Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

Posts Tagged recipes

Portrait of Black man with mustache wearing jacket and tie
George Washington Carver's Graduation Photo from Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm (now Iowa State University), 1893 /
THF214111

George Washington Carver and Food


George Washington Carver (1860s–1943) was born near the end of the Civil War in Missouri. He studied plants his entire life, loved art and science, earned two agricultural science degrees from Iowa State University, and shared his knowledge broadly during his 45-year-career at Tuskegee Institute. He urged farm families to care for their land. Today we call this regenerative agriculture, but in Carver’s day it amounted to a revolutionary agricultural ethic.

Carver’s curiosity about plants fueled another revolution as he promoted hundreds of new uses for things that farm families could grow and eat. Cookbooks inspired him to adapt, and he worked with Tuskegee students to test and refine recipes. Then he compiled them in bulletins that stressed the connection between the environment and human health.

Today, our chefs at The Henry Ford are inspired by Carver’s dozens of bulletins and hundreds of recipes for chutneys, roast meats, salads, and peanut-topped sweet rolls.

Page with text and photo of men with baskets of peas
Some Possibilities of the Cow Pea in Macon County, Alabama, a 1910 bulletin by Carver featuring recipes. / THF213269

Developing Modern Carver-Inspired Recipes


Silver chafing dish containing chicken with red sauce topped with rosemary springs, sitting on white and gray marble counter
All-Natural Chicken Breast with Tomato Plum Chutney at Plum Market Kitchen.

Carver is known to most of us for his many uses for the peanut. The Henry Ford’s culinary team looks to go beyond that, knowing that there is so much more to his legacy. Cultural appropriation is a hot topic in the world of food service today, but as a public history institution, we recognize that food is culture, and we are committed to authentic representation of a variety of food traditions. We are constantly collaborating and developing new recipes in consultation with our curators, who provide expert understanding and context. Part of the mission that drives our chefs is to understand the full story, and to help all our guests complete that experience as well.

Carver-Influenced Menu at

Plum Market Kitchen


White ceramic dish containing a colorful salad and label with text, sitting on white and gray marble counter
Kale, Roasted Peanut, and Pickled Red Onion Salad with Molasses Vinaigrette at Plum Market Kitchen

Many aspects of Carver’s legacy are woven into a modern menu at Plum Market Kitchen at The Henry Ford. Today, the ideas of all-natural, healthy, and organic have become “tag lines” to sell you food. However, for Carver, and for Plum Market Kitchen, these have always been a driving ideology. Together, The Henry Ford and Plum Market Kitchen have taken inspiration from many of Carver’s recipes—always looking to honor and continue his legacy.

Silver chafing dish containing mixed vegetables, sitting on white and gray marble counter
Sweet Cream Succotash: Edamame, Corn, Peppers, and Vegetables at Plum Market Kitchen.

Digging Deeper into Carver’s Legacy at

A Taste of History


While our new recipes at Plum Market Kitchen are inspired by Carver, with modern adaptations, our new offerings in A Taste of History are more directly drawn from Carver’s own recipes and the ingredients he used. Watch this post for more information coming soon on new menu options in Greenfield Village!

Learn More


Silver chafing dish containing large chunks of sweet potatoes topped with herbs, sitting on white and gray marble counter

Farmhouse Roasted Sweet Potatoes at Plum Market Kitchen.

If you’d like to further explore the life and work of George Washington Carver, issues surrounding food security, historic recipes, or dining at The Henry Ford, here are some additional resources across our website:

  • Take a closer look at Black empowerment through Black education with the microscope used by agricultural scientist George Washington Carver during his tenure at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
  • Throughout Carver’s life, he balanced two interests and talents—the creative arts and the natural sciences. Find out how each influenced the other.
  • Learn more about the history of the George Washington Carver Cabin in Greenfield Village.
  • Explore artifacts, photographs, letters, and other items related to Carver in our Digital Collections.
  • Food security links nutritious food to individual and community health. Explore this concept through the collections of The Henry Ford in this blog post, which includes Carver’s work.
  • Find out what a food soldier is, as well as how food and nutrition relate to issues of institutional racism and equity for African Americans.
  • Explore historic cookbooks and recipes from our collections.
  • Get up-to-date information about dining options in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and Greenfield Village.



Eric Schilbe is Executive Sous Chef at The Henry Ford. Debra A. Reid is Curator of Agriculture and the Environment at The Henry Ford. 

Greenfield Village, Henry Ford Museum, African American history, George Washington Carver, restaurants, by Eric Schilbe, by Debra A. Reid, recipes, food

Woman in candlelit kitchen with a variety of bowls and plates containing food on kitchen table


From the kitchens of Greenfield Village to yours at home, this year’s collection of Holiday Nights recipes are inspired by our own historic recipe bank. Try our 2020 recipes and then dig deeper into our online collection of historic recipes. Thanks to our supporting partners at Meijer for making this year’s recipe collection possible.

