January 03, 2022

The Heritage Recipes I Made in 2021

I'll get back to my "regular"-type posts soon; with it being the first of the year, I love looking back over the previous year to to sum things up. And as you know, I love lists! So the end of December and beginning of January, I tend to make a lot of lists.

In 2021, I wanted to cook new-to-me recipes, and I made a goal to cook one new recipe per week (or just 52 overall). When I got the idea to make the recipes found in my hometown's heritage cookbooks, I wanted to try working on one per week. It doesn't sound like much, but a week goes by so fast! Sometimes I found myself flipping through the books at the last minute for a recipe that had simple, always-have-on-hand ingredients; but I didn't want to always make "safe" recipes--I wanted to pick things that looked interesting or that I'd never heard of.

It's been nearly a year since I started this project, and while I don't have 52 recipes done yet, I made some really great ones that I never would have discovered otherwise! Here is the full list (in reverse order; it was just easier when linking). Afterward, I'll write about a few favorites...

Gobby's Christmas Eve Tourtière (Meat Pie)
Grandma's Jumbles
Autumn Cheesecake
Pumpkin Bars
Sausage Upside-Down Pie
Grated Raw Sweet Potato Pudding
Popcorn Balls
Poached Egg on Toast
Apple Delight
Hattie's Icebox Rolls
Devil's Food Cake
Creamed Ham, Asparagus, & Mushrooms
Barbecued Beef (a.k.a. Sloppy Joes)
Peach Muffins
Maple Nut Cake
Fruit Cocktail Cake
Meat Loaf
Hermit Cookies
Blender Carrot Bread
Tender Crust Dinner Rolls
Oatmeal Cake
Drömtårta (Swedish Dream Cake)
Nan's Coffee Cake
Tourtière (Meat Pie)
Pumpkin Bread
Sweet Buns
Swedish Almond Cream Cake
Nut & Raisin Sandwiches on Graham Bread
Spread Cookies
Boy Cookies & Girl Cookies
Brown Dumplings
Poppy Seed Tea Bread
Smuckle Doodle Cake
Onions Stuffed with Sausage
Corn Oysters
Onion Shortcake
Viola's One-Course Meal
Beef Biscuit Casserole

Some of these recipes were delicious, some not so much. Some had great stories behind them or the person who submitted the recipe; and others, I just wasn't able to find any additional information.

Prior to starting this project, I was terrible at baking. I always seemed to screw something up. Cooking comes very natural to me because there is no real measuring or chemistry involved. However, a lot of the heritage recipes are for baked goods; and since this was an adventure, I just did my best.

I got a lot better at baking in 2021! Before posting the recipes, I would research things that I wasn't sure about (recipes from the 1800's have different wording than from the 2000's, for example; I wanted to make sure I was using the correct ingredients). I learned what "fast oven" and "slow oven" means; how sour milk differs from SOURED milk; that true graham flour is nearly impossible to find; how to make a noodle ring (and that there is a such thing as a noodle ring!); and that there are more recipes for meat pie than you could ever taste in a lifetime.

Some of these recipes REALLY surprised me in some way or another. Here are the ones that were notable:

Favorites We Tasted:

Poppy Seed Tea Bread - Jerry LOVED THIS and couldn't get enough of it! The extracts in it give it a very different flavor than you may expect, but it's really delicious. This is a quick bread, so it's very moist and dense, kind of like a pound cake. So good!

Fruit Cocktail Cake - I had no idea when I made this that it was actually a very common dessert back in the day, but wow, did it surprise me. This is one of the best cakes I've ever eaten!


Pumpkin Bars - I am not normally a pumpkin spice type of girl. Pumpkin pie is okay, and pumpkin bread can be good. But for fall, I wanted to do something with pumpkin--so I made these pumpkin bars. And holysmokestheyarethebestdessertever--I don't believe I've ever made such a bold, 100% for-sure statement on my blog. You MUST make these! The texture (and the cream cheese frosting) is what makes these so amazing.

One that really surprised me with how much I liked it was the Creamed Ham, Asparagus, and Mushrooms. I love asparagus and mushrooms, but it was the "serve in a noodle ring" that really made this unique. I can't remember what I wrote about the noodle ring in the end, but I do remember thinking that I wanted to make the creamed ham, asparagus, and mushrooms into a chowder. I haven't done that yet, but this post reminded me of it--and I am going to put that in my planner.

And as you know, I like to write about the person who submitted the recipe whenever I can. It's hard to remember (without going through all of them individually) who made what recipe and what I wrote about them. But my favorite one to work on was the recipe for Oatmeal Cake. I read an amazing news article about my grandfather (which is in that blog post) and it prompted me to want to learn more about my family.

I got together with my mom and my Aunt Mickey and we went through old photos; I loved hearing stories about my grandparents, mostly. (My grandfather died when my mom was just 16, so I never met him; and my grandmother had Alzheimer's while I was growing up, so I--ironically?--don't have many memories of her prior to her illness.)

This has been such a fun blog project to work on and I definitely want to continue until I've tried most of them. I would definitely be up for trying ALL of them, but I'm not exactly a hunter and I don't believe they sell muskrat at Kroger ;)


  1. This and Friday night photos are my two favorites of your blog series. Looking forward to more recipes and stories! :)

  2. Lol your muskrat comment actually made me laugh out loud! That would be something though if that was sold at Kroger ;) I really love this series, I find it so interesting! Can't believe its been almost a year!

  3. I somehow missed the fruit cocktail cake. That was a staple in our home, but the frosting didn't have anything extra in it, just a clear, sweet, incredible spread. As a kid, I would cut a piece, eat the icing off first, then fork through to see if I could find a cherry. Only after I had done that would I eat the rest of the piece. Such fond memories though. Thank you for doing this series.

  4. I loved reading about these recipes as you did them. I made the pumpkin bars for a holiday party at work. I thought they were good but not as great as you did, but everyone at work loved them! Also, I thought of you today when I saw a quarter in the ground in the CVS parking lot - I didn't pick it up because the ground was slushy and gross, but I bet you would have! :)


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