By Kevin Williams
COLD MILK SOUP, COFFEE SOUP, AND CHEESE SOUP
Also, check out the sponsored product of the week on Amazon: Amish pickled beets (these are amazing, I eat them like candy).
The Great Depression of the 1930s really did influence Amish cooking for generations. Amish cooks were always frugal and inventive, but as farms failed and jobs became scarce the Amish really had to stretch their resources. Eggs were eaten for almost any meal. Homemade cereals were the norm and desserts were scratched out of whatever could be found. Doesn’t mean these foods weren’t still tasty, in fact, these dishes set the stage for Amish cooking to become what it is today: simple and hearty. The more recent Great Recession caused the Amish to reach back to their roots and reconnect with some of these old recipes.
One of my favorite Great Depression recipes has always been mock lemon pie or “vinegar pie.”
I first heard about vinegar pie years ago in Adams County, Indiana. When I first heard about the pie I envision a sulfuric-smelling, grotesque-tasting mess in a crust. But thought the recipe sounded interesting and that I’d give it a go. When it came out of the oven I had a smooth, silky tasting pie that delivered the flavor and tartness of lemon without a rind in sight.
RELATED RECIPE: Mock Pecan Pie
This dish likely originated during the Great Depression years when citrus was in short supply. But call it “mock lemon pie”, who wants to serve “vinegar pie” to company? Or even yourself! So if you have the urge for a simple but delicious and different pie give this a whirl this weekend!
MOCK LEMON PIE (Vinegar pie)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, blend the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, stirring vigorously with a fork. Add the vinegar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously for 1 full minute, until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Pour into the unbaked pie crust. Bake until butter knife inserted in the center comes out clean. About 45 minutes. The pie will be golden brown. Cool on wire rack until firm.
Other recipes popular during the Depression included easy egg dishes (eggs were still usually in plentiful supply and a ready source of all-important protein). Potato soup was filling and starchy and easy, and onions were also almost always available, hence the onion patties. Meat like hamburger usually could be found, but it was stretched and put into easy dishes like the “one dish meal” below.
- 2 cups milk
- 4 eggs
- 16 small square soda crackers
- Crush the crackers fine.
- Put milk in baking pan with browned butter.
- Then add eggs and cracker crumbs and salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake in moderate oven about an hour or until done.
- Serve warm with fresh sliced tomatoes.
- 3 medium potatoes, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, small, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- dash pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups of milk
- Put together and boil in 2 cups of water until tender.
- Then mash and add liquids again.
- Melt butter in a saucepan.
- Blend in flour and a pinch of salt.
- Add slowly 3 cups of milk (or more).
- Cook till thick.
- Add potato mixture and heat.
- Serve with crackers
- 3 /4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon corn meal
- 2 1 /2 cups chopped fine onion
- Enough milk to make a thick batter (or use ½ cup powdered milk and a enough cold water to make a thick batter)
- Mix first 5 ingredients.
- Stir in enough milk to make a thick batter.
- Mix in onions, chopped fine and drop by spoonfuls into deep fat.
- Flatten patties slightly as you turn them.
- Fry to a golden brown.
- Deep fat should be heated to 350 before adding patties.
DELICIOUS ONE DISH MEAL
This recipe comes from an Amish woman in Oklahoma and is so short that it is not even written out in recipe format, I’ll type it just as is:
Peel potatoes, wash and slice. Grease casserole dish with butter. Put potatoes in a layer. Next add carrots if you wish, then a layer of sliced onions. Season with salt and pepper. Put slices of butter on top. Next, prepare hamburger. Put hamburger on top. Add a little water, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 2 hours.