Card and text versions of the recipes follow, or access a high-res PDF, suitable for printing, of all four recipe cards here.

(Please Note: These recipes are taken from original historical resources and contain spellings and references that will be unfamiliar to today’s cooks. These were retained for accuracy and are explained where possible.)


FORD HOME, 1876


Recipe card with text

New's [New Year's] Eve Cookies 

Weigh out a pound of sugar, three-quarters pound butter, stir them to a cream, then add three beaten eggs, a grated nutmeg, a spoonful of extract of lemon and a pint of flour; dissolve a teaspoonful of saleratus [baking powder] in a teacup of milk, strain and mix it with half a teacup of cider and stir it into the cookies; then add flour to make them sufficiently stiff to roll out. Bake them as soon as cut into cakes in a quick oven [375-400º F] till light brown.

May Perrin Goff, Detroit Free Press Cook Book (The Household and Ladies Cyclopeadia), p. 43.


EDISON HOMESTEAD, 1915


Recipe card with text

Snow Balls

2 cups sugar
1 cup sweet milk
½ cup butter
3 cups Five Roses flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
5 eggs (whites)

Mix and beat well. Bake in deep square tin. Cut in 2 inch squares. Remove outside. Frost on all sides, then roll in freshly grated cocoanut.

Confectioner’s Frosting: Two tablespoons boiling water or cream and a little flavoring essence of vanilla, lemon, or almond. Add enough confectioner’s sugar to the liquid to make of right consistency to spread.

Lake of the Woods Milling Company Limited, The Five Roses Cook Book, 1915, p. 86, 121.


GIDDINGS FAMILY HOME, 1760


2020 Holiday Nights Recipe Cards_3_Syllabub

Everlasting Syllabub

Take five half pints of thick cream, half a pint of Rhenish wine, half a pint of sack, and the juice of two large Seville oranges, grate in just the yellow rind of three lemons, and a pound of double-refined sugar well beat and sifted; mix all together with a spoonful of orange-flower water; beat it well together with a whisk half an hour, then with a spoon take it off, and lay it on a sieve to drain, then fill your glasses: these will keep about a week, and are better made the day before. The best way to whip syllabub is, have a fine large chocolate-mill, which you must keep on purpose, and a large deep bowl to mill them in: it is both quicker done, and the froth stronger; for the thin that is left at the bottom, have ready some calf’s-foot jelly boiled and clarified, there must be nothing but the calf’s-foot boiled to a hard jelly; when cold take off the fat, clear it with the whites of eggs, run it through a flannel bag, and mix it with the clear which you saved of the syllabubs; sweeten it to your palate, and give it a boil, then pour it into basins, or what you please: when cold, turn it out, and it is a fine flummery.

Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, 1796, p. 179-80.


SUSQUEHANNA PLANTATION, 1860


Recipe card with text

Lafayette Ginger Cake

One and a half pounds of wheat flour, quarter of a pound of butter, one pint of molasses, one pint of brown sugar, ten eggs, ginger to the taste, one teaspoonful of pearlash  [1/2 tsp. baking soda] dissolved in warm water; stir all together, and bake in pans or patties. Currants and raisins may be added.

Sarah Rutledge, The Carolina Housewife, 1847, p. 198.

Greenfield Village, food, recipes, holidays, Holiday Nights, events, Christmas

This Father’s Day treat dad to two favorite dishes from our chefs at The Henry Ford – pulled pork from A Taste of History and pioneering cookbook author Fannie Farmer’s macaroni and cheese.

A Taste of History Pulled Pork
This true summertime favorite will take a little extra time, but it is so worth it. This will freeze and reheat well, so you can have many meals from it.

1 cup chili powder
½ cup ground cumin
½ cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground oregano
½ cup kosher salt
1 boneless pork shoulder (pork butt), about 8 pounds                    

Mix the dry ingredients together to make a spice rub. (This rub can be used to season almost anything that goes on a grill.) Generously coat the pork on all sides with the spice rub, then wrap it in plastic and refrigerate overnight. The next day, preheat the oven to 300 F. Place the meat in a covered baking dish, Dutch oven or roasting pan, leaving plenty of space around the meat. Add warm water until the pork is almost half submerged (the amount will vary according to the dish used). Bake for 5-6 hours or until fork-tender. If there is any doubt, let it cook longer. Once out of the oven, drain the liquid, reserving it for the barbecue sauce (recipe below), and let pork cool on the counter until easier to handle, about 1 hour. Using forks or tongs, shred the pork, but not too fine. Remove any large fat pieces.

A Taste of History Pulled Pork Barbecue Sauce

¼ cup olive oil
16 ounces sliced onions
2  12-ounce cans plum tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cloves
¼ cup kosher salt
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup molasses
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup prepared mustard

While the pork is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pot and cook the onions until tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour, whisking often. Add the reserved liquid from the cooked pork, first pouring off the fat from the top. While the barbecue sauce is still hot, pour it over the shredded pork and mix it in. Cover and keep warm until served.

