First, did you know that butter was once its own food group?! In 1943, the United States Government released the National Wartime Nutrition Guide, which highlighted seven food groups, among them butter and fortified margarine. (The other "Basic 7" included green and yellow vegetables; oranges, tomatoes, and grapefruit; potatoes and other vegetables and fruits; milk and milk products; meat, poultry, fish, or eggs; and bread, flour, and cereals.)
However, few cooks at that time were smearing thick slabs of butter on their bread or whipping up decadent pastries and sauces — which brings us to the second big theme in Great-Grandma's clippings: frugality.American Wasteland and now, thanks to Great-Grandma's clippings, I'm considering things even more carefully. Here are a few of my favorite tips:
Your Share (General Mills, 1943)
• Spread the butter thin — prevent the waste of little dabs that cling to plates and are washed off
• Save fresh milk — rinse milk bottles with water, and use in cooking
• Use all of the vegetable — celery leaves in bread stuffings, stews and soups, and roasts
• Roll out leftover pastry, sprinkle with cheese, cut into fancy shapes, bake, and serve with salads or tea
• To decorate a wedding cake, place a single rose across the top or arrange a heart shape in the center using delicate blossoms in season
Metropolitan Cookbook (Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 1948)
• Save the water in which vegetables are cooked to make stock
• In cakes with chocolate, raisins, or nuts, replace the sugar with honey, cup for cup
Beyond these particular tips, I've found that my mindset has shifted. I look at the food in my refrigerator and pantry with greater appreciation and perhaps even creativity. My Great-Grandma passed away many years ago, but I am grateful for her recipe collection and the inspiration it brings!
Related: Do You Cook from Vintage Recipes?
(Images: Emily Ho)