Monday, May 7, 2012

Think back to a time when meals took hours to prepare without the timesaving kitchen appliances and gadgets we have today. Before we could pop our dinner in the microwave, drive-thru to pick up dinner or place an online order for pizza to be delivered. There was very little choice but to make meals from scratch.

The following are a list of ways technology has changed the way we cook, the recipes we use, and how we learn to cook. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, we now cook with a wider cultural influence and we are more aware of “superfoods” that can ward off disease and increase health. Scientific research has also given us more information on which foods to avoid for healthful living. It is more and more in vogue to cook using more natural, less processed ingredients.

Take a look around and it is obvious feeding our families on a daily basis has become much faster and incredibly more convenient.

Instant Access to Online Recipes

When I search online for recipes I just type in a list of ingredients such as “salad with pear and pecans and champagne vinaigrette” into a search engine. I also use the Internet to find “lost” recipes (which by the way, I still can’t find that particular salad recipe I made for Christmas one year). I look for recipes that I’ve used before, but didn’t bookmark it on my computer or I lost the paper copy I printed. My recipe collection doesn’t fit in a recipe box and neither do my friends’ recipes. Typically I type up the recipe and email it to my friend or I find the website link and send it to them electronically.

Internet Menu Plans

Websites such as provide weekly menu plans for a small fee. Members are given a week’s worth of recipes, along with a grocery list divided up by department. The website even allows members to select their grocery store of choice to make grocery shopping even easier. The weekly menus are based on weekly store specials and seasonal ingredients. Various meals plans include family plans, meals for two, and even vegetarian, gluten-free, and natural and organic.

Cooking Apps on Mobile Devices

On-the-go cooks and bakers can download cooking apps to their mobile devices (phones, e-book readers, and tablet computers) to count daily calorie intake, find recipes and videos, and watch how-to videos on You Tube. There is less need for a cooking class or demonstration, just watch and learn.

Online Grocery Shopping

Kimberly (Schroeder) Johnson, of Carmel, Ind., uses to do her weekly grocery shopping. She typically uses it in the winter as she despises shopping in cold weather. She selects her groceries online, and they are delivered in dry ice. Kimberly says it is so convenient and easy to stick to a budget and not buy impulse items.

24 Hour a Day Cooking Shows

Julia Child, chef and cookbook author, who died in 2004, introduced French cooking to America. Her well-known show was called “The French Chef,” which premiered in 1963. Child first showed how America how to cook an omelette on television and was well-known for her Coq Au Vin, Beef Bourguignon and Salad Nicoise.

Today the Food Network is in 90 million households. It debuted in 1993 and has over 50 chefs on its television shows and websites.

Corn Souffle

This recipe comes from Helen Kellogg, the great-grandmother of Monica Kellogg, a 1993 Carroll High School grad, now living in Philadelphia and working as a real-estate appraiser. Monica, daughter of Jay Kellogg and Kathy Kellogg, of Asheville, N.C., always makes it for her grandpa, Walter Kellogg, of Hendersonville, N.C., when her grandparents come to visit. It is a special thing she does for her grandpa because it reminds him of his mother. Monica’s grandma, Vivian Kellogg was given the recipe by her mother-in-law when she was first married because she did not know how to cook.

1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs beaten
Butter a baking dish, mix the rest of the ingredients, and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Wheaties Coconut Cookies

Wheaties were created in 1922 after a wheat bran mixture was accidentally spilled onto a hot stove at Washburn Crosby Co., which is now General Mills. The cereal was first named Washburn’s Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flakes. Alyson (Fenn) Straschinske, the project manager for Royal Credit Union in Eau Claire, Wis. (formerly of Carroll), usually makes these cookies around Thanksgiving, but she said her husband, Bill, would like to have these cookies every day. The recipe comes from her great-grandmother, the late Emma Shiffer, of Grimes.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups coconut
2 cups Wheaties
Mix together all ingredients together, add Wheaties last. Drop into individual cookies on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Breakfast Hash

Diana Fischer, of Fairfield, formerly of Carroll, used to make this old family favorite for her kids Jerry, Delayne, and Beth. The recipe was handed down from Diana’s late mother, Cordellia Steffes, of Carroll. This was a treat for Diana’s kids on a cold, winter morning.

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup milk - approximate
1/2 cup sugar (can add more or use Splenda)
1/2 cup Cream of Wheat
First beat eggs, milk, baking powder and salt. Next fold in Cream of Wheat. Then heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan. Pour half of above mixture in pan (like a thick pancake). Fry on both sides. Do the same with the other half of mixture. Cut into small squares about ½-inch thick. Place back into frying pan and add enough milk to almost cover the squares. Heat milk to almost boiling. Take off the heat and sprinkle with sugar.

Orange Cookies

My mom, Ann Wilson, remembers these cookies as a wonderful after-school treat. Her late mother, Connie Wilson, used to make them for her and her friend Sally Norgaard when they were children.

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup sour milk
3 cups flour
2 eggs, unbeaten
1 1/2 teaspoons soda, salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla.
Drop from a spoon on a cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

While hot frost with a mixture of:
1 cup sugar
1½ teaspoons grated orange rind
1/3 cup orange juice

The following four recipes are from a cookbook printed by Wilson-Riley-Blank Book Co. in 1899. My great-grandmother, Florence Wilson, of Oskaloosa, was on the committee that compiled the book. The recipes of that time were simple and noticeably vague. We have all heard stories of cooks that kept all their recipes “in their heads” and didn’t need to follow written instructions to put dinner on the table.

Clear Vegetable Soup

Five pounds of round steak cut in bits, cover well with water, no salt, boil slowly for three hours. Half an hour before done, add one carrot, one onion, two potatoes, one turnip, and one parsnip. When all are tender, strain, skim off all fat, salt and pepper to taste. You can improve by adding to the quantity of meat.

Chicken Pie With Oysters

My mom’s late father, James W. Wilson, always thought oysters were a real treat, which is why an oyster and chicken pie was not an everyday dish.

Boil a good-sized chicken until tender. Drain off the liquor from a quart of oysters. Line the sides and bottom of a large round pan with pie crust, put in a layer of oysters and a layer of chicken until pan is full, season with salt, pepper, bits of butter, the oyster liquor and some of the chicken liquor. Cover with crust and bake. Serve with sliced lemon.

Apple Pudding

Slice in buttered baking dish a thick layer of apples, add sugar, small lumps of butter, nutmeg, and enough water to start the apples. Cover with a rich biscuit crust, and bake. Serve with cream.

Chocolate Pudding

Before the invention of refrigerators, there were ice boxes with a huge chunk of ice in the lower portion of the box with shelves above the ice. This is a recipe for homemade pudding that was to be chilled on ice before serving. The introduction of instant pudding in the 1930s changed the way many Americans make pudding today.

After a quart of milk has come to a boil add two large tablespoons corn starch, four squares of chocolate grated and one cup of sugar. Boil until it thickens and turn into molds; set on ice. Serve with cream and sugar flavored to taste.