Serve the pulled pork on your favorite burger buns, a baked potato, cornbread or by itself. Bread and butter pickles are a perfect side.

Fannie Farmer Mac and Cheese
½ pound butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound elbow noodles
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided


mac-and-cheese
Preheat oven to 350 F. Melt butter in large saucepan. Add flour to butter, cooking until a very light tan while stirring constantly. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently simmer for 15-20 minutes until flour taste is gone. Meanwhile, cook the noodles in salted water until tender; drain well. Combine the hot noodles, milk mixture and 2 cups of the cheese. Put into baking pan and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake until cheese is lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes, depending on desired crispness. Enjoy immediately. It will also hold nicely for an hour if kept warm. 

recipes, food

Many of us have been baking a bit more than usual while staying at home. So, let’s take look at how America’s favorite cookie, the chocolate chip, was born.

Before we get to chocolate chips, let’s talk chocolate. It’s made from the beans of the cacao tree and was introduced by the Aztec and Mayan peoples to Europeans in the late 1500s.  Then a dense, frothy beverage thickened with cornmeal and flavored with chilies, vanilla, and spices, it was used in ancient ceremonies.

thf284540
Map of the Americas, 1550. THF284540

Colonial Americans imported cacao from the West Indies. They consumed it as a hot beverage, made from ground cacao beans, sugar, vanilla and water, and served it in special chocolate pots.

thf145291
Chocolate Pot, 1760-1790  THF145291

In the 1800s, chocolate made its way into an increasing number of foods, things like custards, puddings, and cookies, and onto chocolate-covered candy. It was not just for drinking anymore!

thf299872
Trade Card, Granite Ironware, 1880-1890 THF299872

Today, most Americans say chocolate is their favorite flavor. Are you a milk or dark chocolate fan? My vote? Dark chocolate.

Cookies were special treats into the early 1800s; sweeteners were costly and cookies took more time and labor to make. Imagine easing them in and out of a brick fireplace over with a long-handled peel.

kitchen
Detail of late 18th century kitchen in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. See the kitchen for yourself with this virtual visit.

As kitchen technology improved in the early 1900s, especially the ability to regulate oven temperature, America’s cookie repertoire grew.

30s-kitchen
Detail of 1930s kitchen in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. See the kitchen yourself with this virtual visit

mousse
Until the 1930s, baking chocolate was melted in a double boiler before being added to cookie dough. Check out this 1920 recipe for Chocolate Mousse from our historic recipe bank.   

Then came Ruth Graves Wakefield and the chocolate chip cookie. Ruth, a graduate of the Framingham State Normal School of Household Arts, had taught high school home economics and had worked as a dietitian. 

ruth
Image: "Overlooked No More: Ruth Wakefield, Who Invented the Chocolate Chip Cookie" from The New York Times

In 1930, 27-year-old Ruth and her husband Kenneth opened a restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts called the Toll House Inn. The building had never been a toll house, but was located on an early road between Boston and New Bedford. The restaurant would grow from seven tables to 60. 

thf183299
Toll House Inn business card, 1930s. THF183299

A quick aside: our 1820s Rocks Village Toll House in Greenfield Village. Early travelers paid tolls to use roads or cross bridges. This one collected fares for crossing the Merrimack River.   

thf2033
Rocks Village, Massachusetts toll house in Greenfield Village. THF2033

With Ruth Wakefield’s background in household arts, she was well-prepared to put together a menu for her restaurant. It was a great location. The Toll House Inn served not only the locals, but people passing through on their way between Boston and Cape Cod. 

thf183300
Toll House Inn business card, 1930s. THF18330

Over time, Ruth’s reputation grew, and the restaurant became well-known for her skillful cooking, wonderful desserts, and excellent service.  On the back of this circa 1945 Toll House Inn postcard, a customer wrote: “…down here two weeks ago & had a grand dinner.” 

thf183298
Toll House Inn postcard, about 1945. THF183298

Ruth Wakefield, curious and willing to experiment, liked to create new dishes and desserts to delight her customers. The inn had been serving a butterscotch cookie--which everyone loved--but Ruth wanted to “give them something different.”

About 1938, Ruth had an inspiration. She chopped up a Nestle’s semisweet chocolate bar with an ice pick and stirred the bits into her sweet butter cookie batter.  The chocolate bits melted--and didn’t spread, remaining in chunks throughout the dough.    

thf125196
Recipe Booklet, "Favorite Chocolate Recipes made with Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate," 1940. THF125196

Legend has it that the cookies were an accident--that Ruth had expected to get all-chocolate cookies when the chocolate melted. One of those “creation myths?” A great marketing tale? Ruth was a meticulous cook and food science savvy. She said it was a deliberate experiment.

