Sweet Sour Cream Cornbread (adapted from Open House, 1995)

Sweet Sour Cream Cornbread is a quick and dirty instant cornbread recipe perfect for beginner cooks.  If I were twenty years younger I might call this a “hack” or “cheat code”.  The key ingredient is Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, already a shortcut to better-than-it-ought-to-be cornbread.   For those unfamiliar, Jiffy Corn Muffins are usually prepared the……

Meat-Potatoburgers (adapted from Money-Saving Main Dishes, 1966)

Meat-Potatoburgers is a recipe that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Money-Saving Main Dishes (1966).   Judging by name alone I was expecting Meat-Potatoburgers to resemble certain Depression-era burgers, like the Mississippi slugburger or Oklahoma Onion Burger.  There are any number of regional variants, many of which are still available if you know where to look, but……

Sausage Pastiera Gone Wrong (Florida, 1991, adapted)

Sausage Pastiera is a quick-and-dirty pasta casserole that’s kid friendly and suitable for a weeknight pantry meal.   The original recipe comes from the 1991 cookbook Preserving Our Italian Heritage, a community cookbook compiled by the Sons of Italy Florida Foundation.  The first recipe I tried from this cookbook was a swing and a miss, which……

Chinese Pork Balls and Cabbage (adapted from Myra Waldo’s Chinese Cookbook, 1968)

Chinese Pork Balls and Cabbage is a hearty dish suitable for a cool autumn weeknight.  If you’re after an authentic Chinese main dish keep looking.  This recipe is adapted from Myra Waldo’s Chinese Cookbook, first published in 1968, and reflects Americanized Chinese sensibilities adapted to the tastes and ingredient availability of the 1960s.   Like most……

Pumpkin Crumble Cake (Oregon, 2006, adapted)

For a home cook I feel like I know my way around a kitchen.  But everyone’s got their blind spots, and mine is baking.  I don’t enjoy it and I’m not good at it, and despite a background in chemistry I’m especially bad at yeast breads.  I can’t even make a decent pizza crust (although……

Chicken Cutlets with a Swiss Cheese Crust (Nebraska, 1987, adapted)

Chicken Cutlets with a Swiss Cheese Crust is a tasty fried chicken dish suitable for weeknight cooking.   The whole chicken and cheese thing isn’t normally appealing to me, but I had been craving fried chicken like crazy when I came across this recipe.  I was also looking for an opportunity to use my new meat……

Spam Puffs (adapted from Sunset Cook Book, 1949)

Say what you will but I’m a big fan of Spam.  No irony, no poverty cuisine voyeurism, no pining for some lost Hawaiian vacation:  fried Spam is a genuine treat for our family.  At any given time we’ll have a half a dozen cans on hand, ready to whip up a quick batch of musubis……

Spanish Chinese Fried Rice (New Jersey, 1995, adapted)

Spanish Chinese Fried Rice is a nifty little recipe that I found in Buen Provecho, a community cookbook compiled by HISPA, then a professional development group for Hispanic AT&T employees.  This cookbook was put together to raise money for the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund as part of HISPA’s larger efforts in the community.  Shortly after Buen……