Cooking Through the Decades

Cooking Through the Decades

by Alice Kertesz, Rachel Gutek
     
 

Rural America in the 1920s was a time when neighbors got together to help one another with tasks on the farm and, in between the work, they shared stories and enjoyed the home-made meals and snacks provided by the hostess. She might bring out a plate of cookies or an elegant cake, and she would take pride in the complements and expect requests for her recipes. Alice… See more details below

Overview

Rural America in the 1920s was a time when neighbors got together to help one another with tasks on the farm and, in between the work, they shared stories and enjoyed the home-made meals and snacks provided by the hostess. She might bring out a plate of cookies or an elegant cake, and she would take pride in the complements and expect requests for her recipes. Alice Tomashek Kertesz lived in rural Wisconsin and haslots of memories – and recipes – from that era. She remembers her mother helping their neighbors with feather plucking when it was time for their neighbors to sell the ducks they raised. Alice always hoped her mother would bring home some new recipes they could try making on their wood-burning stove/oven. Cookbooks were not common in those days, and recipes were passed around and copied and recopied onto treasured recipe cards.

The 1930s were mostly about “making due” as incomes plunged during the Great Depression. Electric kitchen appliances had begun to appear during the 20s, and more of them came on the market in the 30s, along with cookbooks that, for the first time, gave precise measurements. Also new and popular were portable radios that let women listen to soap operas while they cooked.

The 1940s saw kitchens take on a sleeker polished look with appliances built into the design of the kitchen. The War years meant women going to work in factories and having to cook without sugar and other ingredients that were unavailable or rationed. New appliances were not available either, as factories turned out tanks and airplanes instead of refrigerators.

Alice Tomashek Kertesz has kept her recipes from those decades, collected during the years she was growing up in rural Wisconsin and teaching in one-room schoolhouses as a young woman. She lived with a number of immigrant families during her teaching years in the late 1930s and early 1940s; she obtained recipes from all of them. Alice came to Flint Michigan for a summer job in a spark plug factory in 1943 and met and married John Kertesz. Her daughters and granddaughters have preserved the recipes and are responsible for this cookbook.

Here are 154 authentic recipes from the decades of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. Cooking Through the Decades includes Alice’s colorful commentary on how she acquired many of the recipes, and her daughter Theresa’s comments on the changes to kitchens and cookbooks over these decades. Here are recipes with a past – elegant cakes like Feather Spice Cake, Strawberry Meringue Cake, and Enchanted Cream Sponge Cake, unusual recipes like Caraway Seed Cookies and Radio Pudding, along with low- or no-sugar recipes from the World War II years like Maple Syrup Pie and Honey Party Loaf Cake. This is a cookbook and a history lesson, all in one. Enjoy!

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012368102
Publisher:
The Seeker Books
Publication date:
03/22/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Alice Kertesz grew up in rural Wisconsin where her father, Charles Tomashek, was an early cheese-maker. She was part of a large family where everyone helped at home and joined in with neighboring farm families when help was needed with threshing, feather-plucking and other chores. These community efforts always included lots of home cooked foods. Farm wives were especially proud of their cakes, cookies and other desserts.

Alice’s mother, Barbara Tomashek, collected recipes from these events, which her daughters eagerly tried out in their wood-burning oven. Recipes were handed down in this manner. When Alice became a schoolteacher, teaching in one-room classrooms, she lived with immigrant families from whom she obtained more recipes. Alice came to Flint Michigan for a summer job in a spark plug factory in 1943 and met and married John Kertesz. She brought with her the recipes from her Wisconsin childhood and her years as a teacher.

Her daughters (Barbara, Theresa and Mary) have preserved the recipes and are responsible for this cookbook. Her granddaughter, Rachel Gutek, is a commercial artist who created the cover image.

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