The marriage of sweet, buttery cookie dough and semisweet chocolate was a hit--the cookies quickly became popular with guests. Ruth shared the recipe when asked. Local newspapers published it.  And she included it in the 1938 edition of her “Tried and True Recipes” cookbook.

thf183297
The Toll House, Whitman, Massachusetts, circa 1945. THF183297

Nestle’s saw sales of its semisweet chocolate bar jump dramatically in New England--especially after the cookie was featured on a local radio show.  When Nestle discovered why, they signed a contract with Ruth Wakefield, allowing Nestle to print the recipe on every package. 

nestle-truck
Nestle’s truck, 1934. Z0001194


Nestle began scoring its semisweet chocolate bar, packaging it with a small chopper for easy cutting into morsels. The result was chocolate “chips”--hence the name.   

thf125194
Recipe Booklet, "Favorite Chocolate Recipes made with Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate," 1940. THF125194

In 1939, Nestle introduced semisweet morsels. Baking Toll House Cookies became even more convenient, since you didn’t have to cut the chocolate into pieces.

thf183303
Toll House Cookies and Other Favorite Chocolate Recipes Made with Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate, 1941. THF183303

Nestle included the Toll House Cookie “backstory” and the recipe in booklets promoting their semisweet chocolate. 

thf125195

During World War II, Nestle encouraged people to send Toll House Cookies to soldiers. For many, it was their first taste of a chocolate chip cookie--its popularity spread beyond New England.

thf183306
Advertisement, "His One Weakness, Toll House Cookies from Home" November 1943. 
THF183306

The homemaker in this 1940s Nestle’s ad celebrates her success as a hostess when serving easy-to-make Toll House Cookies. Chocolate chips would, indeed, soon become our “national cookie.” 

thf183305
They Never Get Enough of My Toll-House Cookies!, 1945-1950. THF183304

Chocolate chip morsels were a great idea, so other companies followed suit.

thf295928
Recipe Leaflet, "9 Famous Recipes for Hershey's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Dainties," 1956. THF295928

Other delectable treats, like these “Chocolate Refresher” bars shown in this 1960 ad, can be made with chocolate morsels. The possibilities are endless.

thf43907
Nestle's Semi-Sweet Morsels Advertisement, "Goody for You," 1960. THF43907

More from The Henry Ford: Enjoy a quick “side trip” to this blog about more American chocolate classics.

Holiday baking is a cherished tradition for many. Chocolate chip cookies are frequently a key player in the seasonal repertoire. Hallmark captured holiday baking memories in this ornament.

thf177745
Hallmark "Christmas Cookies" Christmas Ornament, 2004. THF177747

The museum’s 1946 Lamy’s Diner serves Toll House Cookies. Whip up a batch of chocolate chips at home and enjoy a virtual visit

Cookie dough + chocolate chips = America’s favorite cookie! It may have been simple, but no one else had ever tried it before! Hats off to Ruth Wakefield!

thf183303
Toll House Cookies and Other Favorite Chocolate Recipes Made with Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate, 1941. THF183301

After all this talk of all things chocolate, are you ready for a cookie? This well-known cookie lover probably is!

thf318447
Cookie Monster Toy Clock, 1982-1986. THF318447 

Jeanine Head Miller is Curator of Domestic Life at The Henry Ford.

restaurants, women's history, recipes, food, entrepreneurship, by Jeanine Head Miller, #THFCuratorChat

thf293101
THF293101 / Stock Crate Label for an Unknown Brand of Asparagus, 1906-1966

With asparagus season in full swing, we’ve searched  our Historic Recipe Bank and Eagle Tavern Cookbook for spring menu inspiration.

Our first recipe, Cold Asparagus Salad with Sesame Seeds, is from the 1997 edition of The All New Joy of Cooking. Since it came out in 1931, The Joy of Cooking has become the essential culinary bible for many, with generations of home cooks learning to cook from it. The Joy of Cooking has been revised over the years, with its fans championing their favorite editions.

See more recipes from various editions of this well-known cookbook in our Historic Recipe Bank.

Our second recipe, Asparagus Pie, comes from our culinary team at The Henry Ford and takes its cues from Eagle Tavern in Greenfield Village.

Try both of these recipes at home and share how they turned out.

Cold Asparagus Salad with Sesame Seeds (4 to 6 Servings)

Whisk together in a small bowl:
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
4 teaspoons soy sauce
2½ tablespoons sugar

Toast in a small skillet until golden brown then immediately stir into the dressing:
4 teaspoons sesame seeds

Place in a large pot of boiling water:
1½ pounds asparagus, peeled and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces

Cook for no more than 1½ minutes for thin asparagus or 2½ minutes for thicker. Immediately drain and refill the pot with cold running water until all of the heat has left the asparagus. Drain again and dry thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until the salad is cold, about 1 hour. Toss with the dressing and serve.

Eagle Tavern Asparagus Pie
1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon whole butter
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
4 eggs
Pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
9-inch pie shell

Clean the asparagus, removing and discarding woody ends; trim the rest to ½-inch pieces.

