole dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the top is toasted.

781 Carrot and Peanut Salad

5 medium carrots

1/4 lb salted peanuts (1/2 cup)

1/3 cup mayonnaise


Wash, scrape and grate carrots.  Chop peanuts.  Combine carrots, peanuts and mayo and serve on lettuce leaves.


Saturday, December 14th


grapefruit halves

Rolled Oats 168 with top milk

Broiled Bacon 544

toast with butter

coffee for adults (cocoa for children)


Cheese Egg Float 181

head lettuce wedges with French Dressing 841

Stewed Dried Peaches 283

milk for all


Quick Baked Haddock 415

Potatoes O’Brien 1080

Buttered Green Beans 985

Ice Box Rolls 66 and butter

Cranberry Sauce 282

coffee for adults (milk for children)

Breakfast was pleasant. (Bacon!) Speaking of pleasant, I noticed that Meta has defined “Bland” in the glossary as, “having a very mild, pleasant flavor” (902).  Quite a positive definition.  I suppose if this is bland, then I must like bland more than I imagined.

12.14.13 Breakfast

Lunch was served directly to me from my childhood taste buds. 181 Cheese Egg Float was super creamy, cheesy and delicious.  It featured a seasoning I’ve not yet encountered in a Meta recipe:  celery salt.  Good thing I like celery salt because it was a prominent flavor.

12.14.13 Lunch

The warm 283 Stewed Dried Peaches and crunchy lettuce with 841 French Dressing rounded out the meal nicely.  I also reluctantly drank the milk for all. 😦  I prefer milk for children only.

Since I live in the mid-west, the only seafood I can count on finding in the store is salmon and canned tuna.  Unsurprisingly, after visiting three stores, I came up empty on haddock.  I used catfish instead.  Other than that hiccup, dinner was super satisfying.

12.14.13 Dinner

I’d happily eat this exact same meal tomorrow but sadly, there were no leftovers on this one.  Fantastic menu for today.

181 Cheese Egg Float

3 TBSP butter

3 TBSP flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 tsp salt

1 TBSP onion juice

1/2 tsp celery salt

5 eggs

1 cup grated sharp cheese (1/4lb)

5 slices toast, buttered

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a shallow baking dish.  Melt butter and blend in flour.  Whisk in milk and seasonings and cook until the mixture boils and thickens.  Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and drop eggs onto the surface.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes until eggs are at preferred firmness.  Makes 5 servings.

841 French Dressing

2/3 cup salad oil

1/3 cup cider vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar (or to suit taste)

1/16 tsp dry mustard

1/16 tsp black pepper

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp grated onion (omit for fruit salad)

Combine ingredients and shake thoroughly before serving. Makes about 1 cup.

415 Quick Baked Fish, Spencer Method

2 lbs fish

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1/4 cup water

2 tsp salt

2 cups fine dry bread crumbs

2 TBSP salad oil

This recipe can be used for small whole fish, fillets or thick steaks (cut to 1/2 inch thick).  Heat oven to 500 degrees.  Mix milk, water and salt in a shallow dish.  Dip fish in milk mixture and then coat in bread crumbs.  Put in an oiled baking dish and sprinkle with oil.  Bake uncovered for 10 minutes.  Makes 5 servings.

1080 Potatoes O’Brien

5 medium baking potatoes (2 lbs)

1 TBSP butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 canned pimiento, chopped

1/2 tsp salt

pepper to suit taste

1 tsp chopped parsley

Wash, peel and dice potatoes into 3/4 inch cubes.  Deep fat fry in 360 degree oil (or pan-fry if preferred) until golden brown.  Drain.  Melt butter in a skillet and saute the onion until soft.  Add the potatoes, pimento and seasoning and cook until hot.  Sprinkle with parsley.  Makes 5 servings.  (I went with the pan-fried method and it turned out beautifully).

1st Blog Anniversary

I noticed that one year ago today, I started this blog!  Yay!

