Recipes From Our Books

Coconut Caramel Meringue Chews – Farm Journal and Farmer’s Wife February, 1941

Amaze your friends at the next quilting party with these moist, delicious, very unique cookie bars. To keep the meringue looking good, they’re best served the day they’re baked.

½ cup butter            1½ cups sifted flour
¾ cup sugar            1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs, separated        ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla            ½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sweetened coconut

Old-Time Farmhouse Cooking by Barbara SwellCream butter, add white sugar, egg yolks (I use only one), and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Add flour sifted with baking powder and salt. Mix well and press into the bottom of a square baking pan. Beat whites until stiff, beat in brown sugar, then coconut. Spread meringue on top of dough and sprinkle with more coconut. Bake 30 minutes in a moderate (350º) oven or until lightly browned. Cool, cut into squares.

From Old-Time Farmhouse Cooking


Old South Chocolate Chess Pie

Also called a “sugar pie”, this simple rich dessert is what it is. Sort of a chocolate brownie topped custard with a little crunch of cornmeal. Underbake it a little if you like gooey brownies … we call intentionally underbaked pastries “sad” here in the southern Appalachian mountains. We also like our chocolate pound cakes sad!

6 Tbs. unsalted butter    3 Tbs. milk
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate    1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar            2 eggs, beaten
¼ tsp. salt
1 Tbs. cornmeal
1 Tbs. flour (or all cornmeal)

Lost Art of Pie by Barbara SwellPreheat oven to 400º Melt butter  with chocolate and cool. Combine with remaining ingredients. Stir well, and pour into an unbaked 9-inch flaky butter crust. Bake on bottom third of a 400º oven for 10 minutes then turn heat to 350º. Bake another 20 minutes until the chocolate innards puff up but still wiggle a little.

Lemon chess pie: Add juice and zest of a lemon, omit chocolate Os-Good: Omit chocolate and add ½ cup each pecans and raisins

From The Lost Art of Pie Makin


Crunchy, buttery, exhuberantly flavored cornbread that’s as good at the fresh cornmeal you use to bake them. Use gem pans, cornstick pans or a cast iron skillet. Great with butter and sor­ghum syrup (southern style molasses) or honey.

2 cups stone ground cornmeal
1 1/3 cups  buttermilk
1½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. fine salt
1 egg
5 Tbs. melted butter

Aunt-Barb's-Bread-Book-coverPreheat oven to 450º. Warm your gem pan in the hot oven for 10 minutes. In one bowl, mix dry ingredients, in another whisk the wet. Add the wet to the dry and blend just until mixed. Drop a little piece of butter into each socket of hot pan and fill ¾ full with batter. Bake about 15 minutes until brown on top. Serve with butter and sorghum syrup!

From Aunt Barb’s Bread Book.




 There are two schools of thought on how to make cordials. I’ll give you both; either method is fine. Feel free to experiment with the recipe by com­bining different fruits and adding sugar to your taste, but do not alter the ratio of fruit to vodka. Summer cordials will be ready to drink come winter, but they will sing for you if you can wait at least nine months.

2 cups fresh fruit, pitted, peeled and sliced as needed 1 cup sugar (I use less, but most folks prefer this amount) 2 cups 100 proof vodka

A Garden Supper Tonight by Barbara SwellFirst method: Soak the fruit in the sugar a couple hours until the fruit releases its liquid and then add the mixture to the vodka. Mix well, and pour into a clean glass jar. Keep it in a dark cabinet and shake daily for the first couple weeks, if you can remember. Decant the liquid after about 2 months. Discard the fruit? Are you nuts? If it’s not mushy, store in the fridge and make pies with it, eat on ice cream, etc. Store the racked cordial in a clean glass jar away from light

From A Garden Supper Tonight


Children at the Hearth by Barbara SwellFolk Remedies

Back before germs were discovered in the 1880’s, people weren’t sure how diseases were spread from one person to the next. And they didn’t know how to cure them either. Sometimes folks made up crazy ways to prevent getting sick, called superstitions. Although we know much about diseases today, lots of superstitions have been passed down from generation to gen­eration, still surfacing in the play of children. You all know the rhyme, “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” Here are some old-timey folk remedies that were once thought to cure dis­eases or even prevent slobbering!