Heat oven to 350 F. In a skillet over medium heat, heat butter. When hot, add asparagus and partially cook for 4-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Whisk together sour cream, cheese, eggs and nutmeg; season with salt and pepper.

Place the cooled asparagus on the bottom of the pie shell and add the whisked egg mixture.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until set and golden brown. Allow the pie to rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

recipes, food

95768714_10117156911613414_1109302529713242112_o

Hobo Bread, ingeniously baked in a can, brings the vagabond tales of the resourceful American hobos to your home. The Henry Ford lives to tell the innovative and compelling stories of American life through artifacts, exhibits and even food. Whether for breakfast, sandwiches or as a dessert, this original recipe allows you to enjoy an American tradition that once turned strangers on the track into family.

Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 2 cups raisins
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 4 teaspoons butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups walnuts
- 4 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions
1. Pour boiling water over raisins; let cool.
2. Stir in baking soda and other ingredients.
3. Fill 3 greased and floured 28-ounce cans to half full (remove paper labels from cans before starting the baking process).
4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to an hour.
5. Cool and remove from cans.

Yield: 3 loaves

recipes, food

As Project Curator for the William Davidson Foundation Initiative for Entrepreneurship, part of my job is to select items related to entrepreneurs within our collection to be digitized. Sometimes this calls for additional research to provide context and significance. Searching for the significance of an object or photograph can often feel like detective work. Sometimes we are able to do some sleuthing and find what we are looking for and other times we run out of leads. Recently, while working with the H. J. Heinz Company Records – the first archival collection selected for this project – we had the opportunity to dig deeper into the significance of a notebook and learn more about its owner.

This notebook containing hand-written recipes from the H. J. Heinz company has been on display at the Heinz House in Greenfield Village for the past several years. Upon getting a closer look, we discovered that there was a name written on the outside: Jn Koehrer.

thf274685
The cover of the notebook states that it belongs to Jn Koehrer.

Who was this Jn (John) Koehrer? Unaware of any immediate connections to H. J. Heinz, we turned to Ancestry.com, where we discovered that John Koehrer (1871-1945) was listed as a foster son of Heinz’s cousin, Frederick Heinz. Census records noted that he worked for a “Pick Co.” – which we assumed was supposed to say “Pickle Co.” – and that his occupation was that of a “pickler” or a “foreman.” So now we have a connection to H. J. Heinz, but what does his notebook have to do with the company history?

A Google search for “‘John Koehrer’ Heinz” led us to our answer. An Architectural and Historical Survey of Muscatine, Iowa, noted that, “On January 29, 1893, the Muscatine Improvement and Manufacturing Company closed the contract with Heinz to build its first plant outside of Pittsburgh… The three-story brick building… Opened in 1894 under the management of John Koehrer.” There it was! – the reason he had a notebook of recipes, and why it was significant to company history, was because he was to manage the new Heinz factory and needed to make sure he could replicate the products.

thf274689
Handwritten recipe from the notebook for “Chilli Sauce.” Half-way down the page you’ll notice that the recipe calls for “1/2 pound of xxx.” The three x’s can be found in other recipes too and represent a secret ingredient.

Additional research from online newspaper articles allowed us to discover what was primarily produced at the plant – sauerkraut, horseradish, pickles, ketchup, and other tomato products – and we inferred that the recipes within the notebook would have been fairly simple to produce at the factory. From previous conservation and cataloguing reports, we had dated the notebook to around 1890, which fit perfectly into the timeline for John to have used these recipes in Iowa.

With this new information we are now able to more accurately describe the notebook on display and the research we uncovered can be added to our records for future use. When it comes to historical research, you never truly know what you’re going to find. In this digital age, and with more resources at our fingertips than ever before, more hidden gems like this one can be uncovered – a joy to behold in the history field.

Samantha Johnson is Project Curator for the William Davidson Foundation Initiative for Entrepreneurship at The Henry Ford. Special thanks to Aimee Burpee, Associate Registrar – Special Projects, for helping us uncover the mystery behind this notebook!

research, by Samantha Johnson, recipes, heinz, food, entrepreneurship, #Behind The Scenes @ The Henry Ford

If you’ve visited the Ford Home during Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village, you’ve no doubt felt your mouth water as you gazed upon the beautiful Charlotte Russe cake on the Fords’ dining room table. The cake has been a must-bake dessert for us for years and a guest favorite. Beyond knowing that it’s pretty in appearance and tastes heavenly, what do you know about this centuries-old dessert?

A Charlotte Russe is a hot or cold cake with a filling of fruit and custards formed in a molded pan; if you had to select a similar dessert, a trifle would be your best bet. Invented by French chef Antonin Carême in the 1800s, the cake was named in honor of George IV’s daughter Princess Charlotte and then-employer Czar Alexander. You can learn more about Anontonin in Ian Kelly’s book, “Cooking for Kings.”