In a years time, I’ve managed to complete 14 full days.  At this rate, it will take me about 26 years to try each of the menus for the full year.  Sigh!  If I can bump my rate up to once a week, I could finish in a little over 7 years.  Hmmm….  Well, I keep on working on it and see how long my interest lasts.

In any case, I’ve very much enjoyed all of the menus and recipes I’ve tried so far.  Even the recipes that didn’t quite work out to my tastes.  I feel like I’ve learned more about the basics of simple cooking.  I’m even more of a big fan of the genius of Meta Given and what she accomplished in this book.

Some things that I love about The Modern Family Cook Book:

1) Simplicity!

2) Real, much less processed food from scratch

3) Short lists of ingredients and simple instructions

4) A sense of history and tradition

5) It forces me to try new things

6) Makes a good cat headrest

Boma and Meta

Thursday, November 21st


Stewed Dried Peaches 291

French Omelet 400

toast with butter, jelly 709 (grape jelly)

coffee for adults (milk for children)


Rice and Vegetable Soup Casserole 1116

whole wheat bread and butter

head lettuce with Peanut Mayonnaise 844

raw apples

tea for adults (milk for children)


Pork Sausage Patties 565 with Milk Gravy 468

Baked Potatoes 1067

Stewed Tomatoes 1111

bread and butter

Cottage Pudding 353 with Lemon Sauce 934

coffee for adults (milk for children)

Oh là là! A French omelet for breakfast! Or what I would usually just call an omelet.  The most interesting part was that it called for 4 eggs to serve 5 (one whole omelet cut into 5 pieces).  I split the recipe in half and made a two egg omelet.  The amount pictured is one eggs worth, but I wantonly ate the whole thing  (because what am I going to do with the other half?)  I’m guessing eggs were a bit more expensive when this book was written.  Which reminds me of this awesome article my husband found about Thanksgiving dinner prices in 1929.   In any case, a tasty and satisfying breakfast.

11.21.13 Breakfast

I was really looking forward to lunch due to 1116 Rice and Vegetable Soup Casserole since it had a rather processed ingredient compared to  most of Meta’s recipes:  condensed canned vegetable soup.  Foreshadowing of what was to come in the next few decades?

11.21.13 Lunch

It was actually pretty good, if odd,  but heavily carb-y since it contained rice, breadcrumbs and the pasta in the vegetable soup.  The crispy breadcrumbs made it.  It was a bit of a long baking time for a working person though (30 minutes of baking not including the rice boiling time since I made it ahead).  I had eat this meal in a hurry to make it back to work (and ended up taking the apple to work to eat).

Also a shout out to 844 Peanut Mayonnaise (the recipe being chopped peanuts mixed in any desired proportion with mayo).  I’m still dubious about mayo being a salad dressing, but the peanuts make it much better than mayo alone.

Dinner got the nod from my husband except for 1111 Stewed Tomatoes.  I’ve never encountered stewed tomatoes before except as an ingredient in a recipe so it seemed a bit like eating straight marinara sauce or salsa.  Not quite right.

However, 565 Pork Sausage Patties with 468 Milk Gravy couldn’t help but please.  I also took the liberty of adding a bit of parsley to the potato since the meal was looking a bit on the brown side.  Meta writes that, “The basic foods should be selected not for food value alone, but also for texture, color and flavor contrast, which helps make the menu attractive and interesting.  For example, a meal in which all the foods are white or light colored has little eye appeal.  In such a menu, yellow turnips (rutabagas) will be more appetizing in appearance than white ones” (4).  I’m not sure I’d pick a rutabaga as the example of a colorful addition, but a good point.  I suppose Meta would argue that the red of the tomatoes provides contrast; it does, but I think a meal benefits from more than two colors.

11.21.13 Dinner

I didn’t have high expectations for dessert, but 353 Cottage Pudding with 934 Lemon Sauce smelled fantastic and was light and delectable.  My husband said that it suffered from a marketing problem and should be called “Air Cake” instead.  This was closer to the British “pudding” definition than the current American usage since the texture was more cake-like.

11.21.13 Dessert

Overall, an interesting menu for the day (and pretty quick too!)