From Children at the Hearth


Secrets of the Great Old-Timey Cooks by Barbara SwellJohnnie Cole Otto was born and raised in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park before it became a park in the 1930s. She recently passed away, but her fabulous Southern Mountain cooking and her stories of growing up as a pioneer child into a strong and spunky woman touched my life and the lives of countless others.

1 cup shortening 1 tsp. baking powder 2 cups brown sugar 1 tsp. soda 2 eggs 2 cups oats 2 ¼ cups flour 2 cups crisp rice cereal 1 cup salted peanuts 1 tsp. vanilla

Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs, baking powder, soda, and vanilla until well combined. Blend in flour. Chop peanuts and stir into mixture along with the oats and rice cereal. Refrigerate for one hour, then drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake in a 350º oven 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

From Secrets of the Great Old Cooks.


If you want a book that reflects WWII cookery and the challenges faced by women and their families, get Coupon Cookery by Prudence Penny. Pub­lished in 1943, the book is filled with patriotic poems, point stretching strategies, advice, condolences, and ration point charts. The recipes are generally unexciting, but remember that the men were gone to war and the women had defense jobs. Many mothers now raised their young on their own and grew and canned their family’s food in their spare time. Who had the time or energy to cook…even if they could get ingredients?

Mama's in the Kitchen by Barbara Swell6 large potatoes Salt and pepper to taste 2 Tbs. butter 6 Tbs. grated cheese ½ cup milk Paprika 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten

Pare, cook, and mash potatoes until smooth. Add butter, salt, pep­per, hot milk, and egg. Beat until light. Make into cones about three inches high or shape with pastry tube on greased baking dish. In the top of each potato cone, make a deep indentation. Mix grated cheese with a little paprika and fill each cone. Bake in hot oven until cheese melts and browns slightly. Serves 6

From Mama’s in the Kitchen


Cornmeal crunchy and fragrant with lemon and butter, these just sweet enough cookies go great with a cup of The 1st American Cookie Lady by Barbara Swellafternoon tea.

¾ cup butter, softened ¾ cup white sugar 1 egg 1½ cups all-purpose flour ½ cup yellow cornmeal ½ tsp. baking powder ¼ tsp. salt 1 tsp. vanilla or ½ tsp. lemon extract Grated zest of one lemon

Cream butter and sugar; add egg, vanilla, lemon zest and con­tinue beating until blended. Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt, then add to wet ingredients. Stir or beat until well blended. Form into a log and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrig­erate a couple of hours until firm. To bake, preheat oven to 375º. Slice cookies about ¼-inch thick and place on a greased cookie sheet, or on parchment paper. Bake about 10 minutes, just until edges are a light brown.

From The 1st American Cookie Lady

Pioneer-Village-Cookbook- newRED FLANNEL HASH

Red Flannel Hash is popular all over New England, where it is generally employed as a tasty method of stretching corned beef and potatoes leftover from a New England Boiled Dinner.

6 medium beets, cooked and peeled
4 medium potatoes, cooked
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon cream
1 cup chopped corned beef or leftover roast beef
salt and pepper to taste

Chop the potatoes and beets into rough cubes of about half an inch. Mix with the meat, and season with salt and pepper. Place two tablespoons butter in a frying pan, add the mixture and moisten with a little hot water. Cook slowly in a covered pan until heated through. When nearly ready to serve, add the cream mixed with the remaining butter. Brown quickly, flip to brown the bottom and serve very hot.

Yield: 4 servings.

From The Pioneer Village Cookbook

Early-American-CookeryTelling the Bees

If you would keep you bees in the case of a death in the family, you must acquaint the little creatures with the fact either by rapping on the hives and then saying the name of the departed, or else by draping the hives in black and huming a mournful tune. If you do not do this they will either desert you or die inside of the hive.

From Early American Cookery.