Adding grape jam to the Charlotte Russe mold inside of the Fords' kitchen in Greenfield Village.

By the late 1800s the cake had made its way to American tables, like that of the Fords. This layered cake would have been a very fancy presentation during the holidays and could have contained a number of fruit/filling combinations. In the colder months when fresh fruit wasn’t as available, families could have added preserved fruits and jams to make up the filling and stored it in a cellar to set. For a family living on a farm, all the ingredients you’d need were most likely in your backyard and in your pantry.

Charlotte RusseBy the early 20th century, a variation of the Charlotte Russe became very popular as a street food in Brooklyn. The larger cake was scaled down to an individual size and presented in a push-up-pop fashion.

Today, the Charlotte Russe is limited only by your imagination and ingredients on hand. Molds can be found in antique stores or online. While the Fords might have filled their cake with strawberries or other preserves, how does a strawberry-kiwi-grape Charlotte Russe sound?! Pretty tasty, if you ask us.

Try making your own Charlotte Russe at home and let us know how you make it your own. Need more inspiration? Use the “Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink,” a favorite resource among staff at The Henry Ford, for ideas, or visit Greenfield Village during Holiday Nights.

Charlotte Russe

2 tablespoons gelatin
1 cup sweet milk
1 cup cream
2 eggs (separated)
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup granulated sugar

Beat egg yolks thoroughly with ½ cup granulated sugar. Heat 1 cup milk. When hot, add gelatin and mix until dissolved. Cool down some and strain through colander into egg/sugar mixture. Flavor with vanilla. Whip 1 cup cream; fold into egg/milk mixture. Put a thin layer of jam or jelly on the bottom of the mold. Cut sponge cake into pieces to fit mold. Fill the center with custard. Harden in refrigerator.

Sponge Cake for Charlotte Russe

3 eggs
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 lemon
1 teaspoon soda
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 cups sifted flour
½ cup cold water

Mix together sifted flour, cream of tartar and soda. Grease a dripping pan. Separate the eggs. Set egg whites aside. In a separate bowl, add powdered sugar to egg yolks. Beat thoroughly. Squeeze half a lemon and add juice to ½ cup of water; add to sugar/yolk mixture. Beat egg whites to a froth; stir into egg and sugar mixture. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Stir without beating only long enough to get the flour well mixed. Pour into the pan and bake in a moderate oven.

Pick up everything you need to make these recipes at Meijer. For more recipes and inspiration, visit THF OnLiving.

Lish Dorset is Social Media Manager at The Henry Ford.

by Lish Dorset, events, Greenfield Village, recipes, holidays, Holiday Nights, food, Christmas

History on the vine: all about the tomato

It might sound funny to say, but historically tomatoes have had a bad rap. The classic staple condiment in today’s salads and hamburgers was once a mysterious food to many and couldn’t be found in the diets of early settlers.

Thanks to Thomas Jefferson and his adventurous palate, tomatoes were being introduced into the White House’s kitchen at the beginning of the 19th century, according to old menus. However, it would be several years before Americans truly began experimenting with this versatile fruit.

Around the 1840s, tomatoes really started to become part of Americans’ diets. Depending on where you lived in the United States, your approach to using and caring for the tomato in your kitchen varied. In southern states, a pine straw bed was used for growing plants, while other parts of the country used a trellis to stake for growing. East-coast states were first to experiment with the tomato in recipes as it arrived in the U.S., as evident from mentions in “The Virginia Housewife.” African Americans also adopted the use of the tomato in their cooking early on, utilizing them for low-country cooking.

Tomatoes at Firestone Farm

About the same time the tomato began gaining popularity, American horticulturists began experimenting with breeding new types of tomatoes. Seed house catalogs provided countless species varieties, but most gardens tended to focus on one variety at a time. Unfortunately today, close to 99 percent of these historic, heirloom varieties are now extinct.

Moving on to the 1850s, the tomato starts to become an important ingredient and sauces, like catsup. As Americans learned how to preserve their produce through canning, the tomato was a natural choice for preservation. The following years saw recipe after recipe with baking ideas for tomatoes.

Here at The Henry Ford, tomatoes are an important of our gardens and food preparation. From Eagle Tavern entrees to appetizers at weddings inside Lovett Hall, our menus are a fan of tomatoes. Varieties like yellow pear and pink brandywine are just two of the tomatoes you can see growing at Firestone Farm in Greenfield Village.

FMC Tomato Harvester, 1969: This massive machine, with 10 to 12 workers on it, performed the task of picking tomatoes off the stems of each plant in the field. Picking tomatoes by hand is a back-breaking, tedious job. Tomato harvesters, first introduced in 1959, reduced the time it took harvesting crews to pick one ton of tomatoes -- from 113 hours to 61 hours. (Object ID: 91.142.1, http://bit.ly/14WFP8k)

Today Americans have a plethora of resources to choose from when setting up their gardens and getting their tomato plants ready. Seed houses concentrating on heirloom seed options help preserve surviving varieties; looking for the latest tomato news? There’s most likely a unique magazine to suit your needs.

