Vintage Afternoon Tea or Luncheon Recipes

Vintage Afternoon Tea or Luncheon Recipes
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teaIt's nice to set aside a few hours with family and friends for a luncheon or afternoon tea, gathering to talk and share stories, perhaps even shutting off the cell phones and other devices for a little bit. While it's fun to meet at coffee or tea shops, there is nothing quite like starting from scratch and serving your guests homemade sweet and savory bits with their choice of tea.

Woman's World, a magazine published out of Chicago, was known as "The Magazine of the Middle West". It began publishing in 1884 until its last issue in 1940. The recipes below are from issues during 1928 and 1929, the last years of Prohibition, and the Roaring Twenties before the Great Depression.

As I looked through the magazines I realized how many of the recipes were excellent choices for an afternoon tea. They are simple to make with basic ingredients.

I also loved the tip below for teaching children how to set a table.
However, I would have added sons, along with daughters, in needing to learn this skill.

The recipes have my notes below each one to clarify the instructions or make a mention of variations in ingredients.

Learning to Set the Table: To teach daughters how to set the table properly, cut a picture from a magazine showing one place correctly set and paste it to the cupboard door, where she can refer to it while setting the table.

Toasted Cheese Sandwiches

Mix together enough grated American cheese and mayonnaise to make a smooth filling. Spread between thin slices of bread, leaving crust on, then toast on both sides. Serve hot.

Notes: Any type of shredded cheese would work for this. I like using finely shredded because it will melt quickly. Rye or Pumpernickel is delicious when used with Swiss cheese.

Pimento Paste Sandwiches

Boil 4 eggs hard. Powder the yolks and chop the whites very fine. Mix with the well drained contents of a small can of pimientos and 1 cream cheese. Add mayonnaise dressing to taste. Spread between buttered slices of rye bread with a lettuce leaf between each pair of slices, or the lettuce may be omitted.

My notes: Powdering the yolks is simple breaking them up with a fork so they crumble.

Quick Loaf Cake

1 egg
1 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups flour
Vanilla extracts (1/2 tsp.)

Put all together in a bowl and beat thoroughly, or else mix in a milk shaker. Bake in a moderate oven.

My Notes: Bake at 350 degrees F. on the middle rack. Remember when using old recipes that ingredients were full fat-- not light or reduced fat. It doesn't mean you can't substitute, but it may not be quite the same without the full fat ingredients.

I mix the boiling water with the cocoa and sugar, then as it cools add the sour cream, vanilla and the egg. Never add an egg to hot water or other ingredients. Mix in the soda, baking powder and flour lastly, and then place in a bread loaf pan. This should take 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean.

A Delicious Cake Frosting

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. melted butter
4 tsp. cocoa
4 tsp. boiling hot coffee
Vanilla (1/2 tsp.)

Mix together till rich and creamy and spread over the cake. To make a white frosting, omit the coffee and cocoa and add sweet cream or milk.

Oatmeal Macaroons

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup shortening (1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup lard)
2 eggs, whites and yolks added separately; add whites last
1 cup coconut
4 cups oatmeal
2 cups white flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

Drop from a spoon and flatten with a knife. Bake in a moderate oven.

My Notes: Add the dry ingredients last after mixing and/or sifting them in a bowl beforehand. Bake at 350 degrees F.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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