Celebrating Memorial Day with a 1940s Recipe

Time for something a little different to remember and honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country on this Memorial Day!  I will share yet another recipe from the “Modern Family Cookbook”, by Meta Given, that it had belonged to hubby’s Grandmother.  (More recipes at this post here, and also here.)  This book is from 1942, and seems from wear on the book, to have been quite useful to his Grandmother, whose husband was away in the Army during WWII. She no doubt found a simple but tasty treat like the recipe included for this post great for herself during those times!

I’ve made this recipe as a light lunch or a snack, and it was great – easy, interesting, and a great base for further fancy experimental flavors (but great as-is, too).  I want to try these cheese puff toasts as a sandwich, with tomatoes and pesto in between, for one example.  If you try this, I hope you enjoy it as I have!

Even though this holiday is about thoughtful respect for the fallen, let’s honor those who have fought and survived as well.  Please remember to thank a veteran today (or any day, really!) and never forget the freedoms of today are built from the courage and bravery of others.

Remembering December 7th, 75 Years Later, with a Recipe

100_4641a-compThat momentous and tragic day of 75 years ago is receiving much just due attention, commemoration, and re-visiting.  As my little way of nodding remembrance to Pearl Harbor in 1941, I am sharing a recipe out of a family heirloom we have, my husband’s Grandmother’s cookbook.  The book is “Modern Family Cookbook” , by Meta Given, first printed in 1942 and re-issued many times until 1948.

The last time I shared a recipe was a while back for my “Agent Carter Sew-Along” and it was a hearty meat-and-green-beans meal (see it here).  I’ll continue that somewhat this time around with another single-portion meat, “Upside-Down Apricot Meat Loaves”, and a dessert, “Fresh Fruit and Date Salad”.


These were quite tasty and a good kind of different.  I like how the meat loaves are single portions accommodating different appetites and perfect for freezing and re-heating for later!  These might also make good party food for entertaining.  Plus they look like silly eyes to appeal to kids!  I served my “Upside-Down Apricot Meat Loaves” on top of couscous and steamed Brussels sprouts.


When we made the “Upside-Down Meat Loaves” we actually used #491, meat loaf no.2, because the recipe was easier and used all beef (easier to find).  However, the meat was a bit bland, a good comparison nevertheless to the savory taste of the apricots.  Perhaps #489, meat loaf no.2, is probably recommended as best for a reason, and would probably add more zest.  I added both meat loaf numbers 1 and 2 so you can decide for yourself what meat flavors you’d like to pair with the upside-down recipe.


When we made the dessert salad we substituted mayonnaise for plain yogurt but it was very good and quite easy.  I liked how it felt healthy yet sweet without being over-sugary.


Let me know if you try any of these recipes and if you were happy with them – I hope so because I enjoyed them.  Let’s honor those who fought, fell, and survived that day 75 years back in some way, even if with something as simple as a dish of food.

“Agent Carter” Sew Along Inspiration: Recipes for a 1940’s Meal

100_4641a-compIn honor of my “Agent Carter” sew along, and in the spirit of being inspired to delve into decade of the 1940’s,  I will be posting a few recipes so we can cook food from the era.  Each of the recipes I post will have been tried out by hubby and myself, to be tested true to the letter, able to turn out well as instructed, and tasting excellent to our taste.  As my blog is primarily about sewing, history, fashion, and the like, not about ideas for food or for living, I don’t expect to post cooking recipes again after my “Agent Carter” sew along is over at the end of May.

100_4646a-compThe cookbook from which the recipes come is one that is a family heirloom.  The title is “Modern Family Cookbook” , by Meta Given, and it had belonged to Hubby’s Grandmother.  Looking at the inside cover of all the reprinted editions, I can see it must have been quite popular, although I’ve never heard of this cookbook anywhere else.  The first printing was 1942, and the last recorded edition is 1948.

This post will feature a main meal, with a meat and a side.  This food tastes like hearty, rich, good old-fashioned home cooking.  It uses lots of bacon grease, cheese, meat – things modern society tell us is not good for us.  However, the Grandmothers on both sides of our family are (and were) very long-lived, and they survived on this kind of cooking!  Ignore the guilt for once and cook up this yummy meal.

100_4636a-comp100_4660-compFor the beef balls, I used a pre-packaged one pound portion of ground beef, so I slightly decreased all the other ingredients just a tad.  We also chose to cut the amount of horseradish in half, only adding 1 tablespoon, to make the taste not so overpowering.

You don’t need much to make the beef balls – just a handful of basic ingredients (see picture).

100_4656-compWhen we made the side dish, we made a half batch, and it was enough for two adults and a child with a large appetite 🙂  As is optional in the instructions, I did use a can of green beans (they were organic) out of convenience, and – yes – they tasted good…much better than I ever expected.

100_4661-compThe great thing about making the braised beef balls with the green beans as the side is you can fry up one big batch of bacon, and the drippings go towards both recipes.  About half of the bacon we cooked up went into the green beans, which left a good amount to have on hand for anything else.

Yum!  Don’t you smell that bacon!

Served up on our table, the finished meal looked like the picture below, rounded off with a side of mashed potatoes and a topping of pan gravy (from the beef ball recipe).

100_4666-compEnjoy!  I hope you try making this dish to serve in your own home and find comfort in an old-fashioned meal.