If you’re a tomato lover like we are, try this favorite recipe from The Henry Ford - Escaloped Tomatoes and Baked Tomatoes. Want even more tomato-based recipes? Check out our Historic Recipe Bank for recipes to make Fried Tomatoes and Tomato Soup.

Escaloped Tomates

(Escaloped Tomatoes recipe found on p. 344 of the "Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping", edited by Estelle Woods Wilcox, 1880)

Modern adaptation may need additional adjustments as measurements and temperatures are estimates.

  • Bread crumbs
  • Butter, cut into small pieces
  • Salt, pepper and sugar
  • Onions, if desired
  • Grease a 2 qt. casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle a layer of bread crumbs, dot with few butter pieces. Then place a single layer of tomatoes on top of the bread crumbs. Season the tomatoes as desired. Top with a layer of bread crumbs and butter as before. Continue making layers of bread crumbs and tomatoes until the dish is full, finishing with the bread crumbs. Bake 45 to 60 minutes in a 350-oven.

    If desired, a layer of sliced, browned onions may be added on top of each layer of tomatoes. Slice the onions ½" thick and brown slices in butter over medium heat until light brown on each side. Place browned onion slices on top of tomato layers.

    Baked Tomatoes

    (Baked Tomatoes recipe found on page 272 of "The Original Boston Cooking School Cook Book" by Fannie Merritt Farmer, 1896)

    Wipe and remove a thin slice from the stem end of six medium-sized tomatoes. Take out seeds and pulp, and drain off most of the liquid. Add an equal quantity of cracker crumbs, season with salt, pepper, and a few drops onion juice, and refill tomatoes with mixture. Place in a buttered pan, sprinkle with buttered crumbs, and bake twenty minutes in a hot oven.

    Modern adaptation may need additional adjustments as measurements and temperatures are estimates.

  • 6 medium sized tomatoes
  • Cracker crumbs
  • Few drops onion juice (hard to find, but available online)
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • ¾ c bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Clean tomatoes. Cut a thin slice off the stem end of the tomatoes. Take out the seeds, pulp and most of the liquid. Reserve ½ of the pulp and chop fine. To the chopped pulp, add an equal amount of cracker crumbs, salt and pepper to taste, and a few drops of onion juice. Stuff the tomatoes with the mixture and bake 20 minutes in a preheated 375° oven.

    World War I Poster, "Wholesome - Nutritious Foods from Corn, " 1918: During the First World War, all of the national governments of the warring nations used poster campaigns to encourage civilian and military support of the war effort. Artists widely used an innovative advertising technique for these posters that moved away from a factual depiction of a product’s material or event’s subject to an emphasis on appealing to the viewer’s emotions.
    (Object ID: 53.5.26.2, http://bit.ly/15KUh4e)

    History in the field: corn 101

    When you think of your favorite summer meal, what’s one dish you can’t live without? Does it happen to be corn on the cob? Chances are it might be, as corn is synonymous with summer dinners and fun.

    As a new American crop hundreds of years ago, the Spanish quickly adopted corn into their diets. In the early 18th and 19th centuries, recipes called for “green” corn (pre-ripe corn) to be roasted for optimal taste and palpability.

    Do you know the difference between different types of corn? Flint is a meal corn, not sweet and was often ground into flour. Dent has medium moisture content, so it was grown for animal consumption as feed, a perfect choice for hungry hogs. Gourd seed has soft kernels and high moisture content.

    Much like tomatoes, corn was a favorite of horticulturists in the 1840s as they discovered sweeter offerings and started breeding for them. The corn you’d find on the dinner table was white, not yellow, and for fancier homes was never eaten off the cob in front of mixed company! The proper serving suggestion was to roast it, boil it, dress it, and serve it at the table in the 1880s.

    Label, "Shoe Peg Country Gentleman Fancy Corn," circa 1918: Manufacturers of similar products sought ways to make their company's goods stand out on store shelves. Attractive labels, like this elegant design for President Brand "Shoe Peg Country Gentleman Fancy Corn," helped catch the attention of potential customers--hopefully encouraging them to purchase the company's product rather than that of a competitor. (Object ID: 89.311.68, http://bit.ly/12DOkWg)

    In 1910, golden bantam is introduced. As a small, very sweet corn variety, its popularity was hard to beat. Today there are numerous corn varieties to choose from and depend on the season and location you’re in.

    Growing corn might be a pastime for today’s amateur gardener, but for farmers and those needing to feed large families, corn is grown as a row crop for higher yields. Many of the same techniques to plant corn hundreds of years ago are still used today. When it comes to food technology, corn was one of the last foodstuffs to see big advancements in planting and care.

    Can all corn pop? You bet! Whether you eat it plain or drizzle it with butter, popcorn is a long-stranding snack favorite.