1116 Rice and Vegetable Soup Casserole

1 cup uncooked rice

1 tin condensed vegetable soup (10 1/2 oz)

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup grated cheese

buttered bread crumbs

Boil 2 quarts of water with 1 TBSP of salt added.  Wash rice and add to the water, cooking 15 to 20 minutes until just soft.  Stir occasionally.  Drain and rinse.  Combine with soup, water and cheese and put in a buttered casserole dish.  Sprinkle with crumbs and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

353 Cottage Pudding

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift flour and resift 3 times with the baking powder and salt.  Cream shortening with sugar.  Beat egg and beat into shortening until fluffy.  Mix in vanilla.  Add flour mixture alternately with milk.  Pour into buttered baking pan (7 x 11 x 1 1/2 inches) and bake for 30 minutes.  Cut into squares and serve with Lemon Sauce 934.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

934 Lemon Sauce

1 TBSP cornstarch

3/4 cup sugar

dash salt

3/4 cup water

1 egg, separated

1 TBSP butter

2 TBSP lemon juice

On top of a double boiler, mix cornstarch, sugar, salt and water and cook stirring constantly until it boils and thickens.  Stir in a beaten egg yolk and cook 2 minutes longer.  Remove from heat and add butter and lemon juice.  Cool.  Beat egg white until stiff and fold in.  Can be served hot or cold.  (Increase cornstarch to 3 TBSP to make a cake or pie filling).  Makes 5 servings.  (I found that the egg whites didn’t really fold and just created a white foam at the top.  If I make this again, I’d just leave out the egg whites and I don’t think it will make a difference).

Meta-llaneous Recipes

Sometimes I need a bit of a Meta fix without dedicating myself to a whole days worth.  Here are some random recipes I’ve made lately.

First a salad recipe verging on the weird and wacky:

735 Banana Salad

735 Banana Salad

3 bananas, well ripened

1/4 cup orange juice

chopped peanuts–or other nuts


Fruit Salad Dressing (842) or Mayonnaise (843)

Peel the bananas and cut in half lengthwise and crosswise.  Roll in orange juice and then nuts.  The banana, peanuts and orange juice made for a pleasing, if odd looking, combo.  However the lettuce (and dressing below) were odd.  Meta says to serve on lettuce with dressing or mayo (but don’t). Or this terrifying holiday special:

843a Cranberry Mayonnaise

1/2 cup mayonnaise (843)

1/2 cup cranberry jelly (282)

1/4 cup cream, whipped

Blend mayo and cranberry jelly.  Fold in whipped cream.  This recipe specifically says to serve this with the banana salad.  But again, please don’t.  The tang of the mayo paired terribly with cranberry.  Plus the color, was super off-putting.

212 Cocoanut Ice-Box Cookies

212 Cocoanut Ice-Box Cookies

These were so yummy I lost count of how many I had (a lot).  Actual instructions involve adding 1 cup of dry grated cocoanut, firmly packed to 211 Ice-Box Cookies so here is that recipe as well (though I haven’t yet made it without the coconut (cocoanut?!):

211 Ice-Box Cookies

2 1/4 cup AP flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter or other shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

Sift flour with baking soda and salt.  Cream shortening and beat in sugar and corn syrup.  Add egg and beat until smooth then add in vanilla.  Blend in flour mixture (Add coconut if making 212 here).  Pack into a small loaf pan  (Meta says to line it with wax paper first) and chill in the refrigerator overnight or several hours.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove from pan and slice into 1/8 inch thick or less slices and put on a buttered cookie sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes until browned.  Makes about 3 dozen. (212 made closer to 4 dozen for me).

1103 Pan-Fried Summer Squash

So golden brown and delicious.

1103 Pan-Fried Summer Squash

2 lbs young squash


1/4 cup milk

salt and pepper to taste

dry bread or cracker crumbs or flour

butter or bacon drippings

Slice squash crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices (do not peel or de-seed).  Mix egg, milk, salt and pepper.  Dip squash into egg mixture and then into crumbs or flour.  Fry in butter or bacon drippings until golden brown on both sides.  Makes 5 servings.