Vintage Cooking Tips

Vintage Cooking Tips
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Vintage Kitchen and Cooking Tips

There aren't many people who think of banks as educators. Between interest rates and all the fees, we tend to think of them as just another institution that takes money out of our pocket. In the past, banks often fought against this reputation by giving out booklets that shared frugal ideas with their customers. They would rather be thought of as a "partner" in saving money. No matter how we feel about banks today, it's fun to share tips from those booklets.

I have one, A Treasury of Household Hints, which shares 1003 tips covering cooking, cleaning and household maintenance. As always when I share tips from vintage books, I weed out those using chemicals that we now know to be toxic. It's always fascinating, yet horrifying, what chemicals were kept around the average home over the years.

These tips are from 1948 and 1951. There is a lot of good advice but today I narrowed it down to kitchen tips, which I found were just as helpful today as they were back then.

-Add leftover sausage meat to plain pancake batter, or combine with leftover mashed potatoes; form into patties and brown in a sizzling frying pan.

-One pound of bacon will yield anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 cups of deliciously flavored fat for use in seasoning and cooking. To keep drippings in best condition for use pour into small jars so bottom layers won't become rancid. Date or number each jar. Store in refrigerator. Use older fat first.

-One way to conserve butter is to use bacon drippings on top of casseroles, instead of butter. Same goes for frying potatoes.

-Don't buy a quart of sour milk or buttermilk because you need a cupful for a special recipe. Just add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to 1 cup sweet milk and stir.

-To use up leftover egg yolks, poach them until firm, then cool and put through sieve. Nice for salads, soup garnishes or canapés.

-If shredded cocoanut gets dry, make it extra delicious by toasting. Sprinkle it on a baking sheet and heat in a moderate oven, shaking occasionally to brown evenly.

-Fried potatoes will be golden brown if sprinkled lightly with flour before frying.

-Save the water in which you boil rice. It's good to use in making gravy. It thickens itself!


The tips below work best for unsliced bread, especially the croustades. If you have a bread machine or bake your own bread, make an extra loaf just for these! Bread should never go to waste, even when it becomes stale. The following instructions will save you money while providing tasty extras for the table.

Croustades: Cut stale bread in 2 1/2 inch slices. Remove crusts. Scoop out centers, leaving a shell 1/2 inch thick (save crusts and centers for crumbs.) Brush with melted butter. Bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Use instead of patty shells.

Croutons: Cut stale bread in 1/2 inch slices; remove crusts. Cut in 1/2 inch strips, and then cut across to make cubes. Bake in a slow oven (325 F.) 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally until golden brown. Serve with soup. Save crusts for crumbs.

Dry Crumbs: Dry out stale bread in a slow oven. Put in a paper bag and crush into crumbs with a rolling pin. Save in a carton for use as poultry stuffing or to make a crumb blanket for scalloped dishes.


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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