    At The Henry Ford, corn is all around. To try a favorite recipe of ours, try these tonight and make sure to tell us what you think. Need more inspiration? Try the "vegetables" category over at our Historic Recipe Bank.

    Corn Fritters

    (Corn Fritters recipe found on pages 222 - 223 pf "Kentucky Housewife" by Lettice Bryan, 1839)

    Having removed the shucks and silks from a dozen young tender ears of corn, grate or scrape the grains fine from the cobs, mix with it the beaten yolks of four eggs, two spoonfuls of flour, a salt-spoonful of salt, and a teaspoonful of pepper; mix the whole together, stirring it till it is well intermingled; then drop it by spoonfuls into a pan of boiling butter or lard, making them all as nearly the same shape and size as possible; turn them over once, and when both sides are of a light brown, serve them up. It is a breakfast dish, and is quite an agreeable relish.

    Modern adaptation may need additional adjustments as measurements and temperatures are estimates.

  • 1 doz. ears of corn
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 T flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil or butter for frying
  • Remove the shucks and silks from a dozen ears of corn. Using a sharp knife cut the kernels off the cob. Place kernels in a large bowl. Add beaten eggs and flour to corn kernels and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. In large frying pan heat the oil or butter until hot. Carefully drop mixture by spoonfuls into hot oil. Fritters should be the same size for even cooking. Turn them once. Fritters are done when both sides are nicely browned.

    Green Corn Pudding

    (Green Corn Pudding found on page 329 of "Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping," edited by Estelle Woods Wilcox, 1880)

    Draw a sharp knife through each row of corn lengthwise, then scrape out the pulp; to one pint of corn add one quart milk, three eggs, a little suet, sugar to taste, and a few lumps of butter; stir it occasionally until thick, and bake about two hours.

    Modern adaptation may need additional adjustments as measurements and temperatures are estimates.

  • 2 c fresh or frozen corn, cooked
  • 4 c milk
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 4 T sugar (more/less to taste)
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • Mix all ingredients well. Pout into a greased 2 qt. baking dish. Bake in preheated 300° oven. Stir occasionally and bake until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

    Pick up everything you need to make these recipes at Meijer

    Lish Dorset is Social Media Manager at The Henry Ford.

    recipes, food

    As we celebrate Black History Month here at The Henry Ford, we were more than excited to have our own Executive Chef Mike Trombley share a few modified George Washington Carver recipes with The Detroit News today.

    Object ID: 64.167.285.9

    Chef Mike consulted Carver's 1917 pamphlet, "How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption" as well as our historic recipe bank.

    Make sure to read Chef Mike's interview with The Detroit News. We've shared his recipes below, too. If you'd like to learn more about the George Washington Carver artifacts here in the Collections of The Henry Ford, take a look here.

    Peanut Bisque

    Presented by Executive Chef Michael Trombley

    Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 1 1/4 cups peanuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons Spanish onion, small dice
  • 2 tablespoon whole butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • TT kosher salt
  • pinch white pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • chopped herb for garnish
  • Truffle oil for service
  • Toast nuts in an oven proof pan at 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown, stir once.

    In a heavy gauge non reactive pot, add the butter and onion and cook on low until onions are translucent.

    Add the flour and stir, add milk and whisk then add 1 cup of nuts, stock, nutmeg, salt and pepper, simmer for 30 minutes.

    Adjust seasoning if needed, puree with hand held blender.

    Dish out to bowls and add the remainder of the chopped nuts, parsley and truffle oil.

    From Chef Mike: "This dish was somewhat modified for our catering and banquet menu. The truffle oil being the most noticeable, also the addition of stock, nutmeg and butter for a richer flavor. In the original recipe the milk was warmed and peanut butter was added, because of it’s delicate nature I roasted my own nuts and created a roux (butter flour) to stabilize this soup."

    Behind the scenes of Chef Mike's Detroit News photo shoot.

    Roasted Peanut, Apple and Celery Salad

    Presented by Executive Chef Michael Trombley

    Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 1 cup roasted peanuts, coarse chop
  • 2 cups sour apples, medium dice
  • 2 cups celery, fine slice
  • ½ cup grapes cut in half
  • ¼ cup carrots cut julienne
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • TT salt and pepper
  • butter lettuce leaves for bed
  • Toast nuts in an oven proof pan at 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown, stir once and let cool.

    Prepare and gather all items as described.

    In a large bowl mix mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon, salt and pepper.

    Add peanuts, apples, celery, grapes and carrots to bowl and mix.

    Line 6 plates with butter lettuce and top with the mixed peanut apple salad and enjoy.

    From Chef Mike: "This recipe was slightly modified to include grapes, sour cream, lemon juice and carrot. Chopped parsley could also make a great addition!"

    Take a look at...

    George Washington Carver: Agricultural Scientist, Social Activist

    Peanut Butter Griddle Cakes

    African American history, George Washington Carver, recipes, food