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Using Very Old Cookbooks

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Note the teaspoon to tablespoon ratio, which does not match ours.

Their tablespoon is our tablespoon (because a gill is currently four ounces, and a tablespoon is currently half an ounce), so their teaspoons are smaller than ours.  We need to account for this.

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Antique cookbooks are my favorite hobby.  :wub:

Things to note: 

Modern cookbooks give you a recipe that is science where you follow step by step and measure by measure.  

Antique cookbooks give you art.   They assume you know how to cook and are giving you a shopping list.   They often assume you understand how to scale the recipe for the number of people and that you know how to adjust the dry and liquid ratios of baked goods depending on humidity and item texture.  

Modern eggs are MUCH bigger than antique eggs.  Use medium and reduce by 1 to get closer to what the recipe calls for.  

The acidity of older foods was different.   That is why you see people adding things like baking soda to tomato soup.  It was too acidic and curdled the milk without the soda.

Refrigeration wasn't a thing until after the depression.  Starting with room temp items makes a big difference in cook time and in final product.  

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Thanks, Ambergris.  I not only love old cookbooks but also pioneer and settler’s journals which usually contained ‘receipts’ and I found this really accurate. 

1 hour ago, euphrasyne said:

Antique cookbooks give you art.

That is one of the most apt statements I’ve heard about them.  I like it! :happy0203:

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Sometimes as I read an old cookbook I'd think, ah, that sounds good.  I'd get up right then and make it.  Think it tasted great but didn't save the recipe, so it was never to made again.  


With Google, now I can sometimes find the recipe again.  I love Google.  One of my best friends! :cele:


And yes euphrasyne, a perfect description...."Antique cookbooks give you art."

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Cocoa used to be very acidic too.  Now it's "dutched" to make it much less acidic.  You have to account for this in recipes, unless you're using special chocolate.

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